Paul tells us in Colossians 2:1-2, “For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ.”
Paul describes his commitment to the believers in Colossae as a great struggle. What was the goal of his struggle or labor? It was that the Colossian believers would know Jesus deeper. In Colossians 1:28-29 he says the same thing: his desire is that every man, woman, boy or girl would be mature or complete in Jesus.
If you’re a pastor, what is the aim of your ministry? Do you labor and struggle for the people God has placed under your care (Acts 20:26-28)? Do you really desire that these people come to a deeper knowledge of Jesus and that they learn how to live out their identity in Him? How are you doing this? What is the pathway of discipleship (i.e. growing believers to become more like Jesus)? Are you seeing more and more followers of Christ discipling and equipping others for the work of ministry (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 4:12-13)? Are you being fruitful or unfruitful? Are you satisfied with where you are, with where the people in your church are?
I’m spending the next several weeks thinking hard about the church where I serve as a pastor and asking the questions: What is the goal of my labor? What do I want people to believe and do and what tools, pathways are we utilizing to do this? Are they effective? How do you measure effectiveness? Do we need to tweak anything? Add anything? Discard anything? What does a maturing, growing disciple of Jesus look like?
I do know that God has put a desire in my heart to shepherd Foothills Church. I also know that I/we have room to improve in how we’re doing this.