It was a privilege to preach at City Bible Church during their Purple People (Purple Book) campaign and to teach WikiChurch discipleship principles at the Ministers Fellowship International (MFI) Focus Conference.
I was glad to see Pastor Frank Damazio on the road to recovery in his fight of faith to defeat cancer. His book, The Making of a Leader, is on my top 10 book list. And I was glad to meet so many MFI leaders who asked me to say "hi" to my good friend Joey Bonifacio.
As I prepared to teach the "Same Ole Boring Strokes" (aka discipleship) to these MFI leaders who do an amazing job of equipping, I decided to focus on the empowering part of the discipleship process. No matter how effectively we equip people to minister, the discipleship process is incomplete until we empower every disciple to make disciples.
A quick read through Acts shows us what an empowering church looks like:
1. The Holy Spirit empowers believers to be His witnesses. Acts 1:8 (NIV) says, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you."
2. Rather than doing all the ministry themselves, apostles empowered others. Acts 6:2 (NIV) says, "The Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, 'It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.'"
3. Empowered churches grow. Acts 6:7 (NIV) says, "So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith."
4. Persecuting or killing top leaders does not stop an empowered church. Acts 8:1 (NIV) says, "On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria."
5. Empowered people minister as they go, and they minister wherever they go. Acts 8:4 (NIV) says, "Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went."
6. Empowered people become leaders of people. Acts 8:5 (NIV) says, "Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there."
7. Empowered people preach the good news even if they are not apostles or pastors. Acts 11:19-21 (NIV) says, "Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord."
8. Barnabas empowered a new believer named Saul when no one else believed in him. Acts 11:25-26 (NIV) says, "Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch."
9. Empowering does not mean there are no authority lines. Acts 15:24 says, "We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization."
10. In an empowered culture we will always have people who are ministering/preaching who don't really have a full understanding of theology. Acts 18:24-26 (NIV) says, "Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately."
Steve and Deborah Murrell went to the Philippines in 1984 for a one-month summer mission trip that never ended. They are the founding pastors of Victory Manila, one church that meets in 14 locations in metro Manila and has planted churches in 60 Philippine cities and 20 other nations. Currently, Victory has more than 6,000 discipleship groups that meet in coffee shops, offices, dormitories and homes in metro Manila. Steve is co-founder and president of Every Nation Churches and Ministries, a family of churches focused on church planting, campus ministry and world missions.
For the original article, visit stevemurrell.com.
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