Article by Josh Laxton. Josh Laxton currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Billy Graham Center and Lausanne North American Coordinator at Wheaton College. He has a Ph.D. in North American Missiology from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Recently, I competed in and completed my first Ironman (70.3 miles). To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I had been training for about ten months and believed that—at the very least—I would finish. After I finished, my wife and friends asked if I was a one-and-done triathlete. Once I caught my breath (after seven and a half hours plus of exercise), I said, “Absolutely not!”
Why would I continue? For starters, I love exercise. Second, I can push myself in this environment to better my time. But the third, and the one that hooked me to continue my training and compete in more events, was the community—the triathlon tribe I experienced.
As I participated, I witnessed the various tri-teams throughout the country who traveled to compete with one another. I witnessed such an encouraging spirit from others towards a rookie like me. There was indeed this spirit that we are in this together and together we can finish.
I share this experience because this is the same experience we are desiring for the Evangelism Leaders Fellowship (ELF). I know what you are thinking: Oh! I love that movie! or What in the world is ELF?
ELF stands for Evangelism Leaders Fellowship, and is an initiative of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College. More specifically, ELF is a fellowship and a think-tank community for those who lead denominations, networks, ministries, and organizations around the study and practice of mission, evangelism, and outreach.
Over the last couple of years, ELF has convened a diverse group of high-capacity leaders from a host of denominations, networks, ministries, and organizations. Such a diverse group truly serves as an environment where iron can sharpen iron.
While the Evangelism Leaders Fellowship is evolving, the spirit of ELF embodies the same spirit that I witnessed during my triathalon—we are in this together and together we can finish. Now, we aren’t finishing a race, but we are—according to Hebrews—in a race of faith. Encompassing this race of faith is the Missio Dei, which houses the command and discipline of evangelism.
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Source: Christianity Today