Learning Together in Ministry
Mutual Education: from competition to co-operation
This educational booklet is reproduced and expanded from chapter 5 of The Body of Christ, Part 2: Ministry Education and chapter 15 of Body Ministry: The Body of Christ Alive in His Spirit.
Learning Together in Ministry describes how we all can learn together to minister more effectively. Expanded from chapter 15 of ‘Body Ministry: The Body of Christ Alive in His Spirit’ this book gives further comment and examples of Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered ministry by ordinary people alive in the Spirit of God.
Geoff Waugh taught Ministry and Mission subjects in Bible Schools in Papua New Guinea and at Trinity Theological College and Christian Heritage College in Brisbane, Australia. He has a Doctor of Missiology degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and is an author of books on mission including Flashpoints of Revival and South Pacific Revivals.
1 Aims and Objectives
Affective, Behavioural, Cognitive
2 Implications for Ministry
c. Meeting Needs
e. Learning Plans
f. Learning Activities
by the Rev Dr Lewis Born, former Moderator of the Queensland Synod of the Methodist and Uniting Church in Australia and Director of the Department of Christian Education.
Body Ministry and Open Ministry Education come in its right time for adult education, gospel communication, and the growth of the church. Open Education promises to become the most commonly used adult educational methodology of the new millennium. The demand is likely to increase. This indicates that the work of Geoff Waugh is a significant contribution to the current educational enterprise. It is particularly valuable to Christian Educators. The author’s orientation is theological and his target audience is the faith community, its nurture, growth and outreach.
To this point in time the educative process has been inhibited by dependence on structured courses, the classroom and qualified teachers. Accelerated technology, as Mr Waugh observes, has made modern resources commonly available to individuals, churches and schools in every village community. By this medium Open Education for the first time in history is able to offer high quality education from the world’s best teachers to people in their own lounge, church or local group meeting place. All this coinciding with the renewal movement has stimulated interest in theological learning to an unprecedented degree in the history of Christendom.
The incredible numerical religious revival in the Asian and Latin church has been stimulated and served by modern technology. This gives Open Ministry Education and therefore Mr Waugh’s work a global relevance, which he has applied in the Australian context. As a fellow Australian I am appreciative. My appreciation is greatly enhanced by a deep respect and affection for the author. He is a competent teacher, an excellent communicator, an informed, disciplined renewalist and an experienced extension educator. All these qualities combine to commend the author and his work.
From the Introduction
A student we prayed for one morning in class went to her doctor that afternoon for a final check before having a growth removed from her womb. That afternoon her doctor could find no trace of the growth after checking with three ultrasound machines, so he cancelled the scheduled operation.
“My class at college laid hands on me and prayed for me,” she explained to her doctor. “I believe God healed me, and that’s why you can’t find the growth any more.”
“I don’t know if God healed you,” he responded. “But I do know that you don’t need an operation.”
Our class studied Christian ministry in the power of the Spirit. We usually began each class with prayer, and that day our prayer included praying for specific needs such as that woman’s health. One of those praying in class was Cecilia, a medical doctor. She prayed with strong faith, joining us in laying hands on the ‘patient’ student, knowing that God heals through prayer as well as through medicine. What rich resources we have for ministry – right there in the group.
I love hearing medical people pray for healing. They have medical skills as well as faith in God. A nurse in one of our week night meetings prayed for another lady who had severe back pain. “L4, be healed in Jesus’ name,” the nurse commanded as she lay her hand on the woman’s back. It takes medical knowledge plus the revelation of a ‘word of knowledge’ to be able to pray like that. All pain immediately left the lady being prayer for. Apparently the problem was in the Lumbar 4 (L4) section of her spine.
Many people are not healed so quickly. Perhaps most are not healed so quickly in our materialistic Western society. There are many reasons for that, including our Western scepticism, lack of compassion or faith, and our sinfulness such as jealousy, competition or failing to forgive others freely as God has forgiven us.
We all can learn more together about effective ministry. That learning is enhanced and expanded rapidly when we share our experiences and learning together. The ‘teacher’ usually shares from his or her experiences, but others can do also. So the more that our ministry education fosters mutuality, the more we can learn from one another.
We call this open education, or open ministry education. It is open to everyone and everyone can be involved. It is not just for leaders. Our leaders can help us, but their main job is to equip the saints for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). We can do these things in classes, small groups, seminars, training courses and home or church groups.
Before commenting on open ministry education I want to give you two examples of ordinary people learning to do more.
The heathen village of Bunlap on the east coast of Pentecost Island in Vanuatu is famous as the spiritual centre for pagan witchcraft and curses. I went there with my ‘student’ Grant Shaw in 2006 on a five hour trek across to Ranwas village and then via Bunlap on a seven hour trek to Ponra village where we saw the power of God at every meeting and I heard angels singing in the night, like the church was full although no people were there.
Previously, Grant had prayed for the paramount chief’s son whose groin was healed at Pangi village on the west coast, so we offered to go to Bunlap and pray for the sick. A couple of days later we heard that the chief had invited us to come and pray – the first white people to ever be invited to pray for people there.
Then in 2012 Grant’s cousin Andrew Chee and I were swimming off the jetty near Pangi when one of the chief’s sons from Bunlap and his friends wandered onto the jetty. Two of those young men had pain so Andrew prayed for them and the pain left. The chief’s son told us they would be there when we came to Bunlap the following Saturday to pray for sick people again.
People were even more welcoming this time at Bunlap. We prayed for dozens of people, and their pain left. We talked about the kingdom of God and how Jesus saves and heals. Some of the people told us that they believed and when the chief allowed it they would be part of a church there. The paramount chief once burned a Bible given to him by a revival team from Christian villages. Now he is willing for a church to be built on the ground where he burned the Bible.
Hallelujah – what a testimony to God’s grace and glory. For the first time ever that paramount chief asked for prayer. He wanted healing from head pain. Andrew placed his hands on the sides of the chief’s head and we prayed for him in Jesus’ name. The pain left. Then another chief there prepared lunch for us so the pastors in the team and Andrew and I ate in his house – again that was the first time ever for white people on mission there to be hosted by a chief. Like Jesus’ disciples, we returned rejoicing that afflicting spirits were cast out, people were healed in Jesus’ name, some believed in Jesus, and they now plan to have a church there. Our host chief told the local Christians that they can bring their guitars and have meetings in the chief’s house anytime. Andrew encouraged village leaders to pray with him for people’s healings, just as he had learned from leaders in his church. Soon those village leaders and others were praying more strongly in faith. This photo shows the paramount chief (front left) and some of the team including Andrew (2nd from right in back).
Papua New Guinea
Johan van Bruggen, a missionary at the Lutheran Evangelist Training Centre at Kambaidam near Kainantu in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, wrote in November 1990:
This is what happened about two months ago. A new church building was going to be officially opened in a village in the Kainantu area. Two of our last year’s graduates took part in the celebrations by acting the story in Acts 3: Peter and John going to the temple and healing the cripple. Their cripple was a real one ‑ a young man, Mark, who had his leg smashed in a car accident. The doctors had wanted to amputate it, but he did not want to lose his useless leg. He used two crutches to move around the village. He could not stand at all on that one leg. He was lying at the door of the new church when our Peter and John (real names: Steven and Pao) wanted to enter.
The Bible story was exactly followed: “I have got no money, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” Well, they acted this out before hundreds of people, among them the president of the Goroka Church District and many pastors and elders. Peter (Steven) grabbed the cripple (Mark) by the hand and pulled him up. And he walked! He threw his crutches away and loudly praised the Lord! Isn’t that something? What a faith!
Their testimony was given at a meeting of elders when Kambaidam was discussed. Mark was a most happy fellow who stood and walked firmly on his two legs. He also had been involved in criminal activities, but in this meeting he unashamedly confessed his faith in the Lord Jesus.
Later I talked with them. Steven (Peter) told me that the Lord had put this on his heart during a week‑long period of praying. “I had no doubt that the Lord was going to heal Mark, and I was so excited when we finally got to play‑act!” And Mark? He told me that when Steven told him to get up he just felt the power of God descend upon him and at the same time he had a tingling sensation in his crippled leg: “I just felt the blood rushing through my leg, bringing new life!” Mark is now involved in evangelistic outreach and his testimony has a great impact.
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