We are half-way through the Training Center at Harvest Bible Fellowship. It is hard to believe how quickly things are moving. We are nine weeks into the training program but in some ways it feels like only a couple of weeks. Things have moved very quickly and our time has been very full.
Harvest closes every worship service by saying, “You are loved.” But we’ve found that it isn’t just a theologically good way to close a service (what are you supposed to say?) or something that they aspire toward. It truly is something that is practiced. We’ve felt so much love from everyone from the leadership of Harvest Bible Fellowship, the pastors and staff of the church, and the congregants. They truly love one another. This love for one another flows from their love for God.
Harvest builds their ministry on four pillars which are…
- Unapologetic Preaching
- Unashamed Adoration
- Unceasing Prayer
- Unafraid Witness
Each of these pillars are all about experiencing the manifest presence of God. We believe that as we practice these four things we will experience God’s presence and power because he has promised to be present in these things. And as we go forward to plant our church we will practice these four things in faith that God will show up and do what he promised to do, build his church. This is really his work, we are just his hopeful instruments.
I’d like to walk through each of the four pillars to explain them further. First I’ll take Unapologetic Preaching.
Paul wrote the young church planter Timothy and told him, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Tim 4:2, ESV). In the previous chapter he gives Timothy an extremely important statement on the power of the word: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17, ESV).
So what is the result when God’s word is boldly preached into the church? Transformation. Repentance. Lives are changed. God’s word is the most powerful tool in the toolbox of the pastor. It is the most relevant thing to anyone’s life. So it should not surprise us that Paul exhorts Timothy to preach and to be ready to do it at the normal time and as opportunities present themselves.
The point is that God shows up when we preach God’s word. Not good ideas, human tradition, my wisdom, or anything else that might be just good. God’s word is God’s truth and when preached I believe that God shows up in a special way. Preachers call this expository preaching and it has three components:
- It clearly comes from the Bible. The preacher didn’t make it up.
- It clearly explains what the Bible is saying. We hope for the listeners to grow in their love of the Bible. It isn’t mysterious sourcebook for the highly educated only. Any Holy Spirit indwelled believer can feed from it.
- It leads to the change that God intends for it to effect.
Preach the word, Timothy, it will transform lives!
My prayer is that we can start a new church that will bolding preach God’s word to transform lives to the glory of God. Here at the training center we’ve been working a lot on improving the art and science of preaching. I’ve got a lot still to learn so please pray that I can continue to learn and develop in this area.