Getting Ready For A New Way

“Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”
Jeremiah 6:16 NRSV
Friends, the time has finally arrived. We are about to embark on a brand-new journey under a new pastoral leader (Linda Tucker). Change is in the air and on the ground. I want to remind all of us that the “New Way” in ministry is actually an “Ancient Path” that flows from the heart of Heaven. Jeremiah rightly articulated this “way” as the source of everything that is GOOD and where we can find REST for our weary souls.

Every journey has to start somewhere. Leadership guru, Steven Covey, is known for saying, “Begin with the end in mind.” Luke the gospel writer had long before declared the healthy ends or outcomes of the early Christian church when he said, “They devoted themselves to…” ~ Acts 2:42a. This intro statement opened the gate for four life-giving and history-changing actions that all of Christ’s followers are called to replicate in every generation, under every new leader. While the average lay person struggles to embrace and embody their Heaven-assigned role (title) as the “Priesthood of all believers,” they can still function by their actions in Christ-like ways.

My hope is that under pastor Linda, you will decisively choose to immerse yourselves together in these ancient, early, and fruitful actions that bring the Kingdom of God to bear in our lives and community.

Here are the four fundamental areas of Lay Training and Discipleship Growth that Luke celebrated and itemized in his Acts history. Every pastor longs for their congregations to both aspire and practice these disciplines in their spiritual lives. These four areas will enrich your walk with the Lord and shape our church into a more fruitful discipleship center for Kingdom influence and impact.
1. Praying: The Authentic and Deep Life of Piety. God-hungry saints who are nursed, disciplined, and consumed in a conversation of love, trust, and hope carry that conversation with them into every dimension of their lives. Praying, conversing, listening, desperate to-hear-from-heaven people only have one goal in mind: loving God purely and joining Him in His work every day.

2. Caring: The Authentic and Deep Life of Relationships. Effective lay people are ones who know how to relate well to others and live open, transparent, and vulnerable lives in a committed community. Life-engaging, Life-changing disciples are ones who see people as the canvas of their faith; Celebrating, loving, embracing, forgiving, listening to, crying with, asking hard questions, confronting in love, receiving their gifts, growing from their graces, and standing alongside in community. Too many churches are places of consumable religious information and events/experiences where people come and leave as polite strangers. We do not know one another deeply enough to affect the highest level of spiritual transformation.

3. Serving: The Authentic and Deep Life of Ministry. Deployment of self for the service of Christ, Church, Kingdom, and World is to become “like Jesus.” Embracing our own unique callings and heaven’s notion of our “priesthood” as mattering significantly to God validates His planned contribution through our lives. Believing we have full access to the Holy Spirit through giftings, presence, and power means we are set up to become delivery agents for Heaven. Sitting, watching, and learning without serving is like signing onto a team, and then sitting in the stands.

4. Sharing: The Authentic and Deep Life of Witnessing. Sheep are supposed to beget sheep. Lay people don’t like and don’t do evangelism or faith sharing in almost any form – especially in a post-Christian culture. Simple invitations to church gatherings or events are rare as well. Most lay people are sidelined by fear; they lack a clear biblical narrative of truth and grace (story); are unsure and insecure in a disinterested and/or hostile culture; don’t know their neighbors or colleagues well enough to move into those deeper conversations; and are not theologically/spiritually burdened by the sense that many do not know/love/trust/follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Oh, to have lay people who excitedly, winsomely, joyfully, regularly share their love for Jesus and the reason for the hope that possess their hearts and lives (1 Peter 3:15). 
Followers of Jesus who are grounded in these four foundational and fundamental dimensions of discipleship will live as a powerful force in their congregations and their communities. They will become replicating voices for the pastors, calling the congregation to do faith in this manner. Lay people don’t need more Bible archeology and history, they need more community engagement and relational love. This is the very best gift you could give to your new pastor!
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation”
Mark 16:15
Pastor David 😊

1 Comment

David G. Lura - June 20th, 2024 at 6:56pm

DP, There you go again . . . paving the way . . . I tip my hat . . . once again . . . to your gracious transitioning!

nBlessings, brother . . . and . . . "Fair Winds and Following Seas" to you and Cara on your voyage south. dgl







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