Update from the Executive Director
In Luke 10:2, Jesus tells his followers: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields” (NLT). Jesus didn’t say, “Pray for a harvest.” He didn’t pray “for people to be open to the gospel.” He prayed for workers.
Why did Jesus tell his disciples to pray for workers?
God, in his wisdom, decided the primary way he would reveal himself to this world was through the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ through Christ followers. “That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!’” (Romans 10:15, NLT). Even though creation itself declares the glory and truth of God, the Lord chose fallible human beings as the key messengers of his grace, truth and love. In order for us to be “beautiful messengers,” we must be willing to be sent, to be the “tellers” of the gospel to a world in desperate need of the good news of Jesus Christ.
Our Gathering 2014 theme is Multiplying for Mission. Mission is exciting; it’s encouraging to hear stories of multiplication of God’s work in Canada, and we have lots to celebrate.
But multiplication isn’t a program; it’s not a grand plan to be executed. Multiplication in the kingdom of God occurs as God’s people respond to the promptings of the Spirit to give their lives fully to him – daily, repeatedly, sacrificially and counterculturally.
Surrender and intimacy
A few years after I became a Christ follower, I joined thousands of students and young adults at Urbana ’84. We filled the University of Illinois arena, anticipating a great evening of worship followed by a Billy Graham sermon.
“Will you give your life to Christ and his purposes?” Graham asked. “Will you follow Jesus no matter where he calls? Will you give everything to him?” I joined thousands that evening, as we stood to give our hearts and minds to the King and give our lives for his purposes. That night changed everything for me. I remember saying, “Any country, any mission, anything you want, Jesus – I’m all in!”
It was a grand moment, with the energy of thousands of lives focused on Jesus and following him…. And then we all went home to our lives of discipleship without the adrenaline of the crowd. I followed Jesus as best as I understood the Spirit’s leading in my life, but I confess there were many moments when my commitment faltered, when I was distracted, became complacent or found guilt and obligation as my motivators.
But it’s not about guilt. The mission to multiply is rooted in a deep, intimate, surrendered life with Jesus. All mission grows out of our passionate personal and corporate life with Christ – surrendered lives living in obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit and walking in the power of God.
Gathering 2014 is about business, reporting, making decisions and processing issues. But more than that, Gathering 2014 is about coming together to worship our Saviour and Lord. It’s about wholeheartedly giving ourselves to his purposes.
Jesus did only what his Father told him to do. He also said if we love him, we would obey him. Obedience begins with an intimate relationship with Jesus. As that relationship grows, Christ’s Word and Spirit reveal to us what we’re to obey, leading to action.
We don’t serve to please people; we serve in response to Jesus’ work on the cross on our behalf for the glory of God. We serve because we are citizens of a greater kingdom. We serve in the power of the Holy Spirit. We serve because Jesus calls us to.
This invitation to Gathering is more than an invitation to “do the business of the conference.” It is an invitation to seek the face of God for our congregations and our country. It’s an invitation to process God’s call on us through the budgets and plans he has led us to. It’s an invitation to celebrate and thank God for his work among us over the past two years. It’s an invitation to come together as a family of churches to once again give ourselves completely to Christ and
You’re invited to experience God in community at Gathering 2014 in Vancouver, June 11–14.