In Philippians 1 Paul says he is sure he will survive his imprisonment “and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith” (25). It is an intriguing glimpse into how Paul saw the goal of his ministry. His goal was to make people happy, to bring them joy. This, of course, we much more than merely enjoying happy circumstances. Paul himself expresses joy in the midst of persecution, imprisonment and opposition (12-18). This joy is joy in Christ. And for Paul this ministry begins with his own joy in Christ. He himself says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (21) “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all tings.” (3:8) Our aim is to treasure Christ above everything so we naturally and sincerely extol Christ to our communities so that they might find joy in Christ. Then as they treasure Christ, they too will extol Christ to a lost world so that other join us in treasuring Christ.
We might express this through the following diagram …
The exciting thing is that when we extol Christ we do so to oursevles as well as to other so we nurture our own treausing of Christ. In the same way when our communities extol Christ they do so one another and to us so together we extol Christ the more. These “feedback loops” create virtuous circles.
Consider again our simpler diagram. It highlights our starting point and therefore our main task as leaders: to treasure Christ. My main task is to nurture my own joy in Christ. Everything else flows from this point.