THIS EDITION OF MOORE MATTERS HAS BEEN A WONDERFUL REMINDER OF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY AND GOSPEL UNITY IN AUSTRALIA.
I hope and pray you are both encouraged and challenged by the articles, which focus on gospel workers from across our country as they unpack the significance of community in their own ministry contexts, and how they are connected to the wider gospel fellowship. Personally, when I think of community, I can’t help but turn to the words of the apostle Peter:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:8-11)
These words from Peter beautifully capture the relationships that brothers and sisters in Christ ought to have, as they adorn the gospel in their relationships with each other. Notice the clear, other-person-centred selflessness with which all Christians ought to relate to each other. Notice how Christian relationships ought to flow out of the gospel imperatives we have been taught by the example par excellence—our Lord Jesus Christ. And see how all of this is done for the purpose of praising our God, which leads Peter to end this section in uncontrollable doxology. However, as we are all too aware, this sort of community takes commitment, humility and perseverance not only to build but to maintain. We are too easily entangled in the struggles of this world, plagued by sin. And we too easily resort to selfishness, with hearts seeking to be kings and queens of our domain.
As Peter would attest, the only antidote to such selfishness is of course to remember the gospel that has “given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3b), and to look forward to “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade […] kept in heaven for [us]” (1 Peter 1:4). In looking back and looking forward, we have all the impetus we need to persevere until the return of our Lord. In fact, the struggle to persevere as Christians in the messiness of this world and the gospel as the antidote are a big part of the reason why Moore College values learning and formation in the context of Christian community so much. College’s raison d’être is to equip men and women to live for and proclaim our crucified Messiah. This is best done in community, because it emulates the realities of what a lifetime of ministry will look like. Students study face to face, living together, laughing together, mourning together, forgiving and being forgiven, and forging relationships that last a lifetime. Things aren’t always perfect; however, all of this is to build not only an ability to handle the whole counsel of God, but also resilience of Christian character. This is because the varied ministries students find themselves in are inevitably face to face, living in the messiness of life, proclaiming Jesus to a world which actively hates him and encouraging people who are harassed and helpless. Like sheep without a shepherd.
This was my experience as a student at College. It was a great kindness of God that as I studied here, I learned how to understand my reactions to injustices, respond with humility to circumstances I did not appreciate, and work at selflessly loving brothers and sisters who were bought by the blood of Christ and precious to God. In my cohort, I also made friendships with those who continue to be some of my closest friends and confidants in ministry work and in navigating what it looks like to walk with Jesus in this life. It was only when I left College that I realised just how valuable it was to be able to message a friend in Singapore on Whatsapp, pray with people in New Zealand via Zoom, or catch up for dinner in Sydney with a fellow worker ministering in a different context.
A theological education in community is vitally important for being equipped for a lifetime serving Jesus—especially when given an office of responsibility. The Scriptures are too valuable to not study them in depth, the people are too precious to lead them astray, and the world is too complicated because of sin, to not have thought through how to live as a Christian deeply. However, doing this comes at some significant financial costs to the College. Asking students to uproot their lives and move to the expensive city of Sydney requires us to subsidise accommodation and provide maintenance and upgrades regularly. Providing meals for our on-campus students is essential for discussions after class but it does incur costs. Caring for students’ spiritual and academic needs while at College takes a toll on faculty resources and energy. Modelling men and women ministering together in partnership means we also have male and female chaplains who work together with faculty to minister to students and provide a model of godly servant-hearted ministry worth replicating. Add to this the administrative staff who work behind the scenes to ensure that the various needs of living and learning in community are met as smoothly as possible.
To this end, we ask if you would please pray for the faculty, staff, and students at College that we will all continue to foster Christ-like Christian community. Please pray for our current students, that they will continue to develop in Christian character together and be convicted to serve our Lord Jesus Christ where he might direct them to serve. Please also pray for another large in-take of students in 2022, that God would convict many to consider being equipped to go out into the ripe harvest field.
I continue to thank God for all of you who pray and financially support the work of the College. As you have in the past, would you consider giving to the John Chapman House Capital Development Fund or General Fund, to allow Moore College to continue to facilitate the ongoing legacy of living and building community at College, to the chief end of glorifying God.
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