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Updated: Jan 2, 2023


It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Gal. 5:1


Happy New Year!


Thank you for your investment in ChristLife in 2022- it has been one of the most impactful seasons of ministry we've experienced! This past year has propelled us into a deeper level of need, trust, and careful ministry consideration, for there have been far more opportunities than we have capacity.


In our lifetime, there has never been a greater need for renewal among Christian leaders. Barna research in March 2022 surveyed senior pastors across America and found that 42% are strongly considering leaving the ministry. A survey by the Thome Rainer organization reveals that nearly 70% of evangelical churches are in plateau or decline. The church as we know it seriously needs God's intervention.


ChristLife is committed to renewing Christian leaders and equipping them to bring renewal to the church. As a team, we're also committed to being a ministry that's a by-product of John 15, abiding relationship with Christ. We're daily learning that we can do nothing apart from God, and in our weakness, we're experiencing God use ChristLife to advance His kingdom and bring Him glory.

Alaska

Josh O'Donnel is leading an organization called "Renew Alaska." He has built his ministry around the ChristLife renewal process and is seeing many lives changed in and around the Mat-Su valley. This past year he's added a ministry partner focused on renewing men and providing tools to help men's ministries across Alaska.


Aaron Wiser has a Ph.D. and is a senior pastor in Homer, Alaska. Aaron was recently introduced to a man on a CLM healing journey who is three generations removed from the leaders he invested in several years ago. This type of ministry is exactly what God has created ChristLife to do- to renew and equip leaders committed to renewing and equipping others.

Grand Rapids

I work with anywhere from 22 to 28 Christian leaders weekly in our Grand Rapids office. Whether mega-church pastors, licensed counselors, denominational leaders, or small local church ministers, helping these leaders often opens the door to opportunities to support the organizations they lead.


We are currently searching for a partner to work with me in our Grand Rapids office. This person will further develop the equipping and multiplication aspects of the CLM's renewal process and will also resource past and present CLM-equipped leaders so that we might provide better coaching, follow-up, and access to our written and video resources. With the growth we're experiencing, the ChristLife board and I believe that we've developed this aspect of the ministry as far as we can until this role is filled.


New Opportunities

Our goal at ChristLife is to be used by God to renew and equip 4000 Christian leaders over the next six years. But even as God helps us accomplish this goal, we would be helping less than 1% of the leadership of the American church (Approximately 420,000 US churches in 2022) and leaving out the millions of people attending these churches.


In response to this need, ChristLife is excited to introduce a new team member- Ben Jordan. Ben lives in Dallas and is a highly gifted designer/app developer. We are in the early stages of creating a "relational, device-based experience of renewal and restoration." We’re designing the Journey app to help uncover the many reasons behind our disruptive emotions and dysfunctional lifestyle choices. It will also move people towards an ever-deepening relationship with God, the healer. We will share much more about the Journey app in the coming weeks.


2023

This next year we will be investing in four key areas:

  1. The ongoing renewal, restoration, and equipping of Christian leaders.

  2. New outreach and support of the urban church in Grand Rapids and beyond.

  3. Continued support of denominations, regionally influential churches, and nonprofits.

  4. The development and release of a device-based tool to help people experience ongoing renewal and restoration.


God is in the process of renewing our generation. Thank you so much for your prayers and financial investment in ChristLife! The fruit that this ministry produces is also your fruit!


All the best!


Greg and the ChristLife board

Just when I was beginning to believe that I actually “had nothing to gain, nothing to lose and nothing to prove”, everything changed. When I say “everything”, you know exactly what I mean if you’ve been in pastoral ministry or church leadership. What we do, how we do it, who we’re reaching, the way we measure effectiveness - all of it changed overnight.


I have discovered one thing hasn’t changed though, at least not as much as I’d hoped it had…


My deep longing to be viewed as successful, in control, and better than the other guy is still very much alive and well and quite possibly more obvious (at least to me) than ever before!


Welcome to the new culture of comparison. A world of virtual views and online ambiance, where everything you do, say, and produce is on display side by side with the Steven Furticks and Craig Groeschels of your communities, cities, and states.


It sucks doesn’t it?


In fact, I find myself saying it almost every week lately…

“Our worship sucks.”

“Our production sucks.”

"Our metrics suck.”

“My preaching sucked.”

“Our video transitions sucked.”

“Shoot, even my haircut sucks online!”


Then, in the middle of it all, I so clearly heard the Holy Spirit whisper this question into my heart: “Compared to what, Jonathan?”


It was as if He’d been waiting patiently for my storm of insecurity, self-scrutiny, competitiveness and comparison to reach its gale-force strength, so that He could stand up in my boat and say, “Peace, be still.”


Years ago, a good friend of mine asked me a question that I am finding more relevant now than I have at any other time in my life. I was a brand new youth pastor at a real old church in the heart of the "Bible Belt”. He was an experienced youth pastor at a “mega-church” with unlimited resources, but, I will never forget his question…


“Jonathan, do you know what the measure of success is?”


“Ummm, well, I…I’m not sure that I…”


“The measure of success is this; Did I do what the Master said to do? If success depends on how others perceived me, how others received me, whether others were changed because of me, then the prophets of the Old Testament were some of the most miserable failures of all time.”


In light of the recent things I’ve discovered still lurking in the recesses of my heart, this verse came to mind again, "But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” 2 Corinthians 10:12b


In recent years I’ve become much more secure and confident in Christ’s unrelenting love for me. With this in mind, I’ve come to the conclusion that this season we currently find ourselves in, by no choosing of our own, is in fact an extraordinary opportunity. An opportunity to uproot some deep seated lies we all tend to believe about what success should look like, who the winners and losers are, and how we are created to live, lead, and look like.


About the author

Jonathan Walker is the Lead Pastor of Church on the Rock, a multi-site church in the Mat-Su Valley, Alaska. Jonathan first moved to Alaska over twenty-five years ago; he's taught at Alaska Bible Institute, hosted conferences for parents and teens throughout the state, served as a youth pastor, and most recently planted and pastored Church on the Rock in Homer, AK. Jonathan and his wife Kitri have four amazing children and love being able to call the Mat-Su Valley their home.





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