Goals for Personal Discipleship

This paper was originally developed as the basis for the 1999 Servant Team Retreat, and adapted for leadership class. The audience for the paper (like those in the leadership class) were older Christians who were relatively well-trained and familiar with the Xenos courses and materials referred to throughout the paper.

Definition

As a leadership, we settled on the following definition of personal discipleship as it applies in Xenos Christian Fellowship:

A discipler is one who helps people attain servant team status by both ministering in a general way in the church, and by holding specific meetings for study, coaching, counseling, and prayer, all in the context of a close personal relationship.

Discipleship usually begins in the context of the home church and cell group. Numerous members may contribute to the process at this level. Body life is a major contributor to the discipleship task.

Below we have described what we see as the nine main areas of learning and growth every disciple needs in order to be complete and mature. For each area of learning, we have described specific skills, attitudes, and competencies the disciple needs to acquire in the course of the discipling process. Under each major heading are several resources you can use to get started. The Perils and Rewards sections are for your use in motivating disciples. By pointing these things out, you may create more interest in pushing forward. The communication ideas are specific ideas for ways you can teach that particular area. We also have a simple version of this outline arranged with headings only in a one-page worksheet.

Table of Contents

  1. Law and Grace
  2. Sanctification
  3. Bibliology, Hermeneutics and Bible Study Methods
  4. Theology Proper
  5. Satanology
  6. Apologetics and Witnessing
  7. Ecclesiology and Ministry Theory
  8. Relationships, dating, marriage, family life etc.
  9. Pneumatology and Christology

1. Law and Grace

The basic principles involved in drawing on the power of God for daily living.

Materials: McCallum, Walking in Victory; Nee, The Normal Christian LifePrinciples papers; Swindoll's Grace Awakening"Two Perspectives on Law and Grace"

Knows how to confess sin and claim grace

Scripture: II Cor. 7:10; Ps.32; 51; Jn. 9:40,41; James 5:16; Prov. 28:13; Heb. Heb. 4:15,16; 9:14; 10:19-22; Tit. 3:3-5;

Perils and Rewards

Those who don't know how to do this end up enslaved to sin due to double life

  • hypocrisy and self righteousness; guilt and depression; superficiality and loss of intimacy with God and others; rationalization, blame-shifting, etc.
  • Among the rewards are actual experience of grace and freedom
  • Healing and experience of God's changing power,

Communication

  • Model both confession and appropriating grace
  • Probe into suspected areas of sin problems, communicating grace whenever sins are confessed and pray with them, thanking God for His grace; help them see the effects hidden sins have been having when they do emerge

Able to set goals under grace, and able to shake off failure and carry on

Scripture: 1 Cor 9:26; Phil 3:13,14

Perils and Rewards

  • Those who avoid goals because they are afraid they will fail or because they think goals are carnal suffer reduced effectiveness from lack of focus
  • Repeated failure may produce fatalism and loss of joy.
  • Non-goal setters may become unstrategic and reactionary in their thinking
  • Rewards include a more perseverant character and wisdom about what works and what doesn't
  • Ability to fail for God without losing composure
  • Increased spiritual toughness

Communication

  • Communicate our own goals, accomplishments and failures
  • Talk about what we learned from our failures
  • Help them set realistic and appropriate goals
  • Counsel them through failures, helping them learn and appreciate grace. See Theology of Failure

Knows, articulates, and depends on God's part in ministry

Scripture: 1 Cor 3:6,7; 2 Cor 3:5; Col 1:29; Jn 6:44; Mark 4:26-29

Perils and Rewards

  • Man-centered ministers tend to be hyper-controlling since they try to do the impossible--that which only God can do. They are prone to burnout due to failure.
  • The work of man-centered ministers does not have a lasting influence in the person's life because it is the product of human manipulation rather than divine transformation.
  • Allowing God to do His part brings rewards, which would include the joy of seeing God at work. Depending on Him will also increase fellowship with Him through the shared interaction and collective effort.
  • By allowing God to do His part, ministers will develop greater patience in their own life, have far greater impact in the life of their disciples, and have greater fruitfulness in the church.

Communication

  • The key is to show them how to pray before ministry events and let them see that you depend on God and expect Him to work in people's lives.
  • As God accomplishes His purpose within the life of the individual, the minister needs to give credit where credit is due by modeling humility, joy and contentment with the role they played.
  • Point out specific cases where God is obviously at work in the individual.
  • Leaders should point out to their disciples their tendency to control others instead of expecting God's conviction and leading.
  • Go through the paper God's Part in Ministry and discuss the questions specific to their tendencies.
  • Have your disciples study the section on ministry under law in Walking In Victory as a way to introduce these principles.

Has developed reasonable ethical priorities

In the sense that he/she knows what constitutes serious sin versus minor sin. The disciple is focused on the main issues in sanctification rather than "straining out the gnat and swallowing the camel."

Scripture: Luke 11:42; Mat 22:36-40; 1 Tim 1:6,7; 2 Tim 2:4;

Perils and Rewards

  • Those who fail to focus on serious sin, versus "fundy" sin (external sin) issues, may suffer an unfulfilling life because they don't attain progress in crucial areas like loving others and being honest. Instead they may devote most of their attention to things like having a clean language.
  • They often live double lives, as they seem spiritual on the outside, yet they are practicing secret sin, which entangles them.
  • They tend to be rigid in their relationships with others, which stifles their ability to grow in intimacy with people. They also tend to be lonely because people do not want to be judged in such minor areas.
  • By focusing on areas God considers important the rewards include the joy of seeing their lives aligned with God's will. 
  • The disciple will also see freedom from petty rules, leading to enhanced cultural relevance and no misdirection of effort in reaching others for the kingdom of God.

Communication

  • Teach scripture and emphasize God's priorities
  • They can use vicarious learning through negative examples. Point out how nomistic fundamentalism fails.
  • Teach them to refuse to submit to petty rules in their own life when confronted by others.
  • Counsel them through marriage and relational problems that result from their focus on the externals. This will help them see the issues to prioritize.

Understands the true role of the law

Scripture: Rom 5:20; Rom 7; Gal 2:15-5:26; Heb 8-10;1 Tim 1:6-8

Perils and Rewards

  • An incorrect view of the law will develop guilt, defeat, and fatalism, doubting of ones salvation, self-righteousness, and hypocrisy
  • The disciple will be unable to develop and cultivate genuine love relationships. 
  • When you teach and exhibit a correct view of the law the disciple will both experience and live in freedom, having a greater appreciation of grace, honesty, and God's moral standards in their own life and in their relationships with each other

Communication

  • Teach this area allowing the Spirit to convict in areas of importance
  • Modeling in context of your relationship is also important as you apply the roll of the law; allowing it to show how fallen you are and point toward the need for the grace of God

Able to detect and correct forms of legalism in themselves and others

Scripture: Gal. 2:1-10; 3:3;4:9-12; Col 2:16-23; Mt 23:2,3; 23:25

Perils and Rewards

  • Just as an incorrect view of the law will develop guilt, defeat, and fatalism, doubting of ones salvation, self-righteousness, and hypocrisy, you will also be unable to make sound judgment and decisions. 
  • The inability to love maturely will also destroy fellowship and the witness of the body toward non-Christians. 
  • A proper view allows the discipler and disciple to receive correction without fear of rejection, and be able to honestly discipline themselves as the Spirit of God directs.

Communication

  • Teach and encourage them to set aside some of their arbitrary rules
  • Directly confront legalistic hypocrisy, especially when it threatens the church
  • Personally invite criticism for any legalism in your own life.
  • Model gratitude for correction from others in your own life. This opens the door for you to initiate Godly correction into others' lives.

Consistently grateful to God

Scripture: Col 3:15-17; Phil 4:6; 1 Tim 1:12; 1 Thess 1:2; Heb 13:15; Rom 1:21: 1 Pet 2:9

Perils and Rewards

  • Lack of gratefulness breeds negativity and a failure to recognize what God is doing in your life and your disciple's life. If you lack emotional investment, it will lead to relationships that are characterized as being "cold fish." The ability to witness to non-Christians is truncated, and witness of the group becomes cold and dead as well. 
  • Cultivating thankfulness brings assurance that you are pleasing to God. It will also develop emotional health, peace, and understanding about God's goodness; increasing intimacy with God.

Communication

The discipler needs to model appreciation for the work of God and His grace. This can be done through praying with spoken and (sometimes) felt gratitude, pointing out blessings in their lives and thanking God for their relationship.


2. Sanctification

Understanding how to live in our identity in Christ and how to overcome key barriers to growth in the areas of our negative habits. A key sticking point here is learning how to initiate and develop relationships based on mature Christian love.

Materials: Principles Unit 2, Unit 3, McCallum, Walking in Victory, Stanford - Green Letters, Nee - Sit, Walk, Stand; Schaeffer, True Spirituality

Knows about identity in Christ and the correct relationship of indicatives and imperatives

Scripture: 2 Cor 5:17; Eph 1:1-2:10; Rom 5:1-12; Col 3:1-3; Col 2:10-15

Perils and Rewards

  • Christians who don't know how to claim their identity in Christ suffer instability and are subject to accusation, desires for man-pleasing, and praise-seeking from others.
  • They tend to suffer periods of alienation from God and superficial character changes.
  • A Christ-centered identity produce fruits of consistency, gratitude, appreciation of grace and authentic character change with lasting impact on others.

Communication

Focus your teaching efforts on things like "Know, Consider, Present" from Rom 6 and the relationship between "Fact, Faith, and Feeling," to help them draw near to God during times of failure and feelings of distance from Him. Also, have the disciple memorize positional truth passages (see Christian Principles Unit 2 Week 2) and review the scriptural truth basis for important steps of faith. 
Other reading resources include Stanford's Green Letters, or Nee's Normal Christian Life. The minister might also consider doing a cell group study series on Walking in Victory.

Knows how to worship God in all ways, and with excitement

Scripture: Col 3:15-17; Eph 5:18,19; Ps. 100; Acts 2:42-47; Rom 12:1,2; Heb 13:15; Rom 15:16

Perils and Rewards

  • A misunderstanding of worship leads to excessive emotionalism, formalism and/or ritualism. On the other hand, failure to worship with emotion leads to cold, unresponsive, ineffective ministry.
  • When we realize all of our ministry is worship and we do this with passion and emotion it leads to enjoyment of the opportunities to please God and fulfillment in our lives
  • When we express emotion to God the result is freedom from inappropriate inhibition.

Communication

Do a word study on worship (see conclusions in Understanding Ministry). Additionally, model worship in the areas of singing, spontaneous worship of God in prayer in the cell group and one-on-one meetings. You can also take your cell to Rhema Fellowship on Sunday morning and discuss it afterward in the areas of appropriateness, glorifying God collectively, and personal emoting to God. Teaching and modeling verbal affirmations of another's prayer after meetings and one-on-one time affirms their efforts to communicate with God and builds stronger emotional ties between minister and disciple.

Understands the process of sanctification verses quick fixes

Scripture: Phil 1:6; 2:12,13; 3:12; 1 Thess 5:23,24, Jn 15:1-10

Perils and Rewards

  • Those who desire quick fixes tend to bail out before sanctification occurs. 
  • They will suffer frustration and fatalism because their expectations for fast change are disappointed.
  • The quest for supernatural experiences could lead to extremism, foolishness, or even demonic oppression.
  • When we accept the process view of sanctification, it leads to consistent pursuit of growth, and appreciation of God's work over time
  • We are better able to see through false supernatural phenomena

Communication

Show examples (videos, visit local extremist, experience-oriented churches) of quick fix extremism

  • Review Gary DeLashmutt's paper Crisis vs. Process
  • Share and pray about long term struggles in your own life; 
  • Warn them about dry periods and their in place in sanctification
  • Point to progress in their lives; study Stanford's Green Letters together.

Knows and practices the means of growth as a lifestyle

See Christian Principles Unit 3 or Walking in Victory, second half

Perils and Rewards

  • Almost too manifold to mention
  • Failure to grow versus growth.

Communication

Able to withstand suffering with an attitude of faith

Scripture: Luke 9:23; Jn 12:24-26; Phil 1:29; 3:10; John 15:2; Rom 8:35,36; Jas 1:2,3; 2 Cor 1:3-7; Rom 5:3-5; Heb 12:5-13; 1 Pet 1:6,7

Perils and Rewards

  • Failure to learn this area means progress ends (bailing out) whenever suffering begins
  • Utterly unreliability
  • Interprets suffering as punishment. 
  • Will be prone to self-pity, lack of character, and may be unwilling to minister when suffering. 
  • As they understand the role of suffering, they experience maturity, fruitfulness, closer fellowship with Christ, and the hope of eternal rewards.

Communication

  • Warn them that scripture promises suffering for the believer, and have them arm themselves. 
  • Teach them to discern the source of suffering (sin, fallen world, suffering for Christ), and discuss areas of hardship in their own lives. 
  • Help them focus on God during periods of suffering
  • Teach them to avoid being the hireling who runs away in hardship (Jn 10). Expose them to testimony of believers who have really suffered (Paul, missionaries).

Obeys God much of the time

Scripture: 1 Pet 1:2; Rom 8:4; 2 Cor 2:9

Perils and Rewards

  • Could become a hearer but not a doer, leading to double-minded instability, insensitivity to Holy Spirit's voice, and destructive lifestyle. 
  • Hypocrisy could discredit their ministry
  • They begin to understand the connection between obedience and fruitfulness
  • They understand that following God's will is a struggle, but consistently make good decisions.
  • They have hope of eternal reward (well done, good and faithful servant).

Communication

  • Talk about benefits you've received from choices to obey God.
  • Point to the example of others who have profited from obedience to God.
  • Help them see important areas for obedience for them.
  • Teach the action component of biblical faith

Victory over discrediting sin

Scripture: 1 Tim 3:2,7,10; Heb 12:1; 1 Cor 9:27

Perils and Rewards

  • They face danger of discrediting themselves and the ministry
  • Possible long-term loss of ministry effectiveness (may take years to rebuild). 
  • They experience the freedom to serve Christ, years of fruitfulness, and the joy of a pure heart.

Communication

  • Cite scary examples of seemingly unshakable, mature believers who lost it - weep and mourn;
  • Also cite examples of incredible victories over enslavement to sin.
  • Teach the balance between dependence on God's power and self-control. 
  • Warn against "toe-dangling" (experimenting with sin may be likened to dangling one's toes over the edge of the cliff to feel what it's like).
  • Show how smaller steps of faith affects one's ability to resist in the large areas.

Loyal to God over materialistic goals

Scripture: Matt 6:24; Luke 12:16-20; 16:9-16; 1 Tim 6; 2 Cor 8,9

Perils and Rewards

  • The materialistic believer is seduced by the world system, and is subject to other areas of temptation. 
  • They lose their spiritual discernment and excitement about spiritual things.
  • They face the peril of a life wasted on passing pleasures, and leading their family down the same path. 
  • The church is unable to fund ministries because of financial selfishness.
  • They may have bad attitudes when they do give.
  • They get the excitement of experiencing God's provision and the satisfaction of knowing they have been faithful stewards of God's resources.

Communication

  • Probe and ask them about their giving and spending. Be open about your own habits so they have an example to follow.
  • Review the Principles of Giving.
  • Encourage them to meet requirements and join the Fiscal Support Team.
  • Teach God's role as provider. Emphasize the black and white choice of serving God or mammon (Mt. 6:19ff).

Eternal values system

Scripture: 1 Jn 2:15; Mt 6:19-21

Perils and Rewards

  • They may find themselves with no reward in heaven and the devastating realization of a wasted life. 
  • They learn to live life on a superficial level, which is spiritually destructive for them and their family.
  • They live with the hope of being rewarded by Christ and the confidence of an eternally significant ministry.
  • They are not easily seduced by the temporal values of the world system.

Communication

  • Relate and discuss stories that demonstrate the fleeting nature of wealth, fame, beauty.
  • Reinforce godly desires they have and show how carnal values will destroy these.
  • Get them a taste of ministry success and encourage them on the eternal impact they are having.

Convinced that self-giving love is the key to fulfillment

Scripture: 1 Thess 2:8; Jn 4:34; Jn 13:17; Acts 20:35

Perils and Rewards

  • Those who aren't convinced about the importance of love are prone to self-destruction because they seek fulfillment from wrong sources.
  • They experience loss of relational enjoyment and intimacy since they can't develop mature relationships.
  • Those who are convinced about sacrificial love experience greater fulfillment in relationships, stability in the emotional realm, and freedom from love-seeking strategies.

Communication

  • Show them how others have loved them sacrificially.
  • Communicate your own enjoyment of ministry and its positive effects on your life.
  • Coach and direct them toward success in ministry attempts, and ask them about how ministry affects them. 
  • Pray for ministry opportunities for them.

3. Bibliology, Hermeneutics and Bible Study Methods

Unless our disciples have a high view of Scripture, know why they hold that view, and know how to handle the Bible on their own, they cannot be trusted on their own.

Materials: R. Laird Harris, Inspiration and Canonicity; Geisler and Nix, From God to Us; Christian Principles Unit 3 Weeks 4-10Inductive Bible Study handout.

Able to articulate and defend biblical authority, inspiration, and canon.

Scripture: Mat 5:18; 24:35; 1 Cor 2:12; 1 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:20,21; 3:16

Perils and Rewards

  • Since a primary strategy of the Devil is to attack the Biblical foundation of ministry, challenges will inevitably occur. If disciples can't answer their opponents, they will lose authority for ministry. 
  • They may gravitate toward experience, tradition or a social gospel to fill the perceived vacuum.
  • The undermined authority of the scriptures will produce inevitable doubt about God's power in the individual's life as well.
  • Those who are able to counter the enemy's attacks experience the confidence of a broader and more secure foundation for faith.

Communication

  • Read R. Laird Harris, cover the paper "Canonicity." 
  • Familiarize them with the Apocrypha and how to answer the assertion of its authority.
  • Help them defend against the authority of New Testament era apocryphal works like the Gospel of Thomas (see Christian Principals Unit 3 Week 6)

Knows and can use grammatical historical hermeneutics

Scripture: 2 Tim 2:7,15

Perils and Rewards

  • Those without a sound hermeneutic suffer loss of credibility due to foolish interpretations. 
  • Eisogesis leads to doctrinal imbalance.
  • Over dependence on the insights of others may limit ministry as people discern the lack of Scriptural depth.
  • If they cannot be trusted to interpret accurately on their own, they will need to be perpetually under the direct oversight of others.
  • Those who are able to handle the word accurately, including the "meat" enjoy personal and ministry stability and fruitfulness.
  • They experience the excitement of getting insight directly from the word.
  • They have increased teaching effectiveness and depth.

Communication

  • Study with them.
  • Have them interpret passages on their own, then check their work.
  • Present misinterpretations and challenge them to correct the error.

Knows how to do inductive study

Scripture: 2 Tim 2:15

Perils and Rewards

  • Those who don't understand inductive study will be limited in their ability to show how doctrinal points are related to their historical setting. Communication power will thus be limited.
  • Understanding only the doctrine without its biblical basis makes the disciple more susceptible to misapplication of the scripture.

Communication

  • Do an inductive study with them, and have them do one on their own. - Review their work with them
  • Inductive studies can be done well in a cell group setting, but it is important to have the historical and language portions done before the meeting, reviewing them briefly, them moving through theology and on to application.
  • Some time can be spent developing antitheses so the importance of the truth is appreciated.

Knows how to use Bible study tools

Scripture: 2 Tim 2:7,15

Perils and Rewards

  • If they can't use the study tools well, they will be frustrated in both deductive and inductive study. 
  • Time will be wasted and results will be less that desirable.
  • They will tend to be subject to manipulation by intellectuals or pseudo-intellectuals, since they will be unsure of their own sources.
  • If they become proficient in their use of sources, they will be able to get deeper study results more quickly.

Communication

  • Sit down with them in the study center or in your library, and work though the various reference works. 
  • They need to be at least able to find the transliterated Greek word a do rudimentary word studies.
  • Show them how to find historical background materials in Bible dictionaries, handbooks, and Atlases.
  • Teach them how to use QuickVerse or other Bible research software.

Familiar with typical lines of attack on hermeneutics

Scripture: 2 Tim 4:3; Acts 20:29,30

Perils and Rewards

  • Failure to understand attack patterns will make defense much more difficult, like a general who doesn't understand basic military strategy. Most errors will fit nicely into one of the typical patterns. See the paper, Hermeneutical Systems
  • Disciples will be vulnerable to deceit, error, or loss of credibility.
  • A well-trained worker will be able to turn the confused from their error, and gain the confidence of the rest of the church.

Communication

Read Woodward, Ed. Hermeneutics and Biblical Authority, including the "Chicago Statement on Inerrancy." Work together on answering objections like:

  • Gospel accounts are legends;
  • Genesis is poetry, not intended to be historical;
  • We are too far from the text to know what the author had in mind; 
  • Study the latest in genre criticism, narrative theology, and literary theory

Knows how to harmonize and resolve most problem passages

Scripture: 1 Pet 3:15

Perils and Rewards

  • Most students of the Bible get hung up on problem passages at times, and will ask older Christians for help. Inability to offer possible solutions will result in loss of credibility.
  • Incorrect resolution may result in doctrinal error.
  • On the other hand, practiced ability to deal with the most difficult passages results in greater confidence and toughness.

Communication

  • Teach the Problem Passage Interpretation Format including an example, and have them do a passage on their own.
  • Socratic teaching may be employed, depending on the ability of the student.

Understands salvation history

Scripture: Acts 2:23; Eph 1:4, 20&21; Gal 4:4

Perils and Rewards

  • If this area is not mastered, the disciple may confuse role of the law and old and new covenants
  • If understood, it becomes powerful insight for evangelism.

Communication

Study God's Incredible Plan, and Liberation of Planet Earth, if you can find it. Bruce Waltke Introduction to Old Testament Theology is also good.

4. Theology Proper

Understanding the character of God and how that applies to daily living and our attitudes is the basis for stability in Christian living.

Materials: Principles papersProblems in Old TestamentKnowledge of the Holy, Tozer; Knowing God, Packer; Christian Theology, Erikson; Challenge Group Material, Martha McCallum; The Goodness of God, John Wenham; Sovereignty vs. Free will

Knows how God's attributes apply to personal trust, ministry, and prayer

Scripture: See Christian Principles Unit 1 Week 2

Perils and Rewards

  • Failure to understand God's character leads to distrust, fear of God, inability to draw close, and faulty representation of God to others. 
  • Clear understanding leads to greater openness with God and others, better ability to pray in accordance with his will, and with confidence. 
  • The depth of a person's faith depends on knowing God's character. Knowing God's power combats negativity, and enhances our ability to endure trial and suffering.
  • Failure to understand the holiness, or righteousness of God can lead to antinomianism, or the attitude that sin doesn't matter

Communication

  • Try to get people to take Christian Principles class, section 1 which has excellent teaching on this area. 
  • Share personal examples of times you have taken steps of faith and God came through. 
  • Model your knowledge of God as you pray and worship with your people. 
  • Remind them of God's faithfulness in their own lives when they trusted him. 
  • Watch for, and correct statements that indicate improper understanding of the character of God.

Able to articulate and defend the trinity

Scripture: See Christian Principles Unit 1 Week 2

Perils and Rewards

  • Failure to understand the trinity leads to inability to withstand cult groups and their attacks on it
  • The trinity provides a crucial basis for our world view - that God can be personal and infinite (and self-existent) at the same time. Failure to understand this point could leave disciples vulnerable to attacks on the Christian world view
  • Immanence and Transcendence both become possible at once because of the incarnation
  • Disciples who haven't reflected deeply in this area get caught in contradictions when they try to teach

Communication

  • Be sure to show your people how to defend the trinity from Old and New Testaments
  • Use "apparent contradiction" as a tool for discussion
  • Ask how they would defend the trinity to a Bible-believing Jew

Understands how God's image is reflected in humans

Scripture: See Christian Principles Unit 1 Week 2

Perils and Rewards

  • Failure to grasp the nature of God's personhood leads to a subhuman view of people
  • The dignity of humans grows from the fact that they are created in the image of God (James 3:9; Gen. 9:6)
  • Poor understanding here may lead to racism or other forms of prejudice

Communication

  • Explore what the personhood of God means as opposed to pantheistic views of God, and how it relates to human nature
  • Go through each of the attributes of God and ask how each applies to Christian living and outlook
  • In view of passages like James 3:9; Gen. 9:6 ask what are other implications of the image of God in man for social and individual ethics
  • Read and critique articles with opposing views of the nature of people

Able to correct common misconceptions about God and the Bible

Scripture: See Christian Principles Unit 1 Week 2

Perils and Rewards

  • Poor evangelism is likely if we can't defend God's character, but this area can be a strong boost to evangelism if well understood
  • Must be able to explain the problem of evil, or face disgrace from non Christians
  • A weak view of God's character can lead to compromise with relativism and postmodern morals

Communication

  • Make sure people are aware of the common misconceptions in our culture
  • Use Socratic method to engage people on issues like why, if God knew the world would fall, he created it anyway
  • Review common questions from Postmodernists in your cell group.
  • Discuss what the likely results would be for diminishing each of the attributes of God
  • Go through so-called atrocities in the Old Testament (Sodom, Conquest, the flood, capitol punishment laws, etc.) and work on how this should be explained (Use Wenham and Problems in Old Testament for reference)

5. Satanology

The ability to wage spiritual warfare is a key to spiritual survival and for victorious ministry.

Materials: Principles Unit 4, week 1-3; Satan, Wiersby; Screwtape Letters, Lewis; Sit, Walk, Stand, Nee; Occult Bondage and Deliverance, Koch; Demon Possession, Montgomery, Ed.; Death in the City, Schaeffer; Satanology assignment

Knows who Satan is and understands the angelic realm

Scripture: Ezek 28; See Christian Principles papers

Perils and Rewards

  • Superstition about demons follows poor demonology
  • Satan's career is an important component in Christian cosmology. Failure to understand this leaves gaping holes in our understanding
  • Understanding the character and goals of Satan helps you predict his moves in spiritual warfare

Communication

  • Be sure to cover Satan's role in light of salvation history. 
  • Understanding that the Messianic secret answers key questions in Old Testament prophecy and some New Testament problem passages. Draw out the problem of missing predictions (like the 2 comings) to develop tension and interest in the solution

Discerning about aberrant teaching on demonology

Scripture: Gal. 5:19-21; Mark 5:1-20; Acts 20: Deut. 18:9-12; I Jn. 4:4;

Perils and Rewards

  • New agers are interested in angels, and we need to be ready to offer the biblical view
  • Charismatics sometimes exaggerate the role of demons, attributing the deeds of the flesh to demon possession. This leads to a failure to admit one's own responsibility, and a misdirection of attention away from sanctification and toward "deliverance ministries"
  • Some people think Satan is greater than he really is, and experience needless fear as a result
  • Extreme angelogy leads to a distraction from Christ onto angels

Communication

  • Teach all three sources for sin and temptation, (the world, the flesh, and the devil) and point out that we need not assume our problems come from the devil
  • Teach the true signs of demon possession from Mark 5, and critique superficial possession diagnoses
  • Beware of phony "ritual sexual abuse" stories, and teach your people to be discerning
  • Stress that "Greater is he that is in you." Teach disciples how secure they are in Christ

Knows how to recognize, bind, and fight demonic attacks in self and others

Scripture: Dan. 10; Eph. 6:10-16; 2 Cor. 10:3-5; Job; 1 Pet. 5:8ff

Perils and Rewards

  • Those who don't understand spiritual warfare end up buffeting the air and wrestling with flesh and blood
  • Their prayer life will be ineffective
  • Poor results in ministry
  • May suffer dismay, defeat, and even apostasy because they don't know why they are suffering
  • Those who learn to wield the full armor of God know how to penetrate Satanic strongholds

Communication

  • Model knowledge of spiritual warfare in your prayers
  • Go through the elements of spiritual armor and discuss how each apply to daily living
  • Discuss what "alertness" means
  • Tell stories about times you have encountered spiritual warfare
  • Cover accusation and how to combat it
  • Cover division and how to combat it
  • Cover deception and how to combat it
  • Cover temptation and how to combat it
  • Cover demonic persecution and how to combat it
  • See Christian Principles Unit 4 week Two and Three for a comprehensive review of covert satanic tactics.

Understands the world system and the proper response to it

Scripture: 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4; I Jn. 5:4; Jn. 12:31; Jn. 14:30; Jn. 16:11; Jn. 17:15, 16; I Cor. 5:9,10; Phil. 2:15; Mt. 5:13-16; Jn. 16:33;

Perils and Rewards

  • Materialism is the biggest sin area in American Christianity
  • The ignorant focus on temporal rather than eternal values
  • Need to understand the bondage of non-Christians because of the kosmos
  • Impossible to serve the kosmos and God effectively
  • May draw the false conclusion that we should leave the kosmos, and lose their witness
  • Longing for the kosmos chills our love of God

Communication

  • Teach the Kosmos as Satan's strategy, similar to the chapter in Walking in Victory
  • Share testimonies about the power of the world over your own life and how you overcame them
  • Show and persuade them that the kosmos is a false promise of fulfillment
  • Ask discussion questions like these:
    1. "What comprises your dreams and aspirations? What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail? Are they dominated by career, possessions, and money - or by spiritual growth and service?"
    2. "Who do you admire most, and why do you admire them? Is it because they are examples of godly living - or because they have the most money and toys?"
    3. "What are your short-term and long-term goals? Do you have spiritual goals of either sort, or only career and material goals?"
    4. "How do you view retirement? Is it a time to focus on the material enjoyment you have earned, or is it a time of greater freedom to serve God?"
    5. "How regularly and generously do you give your money to God's service? Or do you give sporadically and from what is left over after other acquisitions? Which direction are you moving in this area?"
    6. "Are you able to be content with what you have materially? Do you consciously distinguish between "wants" and "needs?" Are you consistently able to resist buying "wants" - not just because you can't afford them, but also because it will compromise your giving to Christian work? Are you able to have satisfying recreation without spending significant amounts of money? One indicator here is how much debt you have from non-necessary acquisitions."
    7. "What do you do with your spare time? Do you invest significant portions of it in spiritual growth, ministry, relationships - or do you spend it mostly on things like more work, impersonal recreational activities, shopping, etc.?"
    8. "Is your excitement about God and your outrage over materialism increasing? Are you seeing new ways to grow and serve that excite you? Are you seeing new ways that materialism robs people of abundant life? Or has your excitement about God become cool, and has your critique of materialism become vague and filled with qualifications?"
  • Be sure to show that materialism is potentially just as devastating as drug addiction in the Christian life

6. Apologetics and Witnessing

They are good communicators, and are outward focused. Missions should be included here.

Materials: Leading evangelism; McCallum, Discovering God and free group study guide; McCallum, The Death of Truth and free group study guide; Various Apologetic EssaysPerspectives on the World Christian Movement, Winter, ed.;

Able to share own testimony

Perils and Rewards

  • Those who aren't ready to give their testimony often end up getting into pointless ethical and theological arguments with non Christians
  • Failure to practice your testimony leads to confusing and unconvincing accounts
  • Those who don't see giving their testimony as the main thing, feel intimidated by witnessing because they fear having to answer hard questions
  • Rewards include seeing conversions to Christ
  • Edifying to reflect on how God has changed their own lives

Communication

  • Call on you cell to prepare their testimonies for delivery in 3 minutes or less
  • Teach a basic 3 part outline - before Christ; how I met Christ; and after Christ
  • Teach them to have versions for several likely situations
  • Try to model giving your testimony to a non Christian
  • Share stories about how people were won through testimonies
  • Persuade them that nobody can argue against their testimony 
  • Encourage attendance at the Sharing Your Faith Class through Xenos.
  • Encourage people to read Becoming a Contagious Christian.

Able to witness, and actively witnesses

Scripture: 1 Pet. 3:15; Mt. 28:18-20; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Col. 4:3-6

Perils and Rewards

  • Anyone who doesn't witness is hardening their heart toward their non Christian associates
  • Rewards include seeing people come to Christ
  • Also rewarding to defend the faith and feel God's spirit moving in witness
  • Non-witnessers lose touch with non Christians. They become inward focused, and culturally irrelevant
  • God may block development in other areas of ministry
  • Lose confidence in the power of the gospel
  • Get to follow up and disciple converts

Communication

  • Tell stories of your own witnessing experiences
  • Extol those who witness in the cell group
  • Pray for ongoing witnessing projects
  • Teach on how to witness
  • Do activities for outreach and model if possible
  • Go with your disciples to meet their non Christian friends and help them witness if possible
  • Don't just stress the usual fundamentalist motives for witnessing (the terrors of hell, scriptural commands, their duty to their friends, etc.) but stress that witnessing is fun! Those who witness for fun do so more and are more effective than those who witness out of duty

Knows about the decision continuum and other principles of evangelism. Has brought people who received Christ

Scripture: 1 Tim. 2:6; See above;

Perils and Rewards

  • Until they succeed in leading someone to Christ (either by themselves or with others) they cannot be considered well-motivated witnessers
  • Persistence is essential in evangelism. Teach those who fail how to view failure (the seed was sown, and the job done) and to keep sowing
  • Getting to see saved people in heaven

Communication

  • Work with disciples on likely areas of failure. See Leading Evangelism for ideas
  • Look for softness, or failure to call for decision
  • Look for over-aggressiveness and failure to observe the decision continuum
  • Look for identity problems in the case of those who never bring it up
  • Adjust for temperamental tendencies such as over-sensitivity, timidity, hyper tribalism (failure to try with more than one or two) browbeating, etc.
  • Tell stories about your successes and how that has blessed you over the years
  • Train in listening skills
  • Train in asking thought provoking questions
  • Train in how to bring it up
  • Tell stories about others' successes to persuade that evangelism works
  • Get them to take the "Sharing Your Faith" class

Conversant with the main world views opposing Christ in their culture and have at least some defenses for each

Scripture: Acts 17; 1 Chron. 12:32; 1 Cor. 5:10; John 17:15; 1 Cor. 9:19-23; 2 Cor. 10:3-5

Perils and Rewards

  • Ignorant Christians are ineffective at witnessing and lack credibility because of their obvious ignorance and narrowness
  • Rewards include ability to see how the gospel addresses today's issues
  • More certainty and faith when understand other views and critiques
  • People feel more confidence in witnessing when they know what they and others are talking about
  • Knowledge of religion and philosophy will help them in later discipleship efforts

Communication

  • Consider studying selected chapters from The Death of Truth in cell group (be sure to include the last 3 chapters)
  • Consider a study series where each cell member takes a religion or cult group and teaches on it
  • Watch movies on other religions
  • Consider going through Schaeffer's "How Shall We Then Live?" movie series
  • Try role playing with other world views--consider the Quick Response Exercise
  • Model sophistication in this area, and make them want to be conversant because that is typical of a mature Christian
  • Study how the church imitates the world's ideas (naturalism, existentialism, postmodernism, psychology)
  • Consider studying the "Problems with Christianity" chapter from Discovering God, using the study guide

Understands and effectively refutes common misconceptions about Christianity

Scripture: Phil. 4:5; 2:14,15; Jn. 13:34; 17:23

Perils and Rewards

Can't lead people to Christ in this day without encountering their faulty image of Christianity

Communication

  • The misconceptions must be refuted via both words and deeds
  • Common assumptions are that Christians are:
    • Weak: Show that Christians are as competent and "together" as anyone else, and we can argue that if people were honest, we would all admit our weakness and get God's fix
    • Uptight: Christians must learn to project a fun-loving and loose demeanor without going to excess of sin. Teach disciples to explicitly deplore extreme fundamentalism, empathizing with the non Christian's observations. Learn to stress our freedom in Christ. 
    • Hypocrites: Teach your people to help non Christians define hypocrisy, rejecting the idea that it is hypocrisy for a Christian to sin. Demonstrate authenticity. Join non Christian in rejecting the hypocrisy of the church, and of church history
    • Irrelevant: Teach people to get involved in contemporary culture and art forms, to speak today's language, to tie Christian world view to current events
    • Bitter and nasty: Disciples must learn to project humility and kindness - a welcoming spirit and a forgiving spirit (Phil. 4:5) They should distance themselves from known mean Christians. They should not engage non Christians in ethical debate
    • Ignorant: Our disciples will not overcome this view unless they are not ignorant. Encourage them to get educated.
    • Intolerant: Teach disciples to look for common ground where they can be accepting. Teach them not to be looking for opportunities to argue and condemn. Teach them how to disagree without seeming self-righteous. Teach them to share their own weaknesses, limitations, and lack of omniscience. Discuss what makes someone seem intolerant, and how that impression can be overcome.
  • Try giving your cell group a quick response exercise

Understands and participates in world evangelization.

Scripture: Acts 1:8; Mat. 28:18-20; Gen. 12:3

Perils and Rewards

  • When the church fails to devote itself to missions, it usually becomes corporately selfish
  • Failure to bring disciples up with an appreciation of missions, causes the church to have lack of missionaries and lack of support
  • Failing to see the needs of the lost and the poor leads to spiritual insensitivity and callousness
  • Rewards include awareness of what God is doing in other cultures and the gratitude that follows
  • Blessings follow those who give of themselves for the sake of others
  • God could turn against a church that refuses to be involved in missions

Communication

  • Take advantage of mission mobilizers by urging disciples to become a mobilizer
  • Urge people to take the Perspectives class
  • Get church or group to support one of the field teams
  • Have teams present their mission at your home group
  • Read missions biographies
  • Get involved in a short term trip

7. Ecclesiology and Ministry Theory

Including Body life and discipleship

This becomes the nuts and bolts of ministry, and includes establishing a clear vision for where it's all heading. Church finance and personal financial stewardship are important pieces in this area of training.

Materials: Christian Principles Unit 3 weeks 1 and 2 (Body Life), Servanthood 1, Understanding MinistryChristian Principles Unit 4, Week 8 (Principles of Financial Giving), McCallum Lectures on Romans 12; Coleman, Master Plan of Evangelism; Moore, Multiplying Disciples; Hull, The Disciple Making Pastor; DeLashmutt, Loving God's Way; McCallum, Walking in Victory (chapter on Body Life); Snyder, The Problem of Wineskins and The Radical Wesley; Xenos Tapes: McCallum, Friendships in the Body of Christ; DeLashmutt, Christian Community

Active in Body Life at all needed levels

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12, John 13:34, 35 and all "one another" passages in the Gospels and Epistles (See DeLashmutt, Loving God's Way, for full treatment), Hebrews 10:24,25; Col. 2:19; Eph. 4:11-16.

Perils and Rewards

  • If not involved in body life we won't find our role in God's plan and the body suffers from lack of our contribution.
  • If we are not involved we won't receive much of what Christ wants to give us and our growth will be stunted.
  • We can be much more effective in outreach when the body is healthy.

Communication

Knows and embraces the importance of ministry

Scripture: Acts 20:35; John 13:17; Romans 10:14,15; John 4:32-38

Perils and Rewards

  • When we take up our role in the body of Christ we experience the satisfaction of giving and the excitement of seeing God impact others through us. 
  • If we don't get involved in ministry we get involved in the world system (1 John 2:15ff).

Communication

  • Model your excitement about your ministry. 
  • Express your joy in seeing them serve and point out the significance of their service
  • Tell stories about people who took off spiritually when they understood ministry matters

Understands what the church is and can distinguish it from the Old Testament covenant

Scripture: Matt 16:18; Hebrews 8 and 9; Col. 1:18; 2:16,17; Gal. 4:4-11

Perils and Rewards

  • Without clear Ecclesiology people have no way to assess the local church
  • They may wander into ritualism and liturgical practices
  • Benefits include experiencing the freedom of open personal access to God rather than ritual

Communication

  • Warn them of the waxing prevalence of liturgical practices in the evangelical church.
  • Help them understand the reasons for Old Testament ritualism (pictures of atonement and absence of indwelling Holy Spirit). 
  • Cover the Old Testament Bondage of the Church in Understanding Ministry
  • Show them how to practice baptism and communion in a personal way

Aware of the main issues in church history (Early church, medieval, reformation, evangelical awakening, liberalism, charismatic movements)

Scripture: Matt 24:4-14 (prophecy warning of deception)

Perils and Rewards

  • We avoid repeating past errors by knowing them
  • We are inspired by the spiritual accomplishments of great Christians
  • We are able to critique the church through history which enhances our witness when people confront us with church atrocities

Communication

  • Discuss and recommend biographies
  • When discussing theological errors, include historical examples along with scriptural refutation
  • Refer to Christian History magazine (available at Xenos Study Center and provides an appetizing introduction to church history)

Understands spiritual gifts, church offices, church discipline, and church finance.

Scripture: 1 Cor 12, 14; Romans 12; 1 Peter 4; Eph 4; 1 Tim 3 (offices); Matt 18:15-18; Gal 6:6; 1 Tim 5:17, 18

Perils and Rewards

  • If gifts are not understood, an unhealthy comparison and competition develops
  • We need to learn to work together under the leadership of spiritual authority and all Christians can aspire to be a deacon or elder
  • People who don't understand church discipline may become disaffected when it's practiced
  • We experience the blessing of sharing our wealth to further the causes of god (e.g. FST retreat)
  • People who don't understand why we practice what we do, may later change it for no good reason

Communication

  • Help them learn to value the diversity of gifts in the church by esteeming people who are gifted in different ways. 
  • Pray with them that they may see their gifting and provide honest feedback.
  • Challenge them (at some point) to aspire to Servant Team.
  • Principles 4 covers networking and gift assessment. Work with them on their self assessment and consultation
  • Try to give them experience in different types of ministry

Has established a personal ministry within, and perhaps outside, the home church

Scripture: see above

Perils and Rewards

  • Church life becomes boring without ministry. 
  • Without commitment to home group ministries, a cell-based ministry paradigm fails
  • Other-centered love must include ministry
  • Self-centered Christianity leads to spiritual eroticism and defeat
  • Ministry makes sense of all the other means of growth and gives them urgency

Communication

  • Help people understand that there are ministry roles within the home group such as evangelism, follow-up, edification, and discipleship rather than viewing ministry primarily as formal roles outside the home group.
  • Help them prioritize ministry roles inside and outside the home group
  • Bring them with you when doing different kinds of ministry
  • Extol those who find meaningful ministry

Is a consistent giver, and belongs to the Fiscal Support Team

Scripture: 2 Cor. 8 and 9

Perils and Rewards

  • People who fail to develop giving habits will continue to live by empty materialistic values and reap the dismal fruit.
  • They could become a cheerful giver, realizing their money is creating and sustaining significant ministry
  • They could join the Fiscal Support Team and benefit from the retreats
  • Sensing their own hypocrisy, non-givers become weak leaders

Communication

  • Challenge them to join the FST and get involved in missionary support
  • Tell stories about when you learned that giving results in blessing
  • Hold out for giving as a qualification for high level ministry responsibility

Seeks or has an opportunity to practice personal discipleship

Scripture: Matt 28:18, 19; 2 Tim 2:2; 3 John 1:3,4

Perils and Rewards

  • The greatest joys of ministry come from seeing our disciples fruitfully following the Lord
  • The cell-based model will die without discipleship
  • With discipleship we will be able to plant new cells and home groups. Without it we will stagnate.

Communication

  • Argue that each of us has a responsibility to give to younger Christians what we have received
  • Communicate the joy we experience in seeing our disciples advance
  • Share a vision for having spiritual children and grand children bearing fruit for God

8. Relationships, dating, marriage, family life etc.

Our members must build successful relationships, including families if they are to serve God without hindrance over the long haul. They have established a reputation in the church as a loving person.

Materials: Xenos WWW resources include: Love Therapy, The Sin NatureConflict Resolution
D. McCallum Lectures on building friendships; Xenos tapes include: D. McCallum's series on Conflict Resolution; B. Himsworth's Parenting Series, D. McCallum's Parenting class, G. DeLashmutt's "A Biblical Framework for Parenting" (Colossians 3:20,21); DeLashmutt and McCallum, Spiritual Relationships that Last and Study Guide; DeLashmutt, Loving God's Way; White, Eros Defiled; O. Hallesby, Temperament and the Christian Life; Smith, The Relaxed Parent; Swihart, The Manipulative Child; Campbell, How to Really Love Your Child and How to Really Love Your Teenager; Dobson, Dare to Discipline; The Power of Modeling; Men and Sex

Understands biblical love and is able to maintain lasting friendships.

Scripture: 1 John 2:9-11; 3:16; 1 Cor. 13; Rom 12:9-21; Phil. 2:1-8; Heb. 12:6

Perils and Rewards

  • Loneliness is inevitable without good relationships
  • Learning agape love is a key to successful peer relationships, marriage, and parenting
  • Jesus said we would be blessed if we learn to practice self-giving love
  • Lasting emotional and spiritual stability

Communication

  • Regularly discuss and work to help them succeed in their key relationships
  • Share lessons learned and present struggles in our own relational life
  • Help them identify their own temperamental weaknesses and how to lean against them
  • Establish an open discussion on parenting and marital issues since most people are defensive in these areas
  • Model good relational skills in your relationships with them

Able to handle and resolve interpersonal conflict

Scripture: Matt. 7:1-5; Eph. 4:1-3; Col 3: 12-14; Heb 12:15; James 3:13-4:3; 1 Cor. 3:3

Perils and Rewards

  • If bitterness is left unchecked, alienation and spiritual defeat are inevitable
  • The condition of relationships may determine whether there is division or unity in the church
  • A unified church is a powerful force while a divided church is a crippled group
  • Good conflict may enhance creativity and innovation
  • Working marriages and families depend on skills in this area

Communication

  • Help them learn to recognize affective vs. issue-oriented conflict
  • Regularly discuss their relationships on a deep enough level so that discussions on conflict arise
  • Help them see their own part in relational conflict
  • Help them understand their own sinful tendencies and how to consistently stand against them.

Practices sexual self-control

Scripture: 1 Cor. 6:13-20; Heb 13:4; 1 Thes 4:3-8; Proverbs 5, 6 & 7 Perils and Rewards

Perils and Rewards

  • Failure in the sexual area is catastrophic to your own personal life and to your ministry because no area is more suitable for Satanic accusation.
  • A satisfying sex life is eventually attainable, regardless how damaged we may have been, if we cooperate with God's healing power
  • It is possible to be reasonably content as a sexually chaste person
  • Sexual self-control for singles is an important building block for successful marriage

Communication

  • Warn strongly against pornography habits
  • Teach them to avoid flirting as a married individual
  • Singles need to learn the difference between legitimate and illegitimate flirting (don't flirt with someone you couldn't date with a good conscience)
  • Check married people's sex life including frequency and satisfaction
  • Know when to advise additional help be sought (e.g. sexual abuse, homosexuality, porno addiction, adultery, etc.)
  • Recommend Sexual Integrity Seminar for men with pornography addictions

Has adjusted to marriage and fulfills role as spouse and parent

Scripture: 1 Tim 3:12; Col 3:18-21; Eph 5:22-6:4; 1 Peter 3:1-7; Proverbs 31

Perils and Rewards

  • Spiritual energy and drive for ministry wanes if home life is unhealthy
  • Marital unity greatly enhances parental effectiveness
  • Great lessons in sacrificial love can be learned in the arena of family life
  • Great peace and joy is possible in the context of a happy home

Communication

  • Develop freedom to discuss issues of marriage and parenting
  • Sharing our own struggles helps open the relationship on these issues
  • Stress the importance of developing a deep love relationship with each family member. This would include regular quality one-on-one time with their spouse and children
  • Help them understand the temperamental and age-appropriate differences in their children and how to interact with them

Has developed relationship-related character qualities (patience, kindness, empathy, firmness in discipline, loyalty, forgiveness, etc.) so that he/she is known as a loving person both inside and outside the church.

Scripture: 1 Tim. 3:7,8; Col. 3:12,13, 22-4:1; Jas. 3:13,17,18; Eph 6:5-9; Titus 2:9,10; 1 Peter 2:13-18

Perils and Rewards

  • Our character demonstrates God's love for people and serves as an excellent witness for Christ
  • The "double life" demonstrates a carnal attitude. Those who relate one way to friends in the church, but another way in the marriage or work have a problem
  • We can provide an example for younger Christians to aspire to
  • Dishonesty, angry outbursts, sulking, and withdrawal destroy credibility in all areas of ministry

Communication

  • If you hear of serious character problems at home or work, address them promptly
  • When mistakes are made, encourage them to apologize and make amends
  • Encourage them to be diligent, conscientious, and respectful in the world and in the church
  • Unsolicited positive comments about this person from others provides evidence that they are growing in this area Basic Pneumatology and Christology - Understanding the ministries of the Spirit, and the person of Christ.

9. Pneumatology and Christology

Materials: Xenos Christian Principles on ChristologyPneumatologyWalking in the Spirit, and Restorationism, parts 1 and 2. Carson, Showing the Spirit; McCallum on Christology, Heb. 1

Knows the ministries of the Holy Spirit and regularly depends on the power of the Spirit for living and ministry.

Scripture: John 14-16; Romans 8:1-16, 26,27; Gal 5:16-26; 2 Cor. 3:5; Eph 5:18; 1 Cor 12:13

Perils and Rewards

  • If we don't learn active dependence on the Holy Spirit our ministry will be characterized by controlling, manipulation, intimidation and "burn out."
  • Dependence on the power of God leads to great victories

Communication

  • Model dependent prayer life by praying with them regularly
  • Help them understand human limitations in ministry so they realize that only God produces the spiritual fruit
  • Read through together, Schaeffer, No Little People

Knows the difference between the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament and the New

Scripture: John 7:37-39; John 14:17;1 Cor 12:13; Acts 1:4,5,8; 1 Samuel 16:14; Eph 1:13,14

Perils and Rewards

  • Some misinterpret the Acts passages and conclude that the spirit is imparted as a second blessing some time after one receives Christ. If we don't understand that the Spirit begins to live within the believer at the moment of conversion we will unnecessarily wait for a second event.
  • Our eternity is secure since we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit
  • They should learn to seek the filling of the Spirit, especially when ministering

Communication

  • All new Christians should be assured that they have been baptized, indwelt, and eternally sealed by the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion
  • Have them read Acts 2 and 19 and try to resolve the delay between belief and receiving the spirit
  • Go over McCallum's tape on miracles and the Spirit's ministries in Acts 3 and 8

Ready to answer aberrant teaching on the Holy Spirit

Scripture: see Christian Principles Class: Restorationism, parts 1 and 2

Perils and Rewards

  • Home group leaders unable to deal with these issues may have their groups divided and destroyed
  • All disciples in today's world will be approached by those claiming they have missed the full power of the Spirit unless they submit to the Pentecostal agenda, and we must prepare them to withstand

Communication

  • Be proactive and discuss these issues so they are equipped to deal with it when they arise.
  • Model a healthy appreciation of the experiential side of Christianity

Looks for where the Spirit is leading and responds accordingly.

Scripture: Acts 15:7-12; 16:6-10; 18:9-11; 1 Cor 3:7; Numbers 9:15-23 (Israelites had to move when the cloud or pillar of fire moved)

Perils and Rewards

  • As we respond to the Spirit's leading we receive the Spirit's provision. 
  • Failure to practice this leads to a mechanistic, institutional, and barren ministry
  • Spiritual leadership requires the direction of the Spirit.

Communication

  • Discuss and model the need for flexibility and change in ministry as the Spirit leads
  • Pray with them for God's guidance in ministry in the home group and discuss this

Knows and can articulate the uniqueness of Christ, his dual natures, his kenosis, his deity, his work, and his return.

Scripture: see Christian Principles on Christology

Perils and Rewards

  • We need strong Christology to discern cultic doctrines and aberrant eschatological teaching
  • We see that Jesus is the example of living according to the power of the Holy Spirit
  • We can explain apparent contradictions in the gospels relative to the deity of Christ

Communication

  • Show passages that show Jesus as limited, and using devil's advocacy, challenge the deity of Christ, then resolve
  • Show them strong versus weak versions of Kenotic theory and ask them to decide which is best
  • Ask how this relates to our Christian lives, (Phil 2; Heb. 4:16; etc., Jesus lived as a man)