The Three People We Need to Grow in Christ

There is no higher calling in this world than to be a follower of Jesus Christ, that is to say, a disciple of Jesus Christ. This is not the same thing as a call to vocational ministry. It is the call to everyone who has embraced Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Disciples of Jesus Christ fulfill their calling as they live and work for Him in this world as parents, grandparents, students, teachers, artists, musicians, plumbers, electricians, roofers, nurses, engineers, physicians, lawyers, stay at home moms and working moms, shoppers, neighbors, yes, and pastors too.

We are called to let the Christ who indwells our lives, speak to and touch the lives of all those living around us. Someone well said, “The only Christ many will ever see is the Christ that is living in me.” But to follow Jesus we must have more than just a “how to” manual. The Bible teaches us that we need people, three kinds of other people in order to grow and continue growing in our walk with Christ. But it is your responsibility and mine to be sure we have them! We must take the initiative and not just simply sit on our hands and wait for them to find us.

The call to “make disciples” is not simply an informational evangelical gospel message, nor is it just about baptizing converts or sterile unapplied Bible teaching, but it necessarily requires the involvement of other people in our lives, who live out the gospel and apply the teaching of Christ and the Scriptures to their lives. Perhaps that is why the Great Commission cannot be reduced to evangelism alone, but to the comprehensive process of “[Proclaiming] Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ [Colossians 1:28].”

Teaching as he often did from the book of Acts, not only in the seminary classroom, but speaking in some of the nation’s largest stadiums jammed with thousands of people like you and me, Howard Hendricks used to say, “Everyone needs three people in their lives: a Paul to mentor them, a Barnabas to encourage them, and a Timothy, someone into whom you can pour your life.”

I would like to challenge us to think about the three people, the three kinds of people each of us needs in our life in order to grow and walk in Christ, regardless of where we are on the journey, whether just starting out in Christ, or along the way, or perhaps even near the end. All of us need a Paul, to mentor us; a Barnabas, to encourage us; and a Timothy, someone into whom we can pour our lives.

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Ed has had over 30 years of ministry experience, sixteen of them at Greenwoods Community Church in the southern Berkshires of Massachusetts. More recently he has fulfilled an extended transitional interim assignment for the Alliance Southeast of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Leesburg, Florida. In addition, Ed has had nearly 13 years of experience in the field of geriatric healthcare. Ed’s is happily married to Lynn, having recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Lynn is a true partner in ministry, having served Greenwoods Community Church as its Children's Ministry Coordinator for over ten years. She is a decorator, colorist, instructor in furniture painting, and an artist in her own right. For over 20 years she had her own business, Whimsical Brushes, teaching and traveling throughout the Northeast. Lynn is also active as a women’s outreach speaker for Stonecroft Ministries in Florida. God has given Ed a burden to be a mentor pastor, developing leaders for the church in the 21st Century. One way in which he is fulfilling that calling is through Rockbridge Seminary, where he serves as an adjunct professor of Spiritual Formation. Ed has earned degrees from Cairn University (B.S. 1971), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M. 1979), and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min. 2007). He has published several articles on the Spiritual Heritage of Litchfield County, Connecticut, and led several tours of sites associated with the Village Revivals that spawned the Second Great Awakening in New England. In his spare time, you are likely to find Ed at the piano or pecking out a blog on his blog page

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