I’m resting up after returning home from a wonderful ministry trip in Vineyard Churches in the UK. I was honored to minister in Plymouth, Truro & Falmouth, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, and Yoevil. My essential message was the four irreducible missional dimensions of the Kingdom of God (the message & ministry of Jesus that defines how we do church).
- Power encounter: Spirit-ministry of healing & deliverance, signs & wonders.
- Personal Transformation: Spiritual Formation of discipleship to Jesus.
- Social Transformation: Holistic engagement in society, as in mercy relief, justice advocacy, community development, ecological ethics.
- World missions: Evangelism & church planting to advance God’s Kingdom to all nations that The End will come (Matt 24:14).
In teaching Jesus’ basic Kingdom framework and explaining the four implications, I focused mainly on the first two – though I emphasized it is a ‘package deal’ and we cannot engage in ‘selective obedience’ (we do all four at the same time). After doing the conferences & seminars in these cities and being with all the leaders and people, I summarise my overall sense in the following seven points:
- Vineyard churches in the UK are on the cusp of a further and new season of growth and expansion.
- There is a feel of vitality and expectation in the face of serious spiritual opposition, dark secularism and divisive social uncertainty. I sense the UK is ripening for a real move of God.
- There’s a need for stronger grounding in a clearer biblical understanding of Jesus’ worldview and praxis of The Kingdom for the health and longevity of what God is doing.
- There is also the need to do succession well by focussing on the younger generation of leaders to train and mentor and hand over authority and power as Jesus did to his apostles and disciples.
- The deliberate turn toward deepening the psycho-emotional health and spiritual formation of the pastors and leaders is very encouraging. Pacing oneself in the easy yoke of Jesus, in what GOD is doing, is key for good sustainability and growth.
- The call of God is to seek first Jesus and HIS Kingdom, then Jesus will build HIS Church. If we focus on building the church it subtlety becomes our kingdom, and we stop pursuing GOD’s Kingdom. If we truly fall in love with Jesus and stay in love with Jesus, it will change everything. This is discipleship to Jesus in the spiritual formation of GOD’s LOVE for us and his world.
- Jesus is coming to his Church in the misty wind and waves of all our years of rowing against the storm of evil and social turmoil. The clearer we see Jesus for who he really is, the more we will step out of our boat of security, of what we’ve known and worked with for so long, and we will walk on water. Fix your eyes on Jesus in the midst of all that’s going on. It’s time to exercise assertive faith and push into the unknown of ‘the already’ of the Kingdom. It’s time to walk on water! Even if the ‘not yet’ overwhelms us and we sink – taking our eyes off Jesus – he is beside us. He reaches out his hand and pull us up to stand with him in faith, in the dynamic reality of his Kingdom come.
For the audio teaching of these notes, click on:
Intro: Equipping is the fourth priority and practice in forming – and being formed in – Christ’s covenant community. The practices follow on from each other: relationship leads to healing, and healing leads to discovering and practicing servant gifts in the Body, which leads to ongoing equipping and training for life and ministry in Christ. We look at what is ‘equipping’ and then how we practice it.
WHAT is the practice of equipping?
John Wimber made Paul’s words, “Equipping the Saints” (Eph 4:12, King James Version), a ‘mantra’ in Vineyard Churches. This is what he wanted to be known – the phrase is on his tombstone! It’s meaning was reduced to ‘equipping the saints’ for healing ministry: that all believers can lay hands on the sick, not just leaders. But Paul meant that the gift ministries of Christ are to equip the saints for LIFE and ALL kinds of ministry. This priority & practice of equipping/preparation for life and ministry is part of spiritual warfare: God’s Church is his ARMY that enforces evil’s defeat, already suffered at the hands of Jesus.
What does this equipping mean? Paul’s word katartizo in Eph 4:12 is used in Mark 1:19, to “prepare” fishing nets as in knotting the strands. To equip means to prepare people by joining them in right relationships – God’s big fishing net – that the saints can serve in their gifts, to “do works of ministry so that the Body of Christ may be built up.” So, this equipping for all kinds of ministry is about developing one’s gifting, lifting the level of skill and excellence in doing ministry, to best serve God’s people – for his glory! Continue reading Forming (in) Community: The Practice of Equipping
For the audio of this talk, click on http://followingjesus.org.za/sermons/following-jesus-vision-and-plan/
Hello fellow travellers on the journey of Following Jesus! I invite you to take time to prayerfully read this very important letter summarising our decisions regarding the 2020 Vision & Planning process.
The journey: Alexander was inducted as team leader/Senior Pastor of Following Jesus on 20 January 2013. His vision was to ‘replant’ the church by a) re-gathering and healing people, and b) re-laying a foundation of what it means to truly follow Jesus – how we do life, church, leadership, ministry and mission – represented in the circled triangle of our core values: Following God, Forming (in) Community, Fishing the World.
Alexander came with a clear conviction of his life MISSION and that of the church he would lead – this church! The OT (Oversight Team/eldership) accepted and adopted it as our church mission. A Mission Statement is one’s reason for existence, of being; answers ‘who are you?’; giving a sense of identity and calling under God. What is your personal life mission? Our church is committed to this stated mission: Following Jesus and making followers of him, learning to live a life of love just as Jesus loved us. Continue reading Following Jesus Pastoral Letter: 2020 Vision & Plan
I was honoured to be invited to TGIF (“Thank God Its Friday“) to give a talk in memory of Dallas Willard. I shared on what he meant to me personally, and the legacy he has left for all followers of Jesus. This is a follow-up on my previous post as a tribute to Dallas Willard’s life.
The audio us available online (follow the link).
Gill and I returned home on Sunday night tired but filled with gratitude to God for the great time of ministry in Christian Life Camps Bay, Cape Town. I must confess: I did not take photos of the church and/or leadership meetings, or even the Saturday quiet retreat! I just took pics of beautiful Camps Bay itself! Forgive my carnality!
On the first Sunday (15 April), and during the week, I taught on the call for every follower of Jesus to minister healing to others in the name of Jesus – what we call “equipping the saints.” This included me teaching the practical 5 step model of healing ministry. All those who came to this session practiced it with excitement and good feedback. For many, if not most in the congregation, it was a first to lay hands on people, and to see God work through them in ministering some measure of healing to others. Hopefully some will become really “hooked” on the joy and adventure of doing this Kingdom stuff … laying hands on anything that moves, speaking God’s words of healing by the power of the Holy Spirit!
This past Sunday morning (22 April) was a blast! I spoke on receiving healing in one or more of the six dimensions of human personality: spiritual healing, psycho-emotional healing from past hurts and bad memories, healing from demonizations, physical healing, relational healing, and healing of death and dying. Many people responded all over the congregation in both the 0800 and 0930 morning services. All we could do was general ministry to those who responded, with everyone else standing up and laying hands on them to impart God’s healing presence. It was really wonderful. There is NOTHING like the quiet moving of the Spirit, the pregnant presence of God that fills the atmosphere, with people crying softly, others trembling, and many being touched and freed up in all sorts of ways. There is NO substitute for God’s manifest presence. It cannot be engineered, manufactured, hyped, or pretended, just invited.
Continue reading Report on Cape Town Ministry Trip
Gill and I travel to beautiful Cape Town on Saturday 14 April to minister in Christian Life Church in Camps Bay. It’s one of most beautiful places in the Cape, and on the planet! I will tell them this: when we all die we’re going to Camps Bay to be with them because that is the Kingdom of God, heaven on earth!! When they die they’re going nowhere – they’re staying right where they are!!
Anyway, the church has invited me to teach the sunday services for 15 and 22 April – and other meetings during the week – on healing. We will focus on equipping ordinary Christians to minister healing in the name of Jesus by the compassionate power of the Holy Spirit. We will also meet with their leadership team and staff to further enable healing ministry in their congregation.
I’ve also been invited to teach on Sunday night (15th) on Praying the Psalms, at Grapevine Christian Fellowship in Durbanville. And I will be meeting with a Vineyard church leadership team for some consultation during the week. As if this is not enough, Gill and I have been invited to lead a quiet day of retreat, prayer and meditation in Hout Bay from 0930 – 1600 on Saturday 21 April. The New Life Vineyard in Pinelands is organizing this retreat. We return home Sunday afternoon 22 April.
So, after the disappointment of our trip to Pakistan being cancelled due to no visas being issued, we are SO looking forward to this time of ministry. Please will you pray for us that God’s power will advance the Kingdom in the lives of people and churches, for God’s glory! Thanks so much!
This blog – Alexander Venter – is the product of Alexander’s teaching ministry since January 1975 when he was ordained to ‘the ministry’ as a church planter and pastor. His years of experience, empowered by numerous significant relationships, has produced relevant resources in the form of teaching notes, audios, DVDs and books – to help all who want to follow Jesus, with a view to equipping them for life and ministry in God’s Kingdom. As a “teacher of God’s Word instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven, he brings out treasures from his storeroom, both old and new” (Matthew 13:52). This website makes some of these Kingdom treasures available to all who may be interested.