Greg Gilbert over at 9marks.org posted a transcript of a discussion between Don Carson, John Piper, and Tim Keller on priority of sharing the Gospel in our compassion ministries. I have become strongly convicted that followers of Christ must care for the poor and helpless as an expression of our love for God and people. In the midst of these ministries, however, there is a subtle temptation to serve the needy in order to improve their life in a temporary way without addressing their eternal destination and need for salvation.
Carson, Piper, and Keller stress the priority of the Gospel and it’s role in motivating us to help those in need. We must never help someone with the shortsighted goal of improving their life. We must be driven by the destination of their eternal souls and their great need to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Take a look at Gilbert’s transcription of the discussion here and let me know what you think. You can follow a link to the original audio after the jump.
Source: Church Matters: The 9Marks Blog
Church planting has been the most wonderful and yet challenging experience for me. My faith has been stretched to its limits and my dependence on God has grown immeasurably. I have seen God move in the lives of men, women, boys and girls. I have seen social and racial barriers shattered as people of different backgrounds worship the one true God. I have seen the poor among us and watched God stir up a deep compassion for them among the people of our church. I have seen people cross the line of faith and follow Jesus.
And yet, there is an ever gnawing sense of discouragement that we are not “successful”. This lie from Satan has caused many church planters to turn from their calling and throw in the towel. At Mountain Valley, we have not seen “success” as determined by many inside and outside the church. We have not grown at an exponential rate. We are not moving into a building anytime soon. Our budget has been shrinking rather than growing. We are sowing in difficult soil. But I am convinced that I have been called to this ministry in this community for the purpose of lifting the name of Jesus so that all men may be drawn to Him.
I appreciate the words of Edward Leach that were written in June 1869 edition of The Sword and the Trowel – a magazine edited by Charles Spurgeon during his 19th century ministry in London:
We honor the men who, subsisting on scanty and humble fare, battling with adversity, and living down prejudice, are seeking to the best of their ability to plant new churches in apparently unhopeful districts. With the accent of conviction on their lips, the truth of God in their hearts, and undying perseverance leading them on, they must succeed in breaking the dreary monotony of a sinful village life. Their preaching may not please the highly cultured; their methods of working may not suit this decorous age; their unambitious lives may fall flat upon the feverish world; but their faithfulness to God, and persistency in his service, shall be rewarded with the divine “Well done, good and faithful.” We know no greater heroes than these sufferers of contumely and hatred, who so gloriously bear up and strike dismay into the enemy’s camp. Their imperfections are not worthy to be weighed with their virtues. If England is to be evangelized, it must be by such men. Fit them, train them to as great a degree of perfection as mortal man can bear–no standard is too high for God’s ministers but let not culture destroy Christian simplicity (it does not in the truly great); let not learning quench earnestness and enthusiasm; let not supercilious affectation snub them, or selfishness despise them.
Though we may “fall flat upon the feverish world”, we must remain faithful to God and persistent in our service. I’m honored to serve with men of God called to plant churches that reach a lost and dying world. Please pray for those called to this vital mission and ask God how you might help a church planter today.
Source: Founders Ministries Blog