10 guiding principles

For a men’s meeting of the Taubate church, I prepared these principles that have guided our efforts in that city, as elsewhere, since several new people have moved in recently. Many of these principles have been illustrated by texts from 2 Corinthians. Below is a translation, with a few adaptations, of the 10.

#1. SIMPLICITY. Remember the phrase, “Why complicate, if you can simplify”? We started meeting in Taubate in a house. We work with tools that everyone can use. We have a single, simple mission: to share the word of God about Jesus, in order that people may be saved.

#2. FLEXIBILITY. Simplicity offers us flexibility in the work. Paul changed his plans to visit the Corinthians because it was not the right moment. (Read 2 Cor 1:12-24.) We can change dates, plans, locations, everything about the way we conduct the work (as long as we obey the Lord’s commandments), for greater effectiveness.

#3. FULL PARTICIPATION. Paul wanted to see the obedience and involvement of all the Corinthians. He was happy with their reaction on receiving Titus, “because all of you have refreshed his spirit” (2 Cor 7:13). Still further, he said, Titus remembered “the obedience of you all” (v. 15).

The work belongs to everyone. We all sing, we don’t have stars. We all preach, we have no professionals that do it. Each one uses the gift that God has given him.

#4. PERSONAL EVANGELISM. The Corinthians participated in Paul’s sufferings as a part of the mission to proclaim the Good News (2 Cor 1:6-7).

According to Acts 8, we all preach the word; it’s not something left to professionals. When there was persecution in Jerusalem, “all except the apostles were forced to scatter throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8:1c). About these Christians, minus the Twelve apostles, Luke wrote that “those who had been forced to scatter went around proclaiming the good news of the word” (v. 4).

We don’t want an institutional approach, but a personal one.

#5. INTELLIGENT COMMUNICATION. “For we do not write you anything other than what you can read and also understand” (2 Cor 1:13). We do not use language that is difficult to understand, and we read from Bible versions that avoid a literary Portuguese and the use of constructions, vocabulary and verb forms that block a proper comprehension. Jesus spoke the language of the people, not that of the academics, and we ought to do the same. We should also avoid popular religious language and common bad habits.

#6. TRANSPARENCY. “For we are concerned about what is right not only before the Lord but also before men” (2 Cor 8:21). And this in financial subjects, as well as spiritual and moral.

#7.  FAITHFULNESS. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “Now what is sought in stewards is that one be found faithful” (1 Cor 4:2). We want to preserve sound doctrine. We want to use the gifts God has given us responsibly. We want to fulfill the mission we received from Christ, that of proclaiming the Good News to the world.

#8. CONSTANT EXAMINATION. “Put yourselves to the test to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” (2 Cor 13:5). We seek always to better our efforts. We examine our heart, our motivations.

#9. SACRIFICE. “Now I will most gladly spend and be spent for your lives!” (2 Cor 12:15).  To accomplish the work, we must sacrifice ourselves for others.

#10. CHRIST THE MESSAGE. “For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor 4:5). Jesus as Lord and Savior is always at the center of our message.

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