An important aspect of equipping others for ministry is helping them share in Jesus’ kingdom heart–his “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). This sharing is directly related to a minister’s spiritual formation, which we find is most effectively facilitated by providing nurturing environments that help them experience Jesus’ transforming love and life.
|Ministry Foundations||Character Attributes|
It is our experience that these nurturing environments have defining characteristics that we call Ministry Foundations. Each foundation then corresponds to one of Jesus’ own Character Attributes. This correspondence is illustrated in the table at right, where the links jump to the related text below. Each section of the text addresses three key issues:
- Leader commitments: Core commitments necessary for pastors and other leaders to be effective in helping those they are discipling grow in Christ’s character.
- Environmental characteristics: The defining characteristics of environments that are conducive to the development of the specific character attribute. One of the roles of leaders is to see that these characteristics are consistently present.
- Equipping toolbox: This section recommends resources that leaders and their protégés can use to enhance growth in the noted attribute of Christ’s character.
GOD’S LOVE → Grace-based
As a developing disciple of Jesus experiences an atmosphere that is expressive of God’s love, they increasingly relate to God on the basis of his grace (acceptance and provision) in Christ. This produces within them a heart for and commitment to relationships based in grace rather than in human performance or a desire for personal power or gain.
- Great Commandment living that expresses God’s compassion, love and grace
- Concern for spiritual health over running programs—being over doing
- Influencing through grace and love, not coercive power, unwarranted guilt or arbitrary rules
- An environment where the protégé experiences unconditional acceptance with an emphasis on God’s gracious provision in Christ
- Book: The Relational Pastor by Andrew Root
- Book: Relational Christianity by Steve Meeks
- Book: Holiness by Grace by Bryan Chapell
GOD’S PERSON → Christ-centered
As a developing disciple experiences joy and awe in knowing God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, they learn to trust in and live for God through loving allegiance to Christ their Lord.
- Commitment to a Christ-centered life: from the Father, in the Son, through the Holy Spirit
- An environment where the protégé encounters an accurate picture of who God is as Father, with an emphasis on the person of Christ and on incarnational ministry through the Spirit
- Book: Ministry in the Image of God by Stephen Seamands
- Book: A Passion for Christ (the vision that ignites ministry) by Thomas F. Torrance, James B. Torrance and David W. Torrance
- Book: Movements of Grace by Jeff McSwain
- Book: Hearing God by Dallas Willard
- Book: The Call by Os Guinness
GOD’S STORY → Word-Directed
As a developing disciple is immersed in God’s story of creation and redemption, conveyed through the written word (the Bible), they will, through the Spirit’s illumination, increasingly have their hearts and minds molded by and conformed to the living Word, Jesus Christ.
- Seeing our story as part of God’s story and practicing Word-directed living
- An environment bathed in the gospel–one that models Word-directed being and doing
- Book: God’s Big Picture: Tracing the story line of the Bible by Vaughan Roberts
- Book: Connecting Your Journey with the Story of God: Disciplemaking in Diverse Contexts by Dave Livermore
- E-book: Scripture God’s Gift by Gary Deddo
GOD’S WILL → Spirit-formed
As a developing disciple experiences dependence on God, they increasingly embrace, through spiritual disciplines, the transforming presence of the Holy Spirit. Out of this spiritual formation flows whole-life stewardship that bears the fruit of the Spirit rather than the works of the flesh.
- Dependence on God’s sovereignty
- Faith-filled, Spirit-formed living
- Faithful, moment-by-moment, surrender to God
- An environment that is rich with devotion to spiritual disciplines (prayer in particular), within which walking in step with the Spirit is modeled and thus encouraged
- ACCM course: Spiritual Formation
- Book: The Crucifixion of Ministry by Andrew Purves
- Book: Pursuing God’s Will Together: a discernment practice for leadership groups by Ruth Haley Barton
- Book: Celebration of Discipline: the path to spiritual growth by Richard Foster
- Book: Renovation of the Heart: putting on the character of Christ by Dallas Willard
GOD’S PEOPLE → Fellowship-building
As a developing disciple experiences hope-filled and expectant vision for ministry, they develop a deep and abiding sense of calling to active participation in the local church. This participation emphasizes mutually accountable relationships through the collaboration of team ministry. This approach to ministry reflects Christ-like concern for the well-being and involvement of the minister’s spouse and children.
- Living in communal authority (willing accountability)
- The church as Christ’s presence in the world – expressing his passion and extending his global mission
- The local church as God’s instrument to advance his purpose in the world
- Ministry as a ‘team sport’ lived out through collaborative, shared leadership
- An environment that expresses a deep commitment to the local church as God’s tool to advance the Kingdom in partnership with the denominational family and the larger body of Christ
- An environment that expresses a deep commitment to being willingly accountable to peers, supervisors and ministry constituents
- An environment that engenders spiritual fellowship (koinonia) through sharing and collaboration
- Book: Worship, Community and the Triune God of Grace by James B. Torrance
- Book: The Body by Charles Colson
GOD’S PURPOSE → Disciple-making
As developing disciples encounter passionate commitment to the Great Commission, they increasingly are emboldened to reach out to build redemptive relationships through which disciples who make disciples are multiplied.
- Great Commission living: extending God’s mission through disciplemaking ministry
- Relational ministry within and through the body of Christ
- An environment that expresses devotion to Christ’s Great Commission for ‘making disciples who make disciples’ – viewing this mission as a life-style and not just an ‘add-on’ program
- Book: Growing a Healthy Church by Dann Spader and Gary Mayes
- Book: The Call to Discipleship by Karl Barth
- See Ministry Strategy
- Seminar: Becoming a Missional Church (this seminar is offered by GCI’s ministry development team – see the GCI-USA CAD Services Catalog)
- The video below (from GCI Church Mulitiplication Ministries) addresses the shifts in thinking that churches need to experience in order to share faithfully in what Jesus is doing through the Spirit to fulfill the Father’s mission to the world.