Acts The Church and Ministerial Training

Kaitiaki's picture

Basically this is just a "what do we learn about the Church from Acts?" thread. As we watch Paul and Barnabas and then Paul and Silas building the Church in Acts, what can we learn about their concept of the Church as a whole? Robert suggested my original plan was too cumbersome so asked me to create new threads.

Thread Moderator: Kaitiaki

There are two aspects to this thread: the training of the local congregation (for the work of ministry - as in Ephesians) and the theological training of ministers (or pastors).

Acts shows us local congregations that trained young men (and women) for every appropriate aspect of Church work. That included the work of ministry and missions. Discuss this statement. Do you think it is valid? What implications (if any) are there for the present system in almost every denomination of sending young men to a seminary to be trained? How does your Church seek to apply those implications in the way they train ministers and missionaries?

CLARK E. WADE's picture

Don't just teach your teaching but be an example of it

Hi brother,

Just getting back to you on some of this.

You said, "Where is the proof of superior results?"

It's according to how we measure results? If we are talking numerical numbers, the institutional church, Protestant and Catholic is far superior as gaged by the number of cars in the parking lots. But as one person opined, the church in America is a mile wide and an inch deep. A mile-wide lake might be impressive from all appearances, but just try swimming in it.

I think the proof of superior results is found in the indivudal growth and discipleship of the sasints who meet in open, partipatory meetings. A lot of pulpit ministry is to encourage the saints to stay in the word, and for prayer. If one is involved in an assembly where they are expected to bring something, this is real motivating for compelling one to spend more time in fellowship with our Lord through the scriptures and prayer.

There is more growth in ministry because the gifting in the different members is actually exercised on a regular basis. Their gifting, be it a song, a teaching, an exhortation, admonishment, etc. grow in boldness and spiritual content through actual use and functioning in the meetings. I am seeing this happen on an experiential basis. Each person recognizes that they are actual ministers of the gospel, co-participants with Christ in the edification of HIS church and that their "credential" are just as valid as any preacher in the pulpit.

Regarding the "spirit of competition." Do I think house-church is the only, or best model that out performs the achievements of the institutional church? What I am advocating here, and elsewhere, is that pulpit ministry is not the only aspect of the church, that there are two parts. If we neglect the assembly of ourselves for mutual ministry and edification and just attend the pulpit ministry, then our Christian experience will be just half of what it should be. So it's not an either/or proposition.
As Watchman Nee wrote:

"Who is considered a really good Christian? Is it not one who comes to church fifty-two Sunday mornings in the year to hear the minister preach? But this is passivity, and it heralds death. Even he who has attended "church" fifty-two Sundays in the year has not really been once to a church meeting. He has only gone to a meeting in connection with the work."

Most of the people in our fellowship also attend a pulpit-style meeting. I don't disparage this at all, because they are recognizing the scriptural calling to also meet together in order to edify one another. They are doing both.

Regarding teaching. I don't think everyone is or should be "apt to teach." But everyone can bring something, as Paul says, a song, or a teaching, etc. It is interesting that he lists teaching here after the "bringing of a song." There are other passages where "teaching" is also not given the prominance that we often give it. When I bring a teaching brother, it is always with the view of equipping the saints for their ministry in practical ways. But more important than that, I try to be an example of what that teaching looks like. So lately, I've been bringing a Psalm, as scripture adjoins us to do, to "speak to one another in a Psalm, a hymn, or a spiritual song." As spoken in I Peter 5:2-3, " an example to the flock." Peter doesn't say here to "teach the flock" but to be an "example to the flock." I find the latter much more challenging but a lot more effective and a lot more fun as well because I'm not just teacing my teaching but expressing it.

By His grace alone,