Paul's Ambition, Our Vision
This past Sunday, we kicked off the New Year by looking at a unique passage in the book of Romans where Paul lays out his ambition and desire for his life and ministry. In Romans 15:14-21, Paul speaks of the grace given to him by God to be a minister of the gospel in a priestly service that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. He writes that Christ was accomplishing this work through him to bring the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed. His desire is to preach Christ where he has not been named before. Paul described his ministry as a priestly, purposeful, and pioneer ministry.
These three descriptions of Paul’s ministry help refocus us on our mission this New Year. Our mission statement is: “Providence Church exists to glorify God by making disciples through the gospel, in community, and on mission.” We too will see Christ accomplish this through us as we keep in mind our priestly, purposeful, and pioneer calling.
1) Priestly – The Bible calls us a royal priesthood. Priests in the Old Testament were mediators between God and his people. Today, Christ is the only mediator between God and man; however, as his followers we are called his ambassadors and entrusted with the Gospel to reach out to those who need to be reconciled with him. Paul calls his converts an offering that is acceptable and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Our witness is actually an act of worship. As the Lord draws people to faith through our witness, they become our thanks offering to God for what he has done for us in Christ.
2) Purposeful – Paul had a clear purpose for his ministry – to bring the Gentiles to a position of being accepted by God and to bring them to obedience. His desire was to see them come to faith, resulting in their following Christ in obedience. This is our goal at Providence. Our desire is to see our body of believers be used in this community to draw people to a saving knowledge of Christ and to see them submit their lives to him as Lord. Our aim is not to just make converts but disciples. Like Paul, we do this through word and deed.
3) Pioneer – Paul had a unique calling to pioneer work – to proclaim the gospel in places where Jesus had not been named before. At Providence, our dream is to see the Lord use our church to reach the unchurched – those who have no knowledge of Christ. We do not want our growth to be merely in transfer growth (those who come to our fellowship from other churches) but also transformational growth (those who come from darkness to light). Paul saw the Gospel spread in dark places as he planted churches and equipped people to carry on the work as he moved on to the next city. He understood that the only way to reach the unreached is for many disciples being equipped to make disciples. Similarly, the only way we will see an exponential impact in Collin County and beyond is if we understand this work is to be carried out by every one of our believers.
On Sunday, we showed a map of a church planting movement that swept across the country of India. One man named Laku planted churches and equipped people in those churches to make other disciples and plant more churches. The result was 2,465 house churches were planted, representing 17 generations of churches. These churches are estimated to reach nearly 600,000 people with the gospel on a quarterly basis. Look below at a map of this church planting movement. Our prayer is that God would empower and equip each of our members to make disciples who make disciples. As we all engage in this mission, our dream is to see this kind of movement sweep across our community. May Christ’s name spread through our region bringing life to many who are walking in darkness!