Sometimes we at CCEF define ourselves by our goals. Our mission statement says that we are aiming to restore Christ to counseling and to restore counseling ministries to Christ’s churches. That’s a good goal. Other times we define ourselves by the things we do. We teach, counsel, speak, and write. Each of those ministries of the Word is important. But at the end of the day, I believe God defines us by our fruitfulness—and for CCEF that is seen in the lives of others.
The ministry stories we’ve been posting in the past few weeks depict some of that fruitfulness. They express variations on a wonderful theme. God kindles new life. He changes the world by changing us. His word maps onto everything that happens to us, and he realigns everything about how we respond. He also puts us to work. We, his people, become bearers of his love and truth to others. CCEF enjoys the privilege of bringing relevant words to life’s struggles. People who respond to the message appreciate the messenger, and they give in return. These are our donors.
My own story is a variation on the same theme. I love CCEF because God has used its people and ministries to change my life. I came to faith because my best friend (a CCEF student at the time) had the courage to speak into my life. His words were candid, relevant, and true. I knew he cared for me. I knew he knew me. He understood my beliefs, my lifestyle, and my troubles. And he knew the God I did not know, the Savior who comes near and speaks relevantly: “I will give you a new heart. I will put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). The Savior of the world became my Savior, too, and I’m forever grateful. And that was just the beginning of the story.
I love what I get to do at CCEF. A couple of times a week I lead our daily prayer time. We connect the details of our lives to something true from and about the Lord. Today’s true word was one of Scripture’s fundamental prayers: “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us. Yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17). How ephemeral our lives are! So we seek the one whose favor makes what we do count forever. I also get to meet weekly with our faculty. Today we discussed how we can coordinate our talks for the national conference in October. There is nothing like a brisk, free-wheeling, creative, God-honoring conversation! And I also get to write. Writing is one of the best ways I know to think. Writing is slow. I love slow—taking time to reflect, seeking to express my faith in words. Even writing this short blog is an opportunity for me to live my faith afresh.
My story walks the same path as those other stories that we’ve been posting. If CCEF is able to help helpers… then they can help other helpers. So Rick Horne, one of CCEF’s board members, takes what he is learning, and gives it away to pastors and lay leaders in inner city churches. Those leaders go on to give wisdom to the brothers and sisters in their care.
If we are able to mentor mentors… then they can mentor other mentors. So Mary Beth Lundgren uses what she’s learning to equip campus ministry workers. Those who are equipped go on to disciple college and university students.
If we are able to serve servants… then they can better serve other servants. So Dianna Huston takes what she’s learning and counsels in her church. Those she counsels go on into their lives as more faithful servants of Christ and of each other.
This is the way ministry works, isn’t it? Because my friend embodied Christ and spoke in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, I was helped. And in that transformation, I become better able to help someone else. And whoever that person is, becomes better able to help still more people. And our God is glorified. May Jesus Christ be praised with heart, soul, mind, and might.
At CCEF, we get to see God at work in stories like these. We see it in the stories of those we minister to and in the stories those who give to make CCEF’s ministries possible. This is the fruitfulness of God in the lives of others.
Would you like to invest in this work? I give to CCEF myself. I do it because I have the privilege not only of working here, but of receiving the very things we seek to give away to others. Will you join me?
David Powlison, Executive Director