Some Church History

Matthew 16:18

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

When I read this Scripture, I find comfort knowing God’s Church will outlast hell. Yet there are people who emphasize this Scripture as Peter being the first leader of the Catholic Church. Good for them. But what does history record?

Everyone agrees that the Christian faith began in Jerusalem when the Holy Spirit made his public entrance into the known world. Even Peter stood up at the time and preached the first sermon where the Holy Spirit converted over three thousand people. Yet later during the first recorded church convention of the early Church, the Book of Acts highlights James as the local church administrator leading that first meeting.

Early church history records the five largest and most influential churches were based in Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Constantinople, and Alexandria. Each church was led by their own bishop without accountability to a higher human authority. It wasn’t until around the 300-350 period when King Charlemagne based in Rome made the Christian religion the national faith. With his assistance, the church in Rome then took on a more political stance and grew from the experience.

Meanwhile, the churches in the other major cities continued with disagreements on certain faith issues. Though they all held similar basic fundamental beliefs which was outlined in the Nicene Creed in 325 A.D., they also had their differences. For example, the church in Jerusalem still had many people who observed the seventh day Sabbath and kept the Jewish holy days. The church in Alexandria eventually became the hub of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Antioch was where Believers were first called Christian and the influence of the Greek gentile culture challenged those from Jerusalem.

History and the Bible prove that Peter was the original leader of the twelve apostles. And each apostle traveled to major parts of the known world preaching the good news of Jesus Christ including Peter. The early Church didn’t have an institutional hierarchy in mind. Instead, it was a loosely organized movement inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The structure and political influence came later after the richer faith communities settled down and began integrating into the local city life. Like all movements, vested interest came together and people settled into daily routines.    

Yet the Church after two thousand years still remains. Still active, still expounding the truth, and still showing the light of Jesus through the many souls who have tasted and feasted upon the love of God. And as the enemy has constantly attacked to destroy the Church and repeatedly failed, we have Jesus’ promise that the Church will survive to the end.

Thank you, Lord, for directing your Body of Believers for the work you have us do.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Author of e-Books

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!

Copyright 2013-2021 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

God Lives and Works Through His Church

Ephesians 2:18-22

For through him (Jesus Christ) we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by] the Spirit.

Where is God’s home?

Since HE is omnipresent, which means everywhere at the same time, we may not emphasize at times that includes within you and me – the Church.  For Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ and individual members of it.” In other places we are told:

  • Through the Holy Spirit, we are baptized into the Church. (1 Corinthians 12:13)
  • Everyone who has the Holy Spirit living within them, belongs to Christ. (Romans 8:9-11)
  • You are God’s temple. (I Corinthians 3:17)
  • The Church’s mission is to recruit and train others in Christ’s teachings. (Mathew 28:19-20)
  • Jesus Christ is the head of HIS Church. (Colossians 1:18)
  • The Church is the “Body of Christ” – Jesus Christ’s hands and feet on earth today. (Ephesians 1:22)

The Biblical Church is not an institution, a denomination, nor a faith community. The Church consists of people allowing the Holy Spirit to live and work and lead through their heart, mind, and soul. And where the Holy Spirit is, so is Father God and Jesus Christ – the Triune God.

Yes, people attend a faith community which may consist of Believers full of God’s Spirit and also those who are seeking God. And yes, there are faith communities where God’s Spirit is dormant while people go about doing their business as they desire acting for God yet without following the lead of Jesus Christ. And yes, there are faith communities small in number but leverage their hands and feet to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit doing God’s work and reflecting HIS glory throughout their community. And everything in between.

We are all a work under God’s construction. Yesterday, I didn’t know God. Today, I know him a tiny more than yesterday. Tomorrow, hopefully we will grow and discover more about HIM. It is the same for all of us individually and collectively.

Some faith organizations are more vibrant than others. Some faith organizations are dead in Spirit and full of themselves. And many faith organizations are in between. But God’s universal Church, consisting of those with the Spirit fully living within their being, are actively reflecting the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.  They gladly seek to be led by the Holy Spirit in service to God and mankind.

You shall know them by their fruit. (Matthew 7:20; Luke 8:14)

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!

Copyright 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Church Trap

Matthew 6:24

No one can be slave to two masters; for he will either hate the first and love the second, or scorn the second and be loyal to the first. You can’t be a slave to both God and Mammon.

Are you serving the Church or the institution? Are you serving the Church, or yourself? Are you serving the Church or Christ? These three questions I have asked of myself a number of times over the years. And I didn’t like the answer most of the time.

When you truly understand Church are people and not the building, nor institution, nor any denomination, then you have a better grasp than I had back then. Over the years I have witness many heart-driven, God-loving servants slowly change their demeanor as they begin serving within their faith communities. Initially, their attitude is child-like and open to helping out wherever. But over time, as they are drawn into the various responsibilities of operating an institution, the business side begins to over shadow the people’s needs.

The A.B.C.s of operating a Church begins to become the measurement of success and the idolatry of self-importance. Attendance, Baptisms, and Cash become the units of measurement. Church slowly becomes a weekend hobby or sport to impose their brilliance in operations. People become the means of stroking their personal insecurities. Christ is no longer the center of anything but an icon to get what they want.

Transactional thinking becomes the norm. Relational giving a façade. The intense need to collect funds for large building debt and salaries becomes the principle driving force for weekend services. The gospel message doesn’t become the goal to communicate but the means for self-preservation. The switch from serving people for the Lord’s sake to serving a dream or goal for self-sake happens so quickly that most of us didn’t know it happened until 20/20 hindsight kicked us in the behind.

You cannot serve God and money without one having a greater priority than the other. Whether we act within our families, business, or the Church, the truth always is revealed through the actions of the heart moving the hands and head away from God. We can justify and put a spin at the moment of decision-time, but the truth eventually will slap us in the face.

Church is people serving people as the hands and feet of our Lord. Jesus Christ is the central-core of every meeting between two or more saints. The purpose of the Church is not the self-aggrandizement of the institution, but the love, freedom, and spiritual development of God’s children serving others as Christ serves us.

The trap is when all the activities, rituals, and traditions become the central-meaning of people gathering together rather than allowing the life-giving Spirit conduct God’s work in and through his people. When the trap door of cultural influence dictates the interpretation of Scripture rather than the proven historical facts built on the text, than in hindsight people wonder why their affairs are in a mesh. Whenever Jesus Christ is not the center of one’s motives, actions, and thoughts, the trap door initially looks very enticing but eventually leads to an empty grave.

So be involved with a faith community, but don’t get pulled away from who you are truly serving – Jesus Christ. Keep Him the as the central-core wherever you go and whatever you do and you will experience His abundance and not get trapped into the political, business side of Church. That is why I enjoy listening to the music group Newsboys sing one of my favorites “Wherever We Go.”  The words remind me what life is like when Jesus Christ is my central-core wherever I go.  I left the link below for those who enjoy listening to contemporary Christian music.

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

 *  Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Encourage a Friend…Share Today’s Message!

Copyright 2013-2020 Abbaco LLC | All Rights Reserved

Doing Church

” For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20 ESV

do church 1

When I initially submitted my first dissertation proposal on “doing church,” the Chair turned me down. In his opinion, the subject matter was too vast and the research too difficult. His recommendation was to find another topic more easily digested. I did. However the subject of doing church still intrigues me.

When most of us think of church, we picture a building or an institution. In America we may even think of a legal corporation. Some of us may associate church with a specific denomination. Others are more open.

When we think of how church is conducted, most of us will associate a church service as the only way of doing church. Yes there are a variety. The Catholic and Greek Orthodox have their rituals and traditions with a short message. The Protestants have their contemporary music with a more lengthier message. The Amish and Mennonite’s have a more yesterday act. Yet, how many other ways are there to do church?

What has intrigued me is how Church is more than a meeting held in an official place. When one understands that Church is a Body of people (Eph. 1:22-23) who come together to worship God, the venues become worldwide.

When your immediate family comes together with an everyday heart and mind of worshiping God, isn’t Church in session? When two or more of you come together in the workplace in the Spirit of serving God and man, isn’t Church in session? When you are driving on the freeway with a fellow believer with a heart to glorify God, isn’t Church in session?

The fact Church is much larger than most of us ever contemplated, makes how Church is conducted even more than what most of us ever practice.

So the next time you are in the marketplace, ask yourself how can you best glorify God through your work, relationships, and deeds. In so behaving, are you not doing Church?

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Founder & Executive Director
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
* Great Business Emulates a Good God
* Be Radical…Follow Christ!
* Simply The Messenger
* Unequally Married

Where is Church?

“So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.” Acts 16:5 (ESV)

 church 1

In the New Testament the Greek word “ecclesia” and in the Old Testament the Hebrew word “kahal” both mean an “assembly.” The Greek word is typically translated “church” in the English language. Therefore the word Church as signified in the Bible is simply an assembly of people. Today we have various faith communities that meet in buildings who identify themselves as a church. This is typically how most of us learn and identify a church. Yet isn’t a church larger than this?

One of the most eye opening revelations for me was when I realized the church extends beyond the four walls of a faith community. Jesus made the comment that when two or three are gathered together in prayer, he is among them (Matt. 18:20). He didn’t limit meeting together in a specific location. In fact, in John 4:21-23 he even stated that location wasn’t important, but worshiping God in Spirit and Truth is the priority. So can’t we say that where two or more believers come together in Spirit and Truth that Church is in session?

Wouldn’t this mean that the Church is actively operating 24/7 non-stop around the globe? Isn’t it in session where two or more believers come together? Isn’t it in session where a husband and wife come together? Isn’t it in session where two employees of the same company come together? Isn’t it in session where two neighbors meet together? Couldn’t church take place when two or more come together at a golfing tournament? ballgame? party? grocery store? school? the beach?

What makes a Church? Is it the corporate legal structure? An organizational team? Or simply two or more coming together to share their faith, buildup one another, and glorify God in the process?

When one realizes that Church is simply an assembly of people who trust and worship Jesus Christ, doesn’t that open the door for a 24/7 church service? As a believer, don’t we walk in the presence of God all day and night? So when we sit through a one hour church service isn’t that just a continual process of doing church for the entire day? week? month? life?

Think about it.

We are rooting for you!

Yours in Christ,

Dr. Mike

Executive Chair, Consultant, Encourager
Marketplace Bible Institute
& Resource Center, Inc
Author of e-Books:
 *  Great Business Emulates a Good God
 *  Be Radical…Follow Christ!
 *  Simply The Messenger
 *  Unequally Married

Learn. Integrate. Grow.




A Church Without Walls?

follower 3

Years ago I belonged to a small men’s group that met once a week in the early morning for a Koinonia Meeting. Koinonia is a Greek word that denotes spiritual fellowship. It is used in the Book of Acts (4:2) to express how the early church met in fellowship. Also John used the same word to explain our relationship with our Lord and Heavenly Dad (I Jn. 1:3-7). In other words, our fellowship is with each other AND with God.  Wherever two or more our gathered in His name, He is with us (Mt.l8:20)!

What is the purpose of our fellowship? Isn’t our fellowship to strengthen one another in the Lord? Isn’t it to affirm our love for each other? Isn’t it to challenge one another in our walk with God? Isn’t it to uplift one another in prayer? Isn’t it to make our differences disappear and produce unity in Christ? Isn’t it Jesus who brings us all together? Isn’t it Jesus who makes us one? Doesn’t He reveal through His disciples that He is the only way that people can walk peacefully with other people? Without Him there is only dissension, fear, and hatred of our differences. Yet, even though intellectually we know we are all the same, don’t we have the tendency to rank each other in our standard of classes? Whether we rank each other under the standard of education, economic status, marriage, career, you name it and isn’t there a label for it? But didn’t Jesus Christ make these walls all disappear?

St. Augustine wrote about two churches that exist and cohabit together at the same time. There are the physical faith communities that we see and support their operations; and may even be a member. Likewise, he wrote about the invisible church; a body of believers cohabiting together within each physical faith community. John Wesley called it the universal church. I call it a church without walls. No walls of denomination, no walls of racism, no walls of community lines, no walls of social or economic status, no walls of age, no walls of sexism, no walls of educational bias, no walls that divide and separate us from each other. Instead, there is Jesus Christ that unifies and brings us together. It is Jesus that eliminated the walls between people. It is through and in Jesus that we have a church that is built without walls. A church built on the foundation of the early prophets and apostles of old with Jesus being the chief cornerstone. A church made of people with a spiritual connection. A church made with people built around an eternal plan; a church that started in the first century with the premise that all people could be a part of the fellowship with the unashamed. No dividing walls. No exceptions. Everyone who is called by our Heavenly Dad is a member and my friend. I gladly fellowship with anyone who is a brother or sister of the God we serve. We have more in common than the closes of relationships: more in common than a marriage of earthly time; more in common than a friendship from youth; more in common than blood brothers. We are linked by the same power and love that links everything together in this universe. We are linked together by our Creator and Sustainer. And we have more in common than we could discuss in a lifetime. Yes, we have fellowship with the divine while we also have fellowship with humanity. Our fellowship is deeper then the deep and higher than the highest high. Our fellowship is built on eternal powers that we don’t quite understand but only see their effects in our daily lives.

Paul writes that we are sons of the Living God and children of the Divine. We are heirs to promises that we can’t even fathom. Though we only have a small taste of these promises now, we await for the fully revealing of those promises beyond our temporary dwellings. We have been promised eternal life. We have been promised offices of leadership. We have been promised life without pain; life without sin. We have been promised a future that seems impossible in today’s world. But yet, nothing is impossible for God. He designed it; made it; sustains it. He alone can change it; reshape it; and do whatever He wants with it. He is God. Supreme Ruler. Supreme Provider. Supreme Lover. He is what He has to be when required. Ask Satan.

When Satan became so self delusional, didn’t he think he could take over God’s role in the universe? When he compared himself with God, he thought he was the better being. But when he attacked God’s throne room, he found himself kicked out so fast that he didn’t realize what really happened. It makes you think that his image of God must have been real small. He probably saw the characteristics of humility, mercy, innocence, and love and thought them as weakness. But when he attacked, God brought out traits that Satan probably never saw until then. God became what He had to in repelling the satanic forces. Satan saw a side of God that hopefully we never have too. Satan with one-third of the angels was kicked-out of heaven. Can you picture a meek, humble, loving being becoming a force to reckon with? I don’t think Satan did. Otherwise, life would be different today than it is.

Now Satan doesn’t have the intimate, friendship with our Lord as we do. We have a relationship that makes Satan very jealous. And he uses that jealousy to motivate himself in his dealing with mankind. He doesn’t want unity, but disharmony. He wants people separated from God and each other. He wants people to be like himself. He is so delusional that he sincerely believes his way of living is the best.

When you look at the confusion in this world, aren’t you looking at Satan’s character? When you look at the disharmony and prejudices in this world, don’t you see Satan’s character? When you look at wars and fighting between people, doesn’t it reveal Satan’s answers to today’s problems? He has been trying to make his system work apart from God. And it has not been very successful.

God’s success is built working through His Kingdom. He makes His Kingdom available for those who diligently seek Him. One of the fruits of His Kingdom is fellowship with Him and His children living in love, joy, and peace with each other. This is something only God can provide and no one else. Isn’t this the fellowship we have while being involved in His church without walls?


Our Prayer:Our Heavenly Dad, we again thank you for calling us out of this world and revealing yourself to us. We thank you for Jesus Christ and His Church. We thank you for allowing us to walk with you, to learn from you, and to live in your presence each and every day. Help us to see the magnificent of your Body today. Help us to see and appreciate the differences of our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Help us also to see  how Jesus brings us all together under the same name and family. Help us to breakdown any walls that prevent your love from flowing through us and to each other. Help us to be united in Jesus. Help us to glorify His purposes and to magnify His ways. Again thank you for the Church. Thank you for your gifts. Thank you for sharing your riches with us. Thank you for being you.


Dr. Mike

How Do You Cultivate a Ministry for God’s Kingdom in Your World Today?

By Dr. Mike

The theological and biblical foundation for ministry is the acceptance of a personal calling built on individual and community values shaped through time, education, and life experiences. This essay therefore outlines a ministry built on making God’s Kingdom come alive in a person’s world by exercising a daily life transformation process of 1) accepting Jesus Christ’ as Lord, Redeemer, Teacher, Hero, and Friend; 2) learning to work with and follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in one’s life, and 3) receiving confirmation by the results God produces in one’s world. The outcome leads the Jesus-Apprentice to taste God’s Kingdom today while simultaneously being spiritually transformed for eternity.KINGDOM 7

1) Kingdom of God

The central-theme of Jesus Christ’s ministry pertains to proclaiming the Kingdom of God.(1)  Jesus expounded his role as the Messiah, King and Lord.(2)  He instructed others on standards of conduct within the Kingdom.(3)  He assigned seats of authority to his inner circle of twelve disciples when the Kingdom makes it complete arrival on earth.(4)  He died at the hands of the Romans as the King of the Jews.(5)  His entire ministry was spent in preparing his chosen few to become equip to lead and teach others regarding the Kingdom.

He spoke of a new world government rather than a heavenly retirement home.  Isaiah prophesied the same.(6)  Just prior to Jesus’ birth, angels proclaim his kingship to His mother.(7)  Throughout scripture the emphasis is on government and begs the question “Who shall you serve?  In today’s American culture, people have lost the significance of a higher authority or heavenly government and no longer ask “Who is my boss” or “Who am I accountable to?”   Instead, each person generally focuses on pleasing themselves and has become their own creator, unless God’s Spirit is regenerating their life.

God hates rebellion.(8)  When people fail to acknowledge His reign in their life they are openly rebelling against their Creator.  And like any form of government, open or even quiet rebellion leads to disunity and eventual removal from its protection. In our world, defiance to governmental authority may lead to expulsion or even capital punishment. God though wants all people to willingly participate within His governmental operations. He wants all people to come under his benevolent authority and reap the benefits of His Kingdom.

The concept of God’s Kingdom lays the foundation and goal of a person’s life.  When a person understands that this life is a preparation for eternity, the means become just as important as the end results. When one begins to understand and place scripture together, one must ask the question, “What are Christ-followers being prepared for after death?”  The answers are gray, but imply a certain theme of leadership.  John writes that you shall “be king and priests”(9)  An implication of a combined governmental and ministry role, not hammock swingers.  It also raises the question of what characteristics are important for Kingdom living.  Will people be allowed to enter without God’s love, faith in Christ, or hope in His Promises as the cornerstone of their life?  Will those with unrepentant illicit behavior be allowed entrance? (10)

The Bible records the outcome of the Kingdom as a new heaven and a new earth and the beginning of a new age.(11)  The Christ-follower learns today how to live in harmony, in oneness, and in relationship with the Lord of the Kingdom – Jesus Christ.  As a Believer walks with his Lord, he becomes familiar with His commands, His techniques with working with people, His desires and His goals for living. Only Believers partake in a taste of the Kingdom today.

The message of the Kingdom carried more weight with the Jewish recipients in the first century who were waiting for the return of the Messiah and the establishment of the prophetic Kingdom.(12)  The message of the Kingdom is the prophetic vision turned into reality.  The reason God chose Israel, blessed them, produced Jesus’ lineage and the church from them is the eternal process of the heavenly plan set in place from the beginning of time.


2) Jesus Our Model for Ministry

Though Jesus stands as the ideal model for ministry, being fully God and fully man gives Him an advantage that today’s minister can never attain.  However, if God in the flesh preached a certain message, practiced certain disciplines, and fulfilled a preplanned mission, what does it state to all ministers today as they follow Him with the assistance of the Holy Spirit?

What message did Jesus preached?  He started His ministry preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God. He likewise gave narrative parables on describing the Kingdom of God. Wherever He went, God’s Kingdom came alive – demons were cast away, diseases disappeared from people’s lives, illnesses were cured, sins were forgiven, the dead were resurrected.

Likewise, He outlined His job description fulfilling a prophetic anointing of the Spirit and invested the remaining part of His ministry completing it. Wherever He went, the Spirit was ignited with a touch, a question, a word, or a parable.

3) Jesus Pre-Told, Told, and Post-Told His Life’s Ministry.

How many people do you know throughout history that foretold their accomplishments before they were even born, achieved their goals, died, and then personally reviewed their life’s work putting everything into perspective?

The only person in history who can make that statement is Jesus Christ.  The Old Testament highlights scriptures that point and confirm the birth, place, and purpose of a Messiah that Jesus fulfilled in his lifetime.  During His ministry, he expounded and confirmed that He was the Messiah.  After His resurrection, he spent another forty days sharing and further teaching His disciples what His mission working through the Church is to accomplish.

Jesus is either who He claims to be or is not…and He gives all people the freedom to choose.

4) The Nature of God: Systematic Order, Love, and Reconciliation

God’s entire creation falls under his domain.  He created it, sustains it, and governs it in a systematic manner.  One only must look at creation to realize that an Intelligent Designer had to be involved.  The odds of probability are more realistic with Intelligence behind the wheel than every systematic order just simply evolving into its current position.  God’s nature surrounds us through His creation, His purpose, and His method of operations.

God is love; but not uncontrolled love.  God’s love is built on holiness and is motivated with freedom for a person to choose to reciprocate the same love back to Him and with others.  God’s character resounds with love.  Paul writes in Corinthians describing what love is which also describes what God is like.(13)

Likewise, God wants all people to be reconciled back to him and have a meaningful relationship with Him. Satan, sin, and death have taken people away from God.  This world’s systems are based on values contra to God’s.  The good news of Jesus Christ is that his death and resurrection brings victory from Satan, sin, and death. He accepted the death penalty for all people and his victorious life after death makes him ruler over all powers and authorities with Satan, sin, and death subject to himself.

 5) The Church Continues Jesus Ministry

The last command Jesus gave the Church was to be proactive in making disciples, bringing them into the spiritual family of God, and teaching them how life in God’s Kingdom is to be lived.(14)  Just as Jesus lived his life with purpose, He also lived doing good works.  Wherever He went and was addressed with a need that was within His ability to correct or heal, He did.  Like His job description(15), He touched people’s life fulfilling his calling.  Every touch, every word, every miracle, every parable was an introduction into making God’s Kingdom come alive before others.

The Church continues His purpose today.  For example, whenever a disaster occurs, the universal body reaches out to help.

Though many faith communities have lost the power to achieve results that Christ accomplished, there are a few ministries where God’s power is constantly being demonstrated through its membership and throughout the community.  Most of these though are in foreign countries where Christianity is growing exponentially and is not stagnate as in the United States.(16)

In the United States, Christ-followers without status or name recognition are ministering to those in need and fulfilling the same ministry that Christ started in the first century. When one reviews any denominational monthly magazine, the articles communicate how members are serving their communities, neighbors, and local congregations.  Each article generally refers to Believers acting on a ministry which Christ started in the first century.

6) The Holy Spirit Is Always WorkingKINGDOM 6

On that first Pentecost after Christ ascended to heaven, the Holy Spirit made His public debut by baptizing the disciples with fire, gifting people to understand what was being preached no matter what language they communicated in, and leading over 3,000 people to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.(17)

With Christ out of the picture, the apostles continued with preaching His message and conducting the same work in healing and proclaiming the Kingdom of God.(18)  The agent that was producing all this was the Holy Spirit.  In the name of Christ, the Holy Spirit continued the same Work in the first century and continues the same Work today.

A recent slogan campaign read “What Would Jesus Do”?  It would have been more appropriate if it asked “What is Jesus Doing?” The first slogan puts the emphasis on ethical behavior whereas the second focuses more on being aware of God’s Work in one’s world. The first puts emphasis on what one is doing, the other on what God is doing.

As one pursues God, investing more time walking with Him, and studying His word and creation while experiencing transformation, one learns how the Spirit works in peoples’ lives.  From working with a person prior to conversion and through the regeneration process, the Spirit leads.  It is God’s Spirit that is always working.  Jesus made the same claim regarding his Father.

Yet the Spirit doesn’t reside where disobedience thrives.  When the Christ-follower diligently pursues God’s Kingdom and His righteousness, the Spirit becomes more alive in the person’s life. As the wind blows but no one can see it, the results though are made known.  The same is true with the Spirit.  The Spirit cannot be seen, but His results are noticed.  For example, someone to say in a believing fashion “Jesus is Lord” requires the Spirit’s involvement.  Again, to understand the relationship between Law and Grace requires the Spirit’s involvement.

As the Christ-follower submits to the Lord’s lead, the Spirit plays a greater role in their development.  For example in praying, whenever words escape us the Spirit leads us to what to pray for.  Or in serving the church, the Spirit provides us with gifts that we can share with one another in building up the Body. As one learns how the Spirit works within ones personal life, than one is able to become more aware of its working in the lives of others. A Biblical example would be the apostle Paul.

In Paul’s letters, he wrote about his relationship with Jesus Christ and his experience being led by the Holy Spirit.  How can someone write such concepts unless one also lived the experience? For example Paul understood and wrote about: the working of the Spirit in the regeneration process;(19)  that the Spirit exudes love in the Believer;(20)  only those led by the Spirit are sons of God;(21)  the Spirit provides the means for a personal relationship with the Heavenly Father;(22)  the Spirit intercedes for Believers;(23)  the Spirit translates the things of God for Believers;(24)  the Spirit gives Believers tools to serve others in the Church;(25)  the Spirit is at war with the world’s powers;(26)  the Spirit generates God’s character in Believers;(27)  the Spirit leads one to eternal life;(28)  the Spirit surrounds Believers with freedom;(29)  the Spirit empowers Believers to have faith, speak, and acknowledge that Jesus is Lord;(30)  the Spirit is a guarantee of God’s promises;(31)  and that the Spirit confirms that the Believer is Christ’s.(32)

7) The 21st Century Mission Versus 1st Century Mission

When comparing the 1st century Work with the 21st century, there are similarities and differences that one can learn from to apply in mission today.  The 1st century mission was to proclaim the good news throughout the world making disciples of all people, baptizing them into the God family, and teaching them all that Jesus taught.(33)  The same mission continues in the 21st century.

Though in the 21st century, a greater movement is occurring in the poorer economic countries, however the higher challenge remain in the richer countries like the US and Europe.  The challenge facing the American mission field are the miss-communications of the gospel or the partial message being conveyed to its hearers. Both a similar problem discussed in the early church.(34)  The world’s culture has a greater influence in the church than kingdom priorities and values.

Paul wrote to the Galatians church chastising them for acceptance of a different gospel from what he initially preached to them.(35)  He preached a gospel of grace that is based on believing Jesus Christ is the Messiah, Lord, and Redeemer.  Today’s generations typically hear a message of Jesus as Savior, but do not understand His role as their Messiah or Lord. The vision of what discipleship brings and what messiah means is missed by today’s ignorant church member. Being raised in today’s current Christian culture with its similarity with today’s worldly culture, the basic understanding of scripture has disappeared from their life.(36)  Christian leaders need to make the message of scripture become real in today’s Christ-follower.  Otherwise, today’s Christian becomes another world religion and not the life-changing, transforming relationship of walking with the living God.

new life

8) Need to Develop and Equip People to Lead Ministry.

Besides being teacher and shepherd, today’s elder must also be a Kingdom coach, discipleship mentor, and vision caster.  Paul writes in Ephesians that the church must educate, equip, and prepare its people for ministry.(37)  The church member is not a spectator, but a participant in the Work of the ministry.  The body of Christ is a team focused on following the lead of the Holy Spirit towards influencing Kingdom results in people’s lives.(38)

As Christ-followers learn to deny themselves,(39) discover their spiritual gifts,(40) and learn to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in their life,(41) they will eventually find themselves in a ministry that continues the Work of Jesus Christ in some fashion.  The Work may be a healing ministry, a preaching ministry, a teaching ministry, or any one of the areas that Christ wants that person to move into to serve others and be an ambassador for God’s Kingdom.

There is no greater role for an elder but upon leaving their assignment to have other elders or deacons in place to continue the work that was started.(42)  A faith community without spiritual lay leadership in place will eventually become unfruitful and stagnate.  A congregation that relies solely on its pastor for ministry will rarely grow.  One person can only accomplish so much.  It takes a team of dedicated servant leaders to rally, direct, motivate, and channel its resources towards Kingdom objectives.  When a faith community can see, touch, and speak with lay members who are living examples of spiritual energy and allow themselves to be mentored by such Christ-followers, the church has resources that are more valuable than facilities, programs, or even sermon messages.

The greatest sermons are those never preached, but only lived.  The best is a lay leadership team solely inspired by the Holy Spirit to unleash its faith community for ministry.  Pastors must take charge to develop such a team that will outlive their tenure and always stay focus on Kingdom work.

9) Growing Beyond Ones Comfort Zone

Each person learns church by watching what others do.  If one grew up in a faith community, one most likely attended with their parents.  If one started attending later in life, one chose a community that felt comfortable with the surroundings. Either way, church to each person is what one has experienced within a community of believers. Therefore, when one talks about Church one typically visualizes one’s current experiences to date.

Pastors are typically trained to do church dependent on the denominational seminary attended.  The results of the denominations speak for themselves as many are losing members and new seekers are not interested in their culture.  The fastest growing churches today are typically non-denominational with an entrepreneurial flair.  That is senior pastors are thinking out-of-the-box to reach people from their perspective rather than from the churches vantage point.

For today’s Pastor to reach beyond current norms, one must change perspectives from communicating with Churchy phraseology to current marketplace terminology.  In addition, one must change from presenting the gospel within its church walls to reaching out into the community with the same message but living it out loud.

For most pastors, the change is difficult.  Most pastors are trained in biblical knowledge and counseling skills but not in management or leadership.  The latter two are business skills that separate the growth churches from stagnate, dying churches. Most people are content to keep the status quo including pastors.  However, if a pastor is willing to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, he will start an adventurous journey to lead their assigned faith community to make the largest kingdom impact within their world.

Whatever skill sets are missing, the Spirit will provide.(43)  The pastor may not initially recognize them, but over time the fruit will come out and the results will be produced when one steps out in faith and allows God’s Work and not church politics or bureaucracy have its way.  The safe route without risks produces unexcitable results. When calculated risks are taken, faith applied, and the Spirit-empowers, the results produce personal growth and organizational achievement.

When one pushes ones comfort zone, one must depend on God greater than ever. When the results are achieved, one also realizes where the growth and success comes from, and it’s not from self, but from a loving God who cares and wants His people to grow in grace and knowledge.  The push beyond ones comfort zone creates the environment for one to rely on God and see how great a God one serves.

10) Conclusion

The basis for a theology of ministry is built on scripture, personal relationship with the living God, and the life experiences based on faithful living.  The fundamental beliefs are the scriptural foundation of God’s kingdom now and in its future completeness, discipleship with Jesus Christ and His message, His resurrection and future resurrection of believers, plus the current Work of the Holy Spirit.  The bottom-line is helping people develop a stronger, personal relationship with the living God and allow God to have His way with each believer.

In summary, the ideal ministry is built on making God’s Kingdom come alive in a person’s world by exercising a daily transformation process of 1) accepting Jesus Christ’ reign as Lord, Savior, Teacher, Hero, and Friend; 2) learning to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in one’s life; and 3) receiving confirmation by the kingdom results God produces in one’s world.


[1] Mark 1:14-15; “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Luke 4:43-44; But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because          that is why I was sent.”  And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.   NIV

[2] John 4:25-26; The woman said, “I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus declared, “I who speak to you am he.”  NIV

John 13:12-13; “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. NIV

John 18:37; “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”  NIV

[3] Matthew Chapter 5 through Chapter 8

[4] Matt 19:28-29; Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. NIV

[5] Matt 27:37; Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. NIV

[6] Isa 9:6-7; For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it

with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. NIV

[7] Luke 1:29-33; But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” NIV

[8] 1 Sam 15:23; For rebellion is like the sin of divination.   Jer 28:16; Therefore, this is what the LORD says: ‘I am about to remove you from the face of the earth. This very year you are going to die, because you have preached rebellion against the LORD.'” NIV

[9] Rev 5:10; You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” NIV

[10] Gal 5:19-21; The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. NIV

[11] Rev 21:1-5; Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

[12] Nelson Bible Dictionary: Kingdom of God;

[13]1 Corinthians 13; If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. NIV

[14] Matt 28:17-20; Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. NIV

[15] Luke 4:17-21; The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “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.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your earing.”


[16] Christian History Institute, The Explosion of Christianity in Africa: An Unprecedented Spread of the Faith, Glimpses #151, 2003.

[17] Acts 2:1-4; 40-41; When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. ..With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. NIV

[18] Acts 8:12; But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. NIV

Acts 19:8; Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. NIV

[19]Gal 6:14-15; Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. NIV

[20] Rom 5:5; because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

[21] Rom 8:14; because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. NIV

[22] Rom 8:14-17; For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,  Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. NIV

[23]Rom 8:26-27; In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.  NIV

[24] 1 Cor 2:11-15; We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.   The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.  NIV

[25] 1 Cor 12:4-5; There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. NIV

[26] Eph 2:1-3; As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.


[27] Gal 5:22-25; But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. NIV

[28] Gal 6:7-9; A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. NIV

[29] 2 Cor 3:16-18; Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. NIV

[30] 1 Cor 12:2-3; Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. NIV

[31] 2 Cor 1:21-22; He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.  NIV

[32] Rom 8:9-11; You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. NIV

[33] Matt 28:17-20; Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. NIV

[34] Dallas Willard, “Discipleship: For Super-Christians Only?”, Christianity Today, October 10, 1980.

[35] Gal 1:6-7; I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. NIV

[36] The Great Omission, Dallas Willard, 2006, pg 172


[37] Eph 2:10; For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. NIV

Eph 4:11-13; It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. NIV

[38] Frank R. Tillapaugh, Unleashing the Church, 1982.

[39] Matt 16:24-25; Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. NIV

[40] 1 Cor 12:4-6; There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. NIV

[41] Rom 8:14; because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. NIV

[42] Aubrey Malphurs, “Developing a Vision for Ministry in the 21st Century, 1999, p 157.

[43] Rom 8:26-27; And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. NIV


Aubrey Malphurs, “Developing a Vision for Ministry in the 21st Century, 1999, p 157.

Christian History Institute, The Explosion of Christianity in Africa: An Unprecedented Spread of the Faith, Glimpses #151, 2003.

Dallas Willard, The Great Omission, 2006, pg 172

Dallas Willard, “Discipleship: For Super-Christians Only?”, Christianity Today, October 10, 1980.

Frank R. Tillapaugh, Unleashing the Church, 1982.

The Kingdom of God: Nelson Bible Dictionary