In my last article, I shared about why I had developed the International School of Ministry (ISOM). I was, for more than three years, the television producer for Reinhard Bonnke. This position allowed me to witness millions of decisions for Christ. Realizing that many pastors were floundering in discipling this harvest, I developed a church-based video Bible school using the best teachers I could find. These were people like Joyce Meyer, Reinhard Bonnke, John Bevere and Jack Hayford. This ISOM program is currently the largest video Bible school on earth with over 330,000 students in 147 nations and has more than 17,000 church-based campuses using it.
In the beginning, I was very happy just discipling believers in their faith in Christ but God had so much more to challenge me with. Our model was always helping pastors to equip their members for ministry service. As I shared last time, the Seven Mountain Strategy teaching of Lance Wallnau revolutionized my thinking. I realized that the "church" mountain was only one of seven. God wanted to influence all of them, including the political, business, family, education, entertainment and media mountains.
Suddenly I understood that people from all those mountains were already in the pews, and we were already equipping them through our ISOM schools. The only trouble was that we were not giving them practical ways for them to influence the mountains they were in. That is why we have taken the past year to develop the Marketplace Module, over 80 teachings from marketplace leaders from about 20 different national backgrounds. These are life messages on video from Christians who have been enormously successful in business and entrepreneurship. They share not just the success they have achieved, but the pathway to it for others to follow. We are so excited to be introducing this material now to Southern Africa for churches to train their marketplace members and for individuals in business to equip themselves for effective assignments for God in the secular arena.
I was originally a bit skeptical on the biblical foundations for this, but that was put to rest during one of the recordings. A man from Florida named Paul Cuny was sharing on the book of Nehemiah. After 70 years of the children of Israel being in captivity in Babylon, the decree went out from King Cyrus to rebuild the temple of God in Jerusalem. This building project actually took about 21 years under Zerubbabal. It was followed by about a 57-year gap before Ezra came and taught God's law to the people. He restored the priesthood and all that made the temple God's holy house. He represents today the building of the church by pastors and teachers. It was 12 years after Ezra that Nehemiah came. Even though the temple was built, the priesthood was established and people knew God's Word, the city of Jerusalem was a disaster. There was no protection, the people were in distress and there was no prosperity.
Nehemiah was a marketplace guy. He asked the king for provision, protection and the authority to accomplish practical tangible purposes. In 52 days, he rebuilt the wall and once that happened, the people were finally protected. That was when commerce and abundance were able to come back to God's people.
We have many strong churches today, and pastors have done a good job in teaching God's Word to people. Now we need to raise up the Nehemiahs to practically create godly infrastructure for provision to flow to and through our churches. Although Nehemiah was a marketplace person, a governor and a secular leader, he was no less called than Ezra, and he fulfilled a divine assignment from God for his nation. There are millions of Christians today in the marketplace who have Nehemiah assignments and need to be equipped to accomplish God's purposes in secular society. They are just as called as pastors and teachers, and the Marketplace Module is an amazing tool that God has given to prepare and release those assignments. We learn from others who have paved the way for us. Now is the time for marketplace people to invest themselves in instruction so they can become a force for God in this critical generation.
Dr. Berin Gilfillan is graduate of Regent University in Virginia Beach. He was formerly the TV producer for Reinhard Bonnke. He is the creator of the International School of Ministry (ISOM), which is the world's largest video Bible school with over 17,000 training sites around the world. More information can be found at isom.org
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