Holy Week Update

Dear Church family,

Grace and peace. Well, whoever declared that responding to the Coronavirus would be a fluid and evolutionary experience has never spoken anything more true or accurate. There are so many changing dynamics. By the way, I know “this present distress” is surfacing many questions. Please feel free to send those questions to  AskthePastor@briarwood.org and we will attempt to answer them on either the Sunday evening 6:00 pm program (Temporarily replacing the Sunday night service) “Conversations on this Present Distress with Harry and Bruce” or I will attempt to answer them on the 10 minute daily podcast “Today in Perspective.”

I know one of your questions. What about the special week in the life and ministry of Briarwood for worship, fellowship and outreach – Holy Week? We are going to maintain our Holy Week schedule in conformity to governmental guidelines and make it available through streaming. By the time you receive this letter you will have either already or will soon receive this week’s Briarwood Weekly by mail or email. In it you will find the Worship Guides for Palm Sunday and also Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Please save them or print them out for preparation and participation.

Now something very important. By Sessional direction the Communion element of Maundy Thursday is being postponed for two reasons. First, to maintain compliance with the governmental guidelines for safety purposes. Second is theological. Suffice it to say the Biblical and faithful administration of the Lord’s Supper cannot be done by “virtual communion” or “private administration.” The Scriptures are abundantly and repetitively clear that the sacraments of the Church especially the Lord’s Supper are to be observed, implemented and celebrated “when you come together” for a Divine service of gathered worship. Having said that, this service will focus on the events of Holy Week leading up to Maundy Thursday. In addition, we will display the Biblical Passover Supper with explanation of how the Lord fulfilled this last Passover and established the first Lord’s Supper in anticipation of the Lamb’s Supper in Revelation 19. Therefore, this service will be helpful for our preparation as we anticipate the celebrating the Lord’s Supper when we are again able to “come together” for gathered worship with one another.

The Worship Guides for the Easter Sunrise Service and the Lord’s Day Resurrection Celebration Services of Divine Worship at 8:00 and 10:55 am through live streaming will arrive at your home in this week’s Briarwood Weekly. We are exploring opportunities to make this a special season of celebration. Praise the Lord for the resurrection of our Savior affirming His victory over all of His and our enemies “to save us from our sins” by His atoning death and resurrection.

Thank you for your patience and assistance as we continue to make every effort to shepherd all of the flock. If there is any need we are not yet aware of or if you have a desire to contact us, please do not hesitate to call or email. The Reception Desk continues to be open during normal hours. Our Church phone number is 205.776.5200.

Thank you for your prayers, perseverance and patience manifested through the many ways you are reaching out to one another and our surrounding community. I recently received two full pages outlining some of the things being done by so many of you which obviously I cannot list in this Pastoral letter. But please know they are enrolled in the annals of Praise to our great God as testimony to your love for Him, His people and the lost. To quote the apostle Paul “Your labor of love, steadfastness of hope and work of faith is not in vain”. 

Serving together under the Sovereign hand of God’s Providence,
Pastor Reeder

Pastoral Letter in This Present Distress #3 – Five Observations

Grace and peace. Well…praise the Lord this Pastoral Letter doesn’t contain any new adjustments to our Interim Worship/Ministry Plan which brings me to a moment of expressing to all of you my deep appreciation both personally and pastorally. Your thoughtful encouragement, intercessory prayers, proactive shepherding ministry, contacts with one another, full participation in the live-streaming of our Lord’s Day Worship services, and most of all your patience, perseverance and trust in the Lord has been a stellar witness to your love to Christ, the Gospel and His Church. In a word, you have embodied the Life Takeaways from our first sermon in the Interim sermon series—Crisis and the Christian in Biblical Perspective by embracing the call to “trust God but not tempt God, say yes to prudence but no to panic and live faithfully and thus fearlessly for Christ.” Now, allow me to pastorally share with you five important Pastoral Ministry Observations:

FIVE MINISTRY OBSERVATIONS

1. We will continue to send the Lord’s Day worship folder for preparation and participation. But beginning this week we will do so through The Briarwood Weekly which many of you receive by mail and some of you by email. If you receive it by email, may I encourage you to print it out so that you and your family can use it for preparation and participation this Lord’s Day.

2. If you are having difficulty or trouble navigating the various technological means which we are using to enhance our ability to participate in Worship, Ministry, Shepherding and Stewardship/Giving during this “present distress” please contact us and we will assist you.

3. If you are facing any challenges or needs, or if you have not yet been contacted by one of your Congregational Community Shepherds, please let us know—do not hesitate.

4. Please seize this moment to re-calibrate and refresh your life with Biblical priorities. This is a wonderful opportunity to reestablish your daily quiet time with the Lord in His Word and prayer, family worship, family projects and activities, reading, as well as giving appropriate attention to your physical health regimen.

5. Please engage in intercessory prayer for the Lord to use this “present distress” in His good Providence not only for personal renewal, but also revival in our Lord’s Church as we press on with anticipation of worship renewal, intimate fellowship and ministry with one another. May the Spirit of God using the Word of God be at work in us to ignite a glorious Gospel Awakening.

While being grateful for the technological remedies that we are using in this “present distress” to press on in worship, ministry and shepherding, I confess to looking forward with great anticipation to the first Lord’s Day we are able to fully gather for Divine worship to the Glory of God. It will be like a reunion…it will be glorious! In the meantime, please know that the 10 who gather on the Lord’s Day in our sanctuary to embrace all of the Biblical elements of Divine Worship are representing you and reaching out to you through the live streaming (Facebook, Roku, our Briarwood website, AppleTV, etc.) so that to some degree we can praise the Lord together. We are aware that even though we are separated physically we are united in the Spirit of God. Furthermore, we also know our God is present and at work within each one of us. So let us “live sensibly, righteously and Godly in this present age” by the Grace of God and for the Glory of God through Christ our Lord.

For Christ, The Gospel, His Church and A Great Awakening,
Pastor Reeder

A PASTORAL LETTER ON BRIARWOOD’S INTERIM WORSHIP/MINISTRY PLAN

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As many of you know, this past week our State and County Health Directors instructed us to limit public gatherings to no more than 500. Therefore, we devised an Interim Worship/Ministry Plan to conform to those directives while maintaining accessibility to Lord’s Day gathered worship. Those who are most vulnerable to the Coronavirus such as the elderly, health impaired and any others who needed to be careful were and still are encouraged to access the worship services by our Website and Facebook live streaming sites. 

Not surprisingly, this past Monday we were instructed that the 500 number had been reduced to 50. We began to consider a new Interim Plan. While engaged in devising that plan we were informed that the number had been reduced by our President and the CDC to 10. That meant the issue needed to be addressed by the Briarwood Session to prayerfully provide us with wisdom and direction.

Having received that direction from the Session we have now developed the new Interim Worship/Ministry Plan which accommodates the new governmental guidelines and yet maintains our God-given mission to “equip Christians to worship God to reach Birmingham to reach the world for Christ.” That plan has been sent to all of our members which you have now received.

Let me share with you some Pastoral perspectives on the challenges and opportunities that will be produced in this “present distress.” I probably need to begin with a confession. As I received these new government guidelines I began to grieve (as did our Session) over the loss of unhindered Lord’s Day gathered worship. (I certainly don’t question the wisdom of these guidelines nor our need to embrace them.) But soon this grieving process gave way to an overwhelming desire to meet this challenge with confidence in the Lord and with an anticipation of what opportunities the Lord will create for us in this present situation. The reality is, we have not ceased Lord’s Day gathered worship. We are simply reduced to a gathered worship service of 10 people. We will make this service available through streaming via our Website, Facebook and other venues including WLJR.

Here is the way I see it. On some Lord’s Days we have had overflow crowds and we have sent people to the Chapel to participate in worship via the large screen technology because of space limitations. In these days we have a different limitation and therefore we can only accommodate 10 people so we will allow others (our overflow) to participate in the context of their homes via screen technology while anticipating that glorious Lord’s Day when we can again assemble as a church family with friends and guests for the glory and majesty of Divine Worship—all together.

Please know that we are also going to produce and send resources to help you as a family prepare for worship as well as your own worship folder which will be delivered to you by email, direct mail and Website.

Pastor, what about Sunday evening worship? Our Session has approved a Sunday evening offering called “Conversations on this Present Distress with Harry & Bruce.” It will be about 20 to 30 minutes long. Bruce and I will respond to the questions that you send to us through the following email: askthepastor@briarwood.org.

Other ministry resources will be sent to you by various discipleship ministries including our Children and Youth. Don’t forget that our daily podcast, Today in Perspective, a ten-minute program Monday through Friday looking at issues from a Biblical world and life view with Gospel solutions continues. Also, our five-minute daily devotional podcast Fresh Bread would also be helpful. You can access both with the Briarwood App and from our Website.

In addition, we are going to upscale our Shepherding Ministry for obvious reasons. To maintain social distancing guidelines and avoid infecting anyone this will be done by phone and electronic communication. Do know that at any time you have a need for a personal pastoral contact selected pastors will be available so do not hesitate to call upon us. We are also deeply concerned that in this time of isolation our older members may have special challenges. Our Deacons along with our younger Congregational Communities have already created plans to respond to such situations. But we do have to be made aware of the needs through our interaction with each other. So, please, as a church family, stay in contact as we pray for one another, our community and our Nation.

Let me share another pastoral perspective. Many of us who are challenged with an overly busy life now do not have an overly busy life. So instead of filling the newly created spaces with binge TV or isolating computer games, why not read a book as a family—develop our personal quiet time—family worship—go to the park, the woods or open spaces for a family walk. In other words, take advantage of these days to recalibrate, refresh and renew by putting into the empty spaces what is really important…those habits of the heart—God’s Word and prayer and family relationships that need time and attention.

Finally, my brothers and sisters, as we established last Lord’s Day, live with a “Biblical Perspective on Crisis as a Christian”—“sensibly, righteously and Godly in this present age.” Last week’s sermon is available and will be followed up in our topical expository series by examining case studies of how believers have responded to crisis and the Biblical lessons we need to embrace. This week our study will be on Joseph and his response to personal, family, national and global crisis (Gen 50:22-27).

 So, in this present distress, we trust God but we do not tempt God; we obey faithfully and therefore fearlessly; we live with prudence and not with panic. All of this allows us “to love God” and “love our neighbor.” I am fully convinced that these days will provide multiple opportunities for us to prayerfully embrace shepherding, evangelism and discipleship by the power of the Spirit of God, led by the Word of God, all to the Glory of God.

 Our God is sovereign and His Providences are at work in multiple ways and most of all we can be assured of His Divine Promise…

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” Rom 8:28

For Christ, His Cross and His Crown,

Harry L. Reeder III
Pastor/Teacher

Matt 6:33 P.S. Please take a moment to view the March 19 “Ask the Pastor.” It’s a little long but I think it will be helpful to you and others.

Coronavirus: A Pastoral Letter

Dear Church Family,

 Grace and Peace. I hope that you have already read the communication from the Briarwood Leadership concerning our interim and modified Worship and Ministry schedule. This schedule provides an opportunity for us to enjoy the Worship of God and the means of grace with wisdom and prudence as we engage in the various elements of Worship. As we respond appropriately to this World Health Organization declared pandemic (which means the disease is multinational in its scope) we have been presented with an opportunity to manifest our Biblical theology in how we trust the Lord, love our neighbor, and seize the moment to further the Great Commission. Allow me to share a few thoughts as to how we can embrace ministry opportunities that will surface in the coming days from a Pastoral perspective.

First, I want to thank our Elders, Deacons and Pastoral Staff for their prayer-saturated leadership wisdom as together we attempt to address the Coronavirus pandemic with not only wisdom but also a clear Gospel witness which is and will be manifested in how we minister to our families, to one another and to our community. Do take the time to fully digest the interim Worship/Ministry plan that has been sent to our church family and friends. This plan allows us to properly respond to the recommendations of our County and State Health Department, honor the Lord’s Day, minister to God’s gathered people and visitors with the means of grace- God’s Word, prayer and praise. This plan also enables us to continue fulfilling our God-given mission—

For God’s Glory Briarwood is committed to equipping Christians to worship God to reach Birmingham to reach the world for Christ.”

This season of challenge is a significant opportunity for us to encourage, equip, show mercy and love as well as proclaim and share the Gospel of saving grace in Christ. We can model to the world God’s divine wisdom whereby we address our concerns yet not give way to fear. With confidence in the Providence of a sovereign God, we can live “sensibly, righteously and Godly in this present age.”

Second, I would like to share with you a few Pastoral thoughts as to how our “present situation” provides to us specific ministry opportunities to fulfill both the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.

       Intercessory Prayer– May I strongly urge each of us to individually and as families renew our commitment to intercessory prayer for God’s Providence to bring this virus to an end, help us act with wisdom, minister to the needy, be delivered from fear while taking advantage of the inevitable opportunities to present the Gospel of saving grace as we live in a manner which manifests our trust in the sovereign God of grace and glory.

       Faithful– Live a faith informed fearless life while wisely taking precautions informed by prudence and Divine wisdom while seeking to model a life in Christ to the world and our covenant children found not only in our homes but throughout our church family who will be learning from us by watching us.

       Compassion – History is replete with national and social upheavals produced by plagues, wars and disasters. History also records how Christians led by pastors do not abandon the afflicted in such moments. But they/we seize these moments to minister with the grace of the Lord Jesus, a true sacrificial love that manifests the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus while still being prudent in their lifestyle decisions. The “Company of Pastors” led by John Calvin in Geneva records how the Pastors and the Christians responded to the needs of others with Gospel words and deeds throughout the devastating plagues of the 16th century which actually amplified the Reformation. In our own country the famous African American Pastor Rev. Richard Allen, the pastor of the first (now famous) “Mother Emmanuel Church” in Philadelphia led his parishioners to minister to the victims of the yellow fever plague while many exited the city. They ministered to the afflicted with the love of Christ. Let’s be prepared to also seize such moments in these days to manifest a Christ- confident sacrificial love to others.

       Evangelism – We are already hearing of many coming to Christ in areas that are being significantly affected such as in Iran, China and Northern Italy. While I pray God spares us from any devastating effects in our community, I do pray that this situation will be met by believers who bring not only the testimony of Gospel deeds in love but Gospel words whereby men and women may be saved. It is obvious in history that in moments of crisis God makes ready the hearts of men and women as well as boys and girls to receive the Gospel even as the idols of the age are being destroyed.

Thank you for being patient with the length of this Pastoral letter, but honestly there is so much more I would like to share. Perhaps we will be able to do so these coming weeks in our interim sermon schedule. If you are health compromised or vulnerable please remember you can access the services by live streaming by our website or the Briarwood Facebook page.

 I am going to leave off the regular schedule of the AM Sermons—“Lifestyle Stewardship in Biblical perspective” and the PM Sermons “Eternity in Biblical Perspective.” We will resume those sermons when we return to our normal schedule. Please know during this time our Pastoral staff as well as the staff leadership is ready and willing to respond to any needs in your life which may occur in the context of this challenging season. Finally, do know that Cindy and I are as available as you need us to be.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good; to those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

With great admiration and appreciation in Christ,

Pastor Harry

The Briarwood Statement on Biblical Ministry to Those Who Struggle with Homosexuality

“FOR WE DO NOT HAVE A HIGH PRIEST WHO IS UNABLE TO SYMPATHIZE WITH OUR WEAKNESSES, BUT ONE WHO IN EVERY RESPECT HAS BEEN TEMPTED AS WE ARE, YET WITHOUT SIN. LET US THEN WITH CONFIDENCE DRAW NEAR TO THE THRONE OF GRACE, THAT WE MAY RECEIVE MERCY AND FIND GRACE TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED.”

HEBREWS 4:15-16

A THEOLOGICAL AND PASTORAL STATEMENT ON HOMOSEXUALITY

Introduction by Dr. Harry L. Reeder III

The Briarwood Statement (As unanimously approved by the Session of Briarwood Presbyterian Church at its stated meeting on June 18, 2019)

A PASTORAL NOTE

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Grace and peace. The Briarwood Statement is a prayerfully developed distillation of biblical truth focused upon equipping the Lord’s people to “speak the truth in love,” specifically and effectively to those who are in the seemingly unbreakable bondage of homosexuality and experiencing its inevitable consequences of shame, brokenness and hopelessness.

The Briarwood Statement was produced through a patient and deliberative process which was saturated with prayer and dialogue under the oversight of the Briarwood Session and then they unanimously adopted it. The objective was in light of the present theological confusion and missed ministry opportunities to provide a discipleship tool whereby the Lord’s people would be equipped and enabled to “contend for the faith” without being contentious and “defend the faith” without being defensive. The desired outcome being a thoughtful and loving communication of the Gospel to those yet ensnared by this sin’s guilt and power, and also to believers who may be dealing with the entangling remnant of the sin of homosexuality from which Christ has redeemed them—some of whom, praise the Lord, are on this specific journey of grace within our own fellowship at Briarwood.

We serve Christ together with a God-given Mission to evangelize everyone, everywhere, every day, in everyplace with the Gospel of grace in Christ and then disciple them patiently and persistently within the Body of Christ as they grow in the grace and knowledge of the Gospel of Christ. This Gospel first communicates the “bad news,” which informs us that we are sinners in need of salvation and we cannot save ourselves. Then the greatest words of the Bible… BUT GOD! The Good News is the God of Glory and Grace, who takes us right where we are by the Holy Spirit through Christ to the glory of the Father, promises to never leave us where we are. What is impossible with man is not only possible with God, but has been secured through Christ and by His Spirit.

Therefore, together with theological clarity and ministry compassion, let us indiscriminately bring the Gospel to the lost and to each other so that those who hear by the power of the Spirit might leave the futility of trying to psychologically, cosmetically, and culturally remove the shame of their sin, including homosexuality, and come to Christ, who is the Friend of sinners but who is no Friend to sin, and who can save you from any and all of your sins— homosexuality being no exception. Praise God, His Grace in Christ is greater than all of our sins and any one of our sins. The same answer for any sin is found from the same Savior of sinners.

For Christ, the Gospel and His Church,

Harry L. Reeder, III

THE BRIARWOOD STATEMENT

The Briarwood Statement (As adopted by the Session of Briarwood Presbyterian Church at its stated meeting on June 18, 2019)

 A Theological Ministry Statement on Homosexuality with 10 Affirmations and Denials In a culture increasingly obsessed with sexuality, marked by rebellion against God’s design for the gift and enjoyment of sex as set out in His Word and the resulting sexual brokenness, our desire is to equip Christians to minister with clarity, conviction and compassion to those struggling with homosexual thoughts, desires and actions. For this purpose, we offer the following Theological Statement with the accompanying 10 Affirmations and Denials.  We intend the Statement to serve as both a clear theological statement of truth amidst the unnecessarily confusing language prevalent in our culture and, at the same time, a practical ministry tool that communicates truth in love. 

 This Statement is not meant as a full theological treatment of homosexuality generally nor is it focused on the related but separate issue of gender identity.  Instead, the Statement is designed to acknowledge the deep struggle and sense of bondage that those in sexual sin can experience while affirming the authority, sufficiency and preeminence of Scripture through the power of the Holy Spirit as the only true and ultimate source of hope and deliverance.  Our objective in this Statement is to address these issues faithfully and move people intentionally to Jesus Christ the Righteous, who is merciful and gracious.

THE THEOLOGICAL GOVERNING PRINCIPLE

 Everyone is born with a sin nature1 which inevitably manifests itself in sinful thoughts,2 desires3 and actions,4 corrupting all aspects of human sexuality, none of which are beyond the transforming power of the Gospel.5

1Genesis 3:1-7; Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:18,23 (i.e., original sin) 2Genesis 6:5; Psalm 10:4; Mark 7:21 (i.e., indwelling sin) 3Genesis 3:1-7; James 1:14,15; Mark 7:21-23 (i.e., indwelling sin) 4Romans 1:24-32; Mark 7:21-23; Galatians 5:16,17 (i.e., actual sins) 5Romans 1:16  (i.e., Gospel transformation)

AFFIRMATIONS AND DENIALS

We affirm that each of us is born a sinner and this sin nature will manifest itself in actual sins including sinful heterosexual and/or homosexual thoughts, desires and actions.    Gen. 3:1-7; Gen. 6:5; Ps. 51:5; Matt. 5:27,28; Mark 7:21-23; Rom. 3:9-18,23; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; James 1:14,15 

We deny that any supposed genetic link to homosexuality would make homosexual thoughts, desires and actions morally acceptable or normative. Gen. 3:1-7; Gen. 6:5; Ps. 51:5; Matt. 5:27-28; Rom. 3:9-18, 23; I Cor. 6: 9-10; James 1:14,15

We affirm that all homosexual thoughts, desires and actions are sinful.   Gen. 1:27-28; Gen. 2:24; Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:26-27;  1 Tim. 1:8-11

We deny that homosexual thoughts, desires and actions are the worst possible sins, or the unpardonable sin, or beyond redemption, forgiveness, and transformation as with any other sin. Matt 12:31; I Cor. 6: 9-11

We affirm that a Christian’s identity is solely and exclusively in Christ alone.  Acts 11:26; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 5:16,17;  Gal. 2:20; 1 John 3:1 

We deny that Christians should identify themselves by any sin in general, or by sexual sins in particular, including identifying as a “gay Christian.”  Eph. 5:3;  2 Tim. 2:19

We affirm that, while the term Same Sex Attraction (SSA) is often used by Christians to explain their struggle with homosexuality, the use of this term should be addressed within the Biblical categories of language that distinguish between temptation on the one hand and sinful thoughts, desires and actions on the other hand.  Mark 7:21; Rom. 7:15; Rom. 13:14; 2 Cor. 10:13; Gal. 5:16,17;  James 1:14,15 

We deny that the use or non-use of the term SSA should presumptively be a test of Biblical orthodoxy.  1 Tim. 6:4;  2 Tim. 2:14; 1 John 4:1-3

We affirm the need for clarity, intentionality, and community within the church and family as we minister and disciple in a culture that celebrates and promotes experimenting with sinful sexual behaviors in general and homosexuality in particular.  Rom. 1:21-32; Rom. 12:1,2; I Cor. 10:8; I Cor. 12:12-23; Eph. 6:4

We deny that the gospel and the means of grace through the power of the Holy Spirit are incapable of progressively delivering Christians from a sexually obsessed lifestyle and culture.  Rom. 1:16; I Cor. 6: 9-11; Eph. 1:15-20; Heb. 7:25

We affirm that any teaching that declares homosexual thoughts and desires are not sinful unless acted upon to be contrary to Scripture.  Rom, 6:11,12; Rom. 7:5; Eph. 2:3; James 1:14,15; 1 Pet. 1:14;  1 Pet. 2:11 

We deny that homosexual thoughts or desires are non-sinful impulses, sexual disabilities to be managed or indicative of a morally neutral sexual orientation. Mark 7:21; 1 Cor. 6:9-11,18

We affirm that many Christians who experience homosexual thoughts and desires sincerely identify such thoughts and desires as unwanted.   Rom. 7:14-25; Gal.5:16-25 

We deny that a Christian is not culpable or accountable even for unwanted sinful sexual thoughts and desires.  Mark 7:21;  Rom. 7:14-21; Gal. 3:22 

We affirm that every Christian is called to flee temptation, repent of sin and mortify the sinful desires of the flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit through the God-given means of grace.  Matt. 26:41;  Rom. 8:13; 1 Cor. 6:18;  1 Cor. 10:13,14;  Col. 3:5,6;  1 Tim. 6:11,12; 2 Tim. 2:22 

We deny that sexual sins in general and homosexual sins in particular are to be accepted, managed, redefined, redirected or reordered.  Isaiah 5:20; Rom. 6:11-14; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5,6

We affirm that all Christians, including those who struggle with homosexual thoughts, desires and actions, are delivered from the penalty and power of sin and therefore are free from all condemnation.  John 8:36; Rom. 8:1,31-39 

We deny that Christians who struggle with homosexual thoughts, desires and actions should suffer in silence or retreat into a subculture rather than into the Body of Christ.   John 13:34,35; Rom. 9:33; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 4:4; Heb. 10:19-25

We affirm that God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, completely delivers some Christians from particular sins— including homosexual thoughts, desires and actions— miraculously and instantaneously, while others He progressively delivers through the ordinary means of grace with varying and uneven degrees of progress until they are made perfect in heaven.  Rom. 6:12-14; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 2 Cor. 5:17;  Eph. 5:26,27; 1 Thess. 5:23;  1 John 3:2,3

We deny that Christians will achieve sinless perfection in thoughts, desires or actions this side of eternity.  Rom. 7:21;  Phil. 3:12; 1 John 1:8

3D Leadership

So, why another book on leadership – Christian leadership in particular?

3D Leadership was written because of three convictions, two of which are rooted in the Scripture and one is derived from observation of today’s church in today’s world. Even more specifically 3D Leadership was written to accomplish what is identified in the book as an “Immodest Proposal.”

Christ-centered, Gospel-saturated and Spirit-filled churches need to embrace the opportunity to once again become Christian Leadership Factories whereby the church defines Christian leadership, develops Christian leaders and deploys them into the world.

In other words, while the church maintains its Mission – the Great Commission – to make disciples of all the nations; and maintains its Message the whole counsel of God proclaimed through the primacy of the Gospel of saving grace in Christ; and embraces its Ministries through fidelity to the Great Commandment of loving the Lord with all of our heart, soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves with Gospel words and deeds – an intentionally nurtured consequence will be the blessing of a church becoming a Leadership Factory. A church that defines leadership should not only develop Christian leaders for the church through Gospel evangelism and discipleship but also develop Christian leaders from the church who are then deployed into the world penetrating every sphere and institution of society.

Defining, developing and deploying faithful and effective

Christian leaders from the church and into the world.

So what are these three reasons that undergird this “immodest proposal” of 3D Leadership – defining, developing and deploying Christian leaders from the church into the world?

Three Reasons for 3D Leadership

  1. The first reason is because God Himself has ordained leadership as an appointed instrument through which He accomplishes His purposes. The simple fact taught in the Bible and affirmed in history is that whenever God initiated a significant movement He would always raise up a leader who would become a multiplication and mobilization leader with an unalterable commitment to their God-given mission and message. Here are a few affirmations of this Biblical principle.
  2. When God called His covenant people out of Egypt and brought judgment on Egypt He raised up Moses who multiplied himself and mobilized Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb and the elders of the tribes.
  3. King David was called of the Lord with a clear mission and was surrounded by three chief men and thirty mighty men.
  4. Elijah had Elisha and those from “the school of the prophets.”
  5. Paul had Timothy, Titus, Luke, Aquila and Pricilla, “leading women” etc.

The Biblical examples go on and on. There are also examples throughout church history. The Reformation began with pre-Reformation leaders followed by Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Bullinger, Knox and others. The Great Awakening was propelled by George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley along with multiple other leaders.

  • The second reason that 3D Leadership was written is because of the Biblical principle that “leadership works.” Our Lord affirms this throughout the Scriptures by precept and also by documenting it with narratives that affirm how leadership affects the course of history. 

By the way, when the Bible affirms that leadership works it records examples of leadership working which are both good and bad. Good leaders produce good results and bad leaders produce bad results. Our Lord affirms this with clarity by stating the negative: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?”

So, it’s not simply producing leaders but it’s producing the right kind of leaders which is why 3D Leadership begins with Biblically defining leadership, followed by Biblically developing leaders. Then the church can begin deploying these leaders who have a clear Biblical concept and purpose of leadership which has been saturated by the Gospel as they are developed by competent Biblical leader-disciplers. Now those leaders who are being discipled can be deployed from the church into the world.

  • The third reason is an observation. Not only has the church abandoned the 3D leadership paradigm, it actually has taken a step far more destructive. Instead of the church defining leadership Biblically, the church is conforming to the world’s concept of leadership. In other words, the world’s leaders are being imported into the church and the world’s definition of leadership is being embraced by the church.

This imported worldly leadership is unsurprisingly having a negative impact upon the church. The church has not only abandoned its opportunity to define leadership but it now installs leaders from the world based on their worldly leadership successes and then promotes them into the church for others to follow.

If a celebrated leader in the world gives any notion of embracing Christianity they are immediately promoted and marketed as Christian leaders when at best they have only been exposed to Christianity for a very short time. We then place them into positions of influence based upon their success in the world instead of their Gospel progress and maturity in Christ. By doing so, we not only position them to provide leadership for which they are not prepared  but even worse we are positioning them for greater judgment since unprepared leadership will ultimately have negative consequences upon the Lord’s people, the church and our witness in the world. They, as well as those who place them prematurely into leadership, are accountable to the Lord for those negative consequences which inevitably accompany improperly prepared leaders.

Therefore, instead of being a leadership factory, the church is a leadership consumer importing leaders from the world into the church and at best presuming six leadership training classes will turn them into an effective Christian leader. So what should we do?

A Modest Request to Implement the “Immodest Proposal”

The modest request is simple yet profound – that the church, by consequence of its faithfulness to the Great Commission and to a Great Commandment lifestyle, marked by surrender to the Spirit of God and an irrevocable commitment to the glory of God, intentionally embrace the opportunity of impacting the world, not only by worship, evangelism, Gospel deeds and discipleship but also through a subset of intentional discipleship. This would initiate 3D Leadership and create, within the church, a Leadership Factory by Defining, Developing and Deploying Christian leaders from the church into the world.

Humbly, 3D Leadership is offered as an initiating instrument for Christian leaders and members in the church to reclaim the prioritized blessing of influencing the world by Biblically defining Christian leadership, developing Christian leaders and deploying these Christian leaders throughout the world into every valid institution and sphere of society.

When Moses was called home to be with the Lord he had intentionally left leaders to carry the mission and message of the Lord for the glory of God into the next generation. When Paul was called to glory he didn’t leave a vacuum but left a diverse company of multiplication and mobilization leaders for the next generation and he had also planted as well as revitalized churches which became Leadership Factories.

It is an inescapable fact that the Gospels also record leadership multiplication and mobilization as a salient feature in the life and ministry of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Stop and think for a moment. If you were about to initiate a movement that would be secured on the cross at Calvary, announced in the triumphant resurrection to be proclaimed throughout the world, what would you do strategically?

Most of us would probably work on marketing and branding as well as scheduling large group events secured at premier locations to promote our initiative, etc.

While there is nothing wrong with working on presentations, securing premier locations and having large group meetings, the Gospels clearly affirm that Jesus focused His time and energy on the 3, the 12 and the 70 leaders whom He matured, influenced, trained and deployed to become multiplication and mobilization leaders. How did He do it? How did they do it?

The unmistakable dynamic is that Christ was committed to defining, developing and deploying leaders into the world who would be faithful to their Christ-given mission, message and ministry.  The result was and is astounding.

In less than 25 years after the Ascension of Christ a frustrated pagan adversary spat out 13 words from the continent of Europe recorded in Acts 17 – “These people who have turned the world upside down have come here also.”

Of course, we know whoturned the world upside down – the Holy Spirit through the people of God, His church. We know what turned the world upside down – the power of the Gospel. But, we also know how they turned the world upside down – through Gospel evangelism and discipleship, Gospel church planting and revitalization, Gospel deeds of love, mercy and justice and Gospel leaders defined, developed and deployed.

It is no accident that the Apostle Paul always left multiplication and mobilization leaders of his team in the churches he planted if he didn’t have time to define, develop and deploy leaders before he left. Furthermore, it is no accident that Paul continually defined leadership and enumerated the characteristics of leadership throughout the Epistles as well as prioritized the development of leaders such as Timothy, Titus, Luke and leading women, etc. Interestingly in his last Epistle before his martyrdom he commanded Timothy to develop a Leadership Pyramid as a vital part of his ministry philosophy. 

“Finally my son be strong in the grace that is found in Christ Jesus and the things you have learned from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2Tim. 2:2)

At the top of the Leadership Pyramid is the “principal leader(i.e. Paul) who multiplies and mobilizes a plurality of “proven leaders(i.e. Timothy, Titus, etc.) who are each to multiply and mobilize a plurality of “potential leaders” – (faithful men) who are each to multiply and mobilize “possible leaders” (i.e. others also).

This Leadership Pyramid is foundational to establishing a leadership culture in the church that multiplies, matures and mobilizes leaders who not only benefit the church but are sent from the church into the world.

Early in my life I fell in love with baseball. During the summer, I would get up every morning and walk two miles to spend the whole day playing baseball at Veterans Park in Charlotte, NC. On the way home in the afternoon I’d stop by the Charlotte East Branch Library and check out a book to take home and read that night. The next day I’d drop it off and check out another on the way home the next afternoon, etc.  As you would suspect I consumed the section on sports novels first. As I wondered what to read next, in God’s providence, I began to check out books from the US History shelves, specifically focused upon the 18th and 19th century. Reading those books introduced me to another love in my life – History. That eventually led me to a double major in college of Theology and History – all of which led me to a third love in my life – seeking to learn about leaders from History who, in the midst of adversity, did not simply observe the trajectories of a culture to profit from them but they changed the trajectories of a culture even if it cost them personally to do so. Ultimately this included church history in general, Reformation history in particular and the Great Awakening history specifically.

However, nowhere have I been more profoundly drawn to the pursuit of leadership, the study of leadership and the faltering yet intentional desire to multiply and mobilize leaders for Christ from His church into the world than when I am reading the Word of God.

Later in my life a good friend, (who planted one of the first daughter churches of the church I pastored in Charlotte, Christ Covenant) who now leads a Church Planting Institute for RTS Charlotte, Tom Hawkes. He encouraged me (in the 1980’s) to do something that ultimately led to my writing this book two decades later – 3D Leadership. So what was it he encouraged me to do?

As the MNA Assistant Coordinator of Church Planting for the PCA, Tom challenged me to teach a series of classes on leadership multiplication and mobilization. My answer was, “…well, I really don’t have any material.” His response, “I didn’t think so.” That naturally led to my question, “then why would you ask me to teach these classes?” His answer, “I believe you multiply and mobilize leaders intuitively and I want to see that you start doing it intentionally.”

The result of that exchange and challenge was a life-altering change in my leadership priorities to embrace a commitment to do something I have enjoyed studying and doing for my entire life – Defining, Developing and Deploying leaders. This ministry lifestyle change also led me to write this book. I hope, by God’s grace it will be of value to those who read it. To our Leader triumphant, Christ the King, be glory, honor and praise in the lives of those whom He has called to lead His church and who do so with a desire to multiply and mobilize leaders not only in the church but from the church into the world.

3D Leadership was written because of three convictions, two of which are rooted in the Scripture and one is derived from observation of today’s church in today’s world. Even more specifically 3D Leadership was written to accomplish what is identified in the book as an “Immodest Proposal.”

Christ-centered, Gospel-saturated and Spirit-filled churches need to embrace the opportunity to once again become Christian Leadership Factories whereby the church defines Christian leadership, develops Christian leaders and deploys them into the world.

In other words, while the church maintains its Mission – the Great Commission – to make disciples of all the nations; and maintains its Message the whole counsel of God proclaimed through the primacy of the Gospel of saving grace in Christ; and embraces its Ministries through fidelity to the Great Commandment of loving the Lord with all of our heart, soul and mind and our neighbor as ourselves with Gospel words and deeds – an intentionally nurtured consequence will be the blessing of a church becoming a Leadership Factory. A church that defines leadership should not only develop Christian leaders for the church through Gospel evangelism and discipleship but also develop Christian leaders from the church who are then deployed into the world penetrating every sphere and institution of society.

Defining, developing and deploying faithful and effective

Christian leaders from the church and into the world.

So what are these three reasons that undergird this “immodest proposal” of 3D Leadership – defining, developing and deploying Christian leaders from the church into the world?

Three Reasons for 3D Leadership

  1. The first reason is because God Himself has ordained leadership as an appointed instrument through which He accomplishes His purposes. The simple fact taught in the Bible and affirmed in history is that whenever God initiated a significant movement He would always raise up a leader who would become a multiplication and mobilization leader with an unalterable commitment to their God-given mission and message. Here are a few affirmations of this Biblical principle.
  2. When God called His covenant people out of Egypt and brought judgment on Egypt He raised up Moses who multiplied himself and mobilized Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb and the elders of the tribes.
  3. King David was called of the Lord with a clear mission and was surrounded by three chief men and thirty mighty men.
  4. Elijah had Elisha and those from “the school of the prophets.”
  5. Paul had Timothy, Titus, Luke, Aquila and Pricilla, “leading women” etc.

The Biblical examples go on and on. There are also examples throughout church history. The Reformation began with pre-Reformation leaders followed by Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Bullinger, Knox and others. The Great Awakening was propelled by George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley along with multiple other leaders.

  • The second reason that 3D Leadership was written is because of the Biblical principle that “leadership works.” Our Lord affirms this throughout the Scriptures by precept and also by documenting it with narratives that affirm how leadership affects the course of history. 

By the way, when the Bible affirms that leadership works it records examples of leadership working which are both good and bad. Good leaders produce good results and bad leaders produce bad results. Our Lord affirms this with clarity by stating the negative: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit?”

So, it’s not simply producing leaders but it’s producing the right kind of leaders which is why 3D Leadership begins with Biblically defining leadership, followed by Biblically developing leaders. Then the church can begin deploying these leaders who have a clear Biblical concept and purpose of leadership which has been saturated by the Gospel as they are developed by competent Biblical leader-disciplers. Now those leaders who are being discipled can be deployed from the church into the world.

  • The third reason is an observation. Not only has the church abandoned the 3D leadership paradigm, it actually has taken a step far more destructive. Instead of the church defining leadership Biblically, the church is conforming to the world’s concept of leadership. In other words, the world’s leaders are being imported into the church and the world’s definition of leadership is being embraced by the church.

This imported worldly leadership is unsurprisingly having a negative impact upon the church. The church has not only abandoned its opportunity to define leadership but it now installs leaders from the world based on their worldly leadership successes and then promotes them into the church for others to follow.

If a celebrated leader in the world gives any notion of embracing Christianity they are immediately promoted and marketed as Christian leaders when at best they have only been exposed to Christianity for a very short time. We then place them into positions of influence based upon their success in the world instead of their Gospel progress and maturity in Christ. By doing so, we not only position them to provide leadership for which they are not prepared  but even worse we are positioning them for greater judgment since unprepared leadership will ultimately have negative consequences upon the Lord’s people, the church and our witness in the world. They, as well as those who place them prematurely into leadership, are accountable to the Lord for those negative consequences which inevitably accompany improperly prepared leaders.

Therefore, instead of being a leadership factory, the church is a leadership consumer importing leaders from the world into the church and at best presuming six leadership training classes will turn them into an effective Christian leader. So what should we do?

A Modest Request to Implement the “Immodest Proposal”

The modest request is simple yet profound – that the church, by consequence of its faithfulness to the Great Commission and to a Great Commandment lifestyle, marked by surrender to the Spirit of God and an irrevocable commitment to the glory of God, intentionally embrace the opportunity of impacting the world, not only by worship, evangelism, Gospel deeds and discipleship but also through a subset of intentional discipleship. This would initiate 3D Leadership and create, within the church, a Leadership Factory by Defining, Developing and Deploying Christian leaders from the church into the world.

Humbly, 3D Leadership is offered as an initiating instrument for Christian leaders and members in the church to reclaim the prioritized blessing of influencing the world by Biblically defining Christian leadership, developing Christian leaders and deploying these Christian leaders throughout the world into every valid institution and sphere of society.

When Moses was called home to be with the Lord he had intentionally left leaders to carry the mission and message of the Lord for the glory of God into the next generation. When Paul was called to glory he didn’t leave a vacuum but left a diverse company of multiplication and mobilization leaders for the next generation and he had also planted as well as revitalized churches which became Leadership Factories.

It is an inescapable fact that the Gospels also record leadership multiplication and mobilization as a salient feature in the life and ministry of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Stop and think for a moment. If you were about to initiate a movement that would be secured on the cross at Calvary, announced in the triumphant resurrection to be proclaimed throughout the world, what would you do strategically?

Most of us would probably work on marketing and branding as well as scheduling large group events secured at premier locations to promote our initiative, etc.

While there is nothing wrong with working on presentations, securing premier locations and having large group meetings, the Gospels clearly affirm that Jesus focused His time and energy on the 3, the 12 and the 70 leaders whom He matured, influenced, trained and deployed to become multiplication and mobilization leaders. How did He do it? How did they do it?

The unmistakable dynamic is that Christ was committed to defining, developing and deploying leaders into the world who would be faithful to their Christ-given mission, message and ministry.  The result was and is astounding.

In less than 25 years after the Ascension of Christ a frustrated pagan adversary spat out 13 words from the continent of Europe recorded in Acts 17 – “These people who have turned the world upside down have come here also.”

Of course, we know whoturned the world upside down – the Holy Spirit through the people of God, His church. We know what turned the world upside down – the power of the Gospel. But, we also know how they turned the world upside down – through Gospel evangelism and discipleship, Gospel church planting and revitalization, Gospel deeds of love, mercy and justice and Gospel leaders defined, developed and deployed.

It is no accident that the Apostle Paul always left multiplication and mobilization leaders of his team in the churches he planted if he didn’t have time to define, develop and deploy leaders before he left. Furthermore, it is no accident that Paul continually defined leadership and enumerated the characteristics of leadership throughout the Epistles as well as prioritized the development of leaders such as Timothy, Titus, Luke and leading women, etc. Interestingly in his last Epistle before his martyrdom he commanded Timothy to develop a Leadership Pyramid as a vital part of his ministry philosophy. 

“Finally my son be strong in the grace that is found in Christ Jesus and the things you have learned from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2Tim. 2:2)

At the top of the Leadership Pyramid is the “principal leader(i.e. Paul) who multiplies and mobilizes a plurality of “proven leaders(i.e. Timothy, Titus, etc.) who are each to multiply and mobilize a plurality of “potential leaders” – (faithful men) who are each to multiply and mobilize “possible leaders” (i.e. others also).

This Leadership Pyramid is foundational to establishing a leadership culture in the church that multiplies, matures and mobilizes leaders who not only benefit the church but are sent from the church into the world.

Early in my life I fell in love with baseball. During the summer, I would get up every morning and walk two miles to spend the whole day playing baseball at Veterans Park in Charlotte, NC. On the way home in the afternoon I’d stop by the Charlotte East Branch Library and check out a book to take home and read that night. The next day I’d drop it off and check out another on the way home the next afternoon, etc.  As you would suspect I consumed the section on sports novels first. As I wondered what to read next, in God’s providence, I began to check out books from the US History shelves, specifically focused upon the 18th and 19th century. Reading those books introduced me to another love in my life – History. That eventually led me to a double major in college of Theology and History – all of which led me to a third love in my life – seeking to learn about leaders from History who, in the midst of adversity, did not simply observe the trajectories of a culture to profit from them but they changed the trajectories of a culture even if it cost them personally to do so. Ultimately this included church history in general, Reformation history in particular and the Great Awakening history specifically.

However, nowhere have I been more profoundly drawn to the pursuit of leadership, the study of leadership and the faltering yet intentional desire to multiply and mobilize leaders for Christ from His church into the world than when I am reading the Word of God.

Later in my life a good friend, (who planted one of the first daughter churches of the church I pastored in Charlotte, Christ Covenant) who now leads a Church Planting Institute for RTS Charlotte, Tom Hawkes. He encouraged me (in the 1980’s) to do something that ultimately led to my writing this book two decades later – 3D Leadership. So what was it he encouraged me to do?

As the MNA Assistant Coordinator of Church Planting for the PCA, Tom challenged me to teach a series of classes on leadership multiplication and mobilization. My answer was, “…well, I really don’t have any material.” His response, “I didn’t think so.” That naturally led to my question, “then why would you ask me to teach these classes?” His answer, “I believe you multiply and mobilize leaders intuitively and I want to see that you start doing it intentionally.”

The result of that exchange and challenge was a life-altering change in my leadership priorities to embrace a commitment to do something I have enjoyed studying and doing for my entire life – Defining, Developing and Deploying leaders. This ministry lifestyle change also led me to write this book. I hope, by God’s grace it will be of value to those who read it. To our Leader triumphant, Christ the King, be glory, honor and praise in the lives of those whom He has called to lead His church and who do so with a desire to multiply and mobilize leaders not only in the church but from the church into the world.

Why & How Should Marriage Be Honored in the Church?

close up of couple holding hands
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A Pastor’s Perspective

“Let marriage be held in honor among all…Heb. 11:4”

Question? Why would the Holy Spirit inspired writer of Hebrews command Christians to honor the institution of marriage among themselves and promote it as honorable throughout society?  The task seems daunting given the landscape of today’s culture which has intentionally embraced marital and familial anarchy in efforts to redefine marriage. In the challenge of “honoring” marriage in a society entangled in neo-pagan fabrications of marriage, the God-given definition of marriage is unmistakably communicated in the Biblical creation account; throughout Scripture; in the Decalogue; proclaimed by the prophets; expounded by the Apostles and affirmed by Christ Himself. The definition is repeatedly affirmed in Scripture as first encountered in Genesis 2:24.

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Marriage is defined as a covenantal, heterosexual, monogamous and conjugal relationship. In short hand, marriage is one man united to one woman for life. Why should marriage be “honored by all?” Why are we commanded to promote a Biblical definition of marriage throughout human society? How can this be accomplished?

Here are two foundational reasons (and there are more) as to why Biblical marriage should be honored and ten practical pastoral recommendations as to how we can promote its honor throughout society.

Two Foundational Reasons

  1. Marriage is not simply a church ordinance or an inbred church sacrament. Marriage is a Creation mandate. It is a Divine decree foundational and necessary for human flourishing. If I love God I will embrace and promote marriage as a Biblically mandated institution because it is a Divine commandment – when you love Him you keep His commandments. Furthermore, since I love my neighbor and knowing that if we break God’s law (including the mandate of marriage) then God’s law will break you. So, since I love my neighbor and I desire to be “salt and light” as an instrument of redeeming grace which transforms sinners and an instrument of common grace that restrains the inevitable death spiral of sin, then I will endeavor to promote marriage as a Divine blessing of public policy for humanity.
  2. I will promote the Creation mandate of marriage “to all” because God designed and implemented it and He designed it for all of humanity. Marriage is intentionally used in Scripture as a metaphor for God’s unbreakable covenant of grace with His people. Note how the Bible describes Christ as “the bridegroom” and His church (those whom He has saved) as His “bride.”   Foundationally, marriage is a blessing to humanity and its primary purpose is to reveal God’s redemptive covenantal relationship with His people. Marriage isn’t simply a helpful institution for God to conveniently adapt as an illustration of His covenantal saving relationship with His people. It was primarily designed to exist for this glorious purpose from the beginning. Two thousand years ago the Son of God “left His Father” to “cleave to His Bride” by purchasing Her with His redeeming atonement at the Cross. He purposed to dwell with His bride by His Spirit now and then with His glorified presence in the New Heavens and Earth. He has covenantally saved His Bride to lead Her as a servant through “the washing of the Word” and to love Her as a joint heir of the grace of life through His Word and by His Holy Spirit while preparing a place for Her. Then, He will return to bring Her to Himself for all eternity.

Therefore, marriage is to be “held in honor among all,” as a blessing to humanity and continual Gospel witness of Christ’s covenantal relationship with His Bride and a glorious witness of the power of the Gospel for Christian marriages “in the Lord” demonstrating “God’s grace is greater than all of our sins.”

How can Christ’s church engage in the public square to defend and promote the public policy of marriage as defined by God – one man, one woman, one life – and winsomely do so by contending without being contentious and defending without being defensive through demonstrating the blessing of marriages for the Lord and in the Lord?

Ten Practical Suggestions

  1. In preaching, promote the public policy of a Biblically defined marriage and identify its benefits for society.
  2. Prepare, officiate and shepherd marriages that are “in the Lord” beginning with a credible profession of faith from those being united in the Holy and Sacred bonds of Christian marriage.
  3. Provide Elder approved comprehensive pre-marital counseling.
  4. Insist on worshipful marriage ceremonies that proclaim the Gospel to those in attendance as well as those being married.
  5. Follow up in the initial, formative months with intentional post-marital shepherding/discipleship.
  6. Establish a ministry to “singles” that gives both a Biblical view of marriage and singleness; prepare singles in transition to marriage and equip and enfold those who are providentially called to singleness.
  7. Develop a Titus 2 ministry of equipped older men ministering to young men and older women to young women.
  8. Confront the inevitable tendency of believers to take the blessings of God’s good gifts of God (i.e. food, drink, work, play, rest, marriage, family) and making them into idols by putting them before God, beside God or above God as the savior of their lives instead of enjoying them for His glory.
  9. Institute intercessory prayer throughout the congregation for the promotion of marriage in society as a beneficial public policy; for those not yet married; for those called to singleness and for existing marriages.
  10. Equip the people of God to enjoy and implement family worship while preparing for Lord’s Day Worship.