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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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Don’t Plant a Church If You’re Not a Pastor

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The book of Acts shows us the story of the gospel advancing around the world. The good news is preached and churches are planted. Along the way, however, we read of various internal issues the church leaders face.

One of them appears in Acts 6. The Greek-speaking widows aren’t being cared for adequately, so pastoral steps are taken in order to give attention to their needs. Spirit-filled servants are appointed for this task; the widows receive proper care; the unity of the church is protected; ministry is shared; and the apostles continue to spend most of their time praying and preaching the Word (Acts 6:4, 5:42). 

The result? “And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem” (Acts 6:7). This is one of Luke’s many summary statements about the growth of the church.

Clearly, he sees this gospel-centered growth as a good thing to be celebrated. We read of such statements and say, “Do it again, Lord!”

But if God does add to our number, we will find that growth brings certain pastoral challenges, like this matter in Acts 6.

In the world of church planting, we want to see the gospel advance; we want to see multitudes come to faith in Christ. But we must also give attention to the internal shepherding needs of our people.

Leading and maintaining both pastoral and missional ministries is difficult.

To help us think about this challenge, we have invited Jonathan Dodson on the podcast.

You can listen to this podcast episode here.

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