Friday, March 31, 2006


Mission is the one area where the Purpose Driven Presbyterians Network had to do some major “tweaking” of the original stuff from Saddleback. A common view in Southern Baptist circles is that “mission” always involves an outward sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ. This is definitely an important aspect of mission—I would argue the most important. However, there are other aspects to mission (hurricane relief, Habitat for Humanity, working in developing nations to improve all qualities of life, etc.). The “network” has developed a more comprehensive view of mission.

Two aspects of mission are emphasized in our Purpose Driven model. First, we will encourage all of our small groups to participate in some sort of mission project every year. The small group could choose to work at a soup kitchen, visit a nursing home, work on a Habitat for Humanity house, do yard work for an elderly person, etc. The church will also have ongoing mission efforts that individuals can participate in. Here at Evergreen, we have formed a “sister church” relationship with Kake Memorial Presbyterian Church, Kake, Alaska. Kake is a small Alaskan Native village in Southeast Alaska. The village is experiencing a very rough time in its history. Two main employers have ceased operations in Kake. Most men and women in the 20 – 60 years of age neighborhood have had to leave the village to find work. Many of the kids have stayed behind with grandparents. Difficult times in Kake mean difficult times at its churches. Our partnership will be beneficial to both churches. We will send groups up to assist them with Vacation Bible School, work on the building and grounds, additional $$ to help support their ministry and other projects as needed. They will send individuals and groups down to our church to teach Native bead work and culture and their youth group will stay with us as they travel on their mission projects. This initiative will provide opportunities for our folks to be involved in a mission experience.

A second emphasis of the Purpose Driven model is covered in the 401 seminar. People will be taught how to share their faith and lead another person to a life-changing commitment to Jesus Christ. This is a powerful seminar. There is nothing that is as exciting as praying with someone to receive Jesus Christ! As I write this I am sitting in a house with our realtor, while the house is being inspected. Janet (our realtor) is a Deacon at Evergreen. Several years ago it was my privilege to pray with her as she rededicated her life to Christ. This type of experience should not be reserved for just pastors! The 401 seminar equips all of the participants to share their faith.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Almost ten years ago there was a “Meet the Candidate” question and answer time as I was in the process of being call as Pastor here at Evergreen. Near the end of the time a gentleman stood up to make a comment. He expressed his joy at the possibility of having the next pastor be firmly grounded in scripture. Later that evening I found out that he was currently serving as an Elder at the church. Imagine my surprise when at the first session meeting after being called as Pastor that this gentleman resigned from session. He loved the Lord; he loved the Evergreen. Yet, he felt as though he was a failure. He was the moderator of the Mission and Evangelism Committee. He loved mission and evangelism but was not really equipped to be the head of the committee. Thus, he resigned from session.

The Purpose Driven model has a focus on Ministry (the 301 seminar deals with the topic). The seminar will assist a person in discerning:

  1. their spiritual gift(s);
  2. passion for particular activities, subjects and circumstances—what tugs at their heart;
  3. the abilities God gave to the person apart from spiritual gifts;
  4. their personality—introvert or extrovert, whether the person thrives in routine or variety, etc.;
  5. their life experiences that have help mold them into the person they are today.

All of this information is prayerfully used to help direct a person to a ministry position to which they are best suited. They will be excited about he ministry because it is in an area that motivates and drives them.

The goal at Evergreen is that in two years a person will not serve in a leadership capacity in the church unless they have gone through 301. This way we know as best as humanly possible that a person in leadership is:

  1. a Christ-follower;
  2. having a regular time with God outside of Sunday or Saturday night worship;
  3. in a ministry area that best suits the person that God created them to be.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Discipleship 3 – The Core Classes

Previously, we looked at the seminar series that assists a person to mature in their faith. Today we will look at the second part of the Purpose Driven paradigm which assists a person in maturing in their faith—core discipleship classes. At Evergreen, these classes are offered in twelve week blocks throughout the year. Some of the classes are very foundational and offered every year. These are the classes that we would like everyone in the church to take, especially those new to following Christ or those who are seriously considering following him.

Interpreting the Bible Faithfully: This foundational class is teaches the layperson how to read the Bible in its literary and cultural context, so that guided by the Holy Spirit they can hear God’s voice through the scriptures. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart is the text for this class.

What Christians Believe: We live in an age and area where biblically illiterate people form their own ideas of what it means to be a Christian. Many have woven concepts from other religious world views (such as reincarnation) into their idea of the Christian faith. This class explains Biblical Christianity in plain and simple English. It covers Christian doctrines—the Bible, God, Christ, Holy Spirit, humanity, sin, salvation, the church and the end times. This is a foundational class that is offered regularly.

Grasping the Whole Book: This class helps the participants learn the basics of the bible’s history and themes, so they can see the “big picture.”

Making the Spiritual Journey: This class will challenge participants to grow in their faith through the practice of spiritual disciplines. Two books used for this class are Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster and Disciplines of the Holy Spirit by Dr. Siang-Yang Tan and Dr. Douglas H. Gregg.

Other classes we will be offering are Contemporary Issues for Christians, Becoming a Contagious Christian, Grasping Church History, The Roots of a Presbyterian-Based Faith, The Helper (a study of the Holy Spirit), Helping Your Student Grow in Christ-Like Maturity, The Purpose Driven Life, Prayer, Worship. We will be adding additional class over the years.

These classes are designed to give a Christ-follower a well rounded foundation for their life and faith.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Discipleship Part 2 – The Seminars

The Christian Life and Service Seminars (C.L.A.S.S. for short) are a major part of the Purpose Driven strategy for discipleship training. The series is composed of four seminars. The seminars are to be taken in order! They provide a comprehensive, Biblical, strategy that helps a person deepen their faith in Christ as they move from being a church attendee to being involved in the church’s ministry and mission.

C.L.A.S.S. 101 is called Discovering Church Membership. It is designed to move the participant from being a person who attends the church to becoming a member of the church. This three hour seminar covers the church’s mission and motivating vision, its core values, history, bedrock Biblical beliefs, introduces the Purpose Driven model and the process for spiritual growth, introduces the PCUSA and the church’s structure, shares the church’s expectations for church members and presents the good news of Jesus Christ with an opportunity for a person to pray to invite Jesus Christ to be in control of their life. A person can become a member of the church following the completion of 101, determining that they are a Christ-follower and meeting with the Session.

C.L.A.S.S. 201 is called Discovering Spiritual Maturity. At Evergreen, this seminar is six hours in length—two sessions of three hours. Session one covers an introduction to spiritual maturity and habits, how to get a grip on your Bible, and the habit of a daily time with God. The participants are to have several daily times with God between sessions one and two. The Second session begins with a sharing of what the participants experienced when trying to have time with God. It then goes on to the habit of prayer (where they learn some principles on how to pray), tithing, and Biblical fellowship. Upon completion of 201 the participants commit to having a daily quiet time with God of personal Bible reading and prayer, striving to give the first 10% of their income to God and to be in fellowship with other Christ-followers in a group or classroom setting.

C.L.A.S.S. 301 is called Discovering Ministry. It helps a person discern their spiritual gift(s), passion for ministry and the calling of God to a specific ministry in the church. This helps a person focus their energy, time, talents and gifts in a specific ministry.

C.L.A.S.S. 401 is called Discovering Mission. The seminar introduces the participants to mission and evangelism. All of the small groups of the church are encouraged to participate in some form of mission during a calendar year. But, this seminar goes to the next step. It helps organize the church and individuals for mission in the local community, the region and around the world. Individuals are trained in how to share their faith and lead a person into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

A person has never “arrived” as a follower of Jesus. We are always growing in our faith. God isn’t finished with us until we go to be with him. The Purpose Driven model of discipleship provides the local church with a comprehensive strategy to help people become mature disciples of Jesus Christ.

Discipleship – The Path to Spiritual Maturity (part 1)

Jesus commanded his disciples to “Go and make disciples…” Unfortunately, churches in the PCUSA do not do a very good job at this. Biblical illiteracy is rampant in our denomination. Fasting is a foreign concept. “Tithing” is a dirty word. “Prayer” is something the pastor does just before the congregation recites the Lord’s Prayer. The Apostle Paul would call many of our members spiritually immature.

The Purpose Driven model provides a fantastic framework to assist the believer in becoming a disciple of Jesus. The process is built on four seminars and fourteen (or fifteen) 12 – 15 week classes.

Tomorrow I will describe the four seminars.