Today I am submitting my final written project for the Masters degree program I have been enrolled in at The Resurgence Training Center over the last year. The project itself is a subject for another post but thinking about really being done with Re:Train has led me to reflect on what the last year of higher education has taught me and more importantly how I have been changed as a result. A few reflections on the entire year have emerged:
Reflection #1 – Having a Gospel Coach Could Save Your Life
For me at least on three occasions that I can recollect off the top of my head the man that Gospel Coached me this last year literally kept me from making terrible decisions and choices that would have not only brought harm to myself but to my family and even others that I was leading. Re:Train not only taught me Gospel Coaching, but provided a Gospel Coach to help shepherd me in my own walk.
Reflection #2 – There is Great Value In Being In A Community
One of the genius designs of Re:Train was not only the program content, but the design of the program to put me into a small group of ten to share my life with. The "Global Massive" Cohort (as we labeled ourselves) was another measure of God's grace to me in the entire Re:Train process. As I began the program I was convinced that I wanted to hang out and spend as much time with the Acts 29 church planters at Re:Train as I could so I could discern my own call to planting. At one point on the first day of the program I even tried to jump ship on the cohort I was assigned and find another more focused church planting team. However it was the good Providence of God to keep me in the cohort I was assigned, and to ultimately find a group of men who love Jesus deeply and are really going to impact the world with the gospel. I was placed alongside men both young and old who are from and are going to places all over the globe. I love these guys and am grateful for the joy of learning and being blessed alongside them.
Reflection #3 – A Good Learner Reads Outside of His Tribe
Before coming to Re:Train I was pretty constrained to who I would read or what publishers I would read from. A bit of this was my own desire to be fed well from the books I was reading, a larger portion of it was my own pride and stupid ideas of separation. As I worked and read this last year I found myself on a few occasions reading people I wouldn't usually have read. What I discovered in them is that even though I might not be theologically or philosophically compatible in every degree of doctrine and practice they still can be wise in Scripture and helpful in my leadership and development as a pastor. So I have to broaden the base and platform from which I can read.
Reflection #4 – I Am Not Defined By My Job, Church, or Successes and Failures
Probably the greatest benefit I received from Re:Train is a clearer understanding and love for the gospel. I don't know why it took so long for me, probably because I am slow and dumb, but it seems like this year the truth of the gospel and the identity that I have in Jesus as the defining factor for who I am before anything else has come into view. Through several successes and several failures this last year the Lord humbled me to remember I am not defined by what I do, where I work, how many people I preach too or even how monumental my failures are. In Christ I am defined as a son of God, holy, chosen, adopted, beloved. The gospel, Jesus' redemptive life and work on my behalf, is the very thing that defines who I am.
I could probably write another ten reflections of the last year, but these will suffice as the top four for now. I am so thankful to the Lord for allowing and providing for me to go to Re:Train and the change He has affected in my life as a result. The education, gifting and skills He has given me and I am eager and excited to be using them for the glory of Jesus and the advance of the gospel.