Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mission 2013 #27 Discipling Equipping for Mission

I was on the staff of a wonderful church for 16 years. It was an enlightening and personally stretching time when God was doing some amazing things in us and our congregation. Here is Cincinnati and around thew world graduates of the church are still doing all kinds of ministry. Some lead, some are missionaries, some heal, some are doctors, lawyers, psychotherapists and some are great at rearing families for Jesus. 

Here are some things we did to disciple our members for ministry, mission, multiplication. 

1. We led and were led to emphasize God's Kingdom not just our church. We shared all our insights and resources with any Christian, any church and any theological focus. 

2.  We talked a lot about growth and it meant several things:

a. Growth in numbers. We wanted to bring new people to Christ and new Christians to membership. We refused to get too big in numbers and when we reached just over 2,000 we stopped adding services.
b. Growth in maturity. We fervently promoted a lifetime of healing and growth spiritually, emotionally, relationally and vocationally. We were an Equipping Center that decided to equip every member to minister.
c. Growth in outward impact. We served the poor, helped the cities, ministered to families and equipped other churches. 
d. We grew in reputation, compassion and love.
e. We had an open, innovative, permission giving approach to ministry.  Individuals, groups, committees and ministries could do just about anything that was not contrary to the call, vision and values of the church. 

3. When I left the church staff to follow God's call, I counted over 600 men and women who said they knew their gifts, their call and were well equipped to minister in those gifts.Yes, 600 people actively involved in MISSION Activities. 

You can see the results of one retired couple we call Seasoned Believers who bought a camper and went on the road to churches and ministries all over America to teach, train, evangelize, pray for healing and offer Christian Counsel. The book is God's Threads or What a Coincidence, and it was written by a woman who did the traveling and teaching after she was 60 years of age. 

That church had numerous lay men and women doing active ministry: 

1. Over 40 who visited homes weekly wit a message of hope and evangelism.
2. Over 60 who served as Peer Helpers to pray for hurting people.  
3. Over 125 who served as Lay Pastors
4. Over 30 who visited the homes of persons who were ill.

This is Ephesians 4 at its best. 

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