One of my favorite spiritual retreat places is the Cove in Asheville, North Carolina. The Cove is a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Dr. Graham understands the need for pastors and church leaders to pull away and spend intimate time with the Lord and His Word!
Angie and I were blessed to spend time recently at the Cove with ten members of our church family. We love hanging out with you! The theme of the conference focused on the church from the book of Acts. Pastor Bob Russell, a retired pastor from Kentucky, led the Bible study sessions. I’ve benefitted from Pastor Bob’s ministry and leadership over the years. One morning, I invited Bob to join our group after breakfast, allowing us to ask him a number of questions about church life. He graciously agreed and served our group well.
I want to share with you a few biblical and practical insights from the seminar.
- A New Testament church consists of people who share a common belief in the atoning death and bodily resurrection of Jesus.
- A New Testament church is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
- A New Testament church’s primary purpose is to bear witness to the gospel of Christ.
- A New Testament church’s ultimate hope is the return of Jesus Christ to earth.
- A New Testament church is unified in expectant prayer.
- A New Testament church remains faithful to Christ, even when leaders disappoint.
- A New Testament church respects leadership decisions in issues not covered in Scripture.
- New Testament preaching is anointed by the Holy Spirit and communicates in the language of the people (needs to be simple and clear).
- New Testament preaching answers questions people are asking, is based on Scripture, is a logical proclamation of the absolute truths of the gospel, and is intentionally evangelistic.
- New Testament fellowship was based on a common commitment to Christ and was evidenced by mutual sharing.
- Persecution of the church is now the norm, expect it; the church is your refuge, you be loyal to it; and Jesus Christ is the Head of the church, be bold in exalting Him.
Gospel-centered churches are under attack. However, may you and I take comfort in Jesus’ bold proclamation! In Mt. 16:18, He said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Church family, thank you for encouraging and loving your pastoral staff, your support staff, and me. We’re blessed and thankful to serve Jesus with you!
Preparing His Bride,