I have decided to use the first ecommentary of each month to update folks about the work of Graceworks. This was supposed to be a breakout year for Graceworks. We had new staff joining us. And we were embarking on a major fund-raising programme to purchase our own premises. Of course, with the present virus pandemic we have put on hold our plans to purchase our own place. But we do have a new staff with us who has really strengthened our work.
This is a time to lie fallow and to seek the Lord afresh as to what He wants Graceworks to do. After much prayer and discussion, we have decided that, going forward, the focus of Graceworks will be spiritual mentoring. Adapting the work of Anderson and Reese, we define spiritual mentoring in this way:
“Spiritual mentoring is an intentional, relational process for spiritual formation
by which one person becomes a spiritual guide for one or several others.”
Those of you who have been following the work of Graceworks will realise that this is no big change from our primary mission. We have always been committed to relational transformation, our conviction that lives are transformed relationally. We mature in the context of authentic relationships. In the past we talked about our commitment to spiritual friendship. This is still a key concern for Graceworks. We see this as an expression of peer mentoring. However, we believe the term “spiritual mentoring” is clearer and that will better help people to understand what we are about.
A key passage that will anchor our work going forward is Colossians 1:28–29:
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all
wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this
end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works
in me. (NIV)
This then is our vision — “everyone fully mature in Christ”.
Our mission (and it may need more polishing) is:
Promoting Christian maturity through the promotion of the practice of
spiritual mentoring through teaching, training and publishing.
We need to define what “mature in Christ” means. There are many churches and organisations doing excellent work in discipling. For our own contribution to the call to make disciples, we will focus on three aspects of Christlike maturity:
Spiritual Maturity — trusting and obeying Abba Father in loving communion with Him
Relational Maturity — connected to and sharing life with others in healthy community
Vocational Maturity — clarity of, and faithfulness to our callings as we co-labour with God
Three vital questions of our ministry, then, are these:
1. Who is God and how do I relate to Him?
2. Who do I journey with?
3. What have I been called to do?
As you know, Graceworks has two main arms — teaching/training and publishing. The two arms of Graceworks will focus on the above mission and the above components of spiritual maturity.
The Lord gave Bernice and myself the vision for Graceworks in 2007. It has been a tough journey but here we are by His grace. We just want to be faithful to what the Lord has called us to do.
One key principle of ministry is that we don’t do this alone. We do it in partnership with others. We continue to covet your prayers and input. We especially appreciate your financial support at this time with many of our ministry engagements cancelled and the book sales that accompany such events now no longer possible. We appreciate that you may also be going through a tough time financially. We all look to the Lord for His provision.
This difficult season will not last forever. God and His agenda will continue to hold true, and a big part of that agenda is His plan to raise up a new humanity that will bear the image of Christ. Graceworks is committed to that agenda and we pray you will walk with us as we pursue this vision together.
May 1st, 2020