Philosophy of Small Groups

Introduction

Small relational groups are essential in making disciples for the health of the body of Christ through authentic and genuine lifestyles of the disciple-maker. The sharing of life and modeling will help to define the philosophy of the relational group, which in turn will encourage the disciples to missions within the local, national, and international community.

My Philosophy of Small Groups in a Church or Ministry Organization

My philosophy of small groups within a church or ministry organization is constantly being developed. I can see the need for small groups, since the leader can maintain more control over the group as well as keep it on track as to its ultimate destination. A small group is more intimate and the members can get to know each other much better. It is through relationships where the group will become much stronger so they can forge ahead and accomplish the goal of the group. For instance, I plan on starting a “Share Jesus Without Fear” group, to teach others how to share their faith and evangelize. The goal of the group will be evangelism which will lead to discipleship. Having a small group will make it easier to stay in control as well as teach and help those who may not be grasping the material well.  A larger group would not afford the intimacy of a small group.

The Importance of the Relational Group in Authentic Disciple Making

Disciple makers leading small groups must intentionally pursue a relationship with their disciple mentees through genuine and authentic interactions. According to Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, and Robert E. Coleman, “Jesus himself made disciples using a variety of methods and activities, yet his goal was always discipleship.”[1] For relationships to occur, the leader must be willing to be open in his or her small group. Sharing life together is important, but they must also allow others to see their humanness as well. For instance, pastors and disciple makers are not perfect. They have problems as well as sin in their own lives. By being open and honest with one another, this can forge a true and open relationship so that the group members can pray for one another. Putman et al. wrote, “We believe in the priesthood of every believer, and we want to get people into the game.”[2] Since every believer is called to be a minister to others, then members of the small relational group can certainly minister to their own leader by praying and showing love to one another.

Putman et al. states “Making disciples in biblical relational contexts can work well to reach the world for Jesus, one person at a time. The relational small group forms the backbone for discipleship.”[3] A small group must have a defining purpose so that it can stay on course with its vision and goal. If the group’s purpose leads back to making disciples, then it is on target to succeed. Putman et al. wrote, “A biblically based, disciple-making small group involves three components. It’s (1) a place where shepherding takes place, (2) a place where real teaching takes place with Q&A, modeling, and stories, and (3) a place where authenticity and accountability are encountered and modeled.”[4]  Taking these steps can lead to a healthy small relational group which will strengthen the body of Christ.

Missional Groups Can Help the Body of Christ Move into the Community

Missional groups can help the body of Christ move into the community. As mentioned previously, there must be a purpose and a vision to stay on track. Rod Dempsey wrote,

‘In the Great Commission, the command to ‘make disciples’ is clear. In the final instructions from Jesus to His disciples, we have some clues about how to go about making disciples regardless of the model. We must be going. We must be going to all nations. We must be preaching the gospel. We must die to self and be witnesses (martyrs) for Christ. We must be going and making disciples, which includes baptizing and teaching them to observe (obey) everything that Christ commanded. We must wait on the Spirit of promise to go with us.’[5]

I found Dempsey interesting when he wrote about Neil Cole’s book, Church 3.0. Dempsey wrote,

“Neil Cole in his book Church 3.0 argues that historically, the church has had three operating systems. The first system was organic and functioned around the idea of a people movement. The second system rejected this system and morphed into a professional clergy-driven model. The third operating system is a return to the family/body operating system where every person is important to the health of the church.”[6]

What I found interesting was that church as we know today (Church 2.0) has been conducting itself as a place where people have gone for the last 1700 years. Cole asserts that in Church 2.0. the ministry setting is at the meeting place, which is a church building. The new emerging church is Church 3.0 in which the ministry setting is in the marketplace. In other words, instead of teaching disciples to disciple within the confines of the church physical building walls, Church 3.0 is sending disciples into the community and the world to evangelize and make disciples. I truly believe that is what Christ truly meant when he stated that we were to take the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the utmost parts of the world (Acts 1:8). The church posture is that we all go. We all minister since we all as believers are called into priesthood.[7] Another interesting comparison is that growth in our current Church 2.0 is based on addition where in 3.0, it is based on multiplication.[8] Dempsey wrote, “Missions: people are encouraged to live as missionaries and go across the street and across the world.”[9]

My Status of Living in the Community

My status of living in the community identifies more with Church 3.0. I have started a ministry called Marketplace Evangelism Ministries, which focuses on taking the gospel into the workplace through evangelism. I share my faith with corporate business owners. If they come to Christ, then I take them on as disciples to teach them how to share the gospel with others and ultimately, they start to make disciples. Many times, my activity leads me to others in the marketplace who may not be business owners, but employees who want a true relationship with Jesus Christ. I will never turn down an opportunity to witness, but my focus is to stay within the confines of the marketplace to stay on track with the vision of the ministry.

Being Missional in the Community

Within my own community, I can be missional by living my life as a man of God, by praying for those I meet, helping when I see a need to help, and when people come to Christ, encouraging them to live a life of Christ as well as taking them on as a disciple of Christ. Don N. Howell wrote, “Jesus referred to himself as the Son of man who walks among people offering redemption to lost sinners, proclaiming God’s inaugural rule, and experiencing loss, persecution, and betrayal.”[10] Living my life as a follower of Jesus Christ and intentionally investing in the lives of others through relational discipleship can make a difference for the cause of Christ. As Christ lived among the people, we all should be living among the people and testifying and sharing our faith. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “The Christian community thus lives its own life in the midst of this world, continually bearing witness in all it is and does that ‘the present form of this world is passing away’ (1 Cor. 7:31), that time has come short (1 Cor. 7:23), and that the Lord is near (Phil. 4:5).”[11] As Bonhoeffer asserts, we must be living our life in the world in order for the world to be changed. The time is short and the second coming of Christ is near. According to Dave Earley, “A Christian missionary is a person with the mission of positively impacting others with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.”[12] Therefore it is so important that every believer live their life as ministers of the gospel and missionaries. The only way to do this is that everyone must become engaged in taking the gospel across the street and ultimately across the world.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we are all called into priesthood as followers of Jesus Christ. This is accomplished by training all church members to be missionaries for the cause of Christ. This can be done by developing small relational groups with the ultimate focus of discipleship. The group can be whatever, as long as it leads to discipleship. As mentioned previously, “A biblically based, disciple-making small group involves three components. It is a place where shepherding takes place, a place where real teaching takes place with Q&A, modeling, and stories, and a place where authenticity and accountability are encountered and modeled.”[13]

By implementing these types of groups, it can lead to these newly trained disciples to take the gospel out into the community to minister to neighbors, as well as their local community. These new disciples can then start their own ministries and multiply by making disciples who in turn make disciples. By training new followers of Christ to be missional, then they can take the church into the marketplace to evangelize and make disciples. As Cole asserts, we must all become engaged in the business of ministering to each other as well as in the harvest fields of our communities. Dempsey states to see life transformations, we must follow Colossians 1:28, “We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. Our goal as Christian leaders is to help every individual stand before the King of kings and hear from Him: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”[14] It is my hope through Marketplace Evangelism Ministries that we can do just that.

Bibliography

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4. Minneapolis, MN: First Fortress Press, 2003.

Earley, Dave, and David Wheeler. Evangelism Is…: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2010.

Earley, Dave, and Rod Dempsey. Disciple Making Is… How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2013.

Howell, Jr., Don N. Servants of the Servant: A Biblical Theology of Leadership. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2003.

Putman, Jim, Bobby Harrington, and Robert E Coleman. Disciple Shift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013.

Notes:

[1] Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, and Robert E. Coleman, DiscipleShift: Five Steps that Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013), 177.

[2] Ibid., 170.

[3] Ibid., 196.

[4] Ibid., 197.

[5] Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is…: How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2013), 275-276.

[6] Earley and Dempsey, Disciple Making Is, 276.

[7] Earley and Dempsey, Disciple Making Is, 277.

[8] Earley and Dempsey, Disciple Making Is, 277.

[9] Earley and Dempsey, Disciple Making Is, 280.

[10] Don N. Howell, Jr., Servants of the Servant: A Biblical Theology of Leadership (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2003), 198.

[11] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4: Discipleship (Minneapolis, MN: First Fortress Press, 2003), 250.

[12] Dave Earley and David Wheeler, Evangelism Is: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2010), 101.

[13] Putman et al., DiscipleShift, 197.

[14] Earley and Dempsey, Disciple Making Is…, 278.

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © May 20, 2018, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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Evangelism: It’s Not Just an Easter Thing

 “. . . do the work of an evangelist . . .”

This verse makes more sense to me now after 30 years of ministry than it ever has. In order to explain why I have deeper appreciation for it a brief but true story is necessary in order to provide some context. My father came to faith in Christ in a single day after being a committed atheist his entire adult life. It started when his third wife woke him up one Sunday morning and told him that he was going to church. His first question was “What are you talking about?” Her reason for going to church was that it was Easter. Next question, “But why!?” He was then informed that they were going because my step-siblings regularly went to church and that they should go with them at least once, and Easter was as good a day as any. Even more bewilder he asked “Church? What church?!” It was at that point that he learned that their kids went to a church that had a bus ministry, and since a bus drove right by their house they could catch a ride to church. The salient point is that they weren’t going to church because my dad was concerned for their spiritual development. So dad dutifully got up, got dressed, and then went out to his car where he and his third wife sat until the bus came by and picked up the kids. He didn’t even know where the church was so he had to follow the bus in order to find the church. Upon arrival he walked through the church doors and (as he puts it) became immediately aware that “there really is a God.” After listening to the music and the announcements the pastor began his sermon. Within 20 minutes my dad knew in no uncertain terms that there was a literal Hell and that he was most assuredly going there. He has often told me that he actually feared having a heart attack before the sermon ended, thereby sealing his fate. Fortunately he “survived” the sermon and at its close the pastor invited all who desired to receive Christ to come forward. So, as soon as the hymn of invitation began my dad was down the aisle and at the front of the sanctuary before the first stanza had finished. He was “gloriously saved” that very day, and ever since then he has been a changed man. In fact he now serves as a volunteer chaplain for a prison in central Missouri, where he regularly preaches on Sunday mornings to inmates.  My friends, my dad’s dramatic conversion was certainly the result of the “work of evangelism”; but really, when you think about it, it wasn’t hard work. Picking ripe fruit off the ground is never as strenuous as chiseling dry dense soil and planting seeds during times of drought.

In the late 60s and early 70s (which is when my dad came to Christ) a lot ministries were busy picking up ripe fruit. It is pretty interesting to listen to Christians talk about that period of revival because many of them have the impression that they “achieved” that great harvest because “they were doing it the right way.” Whenever I hear that I have to bite my tongue, and I have heard it a lot all over the country. An interesting fact about that period is that the Spirit moved in the hearts of many people through many different ministries irrespective of their denomination and theology. Baptist churches saw many come to faith in Christ (both independent and denominational), as did many other churches, such as Methodist, Presbyterian, Assemblies of God, and Non-denominational (both charismatic and non-charismatic); and lest we forget, many para-church ministries also enjoyed that period of great harvest. The truth about periods such as that one is that when the Spirit moves in such a manner He enjoys being sloppy with his grace. As the old saying goes, “when it rains it pours.”  Well, the bottom line for this article is that we are no longer in a season in which the labor predominantly involves merely collecting ripe fruit. Today, the work seems hard, harder than it has ever been during my lifetime. We now appear to be called to fields that are dry and hard, and as a result there seems to be fewer and fewer people interested in doing the “work of evangelism.” Consequently, we need more workers, not better marketing methods.

Moreover, I am struck by the fact that the Spirit didn’t guide Paul to write “collect the fruit of the Spirit,” or “inform the elect of their regeneration,” or “get them to cry, come forward, and fill out a card,” or tell them “they can have their best life now.” No, Paul didn’t emphasize either the audience to be evangelized, or the end result of evangelistic efforts, he emphasized being faithful about doing the labor that evangelism requires. Paul spoke of labor, not manipulation. And what exactly is that labor? It is the constant and clear articulation of the gospel, which is “that there is no other name given among men by which we must be saved!” It is regularly calling people to “repent and be saved from this wicked and perverse generation!” It’s not being “ashamed of the gospel; for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes!” And lastly, it’s offering the gospel to anyone and everyone simply because “whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved!”   It is the norm rather than the exception that the work of an evangelist requires significant personal effort, spiritual sweat if you will.  This labor is not about slick entertainment, or ensuring that audiences are comfortable, or about self-adulation. It requires faithful workers committed to “laboring” in dry and dusty fields if for no other reason than they share their Master’s passion. So, if you value “tolerance,” “sensitivity,” and “teachable moments,” then it’s not likely that during these difficult days that you will be inundated with opportunities to “do the work of an evangelist.” Nevertheless, one irreducible fact still remains: the more we communicate the gospel—in season and out—the more people will make decisions for Christ. Or as Paul put it, “How shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”

Monte Shanks, Copyright © March 21, 2018, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Defeating The Adversary

The following is a discussion about Jerry Rankin’s book, “Spiritual Warfare: The Battle For God’s Glory.” The discussion pertains to how Satan tries to use one’s past and old nature to destroy a Christian’s walk with Christ and their testimony.

According to Jerry Rankin, our old nature is what comes natural for us. Our nature before Christ, our human and carnal nature loves satisfaction and gratification. We want what makes us happy and what feels good in the flesh. That is our old self, our old sinful nature, which is about our self. Suffering occurs because we must die to self and put on a new attitude, which is enriched in Christ. Satan loves to use our certain weaknesses to ensnare us in sin and make us feel defeated. Rankin quoted Romans 13:14, “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy fleshly desires.” We are to surround ourselves with Christ-like attitudes and remove ourselves from things that would temp us to sin. An example would be if a person had a problem with sex. Before Christ, one with this problem may have been indulged in numerous affairs or potentially had many sexual partners. The person may also have been addicted to pornography. After Christ, this same person should not want to continue with his or her illicit behavior. They should concentrate on Christ and strive to live for Christ everyday by praying and reading the Bible. But Satan knows their weakness and will try to destroy their witness by attacking them with opportunities to sin. A person who was addicted to pornography should not be watching television where nudity is included in the program. That in itself is like pouring gasoline on a house fire. Because people are human and have no power to save themselves, they must put on the full armor of God to avoid the traps and the fiery darts of Satan as described in Ephesians 6. If people do not want to fall back into a sinful lifestyle, they must change their habits and not watch or look at things that can cause temptation to sin and fail.

Rankin quoted a youth evangelist he knew as a child. The youth pastor stated, “If you don’t want your passions aroused in a way that would lead to hard-to-resist temptation, don’t put yourself in a situation where that is likely to happen by parking with your date in a dark car at a drive-in or anywhere else.”[1] “It comes down to the choices we make. If we desire to walk in the Spirit, then we have to choose to avoid situations that would cause the flesh to be tempted.”[2] People need to avoid situations that would lead them to lustful thoughts, which in turn may excite them or lead them to seek gratification. Of course, in the old nature, it is natural to want to do these things, but doing so is against God’s Law, principles, and will. That is why Jesus Christ came to take our sins, burdens, and our filthiness, and those sins and actions were already nailed to the cross with Christ. Jesus bore our sins and when we asked Jesus to come into our hearts and forgive us of our sins, He forgave us. God has forgiven us. But once we accepted Christ and started living for God, Satan was furious and wants to destroy our testimony so that we will become ineffective in the Great Commission. Therefore, Satan uses every means to attack us because we are representatives of Christ. Rankin states, “In emphasizing the victory of which we are assured, we must not diminish the reality of the warfare. There is an ongoing battle between the flesh and the Spirit. Satan is opposed to our doing anything that glorifies and exalts Christ. He uses that self-centered nature of the flesh within us and the carnal values of the world around us to defeat us and cause us to sin.”[3]

Rankin quoted 1 Peter 5:10, “Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Jesus Christ, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little.”[4] Peter states that we suffer a little in contrast to Christ suffering to the point that His blood was spilt which lead to His death and resurrection. Our sufferings pale compared to giving up one’s life for the sins of the world. We will suffer if we follow Christ because the world, in which Satan currently has dominion over, will see to it that we are tempted and that we will struggle for the cause of Christ. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt. 7:13-14). Living for Christ is hard because of our old sinful nature. The road traveled for Christ is narrow and few will find it. The road to the wide gate of worldly pleasures is easier to follow because one does not have to make any sacrifices and give up their old nature. But if we stand firm in our faith, Christ will deliver us. “Be sober! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your brothers in the world.” (1 Pet. 5:8-9)

I agree with Rankin that if we put to death deeds, inclinations, and desires of the flesh, then we will suffer because this is not easy. Self-denial does cause suffering because of our old nature and the wants of self-centeredness. If we concentrate on serving Christ and loving others, then the desires of the flesh are greatly diminished. Getting serious about serving God means that one sets aside time everyday to pray and seek the face of God. Then we must also study God’s Word. To fight against Satan, we must get into God’s Word and really study. We must seek a relationship with God. We must walk in the Spirit and live our lives in a manner that is pleasing to God, in public, in private, and in secret. Our lives should be the same in all three categories. God sees all, even what is done in secret. Putting on Christ means that we are living our lives for Christ everyday in all that we do. We are to show love to everyone and grant grace and forgiveness. If not, Satan will use that as a foothold to try to destroy our lives and our testimony for Christ.

From the reading, one application I can implement into my prayer and ministry is to start fasting and praying more in order to get to know God better and to seek a closeness with Him. I have fasted in the past and did see answers to prayer, but Rankin indicated that fasting can bring us closer to God and “…demonstrate our longing and need for God through the denial and sacrifice of normal fleshly desires in our battle and victory over the flesh.”[5] This in turn could bring an outpouring of God’s blessings. I desire to be closer to God and want that intimate relationship with Him.

What about you? Do you desire a personal walk with the Savior, Jesus Christ? If so, then stop right where you are. Talk with the Father. That is called praying. Pray to Him and ask forgiveness of your sins. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and live in you. Then seek out a Bible believing church. Get involved in a church and in a Bible study so that you can be discipled in how to live a Christian life.

[1] Jerry Rankin, Spiritual Warfare: The Battle For God’s Glory (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2009), 140.

[2] Ibid., 140.

[3] Ibid., 141.

[4] Ibid., 155.

[5] Ibid., 164.

Joseph T. Lee, © November 14, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

What Is Marketplace Evangelism and the Power of One?

Someone recently asked me what Marketplace Evangelism was? This is my definition, but first, let me tell you what it isn’t. Marketplace Evangelism is not standing on the street corner and preaching to people in the street. It is not forcing Jesus Christ down people’s throats. Marketplace Evangelism is loving people at the job, career, or workplace; by living your life in a manner that is pleasing to God. It is espousing the love of Christ so that others will see something different in you. An example of this is going to see a co-worker or client who is hospitalized and visit and pray for them. It is opening yourself up, in faith, and only when truly led by the Holy Spirit, accept divine appointments to share your faith and how Christ has helped and changed you with those in your environment. It’s living your life in a manner, striving to be Christ incarnate, so that others may see Christ in you, because you may be the only Jesus anyone will ever see. It is making a difference in people’s lives one life at a time!

I know many people will not want to stand out in a crowd because of ridicule. I know this personally, because I have lived 59 years, being afraid to share my faith because of rejection. Being afraid because I did not want to “offend” anyone or I did not want to say the wrong thing. I know what other Christians think, because I have lived a lifetime not sharing the most wonderful gift that God has ever given to me, from His Son, Jesus Christ. That gift was forgiveness of all the terrible and sinful, dark, sins that I have ever committed or thought. That gift made me whole and changed my life. That gift is still changing my life every day. Do I still sin? Yes, I do. I am human and live in the same dark world as before. There is one exception. I have God’s forgiveness, have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of me, and have conviction when I sin, which tells me that I need to stop and ask forgiveness from the one I sinned against and to God.

A few years back, when I finally got serious with what God had been calling me to do, my life changed dramatically. It changed in a way where my eyes were opened wide to the “TRUTH.” That “TRUTH” helped me to overcome my fears, so that I could do the work that I was called to do, right here in my own town. But God wants all Christians to get serious with what He has called all of us to do. Look what it says in Matthew 28:16-20, “16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Jesus gave us something called the “Great Commandment.” According to Matthew 22:36-40, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love your neighbor as yourself. What does that mean? It means that we are to care and treat our neighbors the way we would want to be treated by doing for them when we see their time of need. Who is our neighbor? Our neighbor is everyone who we encounter. Our neighbors are our co-workers, managers, employees, customers, waiters, waitresses, dry cleaner employee, anyone in the marketplace, the vagrant on the corner, everyone.

When we understand that our Christian walk is not only how we live our life in a pleasing manner to God, but we are to also step out on faith and tell someone about that saving grace that rescued us from a burning hell, then we are fulfilling the other commandment that Christ gave to us. Look at Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Our Jerusalem is our own neighborhood. Our Samaria is our own town or city. Our Judea can be our state or nation. These places can also be in the marketplace, where we live, work, and play. Don’t you see what Christ and our heavenly Father is asking us to do?

Have you ever heard of the power of one? I will post the excerpt from “Evangelism Is” written by Dave Earley and David Wheeler.

THE POWER OF ONE

“One Samaritan woman testified to her town, and many believed in Jesus.

One man, Noah, built a boat that saved the human race.

One man, Moses, stood up to Pharaoh and delivered the Hebrews from Egypt.

One woman, Deborah, delivered Israel from the Canaanite oppression.

One man, David, defeated the Philistines when he killed their champion, Goliath.

One woman, Esther, had the courage to approach the king and see her nation spared from extermination.

One man, Peter, preached a sermon that led 3,000 to be saved.

One salesman and Sunday school teacher, Edward Kimball, led a young man named Dwight to Christ. Dwight Moody became a blazing evangelist who it is said, led one million souls to Christ in his short lifetime. Wilbur Chapman received the assurance of his salvation after talking with Moody and went on to become a noted evangelist himself. The drunken baseball player Billy Sunday was an assistant to Chapman before becoming the most famous evangelist of his day. One of the fruits of Sunday’s ministry was the forming of a group of Christian businessmen in Charlotte, North Carolina. This group brought the evangelist Mordecai Ham to Charlotte in 1934. A tall awkward youth named Billy Graham was converted during those meetings. According to his staff, as of 1993, more than 2.5 million people had “stepped forward at his crusades to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Millions of souls trace their spiritual lineage back to the influence of one man, a simple Sunday school teacher, Edward Kimball.

Someone said, “To the world you may just be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” To this we might add, to you they may seem like just one lost soul, but to God that may be a soul who can shake the whole world.” ~ Dave Earley & David Wheeler

Let me ask you one last question. Why are you not sharing your faith? You never know. You may be the only “Jesus” anyone will ever see. You may be the one who shares your faith and the love Christ has given to you to a lost person who may become the one who God will use to shake the world! When I realized this, that was the turning moment in my life where I could no longer be a bench seat player in the “World Series” of our Christian faith! I could no longer sit still. I had to do something. What will you do to help spread the love and saving grace of Jesus Christ? When I think of all the time I have wasted in life and not have done what God called me to do so long ago, I grieve and become emotional. I have realized that although I have been a bench seat Christian all my life, and the time God has given me for the remainder of my life, I am to serve Him and be the evangelist He has called me to be. What about you? When will you get off the bench and get into the game?

Excerpt Credit:

Dave Earley and David Wheeler, Evangelism Is: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence, (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2010) 133-134.

Joseph T. Lee, © November 10, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC

 

 

What are the top five tasks of a pastor and why?

What are the top five tasks of a pastor and why? The answer to this question will vary from student to student because there are more than five tasks of a pastor. Certainly, John MacArthur made mention of seventeen primary activities taken from First and Second Thessalonians. They are praying, evangelizing, equipping, defending, loving, laboring, modeling, leading, feeding, watching, warning, teaching, exhorting, encouraging, correcting, confronting, and rescuing (MacArthur, 11-12). To determine which of these activities are most important is dependent on the pastor and what are their priorities and ministry? An activity may be considered a task, but this student wants to examine tasks as possibly ministries of a pastor.

According to MacArthur, there are seven ministries that can be boiled down from these activities. These ministries have three basic purposes of the church. They are exaltation, evangelism, and edification (MacArthur, 59). Therefore, to boil these tasks or activities down a little more, these activities lead a pastor into these seven ministries: The Ministry of the Word, The Ministry of Fellowship, The Ministry of the Lord’s Supper, The Ministry of Prayer, The Ministry of Outreach, The Ministry of Missions, and The Ministry of Interchurch Fellowship (MacArthur, 61-62). MacArthur wrote, “The role of pastoral leadership, composed of a select group of men from the church of redeemed believers, is to provide guidance, care, and oversight for the church so that it fulfills its Christ-ordained mandate of evangelizing the entire world, growing into the likeness of Christ, and existing for the exaltation and worship of God” (MacArthur, 58). Out of these seven ministries, this student will select his top five based on what he thinks are the priorities, but all are of equal importance.

The first and probably the most important ministry task of a pastor is the Ministry of the Word. Pastors are responsible for teaching the Word of God. This is done through a combination of opportunities such as preaching, teaching Sunday school, and small group Bible studies. Romans 10:17 states that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. MacArthur wrote, “What is important, however, is that the Word of God be taught. If the Word of God is taught, the church will grow in faith and love (Rom. 10:17)” (MacArthur, 59).

The second ministry task of a pastor is the Ministry of Prayer. According to MacArthur, “Prayer moves God; prayer changes things” (MacArthur, 61). A church that prays will see God’s miracles and His work. Praying is the way Christians communicate with God. MacArthur wrote, “A praying church will be a victorious, growing, maturing community. The wonder of today’s church is that so much goes on with so little praying. The answer to many of the church’s problems is not more seminars, programs, and promotional gimmicks but more intercession on the part of God’s people, both as a group and in a closet” (MacArthur, 61). This quote is so very true. This student has seen miracles come through prayer, from his own healing to church organizations receiving the funds needed to carry on. Through diligent prayer, through that communion with God, it will bring the church community closer in their faith walk with Him. Then that is when one will start to see lives changing for the cause of Christ.

The third ministry task is the Ministry of Outreach. The pastoral leader is to lead his flock into evangelism. Christ gave every one of His followers a command. This is found in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” The church is to take the Gospel throughout the world. Pastors must teach his congregants how to lead others to Christ. He must himself, practice personal soul winning. MacArthur stated that many in the church feel that it is the pastor’s sole responsibility to evangelize, but they are mistaken. It is every believer’s responsibility to evangelize. But it is the pastor’s responsibility to teach his congregants in how to share their faith.  MacArthur wrote, “A Church that does not know how to reproduce and does not reproduce is in reality an immature congregation, regardless of its intellectual comprehension of Scripture or the sophistication of its corporate programs” (MacArthur, 62). Therefore, it is the pastor’s responsibility to teach his church members how to share their faith. If not, unfortunately, the membership will dwindle.

The fourth ministry task of a pastor is the Ministry of the Lord’s Supper. The early church participated in “breaking bread” as a remembrance of Jesus Christ and the last supper with His disciples. MacArthur wrote, “The Lord’s Supper, like the ordinance of baptism, is no trivial practice, but one that lies at the heart of the Christian message (1 Cor. 11:23-26). The symbolism, solemnity with celebration, and the sanctity required by all participants make it one of the most inspirational and worshipful services of the Christian community” (MacArthur, 60). MacArthur also wrote that great spiritual benefit comes from participation in the Lord’s Supper (MacArthur, 61). Pastors must teach his congregants that by celebrating the Lord’s Supper will help bring meaning and will edify each person’s soul. It is the worship of Christ and what He did for us, by laying down His life for all who would believe.

The fifth ministry task of a pastor is the Ministry of Missions. This goes almost hand in hand with the Ministry of Outreach. The pastor must lead his congregants in establishing and maintaining a missions program. Christ gave His followers the commandment to take the Gospel to all of Jerusalem, Samaria, and the utmost parts of the world. By following Jesus Christ’s commandment, this results in attempting to fulfill the Great Commission. The church must also participate in sending or supporting missionaries who are willing to go throughout the world proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the responsibility of the pastor to teach his congregants that this is a requirement and not an option.

In conclusion, this student interpreted the top five tasks of a pastor as ministries. Certainly, the first seventeen activities are all important, but these were boiled down to actual ministries which the pastoral leadership must accomplish to lead his church congregants in the way that Christ would have led them. The result of these five ministries will help to accomplish the three basic purposes of the church which are exaltation, evangelism, and edification.

 

Bibliography

MacArthur, John. Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005.

Joseph T. Lee © November 2, 2017 The Lantern & Shield Times LLC