The Los Angeles regional chapter of The Gospel Coalition seeks to form a community that meets together to encourage one another, hold each other accountable, pray together, and share ideas on how we can advance the gospel. Through these local friendships, we hope to identify challenges and solutions particular to gospel-centered ministry in the Metro Los Angeles region. We happily interact with all Christians as participants. But we also welcome members who share our understanding of Scripture and ministry as outlined in The Gospel Coalition’s confessional statement and theological ministry vision. We want to promote gospel-centered ministry for the next generation in the greater Los Angeles region.
Ron Boomsma gave us a word from God while I facilitated the meeting and led singing. Ron preached Matthew 13, the parable of the sower, defining the seed as the gospel message of the cross and exhorting us to be confident in the seed. Here are some one-liners:
“The seed is good seed.”
“The problem is not the seed. The problem is not the gospel.”
“Don’t try to fix the gospel.”
“It’s high yield seed.”
He encouraged us to be confident in the seed and sow it in our own lives, our families, and our churches. As a preacher, I found it insightful to identify where the parable breaks down and to preach the breakdown. It was powerful. The breakdown in this parable is that we are not to avoid the wayside, thorny ground, or rocky ground the way a farmer might. We are not to carefully and strategically plant seeds as if we can know or read people’s hearts and identify which soil they will be. Ron said, “The lesson is not find the right ground.” We are to sow the gospel seed and let God bring the growth. It was a good word on the necessity and centrality of the gospel to our Word ministry as pastors and Christians.
To different attenders, we gave away a few books by D. A. Carson, Tim Keller, Richard Sibbes, Mark Dever, and a Philippians commentary by R. Kent Hughes. The prayer time was rich for my table. There were 7 tables with 6-8 people sharing their ministry situations and personal prayer requests. We prayed for 30 minutes for our churches, personal and familial lives, and our preaching ministries. At my table the brothers were preaching on Genesis, Mark, John, Acts, 1 Corinthians, Hosea, and Titus to their respective churches.
I was encouraged by the message and the conversations with each other and God (in prayer). One brother went through a church split two weeks ago. Another had been in his position as senior pastor for only 3 months. Some confessed sins. Others shared victories. The feel of kindred spirits and deep connections rooted in theological affinity was in the air. I told the steering team that if 8 people were there I’d be encouraged. To see 44 people hearing God’s Word, singing to the Lord, praying for each other, exchanging information, and hugging people they met for the first time were evidences of God answering more than I asked for. This is the day of small things for which I am grateful. I pray that relationships are forming and churches will be strengthened.
The steering team will soon get together to pray and try to discern what direction the chapter should go. The team is made up of pastors from various church networks/denominations: Brian Colmery and Scott Mehl of Shoreline Church in West LA (non-denominational), Chris Barksdale from The Hollywood Church (Acts 29 Network), Ron Boomsma from Sovereign Grace Church in Pasadena (Sovereign Grace Ministries), Owen Lee from New Life Burbank (Presbyterian Church of America), and me from CrossView Church in the Koreatown/Westlake neighborhoods of LA (Southern Baptist Convention). Please pray for us as we seek to strengthen and encourage pastors, Christians, and churches in the greater LA area.
Follow the latest updates with the chapter @ twitter.com/TGCLA