Recently Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and Matthias Media teamed up for a conference titled “Gospel Growth = People Growth.” The idea is simple, “Gospel growth happens in people and through people.” While the idea is simple, the implications are profound for how you do ministry. Here is a paragraph from the conferences website:
“It happens in people. You can have growth in numbers, in budgets, in programs, in activities, in staff, in baptisms, in buildings, in reputation, and even growth in the quality of preaching, but unless individual people are growing in knowledge, in faith, in godliness, and in love as disciples of Christ, it’s all a noisy clanging gong. Are your people really growing? How would you know whether they are or not? Who is discipling each person in your congregation?
Gospel growth also happens through people. Jesus commissioned every disciple for disciple-making, and a pastor-teacher’s job is not only to Proclaim and to Pray but also also to equip, train and mobilize People for the task. Gospel growth multiplies as Christians get involved in the three P’s: in prayerfully speaking God’s word to other people, in whatever way they can, large or small, at home or at work, in small groups or one-to-one. Is this happening where you are? Or is the ministry basically done by the staff? How many people in your congregation, for example, would be willing and able to do the foundational personal discipling work of following up a new believer and establishing them in the basics of the faith?”
I first saw an advertisement for this conference a while back in a magazine and thought, “I hope they publish the audio files online.” Well, they have, so here are links to the audio files from each of the sessions (from their web site);
- D.A. Carson, Introduction: Ministry, Motives, and Mentors
- David Helm, The Personal Work of Gospel Witness
- David Helm, The Pastor’s Work of Gospel Training
- Mark Dever, The Four Ps of Evangelical Ministry
- Phillip Jensen, What Is Training? People not Programs
- Phillip Jensen, How a Training Mentality Leads to Gospel Workers
- Marty Sweeney, Obstacles to Training
- Tony Payne, Training and Gospel Resources
I encourage you to listen to each of these, as will I. The topics look well worth the investment.