Philosophy of Ministry: What Weâ€™re Doing and Why We Do It
Two millennia ago, Jesus Christ told His eleven followersÂ to:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matt. 28:19-20)
They obeyed that commission. Within their lifetimes,Â thousands of men, women and children learned whatÂ Jesus taught,Â and had becomeÂ His followers too. Since then, a hundredÂ generations of Christ’sÂ disciples have continuedÂ to obey Him, spreading the gospel to millions of people andÂ allÂ nations (including Malawi.)
ButÂ along the way, the commission has sometimes been reduced to. “Go tell people about Jesus.” That’s a good start, but it misses several key elements of Jesus’ original command:
- MakeÂ disciples/followers/imitators of ChristÂ (not just professing Christians).
- BaptizingÂ them,Â so they canÂ declare public identification withÂ the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- Teach themÂ allÂ that Christ taught the original eleven disciples (as recorded in Scripture).
- Teach them toÂ observe/practice/do those things (not just to understandÂ them).
This is a weighty task. The eleven disciples felt it, so Jesus assured them:Â “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”Â He also defined theÂ context in which disciples are made: the church. And He gave a special promise to His church:Â “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”Â (Matt. 16:18). No other institution receives such guarantees.
This is why ourÂ ministryÂ in Malawi is making disciples through theÂ local church.Â We believe there is noÂ better way toÂ carry out the commission Christ gave to His followers.Â Practically, we describeÂ our role as church-strengthening.Â Looking at the gifts, desires, and training that God has given us personally, we believe that we can employ them best in areas of administration, counseling, teaching, and service.
What That Looks Like
ForÂ theÂ unbelievers we encounter, our desire is that theyÂ turn from sinÂ and believe in Christ.Â We see every interaction we have with non-Christians as an opportunity to give testimony to Godâ€™s saving grace. It is a great joy to see new disciples made as people put their faith in Jesus.
For the Christians in our church, our desire is that they areÂ equipped for the works of service (Eph. 4:11-12).Â We equip them by teaching the Bible as God’s perfect Word,Â and helping them practiceÂ it inÂ their lives. Our hope is that all the ministries of our churchâ€”worship services, Bible studies, Sunday School, fellowship times, outreach and service, and moreâ€”would help the believers inÂ our church to better live lives that please God.
As our church members grow to love and obeyÂ Jesus better, we have more opportunities to call others to do the same, both in and outside the church. We aim to provide opportunities for them to proclaim the gospelÂ to others, and toÂ demonstrate theÂ compassion of God so that unbelievers see our good works and glorify our Heavenly Father.
We believe that if we discipleÂ the people in our local church faithfully, the impact will extend far beyond this one church.Â We are grateful for opportunities to send members from our church to strengthen other churches.Â Matt also is involved in training and equipping local pastorsÂ at Central African Preacher’s Academy. Ultimately, our goal for the future is to work ourselves out of a job, having entrusted our ministry to godly leadersÂ who will faithfully shepherd the church across Africa according to the Word of God.