Jeff Temple now serves at the Pastor of Counseling and Discipleship at Crosspoint Chapel in Saginaw, Michigan. Jeff served on the BCC staff for nearly 20 years prior to moving to Michigan. He thinks deeply about how the gospel impacts all of life and serves as guest blogger for BCC.
Jeff Temple M.A.
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Impacting The NEXT Generation
And say to Archippus, "See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord." - Col 4:17
Archippus is mentioned only twice in Scripture – Colossians 4 and Philemon 2 as a fellow soldier. It is assumed he is the son of Philemon who lived in the city of Colossae. Paul may have confirmed Archippus to carry on the ministry of his father (Ph 4-7), refreshing the saints and encouraging others with the Word (cf. Col 3:16).
Archippus, though a vital part of the church, may not have felt qualified to refresh and counsel others like his father did. The Colossian church needed to see Archippus as a valid teacher/equipper who could guide them away from false doctrine (Col 2:16-19). Archippus was the next generation, the one who would teach and admonish future generations to walk in a manner worthy of Christ (Col 1:9-14, 28-29; 3:16). He was encouraged to make disciples who would in turn continue the disciple-making process.
The generation after us also needs a godly hope and wisdom to not be led astray (Eph 4:14). They need to be equipped to do the ministry to which God has called us all. Paul’s words still encourage us to fulfill the ministry the Lord has given us, making disciples.
Effective counseling makes disciples
Often new counselees assume that counseling will simply enable them to live a better life and change difficult circumstances. If they don’t understand that the goal is being changed into Christ's image, then counsel is only behavior modification instead of true heart change!
I can relate; I remember a time when I had no direction in life, no idea what I wanted to do or was good at. I had graduated with a degree in a field I didn’t want to work in and lacked clarity because I was still living for me. I wanted something exciting and meaningful to make the most of my life, but eventually became frustrated, despairing and angry. Others advised me to seek career counselors, read books about career opportunities, and take career aptitude tests. I followed their advice, but was still spinning my wheels around me.
Biblical counseling is intensified, personal- ized discipleship
It’s about experiencing change from pursuing a meaningless, self-focused life (Eccl 2:11) to understanding we were made for the Lord (Eccl 12). The goal is to become mature disciples of Jesus (Col 2:6-7), changing from the inside out because of who we are in Christ (Eph 4:23; Col 3:1-4). We are then able to change from self-focus to a focus on God and others (Col 3:5-17). This is what I needed and this is what I received from Biblical Counseling Center.
Transformation is the real goal, but often people (just like I did) want to know how to change tough circumstances to feel better. But change is most effective when it is in the context of a relationship because we are relational beings, made in the image of our God (Gen 1:26-27) to relate with Him (1Jn 2:3-6) and to care for one another (Rom 12:4-8). Since relationships are key to our inherent design, we need godly people to show us the way by relating to us, and the mature in Christ coming along side, counseling and refreshing us (1Tim 1:19-20), and helping us not to fall prey to hollow and empty philosophies of the world (Col 2:8, 2Tim 3:6), just as Philemon and Archippus did for the Colossian believers.
The greatest privilege I have ever had was being a volunteer at BCC while working on my graduate degree. The counselors there were very intentional with me. They gave their time to get to know me and to invite me into their lives. They showed me how to understand life as a future counselor. But the greatest influence I received was on Thursday nights when Dr. Allchin and I would intentionally make the time to do life together.
This is where counseling theory became a reality and practical. We would talk about life. Sometimes we would talk about me and sometimes we would talk about him. At other times we would talk hypothetically, like a parable or a case study. Sometimes we would just laugh and enjoy life together. This is the heart of discipleship. This is what the next generation needs from us.
As a young Christian, Dr. Allchin received the gift of loving discipleship by his mentor in NJ, and then he passed that on to me and to other young men. Look at Paul’s writings to Timothy, Titus, Philemon and those who were with him and notice his genuine care for those he mentored. Timothy is perhaps the best example of Paul impacting the next generation.
What does the next generation need from us?
A recent survey on discipleship said the current digital generation is the least involved in church. There are many reasons why this is true, but I believe that very few Christians are on a mission to fulfill the Great Commission by going and making disciples through relationships, showing new believers HOW to live. We who have been born again to a living hope must leave a legacy like the saints in Hebrews 11 to the next generation. They had incredible faith and lived it out before others.
Paul urged Timothy to follow the teachings and life he saw in Paul (2Tim 3:10-11). Discipleship is living out a vertical relationship with God and horizontally proclaiming His faithfulness as we do life together. The next generation needs someone to come along side to weep and rejoice with them (Rom 12:15). They need wise and experienced Christians to take them under their wings like Paul did with Timothy and Dr. Allchin did with me. They need to see a living sacrifice in action (Rom 12:1-2) and to experience believers loving one another as God has loved us (Jn 15:12-13). This is how the next generation will know the source of all truth, how to live by Faith, and likewise how to become missional disciplers for their next generation.
The Christian life is a race (2Tim 4:7; Heb 12:1), more of a marathon than a sprint. I assumed this race was a lone competition to receive the prize (1Cor 9:24), but I now understand it is actually a relay race and every member of the team receives the prize.
I did not know it at the time, but Dr. Allchin was passing the baton of Biblical counseling onto me so that I may continue the race. Now that I have grasped the baton firmly in my hand I am ready to run as I was shown (2Tim 3:10-11). I know I will struggle at times, but I will always have my mentor’s words to remind me, cheer me on, counsel me and point me to the finish line.
I will now continue my relay race in Saginaw, Michigan where I am going to pass on the baton I received here to others there. This is the ministry for which the Lord has prepared me, and this is what I am excited to do.
"see that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the lord." - col 4:17
– Jeff Temple, Associate Pastor Crosspoint Chapel • Saginaw, Michigan
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