EMPOWERING YOUR CHURCH MEMBERS THE WAY JESUS DID.

But for God through my church, I would not have known much less living my purpose in life, at least not at the time I knew it. That is why I want to use this opportunity to sincerely appreciate Bishop Emmanuel Ihueze and his wife Rev. Happiness Ihueze of Church of God Mission International Borikiri Bishopric Headquarters Port Harcourt, Rivers State — Nigeria. I owe you both an eternal gratitude for the numerous training, seminars, workshops and leadership programmes you held continuously when I was with you. Hopefully you are still holding them.

That being said, since I left Port Harcourt to Abuja and now I’m in Lagos, I have never stopped to wonder why the pastors of the various churches I worship hardly hold mind empowering programmes for their members. All I hear is night vigil and prayers. I have nothing against both because I know that as a Christian, you must keep watch and continually fellowship with the Holy Spirit especially through prayer. But I sometimes doubt whether some of these pastors understand what the Bible says in 3 John 2.

It does appear to me that for many of these pastors, every problem can and must be solved by and with prayer only. Just as the carpenter thinks his hammer can solve all of the problems in his workshop. As if Paul, Peter, Philip and all the apostles and early disciples spread the gospel just the same way. Yes all of them prayed but I remember Paul saying in Philippians 1:18 “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,” (NLT).

I remember also, in Ephesians 4:11–12 Paul said talking about ministerial gifts “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”. My motive here is to stress the fact that God never intended that humans solve any one problem by just one means. While one way works for some, that same way may not work for others. Maybe because their faith level differs or they are naturally wired to approach issues from different angles.

The role of each of these ministerial gifts are:

1. Apostles. The job of the apostle is more of an overseer. He should be the head of the church or someone very close to the head. To effectively serve in the position of an apostle, such a person must have on a very strong level at least two of these 5 ministerial gifts, one of which must be pastor. Example is most of the disciples of Jesus including apostle Paul.

2. Prophets. It’s the duty of the prophet to communicate directly the mind of God to the church in audible manner. This way, what God said in his word is confirmed. Example include church members with the spiritual gift of tongue interpretation.

3. Evangelists. The saddest thing in today’s body of Christ is finding a believer whose only gift is evangelism doing the work of the pastor. The primary role of the evangelists is to preach such messages that prick the heart of sinners to bring them to church for the pastors and teachers to help and groom into a child of God. He is the only minister with the permission to use hard words on sinners. Example John The Baptist

4. Pastors. Of all the ministerial gifts, the person with the softest heart is the pastor. If you’re not so soft to your members and you are a pastor, then ensure your church runs a very effective welfare department. Otherwise, go on a mission for you are an evangelist. Because your number one duty as a pastor is to establish your church members not only spiritually but physically and emotionally. Example is Stephen.

5. Teacher. The duty of these teacher in the ministry is to equip the mind of members. They help “deliver” members from especially mental bondage. They make understanding not just the word but also the plan of God for his children clearer and easier to follow. Example is Timothy.

In all, the 5 ministries does just 1 thing; HEALING; which is the summary of all that Jesus did on earth. Being our perfect example it means, he has shown us what to do and how to do it.

HOW JESUS DID IT.

Christ showed us a perfect example of how to empower our church members. The Bible says in Matthew 9:35 “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming (preaching) the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness” (NLT). A little explanation is needed here; Christ went about doing 1 thing in 3 different ways:

1. Teaching. That is, HEALING the soul (mind). The first thing Jesus did in every town he entered was not prayer but teaching, that is feeding their mind with positive and empowering information to bring healing to their mind. Jesus knew that without first helping them think straight, nothing he does will have lasting impact. Without empowering the minds of your members, they will always come back to you for whatever you did for them.

2. Preaching. This brings HEALING to their spirit. After healing their mind, it was easier for the people to understand his message and accept him. Have you ever wonder why your congregation do not understand what you’re preaching? You now know why.

The best way to heal the spirit of a man is by preaching the word of God . Jesus knew if he did not heal the people spiritually, they would not stand strong when the devil attacks.

3. Physical HEALING. A man who is strong in his soul and spirit but not strong in his body is is not a whole man according to 3 John 2. Jesus healed their physical ailment last not because the people wanted it least (of course it was the first thing on their list) but because he knew that when your soul (mind) and spirit is healed, body healing such as cloths to wear, food to eat and of course all other physical needs of the body can be easily achieved.

So to make a whole man (church) your members must be healed not just physically and spiritually which a lot of pastors are doing very well but they must also be healed in the soul. Lack of soul (mind) healing is the number one reason there is so much poverty in the church.