Dear Partner in Ministry,
Seven weeks ago, I started to teach a Precept Upon Precept® study on Covenant. Each week my group comes together in an online classroom to discuss the truths of God’s Word and how we’re to apply these truths to our lives. If you haven’t had the opportunity to study this course, I strongly encourage you to study these foundational truths sooner rather than later. They will transform your life.
On November 3, we studied the topic of oneness in Covenant relationship. This week the Holy Spirit was really speaking directly to my heart, and I know God was also working in the lives of others. In John 17:21–23, Jesus prayed just before His betrayal and arrest. He prayed for Himself, for His disciples, and for those who would hear from them and believe—all Christians for all times:
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent me.” (vs. 20–21)
Essentially Jesus is praying One with the Father, one with each other, in perfect unity. According to Colossians 1:27, unity is possible only because of the indwelling of Jesus Christ in all believers. In Matthew 26:26–28, Jesus explains that the bread and cup of the Lord’s Supper are symbols of His broken body and shed blood and of the New Covenant, established when Christ was crucified. To think that before Jesus’ death His desire was for unity!
What does oneness in Covenant relationship look like? First we must understand what is promised to the believer who is now united with Christ. Jesus promises:
- Eternal Life with the Father and with Jesus (2 Corinthians 8:9)
- Heirship with Christ in suffering with Him and glorification with Him (Romans 8:15–17)
- The promise of supplied needs (Philippians 4:19)
These are magnificent promises that come to us because of the Covenant relationship we have with God through Jesus Christ. How does this Covenant relationship and oneness translate to the body of Christ?
In Acts 2, Luke writes about the establishment of the first church where new believers had all things in common and began selling their property and possessions and shared them with one another. The Lord calls all Christians to share with one another so that there’s no need (2 Corinthians 8:1–4, 13–15). One of the questions I posed to our class was “Should Christians seek financial resources from the world?” From a biblical point of view, it appears God is showing us that the needs of believers should be met by those who are in Covenant relationship or in the oneness of Covenant. This was a very convicting time of study. Here’s why!
Beloved, Precept Ministries in Canada is growing rapidly and the financial needs are great. Our ministry is currently funded by 327 donors across the country, who provide 47% of our annual income through their donations. The remaining 53% comes from Precept Ministries USA and through our sales of Bible study materials. Most of our donations come from a dedicated team called our E-Team and we’re so thankful for their provision.
Did you know that since 2013 we’ve seen an increase of over 12,000 new students established in God’s Word? We’re confident that there are more than 25,000 people in Canada now using Precept’s Inductive Bible Studies in their small groups or in personal devotions. It’s so encouraging to know that these people are being engaged in God’s Word and are having their lives transformed as they learn to study the Scriptures.
As our ministry continues to grow and expand into new places across Canada, the number of new people using our materials and attending our training workshops is exploding. But the number of people who regularly support Precept through donations has not grown at the same rate. This ministry will continue to grow as the Lord opens doors, but our ability to walk through those doors is hindered by the lack of financial resources.
The class discussion on what the Lord was willing to do for His children to be in unity with Him brings me to a place of great humility. We serve an amazing God who is our Great Provider.
Friends, our ministry is facing two issues that only God can erase through empowering His people to respond to the need as we see in Acts 2. The first issue is that we’re currently facing a large deficit to our 2016 budget. We stepped out in faith this year in a few different areas of the ministry, including French translation. The need is great for Bible study resources for Québec as well as in France, so we met those needs. We’ve been diligent to be good stewards of what we’ve been given.
The second issue relates to the first. God has called us to raise $1 million over the next 3 years for French Translation and to provide assistance and resources to further develop French ministry worldwide. In English, we have 30+ years of Bible study, but in French we have less than 52 weeks of study before students run out of tools. The need is great as French is a major world language. The ministry in Canada is not meeting the current needs of the budget, and yet the Lord has called us to a greater testing of our faith to establish thousands—possibly millions—of French-speaking people.
This is where oneness in Covenant relationship is so important. The lesson on oneness challenged me to increase my giving so God can use the resources to transform more lives. If you’ve had your life impacted by this ministry, we need you!
Prayerfully consider what the Lord has given you and ask Him how you can partner with us financially to provide sound Bible study training. Any investment made in Precept Ministries will bear fruit for the Kingdom of God because God is at work!
It is through your prayers and God's faithfulness that we are on the verge of expanding the work of Precept like never before in the history of the Ministry. God gave us a vision to reach 30,000 new Canadians with Inductive Bible study. And we can see that it is truly His vision.
Have we met our goal? Not yet. But we are well on our way, and I know God will continue to be faithful as we follow His leading. Thank you for hearing God's call and partnering with us in this incredible opportunity.
Blessed by your partnership,
Mark Sheldrake, National Director