Tag Archives: discipleship

Biblical Evangelism

What the Bible says about evangelism (declaring and sharing the good news about the death, burial, resurrection of Jesus Christ whose life, work and death was to save us from our guilt, sin and hell and to make us right with a holy God).

This study is from Bill Vermeulen’s Great Truths of the Bible syllabus.

Evangelism is testifying to the mercy and grace of God as experienced in one’s personal life, and especially as declared in the Scriptures. It is “gospeling” the good news.  Evangelism is God’s task, but he has graciously made you a participant in the task. It is both a privilege and a responsibility.

In the various accounts of evangelism in the Bible, we see that it is a fourfold task. It is (1) relational, (2) intentional, (3) presentational, and (4) invitational.

1. Evangelism was instituted by the Lord Jesus

a. John 20:21 – it was a commission

b. Mark 16:15 – there are recipients

c. Matthew 28:19-20 – he gave a basic strategy

d. Luke 24:46-48   – the content is repentance and forgiveness of sins based on the death and resurrection of Jesus

e. Acts 1:8 – geographically, it started in Jerusalem and continues to the ends of the world.

2. Evangelism is telling others about the saving work of God in our lives (Mark 5:19,20; John 9:26-33; Acts 2:5-11; John 4:29, 39; Acts 16:15, 40; 1 Peter 3:15; Philemon 6)

3. Evangelism is the spreading of the “Good News” message (Psalm 96:1; Matthew 24:14; Acts 8:5; 11:19-21; Revelation 14:6)

4. Evangelism is defending the faith of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27; 4:3; Acts 1:28).

5. Evangelism is to be done by the ordained (Ephesians 4:11; Acts 21:8; 2 Timothy 4:5)

6. Evangelism is to be done by the unordained (Luke 8:39; 9:60/ Acts 5:32; 8:1-4; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; James 5:19,20; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 22:17).

7. Evangelism involves prayer (Matthew 9:38; John 17:20).

8. Evangelism involves finding, telling and harvesting (Luke 19:10; Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 8:35-38; Matthew 9:38).

9. Evangelism involves modeling and equipping others for effectiveness (Acts 13:2; 14:1; Ephesians 4:11, 12).

10. Evangelism is done through friendship and hospitality (John 1:41, 45; Acts 10:24-27, 44)

11. Evangelism is done through diaconal ministries (Isaiah 61:1-3; Matthew 9:35; 10:7; Acts 2:45, 47)

12. Evangelism is done through visiting homes (Matthew 10:11-14; Luke 19:9, 10; 10:5-7).

13. Evangelism is done in large gatherings (Acts 2:1-41; 17:22-34).

14. Evangelism is done in small groups (Acts 10:24-27; 16:15, 31-32; 18L7, 8, 26; 28:7-10).

15. Evangelism is done with individuals (John 1:41, 45; 4:7-29; Acts 8:34, 35; James 5:20)

16. Evangelism involves (see 1 Corinthians 2:1-5):

a. A message about Jesus Christ

b. A messenger

c. A listener

d. The Holy Spirit

e. Prayer

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Church Growth, Evangelism

Aspiring to be a Real Man (A Study)

Aspiring to be a Real Man PDF

The PDF file attached to this blog is one of the lessons I put together for a men’s discipleship group called Band of Brothers. The purpose of this group was to provide dynamic training for intentional living as a man or as men in Christ.

The material may be used, copied and circulated without limit provided proper acknowledgment is given to the source.

Leave a comment

Filed under Discipling Others, Leadership, Men's Leadership Studies

Outgrowing the Ingrown Church

(Interacting with Dr. Miller’s poignant book).

Outgrowing the Ingrown Church was written a number of years ago by C. John Miller (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House; 1986).  I’ve read it at least three times in order to give my own life a swift kick in the rump. This book is a call to assess and reassess the pastor’s and elders’ work in the local church. It’s also a call to the local congregation to assess and reassess where it is at, where it is going and what God says about it.  It’s a call to humble repentance as well as a call to dynamic, vibrant faith for all parties involved in the church.

Miller said, Growth that is not inspired by faith in Christ’s power to transform lives is dangerous (p. 18). … So congregations and their leaders today are perilously close to losing the elementary principles of faith that motivate qualitative and quantitative church growth. I am thinking of regular and thorough meditation on the promises of God, ongoing repentance based on the intense study of Scripture, continual personal and corporate prayer, daring gospel communication and discipling, mobilizing every member’s gifts for Christ’s mission to the world, and each congregation working to plant daughter churches (p. 19).

Pastor Miller’s story, out of which this book came, is one of a man who was also a seminary pastor, faithfully involved in a local church.  The church had been complacent, stagnant and ingrown.  After a period of discomfort and personal restlessness, Miller began to seek ways to revitalize the church and to fulfill God’s call and vision for the church.  In his times of prayer and study he learns,

I had rightly discerned that this promise of Christ’s fullness had a past reference to Pentecost and a future reference to the transformed world; but I had missed the emphasis in the Gospel of John on the present application of this promise to those who “are believing” or “keep believing.” I had missed the fact that God wishes to use such promises to awaken us daily from our dryness to claim the Spirit’s refreshing life (p. 24).

Pastor Arzurdia brings this same message out in his wonderful book on preaching. So much of the life of the church, and of my own ministry tends to fall back upon self-effort. How we ought to recall and fall upon those great and  precious promises for a life filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Pastor Miller pushes  further: So let me call you and your congregation, not simply to survival for another week, but to radical commitment: to believe Christ’s promises and to do His will at all costs. That will is revealed in His command to the church to go with the gospel to the nations and make disciples… (p. 25).

Such a commitment cannot only come from the leaders or pastor. It must be held by others, especially those in leadership positions.

In his chapter, THE INGROWN CHURCH: God’s Call to Faith and Repentance, the author gives more than an apt description of so many churches.  He says that ingrown churches are gripped by several, if not all, of these following characteristics:

1. Tunnel Vision

Members of the ingrown church body are characterized by tunnel vision that limits potential ministries of the church to those that can be accomplished by the visible, human resources at hand. These possibilities are often further limited by recollections of past negative experiences and perceptions of present obstacles. At bottom, this is unbelief based on a secularized ignorance of the Spirit’s power – His ability to supply us with God’s goals for the church and the supernatural means to reach them (p. 29).

2. Shared Sense of Group Superiority

He (C. Curry Mavis) observes that many smaller congregations and their leadership have become egocentric because of “their fear of extinction.” In his view, “struggling churches are likely to exaggerate points of superiority they actually possess as means of compensation for their limitations.” What they do is build an attitude of superiority over others by elevating a positive feature in the church life of tradition and then comparing this feature with groups which lack this quality (p. 30)

3. Extreme Sensitivity to Negative Human Opinion  Whatever form the opposition takes, we will discover that an ingrown church has given in for so long to intimidation that its fears have obscured vital contact with the promises of God. As a result, fear casts out love for “a world that is falling apart,” a world that desperately needs a community of love (p. 31).

4. Niceness in Tone  Indeed, each Christian should diligently seek to be all of that. But what is often wanted in the local church is unrelieved blandness: a “nice pastor” preaching “nice sermons” about a “nice Jesus” delivered in a “nice tone” of voice. What is twisted about all this is that “niceness” is being substituted for Christ’s holy love, a heroic quality that might not in some circumstances prove to be nice at all. What we really want is to be comfortable and undisturbed. “Nice” is just another way of being safe (p. 32).

5. Christian Soap Opera in Style.  The niceness of the inward-looking church does not go deep enough to hinder the soap-opera style in which many a congregational life is lived. Soap operas are basically a series of endlessly repeated conversations, and gossip (for that is what it is) is often the only kind of “body life” an ingrown church knows (p. 33).

6. Confused Leadership Role.

7. A Misdirected Purpose. It is clear from the foregoing that the controlling purpose in the ingrown church has to do with survival – not with growth through the conversion of the lost….The unity is essentially that of the comfortable, private club determined to protect its institutional values and privileges (pp. 35-36).

Miller, a few pages later, characterizes the problem when he said that we can learn from the Pharisees.  This truth brings us face to face with what appears to be a critical problem: If this awesome authority and invincible, inward power are Christ’s gifts to the church of God, why is so little evidence of all this to be found in the local congregation? …R.C. Sproul compares many local churches to the company of Pharisees active during Jesus’ time on earth. He writes, It was the Pharisees who developed the doctrine of “salvation by separation.”  …To be sure, this is a familiar issue when we are dealing with the ingrown church, with its false separation…. Why is it so prevalent when the authority and the power of Christ are so sovereignly compelling? What is the church missing today?  The answer is to be found largely in our lack of trust.  The passive church member is a person weak in faith. (p. 57).  How accurate a portrayal and evaluation he has made.

So what does he propose as an answer? The first thing he recommends is to evaluate where the church is and measure it against where it ought to be. This requires knowledge of what God has to tell us about the vision, mission, purpose and direction for His Church. From that point we can gain a rather substantial view of where the church is currently at and where it ought to go.

Pastor Miller also suggests several things that is required of a local church, and makes worthwhile recommendations for change. The first is that the local church is to be a missionary church. The living, transcendent God came to claim Israel as His special possession, an act that prefigured the Spirit’s coming at Pentecost to make the church the new people of God, he writes. Peter squelches the idea that the church has a right to exist for its own egocentric interests and comforts. It exists for God, and He is His infinite majesty lives in it as a troubling, transforming, barrier-breaking presence (p. 43). It certainly has no right to live for itself. Yet this is where so many churches find themselves.

In this regard Miller lays out Four Steps to Renewal:

1 Develop an openness to God’s vision for the local church (p. 72).

2. Work to develop an honesty about your sins and weaknesses that lead to change (p. 73).

3. Personalize your relationship with Christ (p. 75)

4. Commit yourself to express God’s glory in every part of your life and service (p. 77).

Secondly, the local church must be a welcoming church. What does the commissioned church do that is different from what is done in the stagnated, passive congregation? he asks. The answer is essentially that the commissioned church is hospitable. It aggressively and joyfully seeks out the unchurched, laboring to welcome them into the church as members of the body of Christ. Its leaders self-consciously reject a “Christian clubhouse” atmosphere and devote themselves to developing in the congregation an open face to the community and the world beyond. The local leaders model a welcoming lifestyle and seek to mobilize others to do the same (p. 81). 

But why do so few Christians today open their hearts and homes to the non-Christian community? The reason is that they are fearful of being hurt by involvement with others. They do not want the trouble and the risk, the exhaustion that hospitality brings, the struggles with sloth that it requires, and all the rest of the suffering that it entails (p. 87).

This statement was highlighted during a pastoral visit I made years ago. The couple have been members of the particular church to which I had just arrived, for many years. One of their complaints was the lack of hospitality that was going on among one another, especially among the elders. The husband protested that in all the years (if I recall it was around twenty years) he had been at the church he had only been invited to three other homes!  While that was certainly a sad commentary on the state of affairs, it was not right for him to be so critical without examining his own heart and behaviors.  So I asked, “Have you practiced hospitality?”  “No!” was his abrupt and quick reply. And why not? The first answer was that it was too much trouble, but probing further, it became clear that  they were fearful of being rejected for not providing adequate or acceptable hospitality. Truly sad.

The third area Miller sees as important for a local church to become is a praying church. There can be no doubt that this is so crucial for a church. So much of the life of the church hinges upon prayer. Miller then brings out something quite interesting when he poses for us just what kind of prayer time do we have?  He titles this section, Two Kinds of Prayer Meetings: Maintenance or Frontline? This prayer meeting in Pennsylvania, he tells us, was intended to function as a frontline battle station. The earlier meeting in California was largely designed to maintain the existing life and ministry of our congregation.  Believers came to the earlier meeting to be edified by a Bible study …and to pray for the internal needs of the church. Expectancy seemed to be at a low ebb among the attenders, evidenced by the fact that none of us bothered to keep a record of prayers offered and answered. I also do not think that Christians came to this prayer meeting expecting to meet God in a life-changing encounter (p. 98).

Miller tells us, By contrast,(to the maintenance-type church) people came to the frontline prayer meetings to be changed. They discovered what Augustine has emphasized, that man’s chief need is to fellowship with God, to find fulfillment in Him, and to experience the abiding presence of Jesus (Pss. 27:4; 36:7-9; John 14:18-23; 15:1-10) (p. 98). Herein is what we need at church – life changing times of prayer!

 

Conclusion

If there is one thing I would critique, it would be the fact that his focus is a slight bit unbalanced. It seems plain to me that the Bible indeed urges churches to fulfill the mandate to disciple  people. But it is equally plain to me that the primary purpose is to have a passion for, and a love and desire to honor, worship and glorify God. In short, we are to have passion and compassion for God as well as for others. In loving God fully, we then would faithfully respond by loving others: other believers in His church, and loving others outside of the church.

The reason for going out to make disciples, as John puts it in his gospel, is to seek after those who will become worshipers of God. This emphasis would be more balanced, because it would be more biblical. This emphasis would more fully address the malady and sin of an introverted church.

Having said that, in my opinion, the author has done a splendid job helping us define and describe the conditions and symptoms of an ingrown church. He has offered many worthwhile remedies, and urged us toward biblical repentance and the need to think and act biblically. His concern for being outwardly focused is not only commendable, but biblical. As members in the kingdom of God, we are to serve others. His passion for making disciples through evangelism and missions is something we all need to catch. For this reason I highly commend this book.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review and Excerpts, Church Leadership, Pastor & Church Relationship, The Church

BOOK: The Trellis and The Vine

The Vine and the Trellis by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne
Kingsford NSW, Australia: Matthias Media; 2009

A most enjoyable book that gets us back to the heart of biblical ministry.  Here are some selections from this good book:

Jesus’ instruction to ‘make disciples’ in Matthew 28:19 is not just a specific word to the apostles gathered around him at the time of his final resurrection appearance. The first disciples were instructed to ‘make disciples’ of others. And because these newly-made disciples were under the universal lordship of Christ, and were to obey everything that Jesus had taught, they fell under exactly the same obligation as the original twelve to get on with the job of announcing the lordship of Christ; as did their hearers, and so on ‘to the end of the age.’  p. 13

Don Carson concludes that ‘the injunction is given at least to the Eleven, but to the Eleven in their own role as disciples (v. 16). Therefore they are paradigms for all disciples…It is binding on all Jesus’ disciples to make others what they themselves are – disciples of Jesus Christ.’  p. 13

Over the course of this book, we are going to suggest that most Christian churches today need to undertake a radical re-evaluation of what Christian ministry really is – what its aims and goals are, how it proceeds, and what part we all play in its exercise…We will be arguing that structures don’t grow ministry any more than trellises grow vines, and that most churches need to make a conscious shift – away from erecting and maintaining structures, and towards growing people who are disciple-making disciples of Christ. p. 17

Here are some examples of the mental shifts we might need to make. Each of them touches on a different aspect of structural thinking that inhibits people ministry… (p. 17)
1. From running programs to building people
2. From running events to training people
3. From using people to growing people
4. From filling gaps to training new workers
5. From solving problems to helping people make progress
6. From clinging to ordained ministry to developing team leadership
7. From focusing on church polity to forging ministry partnerships
8. From relying on training institutions to establishing local training
9. From focusing on immediate pressures to aiming for long-term expansion
10. From engaging in management to engaging in ministry
11. From seeking church growth to desiring gospel growth

One (approach) is to consider existing church programs (such as Sunday meetings, youth work, children’s ministry and Bible study groups) and then work out how such programs can be maintained and improved. The other approach is to start with people in your church, having no particular structures or programs in mind, and then consider who are these people God has given you, how you can help them grow in Christian maturity, and what form their gifts and opportunities might take.

Jesus’ instruction to ‘make disciples’ in Matthew 28:19 is not just a specific word to the apostles gathered around him at the time of his final resurrection appearance. The first disciples were instructed to ‘make disciples’ of others. And because these newly-made disciples were under the universal lordship of Christ, and were to obey everything that Jesus had taught, they fell under exactly the same obligation as the original twelve to get on with the job of announcing the lordship of Christ; as did their hearers, and so on ‘to the end of the age.’  p. 13

Don Carson concludes that ‘the injunction is given at least to the Eleven, but to the Eleven in their own role as disciples (v. 16). Therefore they are paradigms for all disciples…It is binding on all Jesus’ disciples to make others what they themselves are – disciples of Jesus Christ.’  p. 13

Over the course of this book, we are going to suggest that most Christian churches today need to undertake a radical re-evaluation of what Christian ministry really is – what its aims and goals are, how it proceeds, and what part we all play in its exercise…We will be arguing that structures don’t grow ministry any more than trellises grow vines, and that most churches need to make a conscious shift – away from erecting and maintaining structures, and towards growing people who are disciple-making disciples of Christ.  p. 18

However, at one level, this tactic [event-based approach to evangelism] is failing. In our post-Christian, secular age, most unbelievers will never come to our events. Even our members are patchy in their attendance. The ‘event’ tactic relies partly on the appeal and gifts of a gues speaker, and this means we’re limited by the availability of such people that we can run. For the church pastor, and for key lay people, setting up and running events can end up dominating life, with all our time being spent on getting people to come along to things. Yet, despite the work they involve, in some respects events are a centralizing tactic: they’re convenient and easy to control for the leader/organizer, but they require unbelievers to come to us on our own terms. In the end, an ‘event approach’ distracts us from both training and evangelism.

Jesus’ instruction to ‘make disciples’ in Matthew 28:19 is not just a specific word to the apostles gathered around him at the time of his final resurrection appearance. The first disciples were instructed to ‘make disciples’ of others. And because these newly-made disciples were under the universal lordship of Christ, and were to obey everything that Jesus had taught, they fell under exactly the same obligation as the original twelve to get on with the job of announcing the lordship of Christ; as did their hearers, and so on ‘to the end of the age.’  p. 13

Don Carson concludes that ‘the injunction is given at least to the Eleven, but to the Eleven in their own role as disciples (v. 16). Therefore they are paradigms for all disciples…It is binding on all Jesus’ disciples to make others what they themselves are – disciples of Jesus Christ.’  p. 13

Over the course of this book, we are going to suggest that most Christian churches today need to undertake a radical re-evaluation of what Christian ministry really is – what its aims and goals are, how it proceeds, and what part we all play in its exercise…We will be arguing that structures don’t grow ministry any more than trellises grow vines, and that most churches need to make a conscious shift – away from erecting and maintaining structures, and towards growing people who are disciple-making disciples of Christ.  p. 18-19

We talk a lot these days about church growth. And when we think about our lack of growth, we think of the lack of growth of our particular congregation: the stagnation or decline in numbers, the wobbly state of the finances, and possibly the looming property issues.   But it’s interesting how little the New Testament talks about church growth, and how often it talks about ‘gospel growth’ or the increase of the ‘word.’ The focus is on the progress of the Spirit-backed word of God as it makes its way in the world, according to God’s plan. Returning to our vine metaphor, the vine is the Spirit-empowered word, spreading and growing throughout the world, drawing people out of the kingdom of darkness into the light-filled kingdom of God’s beloved Son, and then bearing fruit in their lives as they grow in the knowledge and love of God. The vine is Jesus, and as we are grafted into him, we bear fruit (John 15:1-11).
This results, of course, in individual congregations growing and being built. Bu the emphasis is not on the growth of the congregation as a structure – in numbers, finances and success – but on the growth of the gospel, as it is spoken and re-spoken under the power of the Spirit. In fact, New Testament congregations, as far as we can tell, were usually small gatherings meeting in houses. They were outwardly unimpressive, and had minimal infrastructure. But God kept drawing people into them by the gospel. Or to put it another way, Christ kept doing what he said he would do in Matthew 16. He kept building his church. p. 37

Now the Corinthians had real problems, both over the nature of leadership and over how each member could contribute to the edification of the congregation. In both cases, they seemed to think too highly – too highly of different leaders, so that factions emerged in the congregation depending on which leader you followed; and too highly of themselves and their gifts, so that their gathering became a chaotic exercise in one-upmanship, with everyone more focused on ‘using their gifts’ than on actually encouraging other people. p. 47

Paul deals with the leadership question in 1 Corinthians 1-4. His basic message is that the gospel of Christ crucified give the model for Christian leadership in ministry. It’s a ministry exercised in apparent weakness and foolishness, and yet by God’s Spirit it brings salvation. Paul and Apollos are just manual labourers in God’s field. It’s God who gives the growth, and so any factionalism around the qualities of different leaders is absurd. p. 47

We may all build (edify) in different ways, but we are all builders. We do not all have the same function, but we are all urged to abound in ‘the work of the Lord, knowing that tin the Lord you labour is not in vain’ (I Cor 15:58) p. 48

Simply by virtue of being a disciple of Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit of the new covenant, all Christians have the privilege, joy and responsibility of being involved in the work God is doing in our world, the ‘work of the Lord.’ And the fundamental way we do this is by speaking the truth of God to other people in dependence on the Holy Spirit. p. 49

The gospel had so transformed their world view, and the Holy Spirit had so enlivened them, that the word fo the Lord ‘sounded forth’ from the Thessalonians, both locally and further afield. The Greek word used here …conveys the picture of God’s word ringing out from them as the sound from a clanging bell. They could not keep the message to themselves, even through their social relationships were now very difficult. p. 50

Some commentators cannot envisage that these new Christians would have engaged in missionary activity, and so claim that it was the report of their conversion that was spread abroad. But this is not what the text says – it was the word of the Lord itself that rang out from them. Anyway, it is a false distinction. How could the report have rung out without the content of the gospel also being communicated? p. 50

[Colossians 1:3-6] The growth Paul has in mind here seems to have two facets. At one level, the gospel is growing throughout the world like a vine whose tendrils keep spreading across the fence, and over the fence, and into the neighbor’s backyard…But it’s also growing in another sense – in people’s lives. Where the ‘word of truth’ is taught and believed, it bears fruit. People are changed. They are transferred from one kingdom to another…They begin to have a faith in Christ Jesus and a love for all the saints, and to long for their heavenly inheritance. Their priorities change, their world view changes, and their lives, bit by bit, are remade in the image of God’s own Son. pp. 81-82

Now presumably there is nothing very shocking or revolutionary in these ideas. The gospel by its very nature produces growth…However, there are three very important implications of this simple idea.    The first is that the growth of the gospel happens in the lives of people, not in the structures of the church. Or to put it in terms of our opening metaphor, the growth of the trellis is not the growth of the vine…And all of these [programs, etc.] are good things! But if people are not growing in their knowledge of God’s will so that they walk every more worthily of the Lord, seeking to please him in all things and bearing fruit in every good work, then there is no growth to speak of happening at all. p. 82

Numerical or structural growth is not necessarily an indicator of gospel growth. (Mind you, numerical failure is not an indicator of gospel growth either – we are not suggesting that small churches inherently foster more gospel growth than larger ones!) p. 83

Stages in gospel growth:
Outreach
Follow-up
Growth
Training (pp. 83-84)

To grow like Christ is to grow in love and a desire to serve and minister to others. We are using the word ‘training’ to describe the growth of all Christians in conviction, character and competency, so that in love they might minister to others by prayerfully bringing the word of God to them – whether to non-Christians in outreach, new Christians in follow-up, or all other Christians in daily growth. p. 85

…but first, let’s look at two very common approaches to pastoral ministry, and then contrast them with the approach of this book. Now of course these common approaches are stereotypes and cannot reflect the multi-faceted reality of ministry in all its variety… There are three approaches or emphases we wish to examine which we will call:
* the pastor as service-providing clergyman
* the pastor as CEO
* the pastor as trainer

The pastor as trainer…There is a radical dissolution, in this model, of the clergy-lay distinction. it is not minister and ministered-to, but the pastor and his people working in close partnership in all manner of word ministries. p. 99

The name of Richard Baxter will forever be associated with his classic work The Reformed Pastor. Interestingly, by ‘Reformed’, Baxter did not mean a particular brand of doctrine (although hi own somewhat idiosyncratic theology was certainly ‘Reformed’ in that sense), but rather a ministry that was renewed and renovated, and that abounded in vigour, zeal and purpose. ‘If God would but reform the ministry,’ Baxter wrote, ‘and set them on their duties zealously and faithfully, the people would certainly be reformed.’ p. 104

However, in terms of making wisest use of his time and energies, and maximizing the possibilities of gospel growth, the people our pastor should really pour his time into are {those who have had solid growth and are in need of general and specific training]. p. 111

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that both the itinerant mission and the local congregational work were team operations. Yet somehow this vision has been lost in many churches, even within those whose history and tradition emphasizes a plurality of elders. Over time, the model of a single ordained minister working alone to pastor a church has become the norm, even though it is strikingly different from the normal pattern of ministry in the New Testament. p. 115

…Christian ministry is really not very complicated. It is simply the making and nurturing of genuine followers of the Lord Jesus Christ through prayerful, Spirit-back proclamation of the word of God. It’s disciple-making.   This is why we are such suckers for the latest ministry expert, who has always grown a church of at least 5000 from scratch, and who has a guaranteed method for growing your church to be like his. Every five or ten years, a new wave come through. It might be the seeker-service model, or the purpose-driven model, or the missional-cultural-engagement model, or whatever the next thing will be. All of these methodologies have good things going for them, but all of the are equally beside the point – because our goal is not to grow churches, but to make disciples. p. 151

The fundamental goal is to make disciples who make other disciples, to the glory of God. p. 152

The essence of ‘vine work’ is the prayerful, Spirit-backed speaking of the message of the Bible by one person to another (or to more than one). Various structures, activities, events and programs can provide a context in which this prayerful speaking can take place, but without the speaking it is all trellis and no vine. p. 153

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Review and Excerpts