Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Week in Review

Responding To The Call of Ministry
Book Review

The author of this book, Reverend Alice J. Dise, gives practical step-by-step instruction on accepting the call of God. The scripture used, Luke 4:18-19 is a vital part of this book. “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

The key phrases that Reverend Dise wanted the reader to take away from this opening chapter is “GOD and ME”. The call to ministry starts with God. God does the calling, God does the anointing, God enables, God’s power will prevail and it’s God who will send ME. This is the Minister’s affirmation. Reverend Dise suggests that you read the Minister’s affirmation regularly. This will help to keep your focus on the direction that God wants you to go.

The question that many have is how do I know I am called? Many are not sure of their calling because they are expecting a “Damascus Road” experience in their lives. The author gives clarity to the fact that everyone will not receive the call in a dramatic way. We reviewed several that had totally different experiences. Jeremiah was one. He was called at an early age, and his message was one that was a difficult one to give. He didn’t want to do it because he didn’t feel equipped to do it. Yet he did what God asked him to do. We read about Mary Adam Wilson that had dreams about her preaching. And even though it was not received well because she was a woman, she continued on the path that God had set for her. We read about the Apostle Paul, who had an encounter with Christ on a mission for his Jewish faith. He was in pursuit of getting rid of Christians, but Christ changed his mind and his mission. And then finally we read about Simon and Andrew. Christ called them while they were doing their jobs. He called them to another profession. They went from being fishers to fishers of men.

One of the main themes present in each chapter is that God is your source of success. The author wants the reader to understand that God expects those that He calls to give of them selves. The called are accountable to the owner (God) and have a responsibility to fulfill his will. We are also told that we need not be afraid. We are told to do our best. God has promised to be with us and we have to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.

Commitment. God calls us to do His will. Whether it is to teach, preach or minister in another way, we have to commit to doing His will. So in our hearing of God’s call we must commit or accept the call. The next step is acknowledgment of the call. This is when we tell others as well as acknowledge within ourselves the call. We must count the cost for this commitment. This is making a prayerful appraisal of what this will require from me. It also requires preparation of the inner person. This begins with prayer, reading of the Word of God, and meditation. As Reverend Alice J. Dise states, “God must be allowed to speak to the minister before the minister can speak to others.” (p. 33) Commitment requires discipline. That is effort, time and purpose. Commitment also requires study and lastly action on the part of the minister.

This book, Responding to the call of ministry, is full of helpful instruction. This is most important for the new or even experienced minister in leading worship. The author says that God must be the center of our worship, and everything revolves around God. We must praise God; we must pray to God, and we must proclaim God as Savior and Lord. And then we must respond to God by either our dedication or affirming what we know to be true. Even though different churches may have different aspects to the worship service, they should all have the same purpose. That purpose is to honor God.

As a minister leading in worship we must make sure that we set a good example. We must be on time, be prepared, be focused and be alert to lead. To prepare for leading worship, we must have a time of prayer and meditation before the Lord. This book also contains information regarding visiting the sick and leading one to Christ. The detailed steps tell you what things are appropriate to say when you visit the sick. The main steps are being alert to what is going on, pray for the sick, don’t stay to long, don’t make judgment remarks, and most importantly be a good listener to know what the person stands in need of.

In leading the unsaved to Christ, the list is helpful in taking the steps needed to do the job. This section lists the answer to questions that may be asked by the unsaved. For example what must I do to be saved, can I be saved and how can I be saved? The author not only lists the answers but also the scripture that gives those answers.

In conclusion, this book is one that every person that has the question about ministry could use. It gives you the information that you need to know if in fact God is calling you to ministry. The author also encourages everyone not to try and fit a mold, but be the person that God has for you to be. She encourages us to be unique. This is a book that helps you to see that it is God that is the source of your ministry. You must seek Him for His direction in your ministry. The most important words in this book are written in part one with the scripture Luke 4:18-19, the Ministers Affirmation. It is God and Me. God has called me to ministry. God’s anointing is upon me enabling me to minister. God’s power will prevail whenever, wherever, and to whomever God sends me to minister. This is where the minister can find his strength. This is what will give the minister the courage and the ability needed to do this job. This will help both the new minister as well as the seasoned minister to say, yes to the call. It was through this book that the Lord was able to help me see he too was calling me to the ministry. I would suggest to anyone in ministry to obtain a copy of this book.

The Week in Review

Christian Education Ministry & Discipleship
Written by Minister Jewel D. Williams
September 29, 2006 (Posted 10/31/09)

The purpose of Christian Education is to teach God’s directives and to equip the believer to understand the importance of being a part of the mission of the church, which is to take the word to the lost. Where do I fit in, is my question? It is important for one to understand their philosophy of Christian education and discipleship in order to answer the question of where one fits in. The purpose and goals of Christian education and discipleship coupled with an understanding of individual learning styles adds to the success of educating the body. My personal philosophy in light of the new learning I gained from this course focuses on living a life of authentic Christianity.

The author, Gailyn Van Rheenen, in his book, Missions: Biblical Foundations & Contemporary Strategies, states, “Few Christians are able to describe vividly in biblical terms what God desires the church to be. Without biblical undergirdings, the church is swept along by the ebb and flow of culture and in various forms degenerates into a social fraternity. When this happens, the church more nearly reflects the world than the nature of God and has little that is distinctive to offer the world” (28). The first step then is for the church to understand what her purpose is and who initiated the mission. “The church is not a human organization. It is the result of a mission or a sending that began with God. The mission of God, initiated through Jesus Christ and continued through his disciples, led to the formation of the church” (Van Rheenen, 29). The web site, (Ministry Tools Resource Center), in its resource, Christian Education Ministry Overview, states, “Christian Education Ministry involves the administration and coordination of programs or strategies to facilitate the spiritual growth or discipleship of believers into Christ-likeness” (1).

The purpose and goals for Christian education and discipleship are to teach God’s directives so that individuals are equipped to live holy lives as well as become ambassadors to the lost. To understand these basic instructions, one must go to the Bible. God’s word gives all his children what they need to make it in life. One important reason to teach the word of God to believers today is to help them fulfill the mandates of God in their lives. When adults, for instance are taught, they can teach their children. “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and whey thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” Deuteronomy 6:7 (Deuteronomy 11:19 states a similar mandate). The scripture shows how important it is to God that parents actively teach their children the way of the Lord. However, the church must play a vital role in the preparation of the believer so they can be successful at this assignment. In the book, Introducing Christian Education: Foundations for the Twenty-first Century, one of the writers, Judy Ten Elshof states, “Family life education should be centered in the home, supported by the church, and grounded in both biblical theology and strong intimate relationships with God and others. This means that guiding, training, and educating the next generation’s spiritual lives is primarily the responsibility of parents in the home…Therefore, a church that ministers to families recognizes this and elevates its service to meet the diverse needs of the contemporary family.” (195).

It is, however, difficult for a parent to teach their child(ren) what the word says, if they are not being taught and developing their own personal walk with the Lord. “Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths” (Psalm 25:4) and “Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies” (Psalm 27:11). The church, being led by the Holy Spirit, is the avenue that God’s people will be taught the plain path of God and equipped to stand against the enemy (Satan) and all his devices that are to destroy the effectiveness of the church and her people.

Work Cited

Anthony, Michael J, et. al. Introducing Christian Education: Foundations for the Twenty-first Century. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005.

Coleman, Robert E. The Master Plan of Evangelism. Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell Company, 2005.

McBride, Neal F. How To Lead Small Groups. Colorado Springs, Colorado: Navpress, 1990. Education Ministry Overview. 2006. 14 September 2006. Education Ministry Philosophy. 2006. 14 September 2006.

Rheenen, Gailyn Van. Biblical Foundations & Contemporary Strategies: Missions. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.

Stowell, Joseph M. Shepherding the Church. Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1997.

Thompson, Frank Charles, D.D., PH.D. The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, 5th ed. Indianapolis, IN: B. B. Kirkbridge Bible Co., Inc., 1988.