In the New Testament, the word ” disciple” was used to describe Christ’s followers much more than the word “Christian.” Jesus commanded the church to make disciples, not just evangelize the lost (Matthew 28:19). In spite of this lopsided focus, discipleship is not always the norm in the contemporary church. The following eleven indispensable principles are things I have learned as a disciple maker for almost four decades.
There is a strong individualistic mindset in North America and beyond. While this has many good qualities (which is not the subject of this article ) it also goes against the Hebraic corporate mindset of the scriptures. This has caused preaching, teaching and theology to impose views on the biblical text that is not in accord with the inspired writings of the authors.
The implications regarding this are vast since God knows what is best for us to fulfill our purpose and walk in spiritual and emotional health. It is obvious from Scripture that, it is best if each individual believer learn how to incorporate their life into the context of a faith community.
Nowadays, it is very common, even for people serving in leadership positions, to come to life altering conclusions without including mature leaders in their process. When this happens, it is the (culturally informed) individualistic mindset at work more than adherence to scripture.
The following six points reveal which mindset we are informed by the individualistic or corporate?
As a lead pastor for more than three decades, I have observed that many people in the church have an orphan spirit. Not only that, but there are organizations and churches that function more like an orphanage than a life giving community.By orphan spirit I am referring to people who have a sense of alienation from their father and or those who attempt to earn their father’s love through success.
Ever since Adam and Eve were alienated from God the Father in the Garden of Eden an orphan spirit has permeated the earth causing untold damage! (By “orphan” I am referring to a sense of abandonment, loneliness, alienation and isolation.) Almost immediately after the fall in Eden, the fruit of this orphan spirit resulted in jealousy culminating in Cain murdering his brother Abel because God the Father didn’t receive his offering. To make matters worse in contemporary society with the breakup of the nuclear family large amounts of people are not only alienated from God but are brought up without loving care and security of their biological fathers.
There is a huge emphasis nowadays in the Evangelical church related to evangelism, church planting and the like. This is a good since the church should never be separated from its mission of proclaiming Jesus to this lost world. In light of this, I believe the church will fall far short of our goals unless we incorporate the power of signs, wonders and miracles into our methodological norm for evangelism.
As a person who has been preaching and attempting to implement strategies I have come up with the following essentials necessary for effectiveness in kingdom ministry.
1. High-Level Intercession
In Daniel chapters 10-12 and Ephesians 6 we find that there are high-level demonic entities called principalities that rule whole nations and/or empires. These are the highest-ranking demons under Satan that control the political, economic and social systems of the world through ideology and worldview.
The word of God teaches us that the Lord uses the “foolishness” of preaching to save those who believe (1 Corinthians 1:21) and that God reveals His will regarding eternal life through preaching (Titus 1:4). Hence, we can never overstate the importance of preaching to fulfill the purposes of God on the earth. That being said, in my experience of more than 30 years of preaching the gospel, I have found there are times we preachers do more harm than good with our messages.
The Lord Jesus Christ was the greatest motivator and example of living a purposeful life that the world has ever seen! He lived by the scriptures since He is the living Word of God (John 1:1), this is why all the greatest books on leadership and management operate with latent biblical principles whether intentional or not.
Proponents of Hyper Grace teach that the moral law (found in the 10 Commandments) has no relevance in the New Testament Church era. This leads to the heresy of Antinomianism (without law), which eradicates all biblical standards and ethics. Consequently, its proponents can theoretically sin without fear since everything is based on grace without consideration for the moral law of God. (Some even teach that since Jesus died for all your past, present and future sins, you don’t even need to confess your sins because that is works and not grace, to which I would point them to 1 John 1:9).