An Assessment of personal and ministry spiritual health at the beginning of the course.
Thecourse has been of great substance to my personal and spiritualdevelopment. Specifically, it re-established my religious positionthat had been eroded for long. First, at the start of the course, Iwas weak in spirit. I was not aware of my purpose in life. Besides, Ilacked the knowledge that God has a particular purpose for everyoneas provided by Proverbs chapter 19:21. The verse says that ‘numerousare the plans in the heart of a man, but it is the Lord’s purposethat prevails’.1After studying the course, my reliance on the word of God and hispromises to his people has been enriched. During the course, Imanaged to read various books such as ‘FromDust to Destiny’by Faulls. The writer informs Christians about the ability of God tobless. Specifically, he says, “God is in a position of uplifting anindividual’s life from a free-for-all into an honorable person tothe community”2.I have managed to establish my purpose with a promise to seek thewellness of God in my life from such teachings.
Second,the course has assisted in reestablishing my faith. In my past life,I searched and waited for God for a protracted period, and nothingsuperior happened to come my way. Subsequently, my faith bleachedaway due to the troubles and tribulations that I faced in the past. Ilacked the hopes for anything better. I almost became an atheist andfrequently based my belief on Karma. Specifically, I alleged thatwhat goes around comes around. Consequently, I settled on the beliefthat my miserable life must be a matter of Karma such that it wasmeant to be that way. Such beliefs led me to accept the depravedlife, in fact, I believed that there is nothing I could do to changethe status quo.Issues I felt were too much for me to handlesurrounded every aspect of my life. The book by Faulls has assistedin restoring my faith. Specifically, it states, “every person wascreated for more, and there is a likely hood to surpass humanimaginations”3.Consequently, I have developed a positive attitude towards life, andI can see changes in my perception of life.
Third,the course has introduced me into believing in the Gospel.Specifically, I have read the book by Gilbert on ‘Whatis the Gospel’.I have learnt that the Gospel means good news for Christians.Besides, I have discovered that whenever Christians refer to goodnews, they mean the good news about the Lord Jesus Christ. Besides,the gospel proclaims that God created Christians, and consequently,they are accountable to God. Before enrolling for the course, I wasresponsible for people and their interpretations about my life.Therefore, I always believed when people said I was to fail in life.Therefore, I lived a life of fear contemplating about what peoplemight say and was elevated to the gratification of the human nature4.
2.Spiritual truths from the course materials
Thefirst spiritual truth I have obtained from the course is the need totrust in Jesus Christ. Believing that Christ is the king, and thereis no other God places the believer under God’s grace.Consequently, sin has no control over me. I have learnt that oncesomeone is born-again, he / she picks up their cross and followsJesus. Besides, Romans 6:14,18-22, provides states, “there is theforgiveness of sins by confessing that Jesus is my Savior and Lordand that he is the Messiah”5.
Thesecond spiritual truth is that God is working in my life. I managedto read the book by James Whoit by the title ‘SpiritualFormation as if the Church Mattered’.The book taught me the various aspects of discipleship in a communitysetting. Specifically, I learnt how to form my spiritual beliefs andthat I should place my beliefs for the benefit of the community asopposed to myself. The book taught me how Christlikeness should bepracticed at the church level and how to live according to Gods will.The four essential practices include receiving and accepting the goodnews, paying attention and recalling what the gospel has taught meand restraining my actions and attitudes to foster the responses fromthe community. I have also learnt that I should relate with otherChristians in the community to enjoy the gospel.6
The third spiritual truth is that Godmade me alive through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.Subsequently, there was enough grace provided for humanity to enablereligious change. I have learnt that upon beginning my spiritualjourney, I expect to lose some of my friends as well as my relatives.Besides, my life has acknowledged the fact that it is no longer aboutme but saying and doing all that is for the glory of the Lord. I havehence learnt to pray more, to study my Bible and fast so that I canstop to think based on my understanding but lean and expect from Godalong with the Holy Spirit.7
Thefourth spiritual truth is that being involved in church activitiesmakes someone more spiritually connected to Christ. The courseintroduced me to the book about ‘Responsibilityfor spiritual development’by Petersen. I learnt that church activities serve as catalysts inthe spiritual continuum. For example, involvement in Bible studieswithin the church assist the members to learn more about Christ.Consequently, it helps one to have the ability to share their faithin public and invest in faith. Besides, I have discovered that Biblestudies enhance the spiritual development of individuals byincreasing their connection to Christ.8 .
Thefifth spiritual truth entails the fact that my spiritual growthshould involve helping others to know and accept Christ. I havespiritually understood that when I became a born again Christian, Iturned into a servant of God to his people. Consequently, I shouldemit love, respect, gentleness and encouragement to Gods people.Specifically, I should encourage God’s people to read their Biblesso they can be spiritually healthy and serve as witnesses of theLord.
3. Leading my ministry in church throughspiritual renewal
Thecourse has created in me, a spiritual world by augmenting myknowledge of the gospel and Christianity. Consequently, I haveunderstood the basics for a healthy Christian life. I have learnt howto be emotionally connected with God and maintaining a healthyrelationship with him. The course has introduced me to the book bythe title ‘TheEmotionally Healthy Church’written by Peter Scazzero. The book has taught me that it is possibleto begin a new life in Christ. I shall lead my ministry in the churchby following the various principles learnt from the book. The firstprinciple calls for Christians to learn from the past, as it is theroot of any Christianity life. Specifically I shall analyze themistakes that I have made in my past life and abide by the principlenot to repeat them in my future life. The principle states, “ acritical analysis of past mistakes makes the Christian identify theirweaknesses and strengths”.9Consequently, the Christian can identify possible ways that theycould have avoided previous mistakes. In addition the book states,“the ability to identify possible courses of action is essential instarting a new life in Christ.”10Besides, “Christians should focus on the present and the futurewithout worry about their past life, as they are not in a capacity tochange history.”11
Thesecond concept from the book has taught me how to live in brokennessand vulnerability. The concept shall play a great part in ensuringmy spiritual as well as emotional growth. The principle states ,“brokenness and vulnerability are presentable to God”.12Inaddition, it states, “the strength of a Christian is not measurablein terms of power but by the presence of God in the believer.”13The principle has enabled me to practice the power of brokenness andthe ability to live in weakness but in faith.
Thethird concept from the book is about receiving the gifts of limits.As a Christian, I plan to renew my spirituality by practicing thisconcept. The principle states, “Christians should live by naturallimits that emanate from personality and the general life.”14The principle seems to be fundamental for the renewal of spiritualfaith. It enables a Christian to apply faith in every situation theyare facing in life. Specifically, by using faith, the Christianleaves everything in the hands of the Lord. The principle strengthensthe faith of the believer once the Lord starts taking control oflife.
Thefinal principle from the book of scazzero talks about application andimplementation. I plan to apply the rule in my spiritual journey, itstates, “ Christians should break the powers associated with thepast to accept the future.”15Specifically it shall augment my spiritual growth and emotionalbalance by the ability to live free from the past. The principleserves as a guide to implementing earlier policies such as living inbrokenness and vulnerability. It calls for the Christian to be humbleto achieve emotional balance in the spiritual realm. Besides, I shallfollow the implementation principle by embracing grieving and loss.The principle provides, “although the life of Jesus Christ was fullof suffering, he was able to embrace it to serve as an example forhis disciples.”16Besides,“embracing suffering entails forgiving my oppressors and prayingthat God shall reveal his love unto them.”17The teaching by this principle shall enable me to be grateful andgive thanks for everything that I possess.
Thecourse has introduced me to the gospel and specifically into theChristian world. Consequently, I plan to grow the basics I havelearnt to improve my spirituality to the highest level and ensurethat I full fill Gods order to Christians, which is to call upon morefollowers.My plans about spirituality entail improving my knowledgeof the gospel as introduced by the book on ‘WhatIs the Gospel’by Gilbert.18Unlike other born again Christians who receive the gospel but fail totake steps to accept it, I shall serve as a testimony of God to mycolleagues in the journey of Christianity. I have learnt that theactual meaning of the Gospel is Authority from the book. It impliesthat the Lord Jesus Christ has the rights to communicate withChristians and to guide them into what he demands of them. Myspiritual renewal process shall entail committing what the Lord hasinstructed me to do.
Second,the book taught me that the second concept of Christianity isreliance. Consequently, my plan is to train and completely rely onJesus for anything that I may desire in the world. The book hastaught me that God is the overall provider and that if Christianslearn to rely on God, he shall do wonders to their lives.19
Thethird concept to Christianity is substitution. The book provides,“Christians should substitute their understanding, prowess, abilityand power to that of the Lord.”20 Consequently, my spiritual renewal processes shall entail trustingthe Lord and giving him all my burdens. The death of Jesus Christ onthe cross was an indication that he has power over death, andconsequently, he can solve the problems for those that believe inhim. His resurrection serves as an assurance to Christians that he isalive and ready to assist whenever they called upon him.
Thecourse emphasized the Christian life and specifically, the connectionbetween Christianity and the church. First, my mission for theministry in the church is to belong to the Christ-centered group. Iadmired the level of spiritual development within the group since itoffers all its life to Christ and makes a choice to serve him. I feelchallenged to live for Christ and serve him both at the community andchurch level. During the course, I have read the book by Hawkins andParkinson’s about the ‘movefor church planters’.The book has taught me the various stages of a Christian life in thechurch from the Explorers of Christ, the growers in Christ, close toChrist and finally, the Christ-centered group. The difference betweenthe various groups is the level of faith. First, the explorers ofChrist represent the newly converted Christians who are trying toinclude Christ into their lives. As a beginner in Christianity, Ibelong to this group. I understand that it takes a lot of effort tostay in Church for more than five years. However, my ambition is torenew my faith repeatedly until I achieve my goal to be a principalsupporter and leader of Christianity.21
Thesecond group entails individuals growing in Christ. The groupentails individuals who participate in a majority of the churchactivities. It is composed of more than thirty percent of any churchcongregation. I expect to be in this group after graduating fromexploring Christ. The third group is those that are close to Christ.The group entails members that are highly assured about followingChrist. Such groups take control of their spiritual growth. Similarto this group, I expect to read the Bible and prayconsistently. Thefinal group is the Christ-centered group that holds leadership inchurch related activities. Their life is completely surrendered toChrist, and they serve both at the church and at community levels.
Second,I shall conduct my spiritual renewal processes as per the review madeby Asumang on the move for church planters. The book provides, “thereare catalysts that enable Christians to move from one group ofChristianity to the other.”22Specifically, I learnt that there are four incentives for movingalong the spiritual continuum. First is the spiritual beliefs andattitudes. I shall implement the teachings of the book to move fromthe stage of exploring Christ to growing in Christ. Consequently, Ishall participate in church activities such as ushering and becominga member of the choir group. The membership is to augment myattachment to the church23.Besides, I shall play various parts in the organization of churchactivities such as bible studies and the management of youth forums.They are all activities meant to facilitate my growth as a member.
Myspiritual renewal processes shall entail the conduct of personalspiritual practices. These are practices seen as getting closer toChrist. They involve conducting personal bible studies and praying onmy own. I shall read the various scriptures offered by church leadersto members for personal Bible studies purposes.24
Finally,I shall utilize the catalyst that calls for a Christian to conductspiritual activities with fellow Christians. The catalyst shallenhance my movement from growing in Christ to close to Christ andfinally to the peak of my group that is the Christ-centered group. Atthe climax, I shall encounter the satisfaction of a Christian byfulfilling Gods Commandments. Specifically, my primary roles willentail being involved in church activities and helping others.25
Asa leader, I plan to implement church leadership strategies to assistthe spiritual growth of my fellow Christians. The course led me toread the book on the title ‘what1000 churches reveal about spiritual growth’.The book provides an analysis of the best churches in the world basedon the spiritual vitality index. The key secret to attracting moreChristians is by changing the manner of addressing the followers in achurch. Consequently, as a leader, I shall encourage the members toform Christian bible groups to maintain personal relationships amongthe members. I shall also place emphasis on the need for youth groupswith the sole aim of attracting the youth to the church.Consequently, I shall teach the youth on the need to follow JesusChrist as provided in Mathew 4: 18-22. The verse states, “Christianleaders should act as fishers of men by attracting more people to thegospel.”25
Amanze,James, F. Nkomazana, and Obed N. Kealotswe.BiblicalStudies, Theology, Religion, and Philosophy: An Introduction forAfrican Universities.Eldoret,Kenya: Zapf Chancery, 2010.
Asumang,Annang.“Review of Hawkins and Parkinson, Move: What1000 Churches REVEALabout .” Conspectus14,(2012): 173 -191.
Faulls,Greg.FromDust to Destiny.NewYork: IUP Press, 2014.
Frazee,Randy. TheConnecting Church: Beyond Small Groups to Authentic Community.
GregGilbert. WhatIs the Gospel? Wheaton,Ill: Crossway, 2010.
Hawkins,Greg L. and Cally Parkinson.Movefor Church Planters:What Willow Creek and 1,000 Churches Reveal About SpiritualGrowth.SouthBarrington, IL: WillowCreek Association, 2012.
Petersen,Mary. “Responsibilityfor Spiritual Development: What are the Churches Doing?”InternationalJournal of Children`s Spirituality8, no. 1(2003): 67-74.DOI:10.1080/13644360304643.
Rainer,Thom S., and Eric Geiger.SimpleChurch: Returning to God`s Process for Making
Scazzero,Peter, and Warren Bird.TheEmotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy form Discipleshipthat Actually Changes Lives.Updated & Expanded ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010.
Wilhoit,James C.SpiritualFormation as if the Church Mattered Growing in Christ throughCommunity. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008.
1Faulls, Greg. From Dust to Destiny.(New York: IUP Press, 2014), 26.
2JamesAmanze, F Nkomazana, and Obed N Kealotswe, Biblical Studies, Theology, Religion, and Philosophy.(Eldoret, Kenya: Zapf Chancery, 2010), 34.
3Greg Gilbert. What Is the Gospel? (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2010), 18.
4Faulls, Greg. From Dust to Destiny.(New York: IUP Press, 2014), 31.
5Rainer, Thom S., and Eric Geiger.Simple Church: Returning to God`s Process for Making Disciples.(Nashville, Tenn: B & H Pub. Group, 2011) 12.
6Wilhoit, James C. Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ through Community.(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008) 233.
7Petersen, Mary. “Responsibility for Spiritual Development: What are the Churches Doing?”International Journal of Children`s Spirituality 8, no. 1(2003): 68.
8Petersena, Mary. “Responsibility for Spiritual Development: What are the Churches Doing?”International Journal of Children`s Spirituality 8, no. 1(2003): 70.
9Scazzero, Peter, and Warren Bird.The Emotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy for Discipleship That Actually Changes Lives.(Updated & Expanded ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010), 64.
10Scazzero, Peter, and Warren Bird.The Emotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy for Discipleship That Actually Changes Lives.(Updated & Expanded ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010), 64.
11Scazzero, Peter, and Warren Bird.The Emotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy for Discipleship That Actually Changes Lives.(Updated & Expanded ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010), 64.
12Scazzero, Peter, and Warren Bird.The Emotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy for Discipleship That Actually Changes Lives.(Updated & Expanded ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010), 64.
13Scazzero, Peter, and Warren Bird.The Emotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy for Discipleship That Actually Changes Lives.(Updated & Expanded ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010), 64.
14Scazzero, Peter, and Warren Bird.The Emotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy for Discipleship That Actually Changes Lives.(Updated & Expanded ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010), 64.
15Scazzero, Peter, and Warren Bird.The Emotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy for Discipleship That Actually Changes Lives.(Updated & Expanded ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010), 64.
16Scazzero, Peter, and Warren Bird.The Emotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy for Discipleship That Actually Changes Lives.(Updated & Expanded ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010), 64.
17Scazzero, Peter, and Warren Bird.The Emotionally Healthy Church: A Strategy for Discipleship That Actually Changes Lives.(Updated & Expanded ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2010), 64.
18Greg Gilbert. What Is the Gospel? (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2010), 18.
19 Greg Gilbert. What Is the Gospel? (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2010), 20.
20 Greg Gilbert. What Is the Gospel? (Wheaton, Ill: Crossway, 2010), 20.
21Hawkins, Greg L. and Cally Parkinson.“Move for Church Planters: What Willow Creek and 1,000 Churches Reveal About .”(South Barrington, IL: Willow Creek Association, 2012), 33.
22Asumang, Annang. “Review of Hawkins and Parkinson, Move: What 1000 Churches REVEAL about .” Conspectus 14, (2012): 172
23Asumang, Annang. “Review of Hawkins and Parkinson, Move: What 1000 Churches REVEAL about .” Conspectus 14, (2012): 186
24Frazee, Randy. The Connecting Church: Beyond Small Groups to Authentic Community. (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan Pub. House, 2001) 57.
25Hawkins, Greg L. and Cally Parkinson.Move for Church Planters: What Willow Creek and 1,000 Churches Reveal About . (South Barrington, IL: Willow Creek Association, 2012), 33.