Service Times: 9am and 10:30am in Glen Ellyn and 10:30am in Bartlett

OUR MISSION

The primary purpose of the church is not to make us feel better about ourselves. The church is not a self-help community, aiming simply at empowering us to live lives that are more balanced and more successful. The church’s purpose is not to make us happy, or to entertain us with programming, or to provide a safe community insulated from the harsh realities of the world. The primary purpose of the church is to glorify God by making disciples. This is the single greatest contribution the church can make in this world, and toward that end all of our programming at GEBC will be driven by at least one of the four disciple-making activities we’ve identified as part of our method. These are explained in-depth below.

Target

Proclaim The Gospel 

Jesus describes our Heavenly Father as seeking the lost (Luke 14:22-24), and throughout the ages God has sent others out to share in that effort. In the Old Testament, God sent Moses to deliver the Israelites from bondage, and he sent prophets to call the Israelites back to himself. In the New Testament, God sent his Son to die on a cross, and Jesus sent out his first twelve disciples, as well as seventy-two latter, on short-term mission trips with the message God’s Kingdom is near (Matthew 10:7-8, Luke 10:1,3).
At the end of his ministry, Jesus commissioned all of his followers to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20), and the early church set apart missionaries for the purpose of carrying the gospel to foreign lands (Acts 13:2-3). Disciples are a people sent out, and sending out disciples is an essential activity of the Church. Jesus even instructs his followers to pray that God would provide more workers for the harvest fields (Matthew 9:37-38), more people to go.

The good news is we are not sent out alone. Jesus promises to be with us always (Matthew 28:20), and to provide us with the power from Spirit of God, power specifically for the purpose of being witnesses. Jesus said,

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NIV)

One of the primary purposes of the Spirit’s transforming work in our lives is to empower our witnessing efforts. The church is to send disciples out with the authority of Jesus (Matthew 28:18) and power of Jesus Spirit (Acts 1:8), to demonstrate the selfless love of Jesus and pursue the lost. In other words, the Holy Spirit is not given simply for our benefit, so that our influence and kingdom can grow larger and more prosperous. The Spirit’s transforming work in our hearts and minds is to empower us for sharing the gospel. God changes hearts and minds so the world can hear the message of the gospel.

The transforming power of the Holy Spirit was obvious in the lives of the first disciples, men and women whose hearts were previously full of doubt and whose minds were filled only with thoughts of self-interest, were changed to people of faith and self-sacrifice. We read in the book of Acts the believers were of “one heart and mind” and that “none of them claimed anything as his own, but rather everything was held in common.” They shared all things! And the result was that the message of the gospel was preached “with great power” (Acts 4:32-35).

Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). We grieve the Holy Spirit’s transforming work in our lives if we aren’t loving toward one another, and the result is that his work of transforming us and our effectiveness in being God’s witnesses is significantly diminished. Paul wrote,

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:30-31 (NIV)

Restore the Broken

In the beginning God said, ‘Let us make man in our image’” (Genesis 1:26). But when sin entered the world we lost our capacity to be the image bearers God intended. Reflecting his righteous character is now outside our reach, and we find ourselves broken and in need of restoration. The good news is restoration can be experienced through the ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus said of himself:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4:17-19 (NIV)

Jesus’ provided hope to the poor and release to those captive to sin and oppressed by evil spirits. He healed every disease (Matthew 4:17,23), and commissioned the twelve disciples to do the same.

As you go, preach this message: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:6-8 (NIV)

God’s goal in restoration is that we would be holy, just as he is holy (1 Peter 1:16). In the process of transformation those things we once had no interest in, and no desire to experience, often become attractive. We grow to desire sobriety rather than drunkenness, honesty rather than dishonesty, modesty and fidelity rather than immodesty and promiscuity; or to express ourselves more fully in worship or to understand God’s Word better. God intends for us to grow into mature believers, by allowing Him to restore our souls and fully bear his image.

Paul writes, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17), which describes the process of being restored as image bearers. Restoration increasingly comes to us as we depend upon the Holy Spirit’s work and connect with other believers in intimate relationships. God’s design is that the members of his church, through the Holy Spirit’s empowering, would help to restore one another. Paul wrote, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently” (Galatians 6:1). Being the church of God’s design means helping one another become God’s image bearers. Paul wrote, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). We cannot expect to experience the restoration of Christ, without intimate relationships with other believers. Part of God’s remedy for our struggles is a deep connection with other believers. James wrote:

Is any one of you sick? He should call the Elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. James 5:14-15 (NIV)

Equip the Believer

Few visuals better represent the depth of Jesus’ obedience and service than his kneeling to wash the disciple’s feet. Washing his disciple’s feet is a living parable, identifying his ultimate obedience and service through his death on the cross. Jesus said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14), and equipping the saints to obey Jesus’ teaching and emulate his life of service is an essential activity of the Church. God has provided for the equipping of all believers through the gifts that he has given to the church. Paul writes: "It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV) 

While Paul only names a few of the gifts of the Spirit in this passage, his aim is not to create a hierarchy of importance within the church. In fact, his aim when explaining the Holy Spirit’s gifts is quite the opposite. Paul’s goal is that all believers understand that they have been given at least one gift by the Holy Spirit, which they are to use for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7), and that apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are gifted to help “prepare” others for service. The word Paul uses for “prepare” is the Greek word katartismon, which comes from a verb meaning to repair. This verb is used to describe activities like setting a bone in surgery or putting a joint back into place. In the New Testament, it is used in Mark1:19 to describe the mending of fishing nets, and in Galatians 6:1 it is used to describe the process of restoring someone caught in sin.

The picture Paul wants to provide here is of people using their spiritual gifts in order to strengthen one another for lives of obedience and service. In some cases that will simply involve instruction, and that particular function is the responsibility of those given the gift of teaching. In other cases preparation will involve correction and even healing, which might involve the gift of mercy or faith. But the goal is that the people of God are ready and able to live lives of obedience and find their place of service.

Once people obediently find their place of service, the use of their gifts is to have a very particular outcome. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:12 that God has given gifts “so that the body of Christ may be built up,” or enabled. Our gifts are to add strength to one another’s lives and families. In fact, all the gifts are always given for the greater good of God’s people, which is why it is so offensive when someone uses their gifts to empower or enrich themselves. God’s gifts are also to produce in us maturity. Paul writes, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth…blown here and there by every wind of teaching” (Ephesians 4:14). Immaturity brings instability in our lives, and it our responsibility to help one another build our lives upon the sure footing of God’s Word.

Send Out Disciples

Jesus describes our Heavenly Father as seeking the lost (Luke 14:22-24), and throughout the ages God has sent others out to share in that effort. In the Old Testament, God sent Moses to deliver the Israelites from bondage, and he sent prophets to call the Israelites back to himself. In the New Testament, God sent his Son to die on a cross, and Jesus sent out his first twelve disciples, as well as seventy-two latter, on short-term mission trips with the message God’s Kingdom is near (Matthew 10:7-8, Luke 10:1,3).


At the end of his ministry, Jesus commissioned all of his followers to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20), and the early church set apart missionaries for the purpose of carrying the gospel to foreign lands (Acts 13:2-3). Disciples are a people sent out, and sending out disciples is an essential activity of the Church. Jesus even instructs his followers to pray that God would provide more workers for the harvest fields (Matthew 9:37-38), more people to go.

The good news is we are not sent out alone. Jesus promises to be with us always (Matthew 28:20), and to provide us with the power from Spirit of God, power specifically for the purpose of being witnesses. Jesus said,

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NIV)

One of the primary purposes of the Spirit’s transforming work in our lives is to empower our witnessing efforts. The church is to send disciples out with the authority of Jesus (Matthew 28:18) and power of Jesus Spirit (Acts 1:8), to demonstrate the selfless love of Jesus and pursue the lost. In other words, the Holy Spirit is not given simply for our benefit, so that our influence and kingdom can grow larger and more prosperous. The Spirit’s transforming work in our hearts and minds is to empower us for sharing the gospel. God changes hearts and minds so the world can hear the message of the gospel.

The transforming power of the Holy Spirit was obvious in the lives of the first disciples, men and women whose hearts were previously full of doubt and whose minds were filled only with thoughts of self-interest, were changed to people of faith and self-sacrifice. We read in the book of Acts the believers were of “one heart and mind” and that “none of them claimed anything as his own, but rather everything was held in common.” They shared all things! And the result was that the message of the gospel was preached “with great power” (Acts 4:32-35).

Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). We grieve the Holy Spirit’s transforming work in our lives if we aren’t loving toward one another, and the result is that his work of transforming us and our effectiveness in being God’s witnesses is significantly diminished. Paul wrote,

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:30-31 (NIV)