Here are some things that Graceworks, our ministry, did recently.

*We launched a book by our friend, Andrew Sabaratnam, entitled All Things To All Men. Through this book Andrew wanted to help Christians relate to people from different cultures. One key application — helping the Singapore church reach out to migrant workers.

*We ran a number of seminars on The Generations Project aimed at helping the different generations in the church understand themselves and each other to minimise conflict and to maximise collaboration.

*I preached and taught a number of times on Spiritual Friendship, helping believers follow Christ in the company of friends.

As I reflected on what we were doing, the word “Befriend” came to mind. It was the common theme in our ministry activities:

All Things To All Men — a book aimed at helping believers befriend those of other cultures.

The Generations Project — a seminar for helping believers befriend those of other generations.

Spiritual Friendship — teaching believers how to befriend each other in their discipleship journey.

I also noted that this mission of helping believers to befriend involved both our publishing and training ministries. Indeed, as I reflected on our seminars and our publications, it is clear that what we are trying to do is to help people, especially Christians, befriend each other and befriend others.

Graceworks started with this mission: “promoting spiritual friendship in church and society through publishing and training”. But we were always not quite sure how to present the two sides of Graceworks’ work in one coherent inclusive statement. Perhaps “helping Christians befriend” could be the mission statement that unites both arms of Graceworks.

We have never been more convinced of the importance of spiritual friendship. A lonely and often selfish world needs friendship to thrive. In the words of John P. Bequette:

. . . a healthy culture is one that nurtures friendship and enables it to thrive. By contrast, an unhealthy culture is one that hinders and finally destroys friendship. The ability to build meaningful friendships is essential to the full realization of our being made in the image of God. And if salvation consists in the restoration of this image in the person, then there is a salvific dimension to friendship and, consequently a salvific dimension to culture. . . . Our eternal salvation depends, at least in part, on our ability to enter into meaningful friendships. This ability is intimately connected with culture. Thus, friendship is an issue that touches upon the salvation of souls and is therefore central to the mission of the church.  (Christian Friendship [Eugene. OR: Cascade Books, 2019], 4.)

There is some paradox here. We need to know what friendship is in order to become friends of God. But we need God’s help to learn how to be friends.

This then is the heart of Graceworks’ mission — Helping Christians befriend so that they can help the world be friends, and be friends of God.

After 17 years of ministry, we realise that our initial mission statement was correct, but now we are more aware of both the need and the nature of our work. And how we can frame it better.

Will you help us?

The funding of Graceworks has always been a mixed model. We get up to 2/3 of our finances through our work — publications, honorariums, etc. But we still need to raise 1/3 of what we need from sponsorships. This comes from individuals, churches and groups who believe in our mission. As you look at year-end giving and as you plan for your giving in 2024, would you pray about helping to sponsor the work of Graceworks?

To be a friend of Jesus is to love as He loves (John 15:9–17). Please help us in this friendship mandate. Help Graceworks help Christians befriend.