G.R.O.W. Assessment GIFTS Module – Spiritual Gifts Defined:

When you receive your Spiritual Gifts module results, you’ll notice a percentage score beside each gift. Some will be lower while others will land in the middle. This doesn’t mean you are deficient in anything or that God can’t use you in each of these gifts. In fact, God takes pleasure in using us in ways in which we think we are weaker. By all means, ask God to use you in all ways through any of His Spiritual Gifts. He’s in charge and gives good gifts to His kids!

Notice especially the gifts that are highest as these are the gifts that, at least according to this assessment, you will likely use most frequently in the Kingdom. Your top three are your best Spiritual tools! (In the event of a tie, make it the top four!)

Here are helpful definitions for each gift with a verse or two that describes each (by no means exhaustive in these definitions). This is what a person will likely do based on the Biblical definitions and church experiences and will help you with a basic understanding of your top Gifts. Further study, practice, and conversations with your friends and church leaders will help expand your understanding.

Here is a PDF of this list. g-r-o-w-gifts-defined

GIFTS (The “G” in the G.R.O.W. Assessment):

Artisan/Craftmanship (Exodus 31:1-5) –

  • Creates art that reflects God’s glory and unveils His character
  • Shows ability in one or more medium of creative art so as to connect the unbeliever with the Creator through that art

Celibacy/Volunteer (I Corinthians 7:7) –

  • Remains single through God’s provision in order to serve with greater intensity

Discernment/Distinguishing Spirits (1 John 4:1-6, 1 Corinthians 12:10) –

  • Perceives the intent and origination of spiritual matters
  • Recognizes whether a message is from the Holy Spirit or not
  • Distinguishes right from wrong, truth from error in a situation

Encouragement/Exhortation (Acts 14:22, Romans 12:8) –

  • Urges others toward action, faithfulness, and courage
  • Motivates others to have courage in difficult times or when faith wavers
  • Brings out the best in others and challenges them to meet their potential

Faith (Romans 4:18-21, 1 Corinthians 12:9) –

  • Sees what God is doing and believe Him for results
  • Trusts God to act on His promise in the face of great odds
  • Stands firm until God answers and/or the miracle happens

Giving (2 Corinthians 8:1-7, Romans 12:8) –

  • Gives much proportionately with pure motives
  • Invests resources generously beyond the tithe
  • Earns, invests, and give with Spirit-led success resources in order to support ministry

Guidance/Administration (1 Corinthians 14:40) –

  • Manages details to support to free other leaders to focus on their work
  • Sees gifts in other and connect them to ministry
  • Organizes resources, time, teams, and people for greater Kingdom impact
  • Coordinates multiple details and levels and accomplishes the goals of a project

Healing (James 5:14-16, 1 Corinthians 12:9) –

  • Prays in faith for others with the result that they are healed
  • Senses the prompts of God to pray for healing

Hospitality (1 Peter 4:9) –

  • Finds pleasure in housing or feeding others in home or through the church
  • Makes others feel welcome and significant

Intercession/Supplication (Ephesians 6:18-20) –

  • Prays faithfully until the answer comes
  • Steps into the place of a person, church, people group, or geographical area and prays consistently for the needs

Knowledge/Words (1 Corinthians 12:8, Acts 16:28) –

  • Speaks timely, Spirit-given knowledge that applies to a person’s situation
  • Comprehends and conveys spiritually revealed knowledge that helps a person with a specific need

Leadership (Hebrews 13:7, 17, Romans 12:8) –

  • Influences a group to accomplish it’s purpose or goal
  • Communicates purpose, direction, and vision to the group, team or church
  • Motivates others to work together to accomplish a ministry goal

Mercy/Grace (Luke 10:30-37, Romans 12:8) –

  • Empathizes with those in need and extend encouragement
  • Senses hurts and provide cheerful support to those pain, distress, or crisis

Miracles (Mark 11:23-24, 1 Corinthians 12:10) –

  • Prays in faith for God’s specific intervention in impossible situations and sees answers
  • Sees situations where God wants to move miraculously and prays for supernatural intervention

Missionary/Apostle (Romans 15:20-21,1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Acts 13:1-4) –

  • Shares with a God-given urgency the Gospel to others from vastly different backgrounds
  • Begins a fresh work of God in places that have no Gospel witness
  • Adapts readily to different cultures in order to serve in that culture
  • Seeks through the leadership and provision of the Holy Spirit to know about needs of other people groups and rallies resources to meet the needs
  • Compelled to communicate the Gospel through serving and speaking to others in a different culture than their own

Music (1 Chronicles 16:4) –

  • Plays an instrument or sings in a way that draws others to worship Christ Jesus
  • Creates worship through musical skills that presents the character of God and declares the Good News

Pastor/Shepherding (1 Peter 5:2-4, Hebrews 13:17) –

  • Exercises concern, care, and protection for a group or church that encourages growth spiritual health
  • Equips believers in Biblical world view and understanding of who Jesus is and how each can serve effectively
  • Models spiritual growth and service to members of group or church

Prophecy (1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:3, Acts 11:28) –

  • Delivers with persuasion God’s message
  • Discerns a current situation or potential future occurrence and delivers this message effectively
  • Understands the “big picture” of God’s redemptive and prophetic stream and relates it to the current church situation and direction

Serving/Helps (1 Peter 4:11) –

  • Sees needs easily and finds ways to practically meet those needs
  • Serves others personally and in church without need of recognition
  • Manages time and resources to solve individual or church needs

Teaching (Ephesians 4:12-13, Romans 12:7) –

  • Understands and explains Biblical truth in ways that believers comprehend and apply
  • Learns and is able to take others “with him/her” in learning

Tongues – Interpreting (1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:13) –

  • Understands words spoken in tongues and communicates it clearly to others
  • Interprets a message in a heavenly language or unknown tongue to those present

Tongues – Speaking (1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:2, 14-15, Acts 2:4-8) –

  • Prays in a language understood only by God
  • Speaks in an unlearned language or tongue to, along with interpreting, communicate God’s truth and give God worship

Wisdom/Word (1 Corinthians 2:1, 6-16, 12:7-8) –

  • Understands God’s perspective on practical life situations and conveys it in simple ways
  • Knows what to do, how to do it, and helps others do the same
  • Receives and conveys Spirit-given wisdom and application to a person or group
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S.H.A.P.E. Profile Spiritual Gifts Assessment – Spiritual Gifts Defined:

When you receive your Spiritual Gifts assessment, you’ll notice a percentage score beside each gift. Some will be lower while others will land in the middle. This doesn’t mean you are deficient in anything or that God can’t use you in each of these gifts. In fact, God takes pleasure in using us in ways in which we think we are weaker. By all means, ask God to use you in all ways through any of His Spiritual Gifts. He’s in charge and gives good gifts to His kids!

Notice especially the gifts that are highest as these are the gifts that, at least according to this assessment, you will likely use most frequently in the Kingdom. Your top three are your best Spiritual tools! (In the event of a tie, make it the top four!)

Here are helpful definitions for each gift with a verse or two that describes each (by no means exhaustive in these definitions). This is what a person will likely do based on the Biblical definitions and church experiences and will help you with a basic understanding of your top Gifts. Further study, practice, and conversations with your friends and church leaders will help expand your understanding.

Attached is a PDF of this list – Spiritual Gifts List

Spiritual Gifts (The “S” in the S.H.A.P.E. Profile):

  1. Administration/Guidance (1 Corinthians 14:40) –
  • Manages details to support to free other leaders to focus on their work
  • Sees gifts in other and connect them to ministry
  • Organizes resources, time, teams, and people for greater Kingdom impact
  • Coordinates multiple details and levels and accomplishes the goals of a project
  1. Apostle (Romans 15:20-21,1 Corinthians 9:19-23) –
  • Shares with a God-given urgency the Gospel to others from vastly different backgrounds
  • Begins a fresh work of God in places that have no Gospel witness
  1. Celibacy (I Corinthians 7:7) –
  • Remains single through God’s provision in order to serve with greater intensity
  1. Craftsmanship/Artisan (Exodus 31:1-5) –
  • Creates art that reflects God’s glory and unveils His character
  • Shows ability in one or more medium of creative art so as to connect the unbeliever with the Creator through that art
  1. Discernment/Distinguishing Spirits (1 John 4:1-6, 1 Corinthians 12:10) –
  • Perceives the intent and origination of spiritual matters
  • Recognizes whether a message is from the Holy Spirit or not
  • Distinguishes right from wrong, truth from error in a situation
  1. Encouragement (Acts 14:22, Romans 12:8) –
  • Urges others toward action, faithfulness, and courage
  • Motivates others to have courage in difficult times or when faith wavers
  • Brings out the best in others and challenges them to meet their potential
  1. Evangelism (Acts 8:26-40) –
  • Challenges others with a God-given zeal and compassion to believe in and follow Christ
  • Focuses on the pre-Christian stage of disciple-making
  • Senses readiness in others to trust Christ
  • Shares the Good News in non-threatening compassionate ways with frequent success
  1. Exhortation (Acts 13:15) –
  • Understands and communicates Biblical truth in ways that encourage others to apply it
  • Persuades others to obey Biblical truth
  1. Faith (Romans 4:18-21, 1 Corinthians 12:9) –
  • Sees what God is doing and believe Him for results
  • Trusts God to act on His promise in the face of great odds
  • Stands firm until God answers and/or the miracle happens
  1. Giving (2 Corinthians 8:1-7, Romans 12:8) –
  • Gives much proportionately with pure motives
  • Invests resources generously beyond the tithe
  • Earns, invests, and give with Spirit-led success resources in order to support ministry
  1. Healing (James 5:14-16, 1 Corinthians 12:9) –
  • Prays in faith for others with the result that they are healed
  • Senses the prompts of God to pray for healing
  1. Helps/Service (1 Peter 4:11) –
  • Sees needs easily and finds ways to practically meet those needs
  • Serves others personally and in church without need of recognition
  • Manages time and resources to solve individual or church needs
  1. Hospitality (1 Peter 4:9) –
  • Finds pleasure in housing or feeding others in home or through the church
  • Makes others feel welcome and significant
  1. Prayer/Intercession (Ephesians 6:18-20) –
  • Prays faithfully until the answer comes
  • Steps into the place of a person, church, people group, or geographical area and prays consistently for the needs
  1. Knowledge – Words (1 Corinthians 12:8, Acts 16:28) –
  • Speaks timely, Spirit-given knowledge that applies to a person’s situation
  • Comprehends and conveys spiritually revealed knowledge that helps a person with a specific need
  1. Leadership (Hebrews 13:7, 17, Romans 12:8) –
  • Influences a group to accomplish it’s purpose or goal
  • Communicates purpose, direction, and vision to the group, team or church
  • Motivates others to work together to accomplish a ministry goal
  1. Mercy/Compassion (Luke 10:30-37, Romans 12:8) –
  • Empathizes with those in need and extend encouragement
  • Senses hurts and provide cheerful support to those pain, distress, or crisis
  1. Miracles (Mark 11:23-24, 1 Corinthians 12:10) –
  • Prays in faith for God’s specific intervention in impossible situations and sees answers
  • Sees situations where God wants to move miraculously and prays for supernatural intervention
  1. Missionary (Romans 10:14, Acts 13:1-4) –
  • Adapts readily to different cultures in order to serve in that culture
  • Seeks through the leadership and provision of the Holy Spirit to know about needs of other people groups and rallies resources to meet the needs
  • Compelled to communicate the Gospel through serving and speaking to others in a different culture than their own
  1. Music (1 Chronicles 16:4) –
  • Plays an instrument or sings in a way that draws others to worship Christ Jesus
  • Creates worship through musical skills that presents the character of God and declares the Good News
  1. Pastor/Shepherd (1 Peter 5:2-4, Hebrews 13:17) –
  • Exercises concern, care, and protection for a group or church that encourages growth spiritual health
  • Equips believers in Biblical world view and understanding of who Jesus is and how each can serve effectively
  • Models spiritual growth and service to members of group or church
  1. Poverty – voluntary (Luke 12:22-31, Philippians 4:11-13)
  • Cultivates contentment in whatever material or financial condition
  • Chooses to live simply so as to give generously to Kingdom causes
  • Trusts God with little in order to provide more to impact the world with the Gospel
  1. Prophesy (1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:3, Acts 11:28) –
  • Delivers with persuasion God’s message
  • Discerns a current situation or potential future occurrence and delivers this message effectively
  • Understands the “big picture” of God’s redemptive and prophetic stream and relates it to the current church situation and direction
  1. Teaching (Ephesians 4:12-13, Romans 12:7) –
  • Understands and explains Biblical truth in ways that believers comprehend and apply
  • Learns and is able to take others “with him/her” in learning
  1. Tongues – Interpreting (1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:13) –
  • Understands words spoken in tongues and communicates it clearly to others
  • Interprets a message in a heavenly language or unknown tongue to those present
  1. Tongues – Speaking (1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:2, 14-15, Acts 2:4-8) –
  • Prays in a language understood only by God
  • Speaks in an unlearned language or tongue to, along with interpreting, communicate God’s truth and give God worship
  1. Wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:1, 6-16, 12:7-8) –
  • Understands God’s perspective on practical life situations and conveys it in simple ways
  • Knows what to do, how to do it, and helps others do the same
  • Receives and conveys Spirit-given wisdom and application to a person or group
  1. Writing (1 Peter 5:12) –
  • Writes clearly so that others comprehend and apply God’s truth
  • Creates with words in order to attract others to God and His Good News

Vineyard 201 – Power of God, Power of Prayer

This week’s article by John Wimber, one of the key pastors who helped launch the “Vineyard Movement” links two important spiritual topics: the power of God and the Christ-follower’s prayer life. God wants to display His power through our lives – no question about his (the whole “same works and even greater” promise still wrecks my experiential grid!) But, what is our responsibility through prayer? And more importantly, how does prayer display God’s Kingdom and Power? Wimber would say, it’s all about intimacy!

Enjoy the article below and learn about the empowering nature of intimacy with God:

PRAYER: INTIMACY WITH GOD

Only in an intimate relationship with God can we hear his voice, know his will,

and understand his heart.

By John Wimber

If most Christians could listen to recordings of their prayers over a week’s time, we would discover we pray the same things, using the same words and sentence structures, over and over again. But, I suspect, what would disturb us most is the cold, mechanical, removed feeling of the prayers. We would become more aware of something we already know but can hardly acknowledge: our relationship with God is distant and impersonal – and because of this we are unhappy and unfulfilled.

Now think of the quality of Jesus’ prayer life. Picture in your mind the freedom and openness he always experienced with his heavenly Father. He spoke to his Father in terms of endearment, referring to him as “Daddy.” Jesus took every problem, every concern, and every decision to him moment by moment. And he did it with ease and joy! It was an intimate relationship, an openness in which he freely shared his most essential, private, and personal thoughts and emotions.

The quality of relationship with his Father also was a key to answered prayer. By knowing his Father’s will, he knew how, what, and whom to pray for. “The world must learn that I love the Father,” Jesus said, “and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me” (John 14:31). How did the world know Jesus loved the Father? Because he did what the Father told him to do, and he was able to do that because he had an intimate relationship with him.

I believe Jesus’ prayer life is something that we should aspire to, that intimacy with God in prayer is a primary goal of the Christian life.

Obedience

Why is our goal intimacy with God? Because only there do we experience forgiveness, renewal, and power for righteous living. Only in an intimate relationship with God can we hear his voice, know his will, and understand his heart.

Some of us, though, think of intimacy as merely a warm emotion—something akin to spiritual goose bumps. But this isn’t what I mean by intimacy with God. By intimacy I mean four things:

  • First, intimacy is self-disclosure. This is our ability to talk with God about who we really are, to say what we need and want, all the time knowing that he hears us and cares about these things. This touches on the formation of such character traits as honesty, integrity, and confidence.
  • Second, intimacy is being known by God. God doesn’t need our cooperation to know everything about us (Matthew 10:30). But for him to work in us and through us, we must cooperate with him, joyfully receiving his fatherly love.
  • Third, intimacy is continual obedience to God. This means knowing God in the deepest part of our beings, hearing his voice, experiencing his grace and then doing what he says to do. There is nothing fancy or mysterious about obedience. The rewards are great: A greater knowledge of God’s holiness and a clear conscience.

Scripture

  • Fourth, intimacy is knowing God. By knowing God I mean having relationship with him and knowing about him. The latter point contains a Catch 22, because a proper understanding of God’s nature is both a goal and prerequisite of intimacy. In other words, what we believe about God determines how we pray, and the quality of our prayer life powerfully affects what we believe about God!

A defective understanding of our heavenly Father’s nature (usually a result of some failure in our earthly father) is one of the greatest obstacles to an intimate prayer life. Do you think of God as quite distant from creation, disinterested in ordinary people’s daily struggles? If so your prayer life is probably an infrequent exercise in paying homage to the Creator, but in no way is it a life-changing relationship. Do you think of God as an angry old man, depriving you of life’s pleasures and joys? If so, your prayer life likely is a loathsome event, full of fear and anger.

God has provided means for overcoming our misconceptions about his nature: Scripture. In the Bible, God reveals his nature to us, but most of us require healing in some area of our lives so we can receive the truth of Scripture. Hurtful memories of our earthly fathers may hold us back from receiving our heavenly Father. Prayer for overcoming the effects of past hurts and immersion in God’s Word are the pathway to knowing God.

Models

Another obstacle to attaining intimacy with God in prayer is the dearth of mature prayer models, men and women who inspire and instruct us through prayer and deed.

As a new Christian, I was discipled by a man who embodied what it meant to be intimate with God. But even he wasn’t perfect, and when he moved away after only two years, I was forced to look elsewhere for a model of intimacy. So to whom can we look? Christ is available to all, our great example of intimacy with the Father. He is the one that we ultimately look to and pattern our lives after.

I began this article by contrasting our prayer life with Christ’s. In the remainder of the article, I will take a closer look at Christ’s relationship with his Father as found in what is commonly called the high priestly prayer of John 17.

The Upper Room

John 17 must be understood with its broader context, chapter 13 through17, the longest account of Jesus’ last night with his disciples in the upper room. Jesus speaks to his disciples in an intimate, after-dinner exchange. He discloses to them some of the most beautiful truths in the Bible. One prominent feature of his discourse is his use of the word love. It is used only six times in chapters 1-12 of John’s Gospel but 31 times in chapters 13-17.

Chapter 17 records Jesus’ conversation with his Father about himself, the apostles, and all believers. I am not as much interested here in what he prayed about as how he prayed, for his manner reveals much about his relationship with the Father.

Verse one says, “He looked toward heaven and prayed.” Did you know that the customary attitude of prayer for Jesus was to open his eyes and raise his head? His position on prayer was different from the practices of most Western Christians. Now, I believe there is nothing wrong in lowering our heads and closing our eyes (it communicates reverence toward God and helps us keep our concentration on God), but Jesus looked up and opened his eyes because his relationship with the Father was open, free, uninhibited.

He begins his prayer with the simple “Father,” the common address of a child to its parent. Jesus was using language common to everyday family life and transferring it to God. It reveals the close familiarity between Jesus and his Father.

Reinforce Truth

Jesus then goes on in verses two to five to pray for himself as within hours he would face the cross. But the tone of his prayer impresses me—informal, free, and heartfelt. These were the prayers of a friend of God. In reading many of Jesus’ prayers, I get the feeling that he is interrupting a private, unspoken conversation in order to speak aloud so the disciples can learn how to pray. In other words, his spoken words appear to be the overflow of a continuing dialogue with his Father.

In saying, “Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you,” Jesus revealed his one motivation in life was to glorify his Father. This meant that all his prayers were steeped with an attitude of obedience and sacrifice, a desire to submit his life to whatever his Father wanted. It is almost as though he is reviewing a fundamental principle of the Christian life: You glorify me, I glorify you. We too, should never hesitate to repeat the fundamental promises of Scripture to God in prayer; in doing so we reinforce his truth in us and faith grows. We need to regularly review our commitments, and what better place is there to do that than with God?

In verses 6 to 19 he prays for the disciples. He continues to focus on fulfilling God’s purpose: to redeem and raise up a people who know the Father. When we experience intimacy with our heavenly Father our hearts will naturally turn toward intercession. Why? Because we will take on his heart, his burden for men and women.

Jesus and the early Christians rarely prayed for the world. Instead, they prayed that the church would be bold in proclaiming the gospel to the unsaved! You don’t have to tell God your friends aren’t saved. He already knows. You need to tell them about Christ, and ask God for the boldness to speak the gospel in love.

Unity

In verses 20 to 26 he prays for all believers “that all may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (v. 21). This is the punch line of the high priestly prayer: We can have the same type of relationship with the Father that Jesus has.

I grew up as an only child with both parents who worked. From the ages of five to eighteen I devoted my life almost entirely to music, sitting alone for hours practicing different musical instruments. I didn’t develop very many social skills with a horn in my mouth. If it hadn’t been for my wife, I don’t know if I would have ever learned how to have deep, intimate friendships. I have found it difficult to know God as my “Daddy,” but as I grow in the knowledge of his nature and take risks with him, I’m learning he loves me and accepts me the way I am. I can enter into the same quality of relationship as Jesus has with the Father.

When we experience the intimacy of the Father and the Son, it will affect our relationship brothers and sisters in such a way that many pagans will believe that Jesus was sent by the Father to redeem the world (v.23). Christian unity, rooted in an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father, is the most powerful testimony of Christ’s lordship in the world today.

 

Vineyard 201 – Disciple-making Jesus’ Way

At the heart of the Vineyard Movement, “making disciples of all nations” has been a core value. At Seacoast Vineyard, we seek to “make disciples” through Small Groups, personal mentoring, leadership development, recovery and healing, conferences, our college-level Vineyard Institute, and ministry training.

A lot has been published about disciple-making; here is an article by John Wimber who contributed much to helping us understand the Kingdom qualities of discipleship found in Jesus’ life.

NO SHORTCUTS TO MATURITY

Jesus had a conscious, single-minded plan to train the Twelve in his way of life.

By John Wimber

A major part of Christ’s ministry was devoted to training the disciples to do the Father’s works and reflect his righteous nature, to preparing them to lead the church that was created at Pentecost. His strategy for winning the world was simple: win a few men and women to Christ, train them well, and release them to repeat the process over and over again. We can learn much about discipleship by studying how Jesus trained the Twelve.

Christ’s method of training is difficult for Western Christians to understand, for it involved much more than the accumulation of knowledge. Twentieth century Christians equate training with accumulating knowledge about God through Bible study. But Christ was more action oriented; his disciples learned by doing as he did, and in so doing they combined right doctrine with changed behavior and attitudes.

Another obstacle to understanding Christ’s method of discipleship is the rejection of signs and wonders today. Signs and wonders, all Western Christians acknowledge, were necessary to authenticate Christ’s divinity. Further, signs and wonders were key in establishing the apostolic authority of the Twelve and Paul. But most Western Christians reject or adopt a generally negative attitude toward signs and wonders after the first century. This diminishes the effectiveness of Christ’s example for us and discounts much of what Christ intended that we do. What Christians are often left to follow is a good moral example, not a dynamic, Satan-conquering Lord. This results in overly intellectual disciples—certainly not a people who cause demons to tremble.

Teacher, Rabbi

A closer look at how Jesus trained the disciples to carry on his ministry after his ascension reveals many of the key elements for learning how to minister today.

Jesus’ method of instruction was the method of the day: rabbinic. A rabbi would minister while his disciples watched; then they would minister with him watching; next they went out on short missions, reporting back for further instruction and correction from the master. After repeating this process for years, and the rabbi was convinced his disciples were formed in his way of life, he released his students to become rabbis and teach others by the same process.

Christ used the same training method with his disciples. Christ, the Teacher, Rabbi, formed his disciples in his way of life, passing on his character. Faith, hope, love, joy, peace, and so on were the goals of his training. Performing signs and wonders—casting out demons, healing the sick, even walking on water—were avenues through which the disciples learned more about God’s nature. The disciples understood and accepted what Jesus expected of them. We never read of them objecting to being asked to do the works of Jesus, only of their sense of personal inadequacy in performing his commands.

Tennessee Walkers

( 54 )

In my early years, I often visited a horse farm in Illinois where my grandfather worked. He trained Tennessee walking horses. Tennessee Walkers have a remarkable high-strutting gait, different from any other horse in the world. One day I was with him while he worked on a horse with a problem gait. His solution was to hitch a pacer—a horse with the correct gait—to the horse with the problem and let them walk together. After a few days, the problem horse’s gait became consistent, just like that of the pacer. My grandfather explained that when a horse cannot do its job, if you connect it to one that can, soon both do the job correctly.

I have been training men and women for twenty-five years. During this period I have learned that the secret for success with people is the same as with horses: hitch a person who cannot do a job with one who can, and soon both will know how. This is how Christ trained the Twelve: they lived with him, soon living like him. Training today works the same way. Being around someone who performs a certain ministry skill successfully (or demonstrates personal maturity) is the best way for you to learn to do it (or be it) yourself.

A willingness to follow

The primary criteria for becoming one of the Twelve was a willingness to follow Christ— to walk with him, and to choose to become like him. Other than that desire, the only thing the disciples had in common was that they were Jews with middle class economic and social standing living in Galilee (Judas was the exception; the others were mostly fishermen). From a human perspective, one can imagine the Father telling his Son, “If we can train this motley crew to advance my kingdom, we can train anyone.” This gives all of us hope.

Through mutual commitment, Jesus made disciples out of the Twelve. He developed mature character and leadership in them. He trained them to do signs and wonders. They were hitched together for three years, and when released, the disciples continued to walk in his way. They performed God’s works and persevered under the most severe of conditions. And they trained the next generation to carry on in the same way.

Difficulties

But the disciples had difficulty in cooperating with Christ in their training. They often misunderstood Christ’s teachings (Matthew 13:36; 15:15; 16:6-12). They never fully understood his mission until after the resurrection—and even then they were in need of further correction (Mark 10:35-40; Luke 9:46-48). But Jesus was patient with them, for his goal was to build men who did the Father’s bidding.

For three years the Twelve were in a learning environment. They not only learned new ideas, but they developed new skills and abilities. They were teachable because they saw a large gap between Christ’s life and their own. Progressive growth came through trial and error.

Frequent failures characterized the early ministry of all the disciples (Luke 9:37-43; 5255), especially Peter’s. His abortive attempt to walk on water (Matthew 14)) is one of many examples. As the disciples continued to live with Christ, their failures diminished

( 55 )

and their successes became more frequent. Each new step of faith was a springboard for their Master to push them further, enlarging their worldview and expanding their understanding of God.

Disciples today

I believe our challenge for training today is no different from or less critical than it was for the Twelve in the first century. We, too, are called to be like Christ and to do his Father’s works. But, unlike the Twelve, we cannot live and work with the incarnate Christ. Also, the rabbinic method of training is rarely found in Western society. So how can we apply Christ’s training methods to our lives?

First, any training and formation that we receive from other Christians must be subordinated to Scripture. We worship the living God of the Bible, and it is his image-not another man’s or woman’s image—that is the goal of all discipleship.

Second, we have access to Christ through the disciplines of prayer, worship, meditation, and study. The cultivation of these “inward disciplines,” as Richard J. Foster calls them, is the most significant means of formation in Christ.

Third, we have older brothers and sisters to whom we may look for models of maturity and guidance. Saying Christ is our pattern of maturity does not exclude learning about him from more experienced Christians. Paul was not afraid to say to the Corinthian Christians, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Paul clearly says that Christ is the supreme example (1 Peter 2:21), that he (Paul) follows Christ’s example, and that we follow him only to the degree that he reflects Christ.

You may ask, “Where are my contemporary examples?” and “How can I be sure that they will not abuse me?” The answer to the first question is that most churches have many mature Christians from whom you can learn. But you must be involved in the church, for example, in a small group, before you can discover them and take advantage of their example. Look for someone you admire, respect, and trust. Then spend time with him or her; most of what you learn comes through association.

The answer to the second question—how to avoid abuse—goes back to the basics: Our goal is to become like Christ, and he is revealed in Scripture. If you abandon the hard work of checking out everything you are taught by others with what Scripture teaches, you place yourself in jeopardy of being deceived and hurt by Satan. In other words, while we have a responsibility to show honor and respect toward the leaders who train us, our highest responsibility is to Jesus.

Of course, the greatest joy of all is when God uses you to train others. And that is my prayer for you; that if you haven’t already grown to that level of maturity, someday you will be used by God to train others.

Adapted: Power Evangelism by John Wimber w/ Kevin Springer, Harper & Row, pub.

 

 

Vineyard 201 – Worship God With Passion

It’s not a coincidence that when most think of the Vineyard Movement in general and their experience with specific Vineyard Churches, worship is the top notable characteristic. Since the first Vineyard Fellowship was launched, worshiping Jesus has been the highest priority. Our first session of Vineyard 201 is all about making worship the steady heartbeat of Seacoast Vineyard Church.

I can’t think of a better way to “get the feel” of how worship is valued across the Movement, historically and globally, than to read what John Wimber wrote some time ago. Here’s his essay, Worship: Intimacy with God. (And if you’d like to download a copy, it’s attached at the end, too.) Enjoy.

WORSHIP: INTIMACY WITH GOD

Worship: The act of freely giving love to God, forms and informs every activity of the Christian’s life.

By John Wimber

Many people who visit Vineyard Christian Fellowships around the country remark on the depth and richness of our worship. This has not come about by chance: We have a well thought-out philosophy that guides why and how we worship God. In this article I will communicate that philosophy.

To understand how we worship God, it is helpful to learn about our fellowship’s history, which goes back to 1977. At that time my wife, Carol, was leading a small group of people in a home meeting that evolved into the Anaheim Vineyard. I’ll let her describe what happened during that time.

“We began worship with nothing but a sense of calling from the Lord to a deeper relationship with him. Before we started meeting in a small home church setting in 1977, the Holy Spirit had been working in my heart, creating a tremendous hunger for God. 0ne day I was praying, the word ‘worship’ appeared in my mind like a newspaper headline. I had never thought much about that word before. As an evangelical Christian I had always assumed that the entire Sunday morning gathering was ‘worship’ -and in a sense I was correct. But in a different sense there were particular elements of the service that were especially devoted to worship and not to teaching, announcements, musical presentations, and all the other activities that are part of a typical Sunday morning gathering. I had to admit that I wasn’t sure which part of the service was supposed to be worship.

“After we started to meet in our home gathering, I noticed times during the meeting (usually when we sang) in which I experienced God deeply. We sang many songs, but mostly songs about worship or testimonies from one Christian to another. But occasionally we sang a song personally and intimately to Jesus, with lyrics like ‘Jesus, I love you.’ Those types of songs both stirred and fed the hunger for God within me.”

“About this time I began asking our music leader why some songs seemed to spark something in us and others didn’t. As we talked about worship we realized that often we would sing about worship – except when we accidentally stumbled onto intimate songs like “I love you, Lord,” and “I lift my voice.” Thus, we began to see a difference between songs about Jesus and songs to Jesus.”

“Now, during this time when we were stumbling around corporately in worship, many of us were also worshiping at home alone. During these solitary times we were not necessarily singing, but we were bowing down, kneeling, lifting hands, and praying spontaneously in the spirit-sometimes with spoken prayers, sometimes with non-verbalized prayers, and even prayers without words at all. We noticed that as our individual worship life deepened; when we came together there was a greater hunger toward God. So we learned that what happens when we are alone with the Lord determines how intimate and deep the worship will be when we come together.”

“About that time we realized our worship blessed God, it was for God alone, and not just a vehicle of preparation for the pastor’s sermon. This was an exciting revelation. After learning about the central place of worship in our meetings, there were many instances in which all we did was worship God for an hour or two.”

“At this time we also discovered that singing was not the only way to worship God. Because the word worship means literally to bow down, it is important that our bodies are involved in what our spirits are saying. In Scripture this is accomplished through bowing our heads, lifting our hands, kneeling, and even lying prostrate before God.”

“A result of our worshiping and blessing God is being blessed by him. We don’t worship God in order to get blessed, but we are blessed as we worship him. He visits his people with manifestations of the Holy Spirit.”

Thus worship has a two-fold aspect: communication with God through the basic means of singing and praying. And communication from God through teaching and preaching the word, prophecy, exhortation, etc. We lift him up and exalt him, and as a result are drawn into his presence where he speaks to us.”

Definition of Worship

Probably the most significant lesson that Carol and the early Vineyard Fellowship learned was that worship is the act of freely giving love to God. Indeed, in Psalm 18:1 we read, “I love you, O Lord, my strength.” Worship is also an expression of awe, submission, and respect toward God: “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song” (Psalm 95:1-2). “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples” (Psalm 96:1-3).

0ur heart’s desire should be to worship God; we have been designed by God for this purpose. If we don’t worship God we’ll worship something or someone else. But how should we worship God? There are various ways described in the 0ld and New Testaments:

Adoration: Praising God simply for who he is-Lord of the universe

Thanksgiving: Giving thanks to God for what he has done, especially for his works of creation and salvation

Confession: The acknowledgement of sin and guilt to a holy and righteous God

As Carol pointed out, worship involves not only our thought and intellect, but also our body. Throughout the Bible there are such forms of prayer and praise as singing, playing musical instruments, dancing, kneeling, and bowing down, lifting hands, and so on.

A key passage for understanding worship is found in John 4:23-24 where Jesus said: The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. Jesus was saying worship must be in keeping with God’s nature, which is spirit, and it must be rooted in truth, which is found in Christ. In the New Testament we find several important elements of worship that are not found in the Old Testament. First and most important, we worship the Father through his son, Jesus Christ. Our worship is Christ-centered. Singing is Christ-centered: to him and about him. Second, Jesus commanded us to remember and worship him through the Lord’s Supper. Third, the Holy Spirit leads our worship (1 Corinthians 14), speaking to us through prophecies and tongues and interpretation (see Acts 13 and 14).

Phases in the heart

Not only is it helpful to understand why and how we worship God, it is also helpful to understand what happens when we worship God. In the Vineyard we see five basic phases of worship, phases through which leaders attempt to lead the congregations. Understanding these phases is helpful in our experience of God. Keep in mind that as we pass through these phases, we are headed toward one goal: intimacy with God. I define intimacy as belonging to or revealing one’s deepest nature to another (in this case to God), and it is marked by close association, presence, and contact. I will describe these phases as they apply to corporate worship, but they may just as easily be applied to our private practice or worship.

The first phase is the call to worship, which is a message, directed toward the people or toward God. It is an invitation to worship. This might be accomplished through a song like “Come, Let Us Worship and Bow Down” or it may be jubilant, such as through the song, “Don’t You Know it’s Time to Praise the Lord?”

The underlying thought of the call to worship is, “let’s do it, let’s worship now.” Song selection for the call to worship is quite important, for this sets the tone for the gathering and directs people to God. Is it the first night of a conference when many people may be unfamiliar with the songs and with others in attendance? Or is it the last night, after momentum has been building all week? If this is a Sunday morning worship time, has the church been doing the works of God all week? 0r has the church been in the doldrums? If the church has been doing well, Sunday worship rides on the crest of a wave. All these thoughts are reflected in the call to worship. The ideal is that each member of the congregation be conscious of these concerns–praying that the appropriate tone be set in the call to worship.

The second phase is the engagement, which is the electrifying dynamic of connection to God and to each other. Expressions of love, adoration, praise, jubilation, intercession, petition— all of the dynamics of prayer are interlocked with worship—come forth from one’s heart. In the engagement phase we praise God for who he is through music as well as prayer. An individual may have moments like these in his or her private worship at home, but when the church comes together, the manifest presence of God is magnified and multiplied.

Expressing God’s love

As we move further in the engagement phase, we move more and more into loving and intimate language. Being in God’s presence excited our hearts and minds and we want to praise him for the deeds he has done, for how he has moved in history, for his character and attributes. Jubilation is that heart swell within us in which we want to exalt him. The heart of worship is to be united with our Creator and with the church universal and historic. Remember, worship is going on all the time in heaven, and when we worship we are joining that which is already happening, what has been called the communion of the saints. Thus there is a powerful corporate dynamic. Often this intimacy causes us to meditate, even as we are singing, on our relationship with the Lord. Sometimes we recall vows we have made before our God. God might call to our mind disharmony or failure in our life, thus confession of sin is involved. Tears may flow as we see our disharmony but his harmony; our limitations but his unlimited possibilities. This phase in which we have been awakened to his presence is called expression. Physical and emotional expression in worship can result in dance and body movement. This is an appropriate response to God if the church is on the crest. It is inappropriate if it is whipped up or if the focal point is on the dance rather than on true jubilation in the Lord. I have been in some congregations where people try to create the jubilation level without doing the works of God, especially the works of salvation and restoration. But inevitably they fall short of true jubilation. The former worship expression is fabricated, the latter genuine. If we do not exalt God in our private lives, jubilation becomes a phony exercise in corporate worship. Expression then moves to a zenith, a climatic point, not unlike physical lovemaking (doesn’t Solomon use the same analogy in the Song of Songs?). We have expressed what is in our hearts and minds and bodies, and now it is time to wait for God to respond. Stop talking and wait for him to speak; to move. I call this the fourth phase, visitation: The almighty God visits his people. His visitation is a byproduct of worship. We don’t worship in order to gain his presence. He is worthy to be worshipped whether or not he visits us. But God “dwells in the praises of his people.” So we should always come to worship prepared for an audience with the King. The church must be quickened to the fact that the God of the universe will visit us if we but worship him in spirit and in truth. Much of the time when Christians come together, they don’t expect God to do much. But God is like an anxious bridegroom outside the bride’s door. And we, as the bride, frequently forget what we are there for, because we are scattered in our thoughts or preoccupied with concerns. We should expect the Spirit of God to work among us. He moves in different ways-sometimes for salvations, sometimes for deliverances, sometimes for sanctifications, or healings. God also visits through the prophetic gifts. 0ften the genuine prophets in the church are too timid to speak up. The Lord needs to deepen us in the prophetic inspired scripture reading, which has a prophetic meaning for that moment. Exhortation–it is a word of encouragement–can be given this way. We need to learn to wait on the Lord and let him speak.

Generosity

The fifth phase of worship is the giving of substance. The church knows so little about giving, yet the Bible exhorts us to give to God. It is pathetic to see people preparing for ministry who don’t know how to give. That is like an athlete entering a race, yet he doesn’t know how to run. If we haven’t learned to give money, we haven’t learned anything. Ministry is a life of giving. We give our whole life; God should have ownership of everything. Remember, whatever we give God control of he can multiply and bless, not so we can amass goods, but so we can be more involved in his enterprise. Whatever I need to give, God inevitably first calls me to give it when I don’t have any of it-whether it is money, love, hospitality, or information. Whatever God wants to give through us he first has to do to us. We are the first partaker of the fruit. But we are not to eat the seed; we are to sow it, to give it away.

The underlying premise is that whatever we are is multiplied, for good or for bad. Whatever we have on our tree, is what we are going to get in our orchard. As we experience these phases of worship, we experience intimacy with God, the highest and most fulfilling calling men and women may know.

Wimber_Worship