With What to Lead?

I have been thinking about a helpful thing Kevin de Young wrote a few days ago and popped back into my mind today. He was writing about the particular problems of ministering the gospel in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a region steeped in a history of Reformed theology, apparently. It was an interesting read though there is little to comment on regarding the cultural setting. We have no such history here in the West Midlands. However, his final comment struck a chord with me:

If you lead with the confessions, you will not get many converts. But if you lead with God’s glory, with Christ and his cross, with the power of the Word of God, then you’ll bring people into the church where they can eventually rest in our wonderful creeds and catechism.

Now, I love our own Confession (Westminster, in case you are wondering). I do want people to know it and to embrace it. But I think I know enough now, to whole heartedly agree with Kevin on this. I could preach doctrinally in a manner like the Dutch with their evening, catechetical preaching. Some have suggested it to me. I have even scoped out a tentative plan in the past. However – and this may be unfounded, I admit –  my great fear has been that we would lose something, maybe several things. The things that Kevin mentions.

Most of all, I want people to be gripped by the glory of God, the Cross, Christ and to hear his word. We get all that from opening up Scripture. That’s why I favour consecutive preaching through books of the Bible. It is there we see God at work, we see his glory, we are led to Christ and his cross. We glory in all of it – all the big things and all the wee details.

That’s what I want to see in our people at SPC.

And yes, then people will see how wonderful the summary confessional documents are too.

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With What to Lead?

Gratitude

I could just tweet this link, but I think slightly more than 140 characters is needed to comment on William Vandoodewaard’s article, Gratitude for Grace in Ministry. Vandoodewaard concludes:

Pursuing a life marked by the biblical paradigm of gratitude for marks of grace is crucial for ministry.  Our souls have to overflow spiritual gratitude for the grace of God to us and others if we are going to reach people.  Only an overflowing heart can make our life communication passionate and alive to others.  A church that overflows with spiritual gratitude will shine.  There will be an evident, tangible, distinct sweetness.

Earlier in the article he notes (with the help of Al Mohler’s comments) how many ministers in the US give up on a congregation after three years. The reason is simply that sin in the congregation becomes more evident and the man realises that he is powerless to do anything about it. One becomes spiritually jaded. I guess the grass begins to look greener in other pastures.

I am in my fourth year at Solihull. Now, I am not looking to go anywhere – no way! But I recognise the problem of how a jaded, critical spirit can set in. Vandoodewaard’s exhortation is timely: to look for signs of grace, to be thankful for them and grow in sweet communion with the Lord.

Gratitude