Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Team - Hibbs

Jennifer and Peter Hibbs are leading a team in the midst of launching a new campus ministry in Kaunas (not Kansas), Lithuania. They have found it to be a little frustrating at times trying to create a presence on campus and seeing students respond to the gospel.

And yet, God has been amazingly providing them with some very special people of peace. The Administer of Student Activities at the largest university in Kaunas has been great at seeing Agape as an asset instead of a threat. After some initials concerns that they were a cult, she is now very open to working with them. (It helped that Peter lost the Hari Krishna haircut.) She is pivotal in giving them access into the dorms, as well as introducing them to a group of student Christians that are working through an Alpha Course she is putting on. She also introduced them to the Catholic priest that is in charge of spiritual life at the university.

Their blog is called Team Hibbs which you can read about the origins of that name on the profile. In an email this past week, Peter said, "Jen and I are still learning to 'encourage each others strengths and protect each others weaknesses'. We both are excited to be where God has us and love not only getting to live together overseas, but also striving together toward building the Kingdom. We love being part of a team, both in our own marriage and also on our team. So often it is our experiences in one that equip and strengthen our effectiveness in the other."

Peter has hit it on the head. Christ has called us to live and minister in community, as part of a body, as a team. It is no accident that the church is birthed in community with the immersion of 120 huddled together in an upper room waiting for the promise. His plan has always been for us to build His kingdom under the transforming power of the Spirit as a team equipping and edifying one another along the way.

This morning in my quiet time I was reading Romans 12. We all can quote those great verses that start off this chapter about being a living sacrifice and being transformed by the renewing our minds. I have often used this passage to point out that surrendering on the altar is not only our spiritual act of worship but a prerequisite to knowing His good and perfect will of where He is leading me in this mission.

But Paul doesn’t immediately transition to ministry. At least not in the way I was thinking. I kept reading and noticed that he doesn’t pick up the theme of his ministry to Gentiles until midway through chapter 15. Instead he dives into how this mind renewal starts with not thinking so highly of ourselves. He then spends several chapters looking at how we are to relate to one another in the community, the body, the team. (Yes, there is an aside to responding to government in Chapter 13.)

As I read these chapters I asked myself : "How do I view those I serve alongside? Is my love sincere? Do I see that I have a continuing debt to love one another? Do I accept others the way Christ does? Do I see them as He does – delighting over them and rejoicing with singing? Am I living in a way that leads toward mutual edification? Am I shepherding those placed under my care in way that encourages their strengths and protects their weaknesses?"

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5,6
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1 comment:

Jessica Joy said...

auughh!! why does the bible have to be so convicting?!?!?! thanks for sharing andy. =)