Recently my friend Bryan Barley came to our church here in Suffolk, VA. He was sharing with our elders on Tuesday night and with the larger congregation on Wednesday. Bryan and I have been friends for a few years now and I have always enjoyed the way he can challenge me in a Biblical and gentle way. I genuinely feel that he is a friend that sharpens me and nudges me toward faithfulness.
It was fun to hang out with Bryan as we talked about the gospel, theology, ministry, and life. We mixed in a some sports, comedy, and ridiculous religious broadcasting to top it off.
If you are unaware of the journey that Bryan and his family are undertaking you should check out their church. They are moving to Denver, CO in January of 2011 to plant a gospel-centered community right in the middle of the city. Rarely have I found a church planter as gifted, thoughtful, teachable, and faithful as Bryan.
It was refreshing to be around Bryan because he thinks the way all Christians should be thinking — like a missionary. Nothing is off limits. Every strategy, relationship, and plan is tested against the Scriptures for the purpose of sharing the gospel with the nations.
Bryan shared many insightful things about missions, urban ministry, church planting, community, and mission. One thing he mentioned has continued to haunt me: as Christians we do a lot of different things when are really called to do only one thing and do it well — we are to be disciples that make disciples.
As Christians it is easy to get distracted by buildings, staff, programs, strategies, fads, events, budgets, and more. The will of God, however, is simple — go and make disciples. Go to the nations. Go to the neighborhoods. Go to the cities. Go to the companies. Go to the schools. GO!
Among all the things (some of them good and some of them bad) that I am doing, am I doing the one thing I am called by God to do?