God is a generational God. He declares Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ex 3:15). And we see examples of the Patriarch’s blessing their sons and setting the trajectory for the next generation (Gen 49). There is an expectation that, as men, we have a 100 year 3 generation vision (Ps 78:5-8) for our families and our culture. In other words, serving the purpose of God in our own generation (Acts 13:36) includes paving the way for those who come after us. God is impressing on us, after 25 years in existence as a ministry, to pay more careful attention to the next generation. It’s always been our heart, but now that the leadership of Focused Living is made up of men in their 50’s and 60’s, it’s become much more poignant.
At the end of 2016 a friend of Focused Living made a donation in the form of a “dream grant.” The heart behind these funds was to free us up to dream: What has been in your heart to accomplish for God’s Kingdom but you haven’t pursued because you felt you didn’t have the means? Well, after a couple of really fun “dreaming meetings,” our Core determined that outreach to the 25-40 year old demographic needs to be a front-burner priority. We started the process of praying and looking for an apprentice to partner with our staff for a couple of years. Our desire in this is not to build Focused Living as an organization, but to bless the next generation of Christian leaders and in the process be blessed by them. After a couple of months, it was as if God said, “If you’re going to trust Me with one apprentice…why not trust Me with two?” How this has fleshed out is very exciting.
This fall we have begun a partnership with two young men who will be working as apprentices under Focused Living @ 20 hours/week. Our heart is to pour into these two men and expose them to the DNA that God has birthed in us over these 25 years, freeing them up to maximize their relational ministry. Here’s a brief introduction to each of these gifts from God.
Karl Reed (35) and his wife, Jessica, and their 4 children recently moved back to the Columbia area from their home state of Michigan. What drew them back to Columbia was their desire to do life with the gospel community they had previously experienced at Columbia Crossroads Church. The Andes know the Reeds from their years at Crossroads, where Karl ministered to Austin and Cameron through the youth group.
“As I partner with Focused Living over this next season of my life, I am looking forward to building deeper relationships with men that are centered around Jesus, having the margin to specifically focus on intentional discipleship, and being surrounded by a team of men that I can learn from, and grow with, as we pursue Jesus and His Kingdom.”
Phil Stice (27) and his wife, Sarah, were married this past May! Phil came to our attention because one of our Focused Living men was discipled in college in the early 80’s by Phil’s dad! While Phil pursues his MDiv at CIU over the next few years, he desires to be in the trenches engaging men and helping them take next steps toward Christ.
“I am most looking forward to seeing Jesus transform the lives of men in front of my very own eyes! What a privilege it is to witness men fall in love with Christ, and see their lives re-oriented around God and His mission in the world. I am equally looking forward to falling more in love with Christ myself, as I step out in faith to bring the Gospel to people who don’t know Him.”
Join us in celebrating how God is moving Focused Living toward the 25-40 year old demographic. Pray that these men would be richly blessed by the set of tracks Focused Living provides. And that we would listen and learn from them as they teach us about their generation.
GRIP discipleship is under way and the 51 men who are participating are stoked and ready to grow strong in the Lord and the strength of His might (Eph 6:10). Pray this month especially as each man will be fasting, praying and listening to the Lord during a half day personal retreat as they define their Action Points of obedience to the Lord, their families and their church families.
May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your heart...May the Lord direct your heart into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. And may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. (2Thes 2:16,17; 3:5,16)
Strength, Focus and Discernment to push, press and birth out the next level of ministry in our lives – house (personal lives), household (family life and sphere of influence), and temple (church and community).
Please pray for our family during this time of transition as we adjust to new rhythms and a new "normal." And please pray that we continue to stay focused on Jesus as we learn what it looks like to live as a family on mission.