What Is the Essential Activity of Christian Ministry?
Written Assignment 1: What is the Essential Activity of Christian Ministry? _______________________ A Paper Submitted to TEACHER SCHOOL _______________________ In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Course Discipleship Ministries DSMN500 _______________________ By XXXXXXX-XXXXXX XXXXXX ? CONTENTS INTRODUCTION1 EDUCATION, DISCIPLESHIP AND SPIRITUAL FORMATION1 SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES2 THE KEY PRIORITY IN CHURCH MINISTRY3 CONNECTION TO THE THREE AREAS OF WORSHIP3 CONCLUSION4 BIBLIOGRAPHY 5 ii
Introduction The essential activity of Christian ministry is to know Christ and make Him known. As a follower of Jesus Christ, we are called upon to live a life worthy of bearing His name and to share the Gospel with those He brings us in contact with. Our purpose is three-fold: to teach the Bible for the listener to gain knowledge for the repentance of sins and spiritual growth, to nurture spiritual formation and to encourage service and ongoing discipleship. Education, Discipleship and Spiritual Formation Dr.
Mitchell defines education as “the creative process of utilizing external and internal forces to facilitate the functions of teaching and training in promoting and attaining growth and development, enabling complete individuals to comprehend, contemplate, and contribute to their community and culture.
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” Dr. Dallas Willard, USC Philosophy professor, speaker and author describes being Jesus’ disciple in this way, “How the disciple lives naturally comes out of who the disciple is. As Jesus’ disciple, I am his apprentice in kingdom living.
I am learning from him how to lead my life in the Kingdom of the Heavens as he would lead my life if he were I. It is my faith in him that led me to become his disciple. My confidence in him simply means that I believe that he is right about everything: that all that he is and says shows what life is at its best, what it was intended by God to be. ” George Barna points out two critical elements of discipleship are becoming a fully committed follower of Christ and the desire to instill the passion and commitment for Christ in others.
Spiritual Formation is best described in the tradition of Jesus Christ as the “process of transformation of the inmost dimension of the human being, the heart, which is the same as the spirit or will. It is being formed (really, transformed) in such a way that its natural expression comes to be the deeds of Christ done in the power of Christ. ” Similarities and Differences It is obvious that the language of Christian education has much in common with spiritual formation.
Both explore the ways believers are drawn to Christ. “Themes such as revelation, the role of the Bible, an immediate encounter with the living God, experience, discipleship, remembrance through life stories, encounters and relationships through life in community, spiritual guidance, and a surrender to the authority of God’s representation on earth—the incarnate Jesus the Christ” are all mentioned in the writings for these disciplines.
However, “the element of intentionality and purpose for teaching and learning is unique to Christian education while such themes as the awareness of the true self (Keating, 1999), mystical encounters, and spiritual practices are distinguishing themes in spiritual formation”. ? The Key Priority in Church Ministry When comparing the information it is clear that they are all connected and work in perfect harmony with one another. Attempting one without the others would be pointless as components of each are found throughout the Bible.
Jesus taught the Apostles to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all. ” It is a command from Christ to make disciples. How do we do that? This is accomplished through Christian education and spiritual growth. The church needs to wake up and remember the command to make disciples and teach them is a commandment from God and not a suggestion of how to fill the boredom in our lives.
The sad reality is most Christians feel their job is done when an unbeliever accepts Christ for salvation. This is only the beginning. Connection to the Three Areas of Worship Christian education is a great means for promoting discipleship and spiritual formation. At the heart of the mission for Christ is teaching someone new to the faith of all that God has done for them. This gives them an attitude of worship and love to devote their lives more completely to do His will. Meditation and reading the Word of God are essential for private worship.
Paul said, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. ” Many people often say why should I go to church? I can worship God just as easy on a golf course or a fishing trip. We could, but we won’t. Given the distractions and other temptations that are around us, God would come last in that setting. Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to forsake “ the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see he Day approaching. ” Worship is a discipline and relates to what it means to disciple. We must beat the flesh into submission so we can seek things in the spiritual realm and no longer be bound by the chains of sin that holds us here. The Bible tells us it is impossible to please God in the flesh. No matter how hard we try, we will always come up short. It is only in our spirit; in our heart that we can worship God and He is pleased with our efforts. We must teach ourselves to continually seek the fellowship and strength of other believers in a corporate worship environment – church.
The ongoing sanctification process draws us closer to Christ in that we conform more into His image. Conclusion The church needs to focus on discipleship through education and spiritual formation. When we identify ourselves as believers in the workplace, our community or through missions abroad, we put our lives under a microscope for ridicule and attack. To the lost in our lives, we are the presence of Christ and our lives need to reflect it. If we being the chosen of God would act ungodly, then where is their motivation to seek Christ for their salvation?
When the church body reaches out collectively to aid in those that are struggling financially, hungry, worn and down trodden, we must be sure that our motives are pure that they see the heart of God in our actions. Christ tells us that if we are going to be one of His disciples, we must deny ourselves and take up the Cross and follow Christ. It is in this selfless way we make Him known to the entire world. If the lost can see the change in us, if they can see that part that is missing in them, then they will call upon the name of the Lord and ask forgiveness of their sins.
Discipleship is not free, there is a cost associated with it. Let us go boldly into the devil’s playground proclaiming HE IS RISEN! That no longer will the devil lay claim on that which belongs to God and God alone! ? Bibliography Mitchell, Michael R. , Leading, Teaching, and Making Disciples: World-Class Education in the Church, School, and Home (Bloomington, IN: CrossBooks, 2010), 233. Willard, Dallas: “How Does the Disciple Live? ” Radix Magazine 34:3:2009
Barna, George, Growing True Disciples: New Strategies for Producing Genuine Followers of Christ (Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press, 2001), 24. Willard, Dallas: “Spiritual Formation: What it is, and How it is Done” Previously unpublished. Accessed through www. dwillard. org July 2011 Stibel, Sophia R. G. : “Christian Education and Spiritual Formation: One and the Same? ” (CEJ: Series 3, Vol. 7, No. 2 2010), 341. The MacArthur Study Bible: Nashville: Thomas, Nelson, Inc. 1982. Print. New King James Version.