"Striving Together," the focus of this month's Western Recorder, mirrors the theme of the Kentucky Baptist Convention's annual meeting in November.
The term jumps out at us from Phil. 1:27 when Paul, confined to a Roman jail, heaps words of praise and encouragement to the believers in the Roman colony of Philippi. Paul tells them to stand fast and strive together—a message just as valid in the 21st century as it was in Paul's day.
Picture the apostle as he conveys to us the idea of linking arms together as we walk worthy of the gospel, proclaiming our faith in Christ and the truth that Christ is the Son of God and is the only way of salvation.
Prior to this verse, you read that Paul prayed the Philippians' love would abound more and more, that they would be sincere and without offense, that their lives would be filled with fruits of righteousness—then that they would stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.
Paul is imploring them to strive for unity and fearlessness. We see this lived out today in places like Hong Kong, where a few weeks ago thousands of Christian protesters started singing hymns in the street as part of the China resistance movement. Closer to home, while we don't suffer persecution and opposition like our brethren in China and other countries, we must be committed to strive together—to not allow disunity to thwart our work to glorify Christ and be a winsome witness for Him.
As you consider Phil. 1:27, first notice that we are to stand fast, to hold our ground in this post-Christian era. This term was used in a military setting, and called for a soldier to refuse to yield his position, even if faced with grave danger. We are to stand fast with the truths of scripture. As followers of Christ, our task is to be firmly grounded in biblical truth and refuse to compromise those truths.
We are to strive together — unified for the faith of the gospel. Our desire must be that people hear the gospel, that they be confronted with their sinfulness and hear that Jesus paid the sin debt that they cannot pay. Our desire is that people turn from their sins and come to Christ, accepting the forgiveness that only He can offer.
In this issue you will get a glimpse into how we as Kentucky Baptists can strive together for the sake of the gospel. Striving together takes into account how different churches focus ministries on the work of spreading the gospel.
You'll read how a Bardstown church has a staff position for an evangelist, allowing him to minister in that church but also providing time for him to preach revivals and evangelistic meetings.
You'll read about an Owensboro church plant that is unique to say the least. The congregation consists of people who are deaf, blind or have special needs. Yet in its diversity of color, of backgrounds and of physical limitations, you'll read an amazing story of how God has worked to establish that church. And its mission is to spread the gospel in a neighborhood where gun violence and drug activity are everyday occurrences.
Tim Searcy, who completes his term as KBC president next month, will reflect on his experience in that role and help readers see that KBC plays in helping churches strive together for the sake of the gospel.
As you read through this issue, be quick to realize that KBC churches can utilize their diversity to strive together. Each person's striving for the faith of the gospel won't be exactly like someone else's. Each church's striving for the faith of the gospel won't be exactly like another church.
Yet we can all follow the encouragement Paul gives us—that we lock arms together to strive for the faith of the gospel.
Chip Hutcheson is interim managing editor of the Western Recorder, a monthly magazine of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.