Moving Forward By Looking Backward

If your church is like mine, your leadership is considering when and how to move forward in gathering together again as God’s people. While each church and family might choose a slightly different path in this regard, one thing strikes me as crucial: We need to look backward in order to move forward. We need to look back to the Scriptures and reaffirm and prioritize our biblical calling in regard to discipling the next generation. The disruptions we have experienced these past months give us an opportunity to really focus on this.

…we tire ourselves out by constantly striving to reinvent the wheel. Is the current state of discipleship lamentable? It may well be so in many of our churches. But rather than looking for the latest technique, program, marketing scheme, or impressive model, we would do well to stop, take some deep breaths, and carefully reconsider our course. God’s words uttered through the prophet Jeremiah many centuries ago seem apt for us today:

Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look and ask for the ancient paths where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” (Jeremiah 6:16).

We agree with the widespread conviction that many evangelical churches are in need of deep change today…Our premise, however, is that the surest way forward is to carefully contemplate the wisdom of our past….In the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments we find an abundance of wisdom for building believers who will live to the glory and honor of our God. There are models and mandates, principles and practices that are as relevant for ministry today as they ever were. Church history also provides us with numerous examples of vibrant, fruitful seasons in the lives of God’s people, when true disciples were truly being made, when whole communities were alive with and for God’s glory. We do not disdain the idea of looking around at contemporary models to find guidance for our own ministries of disciple making. But we do suggest that this not be our only source for wisdom, or even our primary source. Instead, we would counsel, let us look back before looking around. 

(J. I. Packer and Gary A. Parrett, Grounded in the Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, copyright©2010, pages 24-25)

Now more than ever, Truth78 is committed to equipping churches and homes to move forward in these difficult times by providing help and resources that looks to the wisdom of the past. Toward that end, we have included a special link on our website for church leaders and parents seeking to navigate the season ahead. You will find the following four commitments highlighted along with resources to help.

  1. Rebuild from a biblical vision for discipleship.
  2. Grow in partnership between church and home.
  3. Put a rock of truth under children.
  4. Pray with dependence on God’s sovereign grace.