Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Few Considerations as a New Year Begins
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

As we come to the close of one year and anticipate a new year of God’s providences, how can we discipline ourselves for godliness in a greater way? How can we fervently love Christ more and gaze upon His gospel with more frequency?

As a new year begins, I’d like to offer a few considerations.

1. Consider lessening your time on social media & with various entertainments & proactively devote more time to reading Your Bible.
I have no idea the amount of time you spend on social media but whatever the quantity of time you devote to it may be, consider lessening your time on these platforms and devoting more time to reading your Bible. Perhaps you’re a movie person or you’ve got that favorite show on TV you watch. Consider lessening the time you devote to such things and devote time to reading systematically, methodically, devotionally, joyfully, expectantly and faithfully through Scripture. 

2. Consider waking earlier in the morning and spending devoted time in prayer & communion with God.
No time is ever wasted in communing with God in prayer. Do you find that you struggle with your prayer life? Do you battle with saying the same old thing about the same old things? Does your prayer life lack vibrancy and joy and power? Consider waking earlier and praying the Bible. Consider turning to Psalms and read a verse, then turn it into a prayer back to God. Then go on to the next verse and so on. Prayer is a conversation with God whereby He speaks through His Word and we respond and speak to Him in prayer. Commune with Him regularly, early, and fervently!

3. If you're not a member of your Church, begin the process promptly and serve others be held accountable by your local church.
Maybe you’re a regular attender. And you’ve been attending church for some time. Or perhaps you may have recently relocated to a new area and you’ve visiting a church. But have you become a member yet? This is important as you need the accountability, the shepherd-care over your soul, and the responsibility to serve one another and care for others in your local church. If you’re not a member of a biblically sound, bible-preaching local church with biblical leadership, make it a point to begin this process at the start of the new year.

4. Make it a goal to hand out gospel tracts and share the gospel *weekly*.
Many Christians say: “I just don’t know what to say to the nonbeliever about my faith.” I would strongly encourage you to have a tract with you as often as possible and frequently give out tracts to people. If you don’t know what to say, let the gospel tract help you and guide you. You could say to a friend (or a restaurant server, or someone at the drive-thru window, or a cashier, or a stranger walking by, or a neighbor), “may I give you something to read? This changed my life!” Gospel tracts can often go where we can’t! They keep it simple, clear, cogent, and memorable. If you don’t know where to get good and biblically faithful gospel tracts, start with Marv Plementosh at

5. Consider eternity regularly -- eternal, unending hell & eternal glorious heaven.
We do well to ponder eternity. May God kindly stamp eternity on our eyeballs every day. May we live each day as if it were our last and may we seek to grow in grace today and walk in holiness and walk in a nearer communion with Christ more so than yesterday. May we consider the coming certainty of unending eternities. May we reflect on the terrors of hell and the joys of heaven. May we think much of Christ’s intercession for us in heaven, His return for us, and His preparing a place for us in heaven. May we ponder the everlasting hope and joy and bliss of being with the triune God and seeing Him face to face. O may eternity impact us in these days.

6. Live every day as it if were your last. Repent quickly. Be holy. Pray earnestly.
If God would supernaturally tell us that we would die at 12:00midnight tonight, how would you then live? May the prospect that today may very well be our last propel us to prompt repentance, diligent holiness, and earnest prayerfulness. May we hate sin as a destructive monster and may we love Christ and pursue joyful holiness in Him with tenacity and perseverance. May we pray hard and pray often. May we live so close to Christ that the nearer we get to heaven, the closer our communion is with Christ. Number your days! Life is short!

7. Gather with your church with the mindset: "how can I serve others and encourage them today?"
Fight vigorously against the natural inclination to go to church go ‘get’ something. Yes, we do gather with God’s people and receive the Word and edification. But let’s also intentionally cultivate the notion that we gather with God’s people to serve and encourage and give and edify others. So, starting with the new year, make it your goal to gather with God’s people and practically encourage them, greet them, say a kind word to them and minister to them. Perhaps this may take the form of a handshake, a greeting, reaching out to a visitor & inviting them to sit with you, writing a letter to someone in your church family, encouraging your pastor/elders, approaching young people and teenagers and encouraging them. Consider the idea of making it a point every time you gather with God’s people to find one person in your church family and as you’re talking with them, make it a point to pray right then, right there, together with them (and better yet, bring someone else who is nearby into that spontaneous prayer time to benefit and learn and observe this). See how God may grow you and use you as you have the mindset of selfless, sacrificial, Christlike service to others in your local church.  

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Personal Philosophy of Open Air Preaching
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

I am a minister of the gospel. By His grace, God has called me to be a herald of the unfathomable riches of Christ. My ambition in life is to please God by magnifying His Son and proclaiming His gospel to the local congregation that He has called me to pastor and by pleading with sinners to repent of sin and turn to God in Christ by faith alone. I am not a full time evangelist. My calling in life is not to travel and be an itinerant preacher from city to city and from town to town. God has wisely and wondrously chosen me to serve His people of Christ Fellowship Bible Church in St Louis, Missouri. My foremost mission that God has entrusted to me consists in the faithful prayer and study of Scripture so that I can faithfully preach and teach His Word weekly. One of the duties of pastoral ministry that I firmly embrace is the evangelization of the lost. This can happen many ways and there are innumerable occasions for believers to proclaim Christ and His gospel to the lost, and one of the ways that I evangelize is by open air preaching, or, as some have titled it: “street preaching.”

In what follows, I delineate my personal philosophy of open air preaching and then break it down and define and clarify it phrase by phrase.

Philosophy Simply Stated:
I'm unswervingly committed to the proclamation of the gospel, with accuracy, boldness, & love,
while trusting God to save His people.

1. Preeminent Commitment!
When I go to the streets each week in St Louis, I remember that I am first and foremost a minister of the gospel. I’m a Christian. I am a man called by God, consumed with God, on mission to proclaim my Savior and to simply declare, as a herald would, the message of the King. The Sovereign One has sent me to go and make disciples of all nations. As a pastor of a local congregation, I cannot -- and I will not -- neglect the flock that God has entrusted to my care for the wonderful opportunity of open air preaching. I would be forfeiting my foremost and primary calling if I were to do so. But one of the ways that I can serve the flock of God is by leading in evangelism, taking folks to the streets with me, teaching and training others to evangelize, hand out tracts, articulate the gospel, start gospel conversations, and open air preach. My preeminent commitment is to Christ and His gospel and not to open air preaching. I cannot be infatuated with the ministry but forget to worship my Master. So I make it my preeminent commitment to go to the streets as a man of God, with the gospel of God, full of the joy of God, and eager to see God work through His Word, for the saving of lost souls and the edifying of converted souls.

2. Proclaim Christ!
I don’t go to the streets just to help people with physical needs. Though I often do have bags and prepackaged gifts of food, toiletries, blankets, etc. for those in need that I may come across, but I always will serve physical needs but emphasize the spiritual need they have -- to turn to Christ in repentance and faith to be delivered from the wrath to come! So when I go out, the engine that drives what I do is the proclamation of the gospel. Whether it’s a one-to-one conversation, or tract distribution, or open air preaching, or high school ministry, or college campus evangelism, I always must ensure that I’m proclaiming Christ. Paul said it so well to the Corinthians: we preach Christ crucified (1 Cor 1.23). This must drive me, compel me, enflame me, impel me, and launch me into the great sea of dark and sinful hearts that swarms me every day in St Louis. Whatever I’m doing, and especially in open air preaching, my duty never rests in arguments, explaining or defending or proving the existence of God, or trying to make someone just go to church. What’s more, I must never mock or ridicule the lost because they are, in fact, -- lost! I go to proclaim Christ! I stand to speak of my Savior! I lift up my voice and herald the only way to heaven through Christ Jesus and His righteousness! I unashamedly uphold the authority of Scripture, the glory of God, the worth and person and substitutionary atonement of Christ, His bodily, physical resurrection, and His soon-coming for judgment. Like any man who preaches, preaching is not dialogue, it is declaring God’s truth. So I don’t dialogue while I preach -- I declare the gospel of Christ when I preach. This often opens up the door for many wonderful dialogues with people after I’m finished preaching. I am a proclaimer of Christ -- and Him alone!

3. Loving Urgency!
Often I go through this scenario in my mind. What if God were to snatch me from this realm and drop me into the fires of hell for five minutes. While there, I could hear the screams of the damned, I could smell the fires eating away at flesh that cannot be consumed, I could see the endless multitudes of sinners who forever, everlastingly, and painfully will endure the undiminished torments of God’s just and righteous and angry wrath for endless eternities to come. Then God snatches me out of hell and brings me back to this earth. What would I then do? And how would I then live? For one thing: I would be urgent, focused, desperate in prayer, and loving in desperate warnings toward the lost! I’m convicted oftentimes when I don’t share the gospel because it just may be that in that moment I’m not believing in eternal hellfire. If I did, I wouldn’t fear man or care what they thought of me. I’d proclaim Christ and call sinners to repent and believe the gospel now for the salvation of their souls! So when I hit the streets, I must “speak the truth in love.” I must always speak in a manner that is full of love, grace, compassion, and mercy. I never want to be the stumbling block to someone. I never want to be the one to offend someone. May it always and only be the gospel message that offends, not the open air preacher that offends. And at the same time, I am a man in love with the truth. So I preach truth. I can have love all day long but I must speak the truth to men whether they want it, accept it, embrace it, or agree with it. My job is not to make people believe. My job is to preach truth. As Paul said: “I believed, therefore, I spoke.” And if I really believed that danger -- eternal danger -- was imminent, I would be far more loving in warning sinners of hellfire! Nothing is unloving of warning sinners of God’s angry wrath to come! Christ Himself, the man full of grace and truth, warned sinners relentlessly of the fires of hell and of judgment day! O how I must learn from my Savior and emulate Him more! So when I go to the streets and preach, I go with loving urgency in declaring who God is, explaining the dire and helpless condition of all men, and the accomplished work that Christ accomplished at Calvary as the propitiation and one-time sacrifice for His people. And I go presenting truth and pleading with sinners to come to Christ -- now, today, at once, without procrastinating! As Paul pleaded with and sought to persuade those in Rome to come to Christ, so I must go and plead with sinners and persuade them to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Christ. For now is the acceptable time! Today is the day of salvation! Eternity is soon coming! Delay no longer!

4. Total Trust in God's Sovereignty!
The confidence in all evangelism rests upon the unshakeable and unfathomable sovereignty of God. God not only ordains the ultimate end in the salvation of sinners, but He also ordains the means to save His people and that is through the prayers and faithful evangelism of His people. God’s absolute sovereignty does not diminish my responsibility to go and preach; rather, it fortifies confidence while doing it! God’s election and predestination and hardening of sinners is not an excuse for me to not go out and win souls; rather, it fuels my encouragement and confidence in knowing that God is working through His Word, for His glory, according to His plan, at just the right moment. I go and preach and I pray and trust.  I preach my heart out and seek to persuade sinners to leave all and come to Christ at once. And yet I depend wholly on the Spirit of God to give light to darkened hearts and and to give life to spiritually dead souls. I pray and then I preach. I trust and then I travail for souls. I depend on God and I also declare my God! When I don’t see visible results that I ask for in prayer, I don’t stop being faithful when it seems that I’m not being fruitful. God tells me that it’s required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. I long to hear one day: well done, good and faithful servant. I know that just as Paul preached and the SPirit of God used that Word to bring God’s people to salvation, so I must preach the gospel and trust the Spirit of God to awaken sinners to life that God has appointed. So I go. So I preach. So I’m confident. So I trust. So I am desperate in prayer. And I preach with all my heart.

There are, of course, other benefits that come from faithful evangelism (and, specifically to the matter at hand, open air preaching). First, my own soul receives encouragement and grows in Godly courage as I speak the gospel in the public and before the masses of people that walk by. Second, I trust that true believers often walk by and may find encouragement in their own souls as they hear the person and crosswork of Christ being extolled and presented before sinners. Third, street ministry provides opportunities for me to bring other saints out with me for on-site, boots-on-the-ground discipleship, so that we can grow together in our going out to sinners and compelling them to come to the heavenly wedding feast! Fourth, going out to the lost regularly increases the burden for the lost in my own soul. It exacerbates the intolerable burden that countless millions are on the broad path headed for everlasting torment in the fires of hell. This leads me to prayer, to desperation, to Christ-centered preaching, and to more evangelism. And fifth, this evangelistic ministry magnifies Christ in the public square and brings Christ to countless souls that may never step foot in a solidly biblical and faithful local church. Rather than waiting for sinners to come to us, we must go to them! To God be the glory.

More resources on open air preaching can be found here and here.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Philosophy of Preaching the Word in Corporate Worship
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

God has called me to preach. He has placed upon my soul the weighty and blessed privilege of studying His Word and feeding His people with the truth of Scripture. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It is a consuming calling that I’m bound to and one that I must stick to His prescriptions for how I am to serve, what I am to say, and in what manner I must preach. God has not left it up to me to figure out how to preach His Word. He has clearly presented how His Word is to be taught to His people. In thinking through my philosophy of preaching the Word of God in the corporate worship of God’s people, I want to present some fundamentals that govern me and my ministry of the Word.

Here are 4 features drive me and my philosophy of preaching in the corporate gathering of the worship of the saints.

Philosophy Simply Stated:
*I'm committed to the exposition of truth, from God's written Word, for the growth of the Saints!

1. Biblical Exposition
I am unswervingly committed to the expositional preaching of God’s Word as my preeminent calling as an undershepherd to care for Christ’s people. He has called me to devote myself to the prayer and the ministry of the Word. He summons me to preach the Word and to be ready in season and out of season. Whatever I may do in ministry, the preeminent task that has been placed upon me as a minister of the gospel is to feed God’s people the food of God’s Word faithfully and consistently. He calls me to preach the full counsel of God and to leave to stone unturned and no doctrine unpreached. I commit to preaching through books of the Bible consecutively, verse-by-verse, so as to allow God to speak to His people through His Word, by His mouthpiece that He has called, commissioned, equipped, and empowered to preach.

2. Divine Truth
God has clearly commissioned me to preach His Word. In fact, I’m under obligation and I’ve been solemnly charged in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead -- I must preach His Word. I must study His Word so as to get at the meaning from the text and then I must deliver that meaning to His people with proper, specific, poignant applications for the spiritual benefit of His people. I commit myself to the study of, praying through, internalization, and bold declaration of divine truth as it is sufficiently revealed in holy Scripture. When I preach, I will preach truth from God’s Word. I will love the truth, serve the truth, seek to advance the truth, preach the truth, and warn against error so God’s people may know the truth, love the truth, and walk in the truth so as to bring utmost pleasure and glory to Christ!

3. Sufficient Scriptures
The source of my study and the theme of my preaching will be the word of the living God contained in Holy Scripture. I believe that the Bible is the sufficient, truth, inerrant, inspired, and authoritative word of the living God. As I declare God’s Word from the pulpit and present the meaning of the text, the application of the text, and the gospel of Christ in every sermon, I recognize that faithful exposition from the Scripture is in fact the voice of God speaking through His mouthpiece to His people. My study, then, must drive me to biblical study, desperate prayer, constant dependence upon God, and diligent work in the text so as to be prepared to stand in the pulpit and speak as a mouthpiece for God from His Word. My commitment is not to give people what they want to hear nor to tickle the ears of those who want to be entertained, but my primary job is to let God speak to God’s people through God’s Word as God has directed. I am a man under obligation to read the text, explain the text, and apply the text in every sermon I preach. The Bible is the word of God. And God reigns supreme over His people. So I must let God speak to His people through the heralding of His Word. This is my chief obligation.

4. Edifying Saints
The purpose of the gathering of the church is to edify God’s people and equip them to do the work of service. I believe that my duty is not to do the work of ministry alone but to build up, to edify, to equip, to instruct, to model, to exemplify, to prepare God’s people to actively do the work of ministry in caring for one another, teaching one another, discipling one another, evangelizing the lost, and glorifying God by playing a part in local and worldwide ministry. I preach the Word of God every week knowing that my foremost calling is to build up the people of God as I preach the Word of God. I must not skip over hard texts or difficult doctrines or uncomfortable truths. I will preach the full counsel of God and theological doctrines faithfully so that Christ’s people may be strengthened in the faith, established in the truth, equipped to expose error, and enflamed with love for Christ. I believe that the preeminent responsibility that God has placed upon me in the public gathering of worship is not to evangelize the lost (though I do and will present the gospel & call sinners to repent and trust in Christ alone for salvation) but it is to present the truth of Scripture and to proclaim the glory of Christ in such a way that God’s people are stirred to love and devotion to Him and equipped to serve Him in their lives.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

At the conclusion of Paul’s letters, he greets believers and exhorts believers to greet one another. Seemingly tagged on at the end of some theologically-rich epistles, readers can easily skim past these verses. But could it be that here in these final words, God instructs us through the pen of the Apostle Paul as to how to greet the saints (that is, every person who is in Christ Jesus). So, how should believers greet one another? How should we greet every single saint?

Here are 5 pastoral encouragements.

At the end of his epistle to the Philippian church, Paul says to greet ‘every saint’ in Christ. I think it’s fairly understood that we don’t naturally greet every single person we see on Sundays in our local churches. In fact, if we were honest, we probably would say that we would rather sit down, enjoy a moment or two to ourselves when we arrive moments before the opening of the service. And then when the closing prayer is finished, we would rather slip out the back and head home without interacting much with folks. But the loving and wise Spirit of God does not permit that mentality in the local church. Rather, through Paul’s pen, we are called to greet every saint. This is an imperative and something that we are all called to do. We are to greet one another with intentionality because we are tempted to sometimes sit and remain to ourselves and not approach anyone because, quite frankly, it takes effort, time, and sometimes patience to hear people pour out their heart (and even, receive some fairly messy situations and desperate prayer requests!). It’s easier to not greet people. But the Lord calls us to intentionally greet one another regardless of whether one is extroverted or introverted, outgoing or not!

Many of Paul’s epistles speak of greeting one another with love, with a holy kiss. In that culture and at that time, this greeting was a mark of genuine love and tender affection. The believers greeted one another with the utmost tenderness and warmth. The imperative is to greet one another. How are we to do this? With great affection, with tender warmth, with genuine love, with brotherly kindness. Dear Christians, are we affectionate and warm and full of brotherly kindness when we greet the saints when we gather together?  Are we warm towards them? Are we a “refreshment” to others when we greet them, welcome them, speak to them, and pray for them? Does your conduct, your demeanor, your care, your focus, your intentionality speak to your brotherly affection for your fellow believers? May the Lord help us to greet one another with affection and brotherly-love.

There is no partiality with God! Amazingly, the Apostle Paul reminds believers so frequently in his writings that there is no division amongst God’s people. Think of it: Jew and Gentile can worship the risen Christ together. The rich and the poor can worship Christ together, side by side! Yes, the young and the old can exalt the one, true God together, in worship! James speaks directly to this issue of greeting one another without impartiality. Dear friends: we could all be honest enough to confess that there are some people that we’re more comfortable approaching on Sundays and there are others who are, quite frankly, different than us! And if it were not for the saving grace of Christ, we probably would have no interactions with that person in our lives. And yet, by God’s wondrous grace and wise wisdom, He has brought many believers from different backgrounds and cultures together in this living and growing and wondrous organism called the Church! There are no boundaries or barriers or divisions! We are all one in Christ Jesus. All who are believers in Christ by faith alone belong to Christ! Perhaps you could make it a point to approach one person each week that you may not normally go up to and seek to warmly greet them and speak one encouraging word of grace to them for their edification! O the joy and sweetness in a local church if every saint approached one another without partiality to greet them, sit with them, talk with them, pray with them, and show brotherly kindness to them!

Many times in Paul’s letters he greets people by name. The book of Romans (ch. 16) provides a perfect example of Paul’s profuse and specific greetings to the saints. In Philippians 4, however, Paul does not greet people by name, but he does say to greet every saint. Dear Christian: do you know the fellow saints in your local church?  Do you specifically pray for them?  Do you know their needs? Their struggles? Their fears? Their joys? Their evangelistic encounters? Their causes for rejoicing? Do you greet folks and just say week after week after week, “hi, how are you? How was your week?” Or is there any greater depth that you go into in probing the heart, digging for some specifics if a generic answer is given? How can you take the simple greetings and greet one another with specificity by asking good questions, heart-probing questions, and sermon-engaging questions, and Christ-focused questions? Paul greets the saints in Philippi and assures them that the gospel has permeated even the imperial palace of Caesar! O let us give such specific encouragements to one another of how God is working, how Christ is worthy, how the Spirit is empowering, and how the gospel is advancing! May the Lord help us!

5. With GRACE.
In a remarkably Pauline feature that distinguishes his conclusions from the rest of ancient Greco-Roman letter writing conclusions, he reminds the Christians of God’s grace found in Christ that is with them always! In fact, often Paul bookends his letters with the reality of God’s grace that is given to them (see, e.g., Philippians 1:2 and 4:23). Why? Because all that Christians are is theirs by virtue of God’s grace! Believers are nothing and have nothing except by God’s undeserved grace. Paul reminds the saints that their position in Christ is all of grace. And he reminds them that they are sustained in Christ all by grace! God will carry them to glory all by grace! Indeed, we stand confidently in this grace of God!  So when Paul bids his farewell to the believers whom he affectionately loves, he reminds them of the wondrous and unfathomable grace of God that began the good work in them, that sustains the preserving work in them, and guarantees the sanctifying work in them till glory! O that we as Christians would greet one another with such thoughtful words of theological depth and richness! Consider how local congregations would be further edified and strengthened as each saint would speak a brief word of encouragement and truth to one another as we remind each other of God’s faithful grace and unfailing favor toward us -- in salvation, in suffering, in sanctification, indeed, in any situation! May the Lord help us to thoughtfully, theologically, and joyfully greet one another with grace-filled speech!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Why Invest in the Men?
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Every Friday morning I meet with about 6-8 men from the local church where I serve. From the very first week that I moved to St. Louis, I have endeavored to meet faithfully with these band of brothers. I remember the very first Sunday I was on site serving as the pastor of Christ Fellowship Bible Church, I called all the men to the front after the worship service and told them of my passion to meet with them, invest in them, pour all that I am and have into them, and disciple them. After a brief discussion, we chose 6:00-7:30AM every Friday morning for our study time. And to this day, six years later, we still meet to pray, talk church ministry, and study the Word together.

A typical format of our Friday morning meetings is fairly simple and straightforward. From 6-6:30AM I often will pour out my heart and work through practical church-related items and ask some thought-provoking questions to generate discussion (e.g., why do we do music the way we do? Why don’t we have this or that?). Sometimes I lead in exegeting a hymn to teach the men to think thoughtfully about the music we sing. Other times I’ll lead in a brief biography study through a man from church history (I love the Puritans so often they will hear of a Puritan!). We have worked slowly and biblically through all the elder-qualifications, the church mission statement, how to lead at home, and the importance of family worship. All this said, I try to discuss practical ministry-related items with the brothers for the first 30-minutes. Then from 6:30-7:30AM we dig into the Bible in our study. Over the years, we’ve studied verse by verse through Romans, John, Joshua, Philemon and we’re currently progressing through Proverbs. We’ve also had lengthy and in-depth studies on family worship, expository preaching, expository listening, family worship, biblical forgiveness, and biblical counseling. We finish everything and conclude in prayer by 7:30AM sharp so the brothers can depart and get to work.

Why is it so crucial for me to invest in the men?

1. Joyous Obedience
As a shepherd called by God to care for the souls of Christ’s sheep, He calls me to entrust biblical truths to other faithful men who can in turn teach others also (2 Tim 2:2). Therefore, I count it a joy to obey God in the discipling and mentoring of other men. I think of the example Moses set in discipling Joshua. I consider Paul’s example in mentoring and discipling young Timothy. I think of the many companions that accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys. Rarely was Paul alone. So first and foremost, I count it a joyous privilege and divine blessing to obey Him in the duty of investing in the men that He brings to the church where I pastor.

2. Internal Transformation  
As I meet with the men every Friday morning, the transformation is not only for the men who study the Word together with me, but one of the glories of leading the morning men’s studies consists in the internal transformation that God works in my own soul in my own time of personal study and prayer prior to meeting with the brothers.  I consider my time of preparation for the biblical counseling study we had a few years back, or I reflect on our verse by verse study through Romans or the Gospel of John, or now working progressively through the Book of Proverbs, one of the foremost blessings comes from my own time of prayerful study in the Word, in exegesis, in commentary work, and diligently laboring for practical application points. In a word, why do I invest in the men of the church? In my preparation and study, my own heart is pierced, convicted by truth, and taught by God’s Spirit. And for this internal transformation and divinely worked sanctification that takes place in my soul, I am profoundly grateful and blessed.

3. Leadership Development  
Jesus spent much time with His disciples. He invested in men to lead. He knew He would soon depart from this earth, ascend to heaven, and the work of gospel-proclamation would rest upon the shoulders of His followers. So he devoted Himself to developing leaders. Part of my motive in meeting with the men every Friday morning is to develop biblical leaders to serve in Christ’s Church. I understand the Spirit appoints men to ministry. I simply cannot make a leader. I cannot force someone into leadership nor should we lay hands on a man hastily. But I can, and indeed I must, give myself diligently to the training of men for ministry. I do this by modeling timeliness, faithfulness, punctuality, preparation, accurate hermeneutics, systematic theology, and a towering trust in the authority, sufficiency, and reliability of Scripture. I trust that the Lord will raise up elders and deacons from the Friday morning study as they receive the Word, grow in their theological precision, and live out biblical manhood in the home, in the church, and at work.

4. Family Discipleship    
I can’t disciple the wives of the church. Nor should I. But I can disciple the men of the church who will disciple their wives and children as the family shepherds of their homes. So I invest in the men on Friday mornings so that I can disciple, more or less, the entire church through the heads of households. I hope to model for the men the primacy of Scripture, the glory of Christ, the wonder of the gospel, and the precision of theology so that they can learn and do these things in the contexts of their own family environments. Our church doesn’t have a youth group, nor do we have thriving children’s programs, nor do we have a full-blown women’s, or men’s, or retired, or singles, or college ministry. But what we do have is a solid and robust commitment to the investing of godly men to teach other men who can teach and disciple their wives and children. And, the women can encourage other women (even the singles, the widows, the divorced, the retired, the young singles). And the men can encourage other men! The goal is for the Friday morning men’s study to be a model of Bible-centered discipleship so that the men can do this with others -- starting in their own homes with their own families.

5. Contagious Influence  
It blesses my soul to hear of people in the church meeting with other believers for fellowship, Bible reading, and study together. I take great joy in knowing that people meet together in “Bible-open” discipleship relationships so that men disciple other men and women disciple other women -- both young and old. I invest in the men on Friday mornings to also instill in the brothers the paramount necessity and urgent importance of regular encouraging one another in the things of God, from the Word of God. Then, the brothers seek out another man in the church -- whether it be a visitor, a regular attender, a fellow church-member, or a teenage child to get to know -- to take what we’re doing on Friday mornings and do this on their own throughout the week. This then produces an inter-personal web of discipleship relationships that permeates the culture of the church. Far from it being only the pastor-shepherds who do the soul-care of the sheep, this then produces an entire church that is involved in, committed to, diligently and proactively overseeing the spiritual wellbeing of the fellow members. So I meet with the men on Friday mornings because it also has a contagious influence on others who see that there’s nothing flashy, catchy, entertaining or super-difficult about the discipleship relationships in the Word. Then they reach out to others and care for and admonish others in the Word on a regular, consistent basis.  May God bless these labors for His glory and for the spiritual edification of His church.

More podcasts and resources can be found at Pastor Geoff's website here.
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