Re-dreaming Our Dreams
Our leadership team has been meeting in order to evaluate where we are in our process. We have looked at three main goals that we established when we began our mission. First, reclaim the disenfranchised Baptists and give them a place to call home. Second, create an income stream for moderate Baptist missions and ministries. And third, reach the younger people of whom only about ten percent are active in churches. There is a strong opinion that we need to revisit our first goal of reclaiming disenfranchised Baptists. Our goal is to clarify our identity, stir the hearts of true Baptists to join us and draw to us those who hunger to study the teachings of Jesus. Some research is finding that the younger people are saying "No" to the established Church and yet are keenly interested in Jesus. With our emphasis on studying the teachings of Jesus, this will hopefully draw some young people who really do want to discover for themselves what Jesus taught.
I have started reading Let's Start With Jesus by Dennis Kinlaw, Ph.D. I got to know Dr. Kinlaw at a conference several years ago. I knew about him. I knew that he had been president of Asbury College in 1968 when it experienced an 85 hour visitation of the Holy Spirit during one of their worship events in chapel. This experience, in essence, kicked off "The Jesus Movement." I was intrigued by his scholarship, because he studied under Dr. Bruce Metzger at Princeton. Moreover, Dr. Kinlaw was a deeply spiritual man. He was the ideal blend of scholarship and spirituality. We were prayer partners for a brief period before his health caused him to drastically reduce his schedule. His prayers moved me deeply. I learned from him that church work is singular. That is, it is all about drawing people to the feet of Jesus. The churches that draw others to Jesus are the churches who are growing disciples; and disciples feel compelled to tell others the beautiful story of Jesus Christ. And, others listen to them, because they see the change in them. In this way, the salvation story is spread effectively. In his book, Let's Start With Jesus, Dr. Kinlaw encourages the reader to study the mystery of the Gospel afresh with the understanding that God wants an intimate relationship with us to the same degree that there is communion between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Dr. Kinlaw puts it this way:
"My problem was not to seek something beyond the biblical text. It was to open myself as full as possible to all that is buried within it. Slowly I began to realize how partially I understood the mystery of the gospel that has been given to us in Scripture and in Christ.” (p. 12)
So, it will be with this objective that we will refocus on our first goal: to draw others afresh to the feet of Jesus. My prayer is that people's hearts with be rekindled with a fresh love for Christ and renew their commitment to follow Him.