This past weekend I participated with hundreds of other people in the Desiring God national conference in Minneapolis. Although I don’t view myself at the age of “the time for my departure is at hand,” the fact is I am older than most of the attendees. The theme of the conference was based around full time vocational cross cultural ministry. The most important message? The Gospel.
Another missions conference? Just the Gospel? What about “how to reach them?” Engaging the culture? Really!? The Gospel?? Com’on Man!
It was lunch break and my stomach had been reminding me it was in need of something to digest. My intellect had been challenged, my spirit moved by David Platt. There was much to think and meditate upon. I passed through the burrito bar and found a table to myself. Just as my mouth was dripping with black beans and chicken three young men descended on my table and introduced themselves. None of them were over 30, two chemical engineers and an English grammar major from Houston.
I listened to their stories and made new friends. Their stories were stories of the Gospel. Their purpose is to take the Gospel to places where it is seldom heard. Highly educated, they each could use their knowledge to be successful and establish a comfortable existence for themselves. Three single men. One purpose: the Gospel.
God had shown them through the Scriptures that without Christ all perish. There is a drought of doctrinal teaching today in favor of more practical self help streams. When the doctrine of absolute depravity is shelved the Gospel loses its glorious good news. If I’m not a hopeless sinner apart from God with no recourse then the Grace of the Gospel has no meaning and I don’t truly know the Good News. I have no relationship with the one, true God.
We are to go and our mission is to “make disciples.” It is not to feed the poor, though that can be a means to an end. It is not to teach English, though that also can be a means to an end. The first, foremost and exclusively most important reason we go is to make make disciples. We are to preach the total hopelessness of man and the wonderful grace of God. We are to teach the doctrines of the apostles.
I was encouraged. These young men “got it.” We ate together, laughed, and had serious meaningful dialog about purpose. They said goodbye and I didn’t see them again, lost in a crowd of thousands. A crowd of thousands with the same purpose!