What “game-changing” impact would you make in your own life and the lives of your congregants, if it was within your power to do so?   Mine would look something like EQUIPPING laborers and leaders for greater, sanctified OBEDIENCE and for maximum MULTIPLICATION (“100-60-30-Fold Harvest” Matt 13).  Aren’t we all cultivating, planting, and reaping in our Master’s field toward that very end? 

For most of us that involves some fairly basic priorities to be evident in our habits and our schedules.  They are stated so very concisely in Article 8 of the EFCA Statement of Faith, entitled Christian Living.  Too often I only emphasize the second sentence, but I encourage you to read the whole thing slowly:  

“We believe that God’s justifying grace must not be separated from His sanctifying power and purpose.  God commands us to love Him supremely and others sacrificially, and to live out our faith with care for one another, compassion toward the poor and justice for the oppressed.  With God’s Word, the Spirit’s power, and fervent prayer in Christ’s name, we are to combat the spiritual forces of evil.  In obedience to Christ’s commission, we are to make disciples among all people, always bearing witness to the gospel in word and deed.”

To that end, Caring Friends Training is being offered as a “Judea / Samaria” short-term mission project for district churches.  Caring Friends Training seeks to truly equip and mobilize an entire movement of called, gifted, and trained individuals from within our local churches to labor in the kingdom harvest (Matt 9:35-38). Followers of Jesus are called to address vital needs among all people, without overlooking various vulnerable people within our churches and communities.  We are compelled to bring the Gospel to bear in faithfulness, humility, and Holy Spirit-dependent obedience, to live out Great Commandment and Great Commission priorities through holistic, highly relational, disciple-making ministries. 

Caring Friends Training may be applied uniquely in each community and local church, based on the gifts and passion of the faithful people who step up.  Some ways in which the Holy Spirit has already been at work which we have become aware of this year include a variety of organizations and some energetic “champions” on behalf of families in crisis, father-absent children, marriages, and the like. 

Elements of Caring Friends Training will equip and empower participants to realize the significance of prayer walking and engaging in spiritual conversations that cultivate, plant and reap a high-yield harvest.   We will also be as pragmatic as possible with basics that help people grow and mature spiritually.  We will equip individuals with special interests such as Life Coaches for Kids, Safe Families For Children, and a strategic utilization of a time back to facilitate relational evangelism. 

Dates of this training are July 10-15, 2011 in downtown Minneapolis near our office.  Prayerfully consider who the Lord may already be stirring in your congregation to participate in this practical, hands-on training experience.  For more info, email me at Tom.Mouw@ncdefca.org .