Mission, Vision and Values

MISSION

The Rephidim Project exists to mobilize, equip and encourage pastors worldwide with a blueprint for expositional preaching that produces Christlike believers by the power of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God.

VISION

Our vision is to develop a team of experienced expositors to equip pastors globally through workshops, cohorts and online resources while partnering with other like-minded organizations to stimulate a movement of the church back to the expositional preaching of God’s Word.

VALUES

Expository preaching is essential for growing spiritually vibrant and healthy churches. Bible exposition exposes God’s ideas in ways that equip our people to be and do all that God wants them to be and do. Preachers are to equip the saints for ministry to build up the unity and stability of the church (Eph. 4:11-14). Preaching was central to the Christian gatherings in the New Testament (Acts 2:42, 20:7-12, Col. 1:28-29, 2 Tim. 4:2). The sequential and continuous reading and explaining of Scripture is the oldest form of preaching in the Bible (Neh. 7:73-8:12). The evidence from the early church and the first few centuries of church history is that preaching was primarily expository. The church followed the pattern of the synagogues in preaching sequentially as both Jesus and Paul demonstrated in the synagogues (Luke 4:16-22; Acts 13:14-15). Paul commands the same pattern for Timothy in the church (1 Tim. 4:13, cf. Neh. 8:1-8).

One of the reasons why expository preaching – the sequential reading and explaining of the Bible – is vital to the health of the church is because, in expositional preaching, we model good hermeneutics. People need to see and hear how we interpret Scripture so they can do the same in their personal lives. One reason why so much of the church today is biblically illiterate is that they do not understand how to interpret the Bible. They see a Bible study model that demonstrates a spiritualized emphasis on what the Bible means to me instead of what the Bible means. Topical preaching can be expository if we expose God’s ideas from each text and not impose our ideas on each text.

The crying need of the church is for God-centered, Word-explaining messages. Evangelical preaching today is generally man-centered. The average person thinks, “I go to church to hear messages for me and about me.” Preachers oblige to attract the crowds. The worship service is a transactional event where the preacher delivers what the people want, and the people support the work of the church. Christ is a need fulfiller, so the sermon is all about felt needs and life apps. No wonder we have so much consumer Christianity in our churches. God exists to meet our needs, and if our needs are not met in this church, we will find another one. There is a desperate need for a return to God-centered preaching in our churches. The Bible is God’s story from start to finish. It is all about Him, not about us. The most relevant preaching is God-centered preaching. This does not mean that we ignore the needs of our people. God-centered preaching trusts that God made us, so He knows us better than we know ourselves. God knows what we most need, and we most need God. If we explain God’s Word, we will address the needs of our people. Pastoral preaching seeks to explain how God wants His people to live in their everyday lives because of what God has done for them in Christ.

All Scripture is intentionally useful to equip Christ’s disciples for effective service. God intends His Word to do something whenever we preach it (Isaiah 55:11). There is a transformative power in pastoral preaching because God’s Spirit inhabits His Word and empowers His preachers (1 Cor. 2:12-13; 2 Cor. 3:4-6; Col. 1:29). We must always be ready to preach His Word – to reprove, rebuke, and exhort in our sermons (2 Tim. 4:2). The purpose of pastoral preaching is that “the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). The goal of pastoral preaching is to “present every man complete in Christ” (Col. 1:28-29). Every sermon on every passage should be intentionally purposeful. We must know what we want to do with each message because we have prayerfully and carefully studied what God wants to do with each passage. All Scripture is useful. It is utilitarian. God has a purpose for every unit of thought He has revealed in the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16). Our job is to figure out what that purpose is for our people and then deliver it to them.

The goal of pastoral preaching is to produce Christlike believers who are being transformed by God’s Spirit. The purpose of the Bible is to make us like Christ (2 Cor. 3:18). God wants His children to look, think, feel, and act like Jesus Christ. God is in the business through His Word of restoring the image of God in man (Rom. 8:29; Eph. 3:19; 4:13-16). God created us perfect in His image (Gen. 1:26-27). Sin marred that image by the fall of man into sin. The image is still there, but it is defaced. God planned in eternity past for this eventuality, and the whole Bible is God’s story of restoring His image in His children. Jesus is the perfect model for God’s image in humanity (Mt. 20:26-28; John 13:15; Rom. 15:1-3; 1 Thess. 1:6; Eph. 5:2; Phil. 2:5; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:6; 3:16). Since the purpose of the Bible is to remake us in the image of Christ, pastoral preaching should intend to present our people “complete in Christ” (Col. 1:28).

Expositional preaching is unit of thought preaching which applies the exegetical thrust of each passage to people today. Every Bible passage has only one meaning but many applications. Exegesis is reading God’s meaning out of that text. The text means what the author meant by the words he used in their context. Preaching loses its God-intended purpose when divorced from the God-inspired text. God breathed His Word through His writers to do something, to accomplish something (2 Tim. 3:16-17; Isaiah 55:11). Every sermon should do what God intended to do through the passage being explained. We must preach what the original author intended to say. It is not what does this mean to me but what did the author intend to communicate. Whenever we, as preachers, select the text we will use to preach in church; we are implicitly telling our congregation that this is a segment of Scripture that can stand on its own and has something to say to us today. Expository preaching is unit of thought preaching. Every unit of thought has a theological thrust. Every biblical author intends to do something by what He is saying. So, every Scripture passage is, on some level, a call to action. We must ask what the thrust of this passage is and apply that thrust to our people.

The Bible is the authoritative and sufficient source for expositional preaching, not merely a resource for the preacher to use. The presence of God is in the preaching of His Word. The power of God is found in the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16, 4:2). The Word of God is the scalpel that slices into the heart of man, revealing our thoughts and intentions (Heb. 4:12). Many modern preachers have lost faith in the Word of God, which is why they rarely read that Word or preach it in context. Preachers today use the Word as a resource to sanctify their ideas and methods rather than as a source to define His doctrine and His solutions. In our quest for modern relevance, we have lost sight of the presence of God in His Word. We pay lip service to it, but our hearts are not in it. If I am using the Bible as a resource, I use the Bible to support what I want to say. The Bible sanctifies my ideas with God’s authority. If I use the Bible as a source, I seek to preach what the text says. I expose the text to the people. The thrust of the passage becomes the thrust of my sermon. Expository preaching exposes the Word of God for people to see and hear. We need to trust the presence of God in the Word of God to transform the hearts of humans through our preaching. We need to be Isaiah 55:11 preachers.

Effective preaching is God-dependent, Spirit-directed transformational preaching. The power for transformational preaching comes from the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:4-5). We prepare, but He empowers. Paul explains that process a few verses later when he writes that we speak the things of God “not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual ideas with spiritual words” (1 Cor. 2:13). A convergence takes place in preaching between spiritual ideas and the words used to convey those ideas. It is a convergence of form (words) and content (ideas) so that the Spirit is directing the message being preached. The spiritual truth and the spiritual speech converge into a transformational message from God in the sermon of the preacher. Our sermons become Spirit-directed and Spirit-empowered when our words are aligned with his will so that our message is his message. Transformational preaching is God-dependent preaching (2 Cor. 3:5-6).