If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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Investing in God’s people from life to life
These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one. The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.
Who is the person God would have lead His people? How do we lead in a way that we walk in partnership with God and are restrained from heading off in independence?
The zone below looks at the following passages.
We are God’s partners in ministry, His fellow workers! Wow! What a privilege!
In partnership we work with Him to make disciples of those He brings us. This partnership is not equal; God could do the whole thing Himself, but He delights to work with us and include us in His work.
1 Corinthians 3: 5What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
Leader’s guiding texts
Where am I going in my leadership? What are the issues that I should be on the look out for? Questions such as these often pop up in a life on life ministry situation. If we are constantly encountering new situations, or are starting off and are not sure where to go, then we need some guidance over where to head.
As I have met up with people and groups of people over the years I have found that some guiding phrases and verses have been really helpful to give a pointer for where we are going, what issues might be important and what we are trying to achieve.
When new avenues were opened to the gospel the Apostles in Jerusalem sent someone to investigate. Acts 11:22-23 (NIV)
Acts 11:22News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.
God is the focus of ministry. In prayer we engage with Him in our ministry partnership. In our prayer as worship we acknowledge His lordship and answer the question: Are we independent or are we ministering in unity with Jesus the source of all?
Since we are junior partners with Jesus in His ministry, we talk with Him. It is essential that ministry is a spiritual endeavour and that we are looking for God’s involvement. The pressure of ministry and the pressing needs can lead to us neglecting God. If we do so, then the work of God becomes our work and loses any real spiritual value.
Many of Paul’s letters give us insight into his prayer life as he shares with the young churches what he is praying for them. Not knowing the details of their lives he prayed long term strategic prayers. Here is Ephesians 1:15-19
Ephesians 1:15-19 15For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
An image of leadership in the Bible is the shepherd with the sheep. There are factors that makes it a powerful illustration of our leadership in Christ’s ministry. It draws out the leader’s care, protection, and provision. It is a humble role, often despised even in Biblical times and fits well with Jesus’ call for a leader’s humility .
There are limitations to the illustration. It does not do well with the development of people, or the mission our Lord left us with. These factors are better served by the page on apostolic ministry, and the preceding page ‘overview of discipleship’. All these are needed to work together.
The Lord describes himself as a shepherd. When we are serving as shepherds, He is our chief example.
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever
At various times Jesus sent people out for apostolic ministry. An apostle is literally a ‘sent out’ one. Here we look at the instructions given in Matthew 10 to the apostles. In Luke 10 there are similar instructions given to the 72.
All ministry holds a balance of watching over the ones entrusted to us (pastoral ministry) and reaching out to those who are beyond (apostolic ministry). Each has a different emphasis and it can be a challenge for one person to balance the two.
Luke 10: 7 As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.' 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy,drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.