“Just as the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28)
Leaders are equipped vessels called to carry out some specific and spiritual assignments within the body of Christ, especially to demonstrate the likeness of Christ in all things. Leaders are the agents of revival like Ezekiel of the Old Testament Bible, who dry bones back to life through his life and ministry (Ezekiel 37:1 ff). As leaders, God’s mandate to us is to live a life of a model. We are the vessel of honor in the hand of God Almighty. We must know that in the Assembly of the Holy, everybody looks Holy, but not everybody is saints. We are the strategic change agents to deal with the problems in our society. So the progressive minister must be ready to face anything that comes his way since is the servant of the most High God.
Let us read to learn more about disciples and teachers and their followers. (Luke 6:40) (NKJV).. Progressive ministers must be ready to be good teachers because some of the things you think people know, they know nothing. Progress minister lives to serve His Lord and Savior through their care for the Lord’s people.
Progress ministers must have a purpose and must be ready to organize around his/her purposes. System and structure to balance the purposes must be done equally well. That must be intentionally balanced. A progressive church is a purposeful church.
Church provides people with things they cannot find anywhere else in the world. Discipleship Ministry helps them find their talents and evangelism helps them fulfill their mission. All these help the ministry to progress. We don’t need to use our church as a laboratory again. But some books have been written that we can read for proper approach to progress.
Understanding Some Keywords
The word progressive means according to the English dictionary.
- Favoring or promoting progress; advance
- Gradually advancing; increasing
- Promoting or favoring progress toward improved conditions ideas or methods
A person who actively favors or strives for progress towards improved conditions, as in society or organization is a progressive minister.
The word “church” was first mentioned in the New Testament by our Savior Jesus Christ in His response tit the answers given by Simon Peter when He asked disciples about His identity. Read through Matt 16:15-16. While acknowledging Peter’s response, Jesus said that upon Peter’s confession, He will build His church” (Matt 16:18) “On this rock, I will build my church”.
The confession of Peter brought about the Church. Therefore, the church as used in this passage refers to the assembly of people who have confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and are called out for the for purpose of worshipping God and carrying out the Great Commission as recorded in Matthew 28:19-20. Therefore, the church is not the building but the congregation.
Education: According to the Oxford English Dictionary
“Education is a process of teaching, training, and learning, especially in schools or colleges.” Even in the church to improve knowledge and develop skills.
The Church Education Ministry
- Sunday school ministry – Acts 2: 41 – 47, 2 Chronicles 24:13
- Discipleship Training ministry – Matt 28: 19 – 20, Acts 2: 42 – 47, 2 Tim 2:2
- Literacy Ministry
- Family Life Education department – Acts 2: 41 – 47.
The indices (signs) of the growing Church
- Church must be visionary – You must have a clear vision about your call
- Pastors must be determined to work with members (Phil 3:16)
- The role of the man of God is very important (2 Chr. 20:20, 2 Kings 4
- Sincerity and discipline must be displayed
- The message of the cross must be centered (1 Cor. 1:8)
The Qualities of a Functioning Progressive Leadership
- He is a man of prayer
- Loving and caring
- Simple and straightforward
- Learner and reader
- Developing others
- Spiritually balance
How to be a Functional Progressive Minister
- God first, that is have an intimate relationship with God
- Integrity and sincerity
- Attend seminars
- Relate with exceptional leadership
- Be diligent in the study of God’s word
Church Education Ministry and their Contribution to the Progress of the Church
Sunday school in a local church ministry. When you enter some of the Baptist local churches you will see on their wall “Your service is not complete without Sunday school”.
For your church to most effectively progress, you must decide on a target. Discover what type of people live in your area, decide which of those groups your church is best equipped to reach, and also discover which Baptist church education programs best match your targeted people.
I served as a student pastor in one of the Baptist churches in Oyo town. I watched them very vividly and discovered that the Baptist church education program fitted for them was Sunday school. Some of the Sunday services are normally based on the Sunday school for that day because they would ask questions and we would give them answers. That system helps us to gain new members.
Discipleship Training Ministry
The major purpose of Jesus Christ to this sinful world is very clear to the believers ‘TO MAKE DISCIPLE’. Throughout His life on the earth, He intentionally modeled the discipleship character in everything He did and said in His final words to His disciples, He articulated (that is He expressed or explained His thoughts clearly in words) a global vision to mobilize a movement of global discipleship that would transform every tribe, nation, people, and language (Matthew 28: 19 – 20). Nigeria Baptist Convention stands with the Discipleship Training ministry with the purpose to train today’s church its Christ-likeness. There is no doubt that building a progressive church is through discipleship training which is necessary and urgently needed because some churches are gathering crowds rather than building and developing committed disciples. As progressive ministers, we must strive to be more devoted, faithful, and committed to the course of building a purposeful disciple training ministry even beyond our local churches.
The essential measures for building a progressive church through discipleship training Ministry
- The disciple is first a Christian and disciple: Effective disciple-makers know and love the disciples, Acts 11:26 – He who wants to bring people to Christ must first be a disciple.
- The disciple must know the heartbeat of God for the discipleship of all (Matthew 28: 19 – 20): Disciples must know exactly what God wants when he says “Go ye therefore into the world… to do what. Is to bring people to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour and to be their followers.
- Discipleship is based on and guided by the Word of God: Any acts or practice in discipleship that does not incur with the scripture cannot change a life. Ordinary stories and theories can change the lives of sinners. John 8: 31 – 32 says “To the Jews who had believed Him, Jesus said “If you hold to my teaching you are my disciples.
- We ministers must create an enabling environment and culture of discipleship for the church to be progressive: We are not called to preach convert-making sermons or scholar-making sermons. They are called to preach disciple-making sermons. Jesus Christ through His life made people true disciples. He started from the twelve disciples by making them fishers of men.
- The followership must be ready to join in praying and supporting the church and her leadership in making the ministry of discipleship better and stronger to confront sin and practice church discipline.
- Discipleship is a life-long journey: We cannot graduate from discipleship, it is a continuous process. We must continue to realize and endeavor to endure the trials of faith that come with a renewed commitment to following Christ daily. Read Luke
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and every church of the Lord Jesus who desire to build a progressive church to endeavor to make disciple of all nation. That is the great commandment.
Rev’d Adeniyi Peter Ajibade, Halleluyah Baptist Church, Agbaje, Ijokodo, Ibadan