Awomberew Mission Report

Date: 03th – 05th May 2019

We arrive safety at Awomberew village for our evangelism outreach activities. We began with prayers for the community same day and at evening we were at the Church Service for worship with the local Church.  Rev. Ed Acton mounted the pulpit with teachings that brought our mind and spirit to the light. The Scriptural Text was from the book of Genesis and the gospel of John. The Topic was Light of God.  In the book of Genesis 1:1-4 & 14 and 1 John 1:1-14 there were two different lights. What are these Lights? “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. Again in Genesis 1:14 “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years”: Rev. Ed Arcton taught about the spiritual light in genesis 1:3 and the natural light we see in the sky in Genesis 1:14. We were enlightened after the teaching Service. Rev. Ed Acton further explains the spiritual light from the book of John 1. This was an uncovering of the truth as to know Jesus Christ, the Son of God to be the light of the world. He was the One the apostles gave an account and testified that he is the Light of the world.  They saw and bone witness to the Light that all may believe. John 1:14 “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of “GRACE and TRUTH”. Click here to view the sermon.

Pastor Obed leading Prayer time at Church

Early hours the following day morning we were in the Church for morning devotion with members of the local Church. Pastor Obed led the morning devotion. He encourages the members of the local Church to cultivate the habit of prayer, He talked about the “Christian and Prayer”. The scriptural text was from the gospel of Luke 11:1. “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples”.

He said that, the disciples always saw Jesus healing the sick and doing many other miracles by Himself. They also walked together, ate together and did a lot of things together with the Messiah. More so the bible records that Jesus woke up early hours to pray and obviously they saw him when he was returning from his prayer time. Jesus life of Prayer should be an example for us all to pray without ceasing. Pastor Obed said a prayerless Christian is a powerless Christian; He explained that the disciples of Jesus saw the power of prayer in the life of Jesus and desire to pray as he did. They said to him “teach us to pray”. He then led the Church into serous prayer time that morning. Everybody prayed earnestly and with great passion. It was a blessing and precious time in the presence of God for a renewal of strength. Click here to view the full message

At the evening Church Service Rev Ed Arcton talked about why the Church must pray before God intervene in the affairs of men and world. God will not go against His word. In Genesis1:26. God gave man the dominion over the earth. He also said it was very important for every individual to be prayerful. Matthew 26:40 [40] And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? When Jesus return to them he didn’t say to them, don’t worry, I will pray for you but asked the disciples to pray too themselves so that they will not fall into temptation. Pastor Isaac took over and led the Church into prayer session. The full sermon is here

Rev Arcton – Teaching Service at ABC

On Sunday morning at Church Service Pastor Obed Richards led the Church unto prayers before the Sunday school teachings by Rev Ed Arcton. He taught about the benefit of the Word of God. The Word of God is God according to Scriptures “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men”. (John 1:1-3) When we are full of the Word of God, the life of God fills our hearts and overflows. If we have the power of the word of God dwells richly inside us, we also have the power of God in us. The Word of God is Good news because it brings light and life to man. The Word of God must be supreme in our life as a Christian, and our life must reflect the life of Christ who is in us for other to see and believe. When the Word of God is grounded and rooted in us, springs of living water overflows out of us. The Word of God strengthens us to be an overcomer and to live a holy life. We were all challenge and inspire to study the Bible every day. Our passion and love for God should drive us to study the Bible and live it wherever we are. He also talk about the daily trails, temptation and testing we face everyday as christian who love God and want to obey Him with all our heart. Click here to view the full sermon.

Pastor Isaac Fiifi Takyi preached that day at Church. His topic was “The plan and purpose of God”. It was a blessing that Sunday morning as the church hearing the good news preached in their own mother tongue powerfully. Pastor Isaac said, the mind of someone reveals his plan and purpose, he said the mind of God reveals His purpose to mankind. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Deacon Isaac Preaching at Awombwrew Baptist Church

Our relationship with God is a unique, the moment we find out His plan and purpose for our life, things begins to change for the better for us. God thought for you and me is the thought of peace not evil, and to bring us to an expected end. Proverbs 19:21 says “[There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand”. Its only God’s plan that will stand forever in our life, Again in Isaiah 14:24 puts it this way; The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand. Today’s sermon at Church touches the hearts of everyone. Everybody begin to understand and appreciate God’s love, how deep and wide is the Love of God toward all who believes. The book of Romans 8:28 concludes y saying “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Click here to view the full message.

Rev Arcton and his team at the Methodist Church

After Worship Service with Awomberew Baptist Church we visited the Methodist Church to talk about proposed Pastors and Church leaders workshop in the community.

LMC Mission Report

Awomberew Missionary Trip.

Date: 29th March- 31st March

Pastor Obed Preaching on Friday at Awomberew Baptist Church

It was Friday afternoon we set off our journey from the City of Accra to the Awomberew Community in the Central Region of Ghana. Our missionary teams were together in this journey to the mission field.  We arrived safely by the grace of God at about 5:30pm GMT. We immediately enter into serious prayer warfare to prepare us for our stay and assignment over there. Our prayers focus on taking over the territory and breakthrough the grounds for effective evangelism and Church planting. At evening we were in the church hall for prayer time with some members of the local church. Rev Arcton preached that Friday night. His sermon was from Matthew 16:13-18, the topic was “who is Jesus Christ to you”. The Lord himself knew people’s perceptions and misinterpretation of his true identity, something that matter a lot to him as he walk and live among them everywhere and at anyplace he goes.  He therefore engaged his disciples on the subject of his true identity! More so wanted to know if his own disciples recognize his true identity or not. He asked this question, “Who do people say I am”? It was his plan to make himself known his true identity that he was and is the true promise Messiah, the Christ who is to come into the world to save all mankind from their sins and show them the way to his Father in heaven. The wrong perception and perversion of people, he wanted to correct in the hearts and mind of those who followed him and believe him as the Promise Messiah (Christ, the Anointed One) the Old Testament Prophets preaches. Rev Arcton emphasized that knowing and believing the truth will set everyone free forever. Accepting the Lord as the Christ (Messiah) is vital in the journey of the believer to eternity because it is the foundation on which all TRUTH stands. Anyone can be saved and become new creature, set free from the dominion of sin, death and Satanic deceptions because of Jesus, the savoir of the world. The true revelation of His identity as the Christ will guide the believer’s life and pathway. This revelation of Jesus Christ true deity and identity comes only through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts given to us freely by God. Knowing Him as our personal Lord and savior saves us from darkness into his marvelous light. We become new creation of God, no more under the bondage of sin and death. But save eternally to be called children of God, born again by the Spirit of God.  Click here to view the full message.

After the Teaching we entered into serious prayer time with the whole church, it was led by Deacon Fiifi Kakraba. The Church service came to a close with a prayer by Pastor Obed. We take a break for the night as we rest the morrow.

Saturday morning was the 2nd day of our mission. As usual we began the day with intensive prayer in the morning; it was led by Rev Ed Arcton, the Scriptural passage was taken from the book of Isaiah 10:27. He emphasis the need to have and to be filled with the fullness of the Holy Spirit to do the work of God. We prayed intensively for the infilling of the Holy Spirit to be mightily use by God particularly for the task ahead of us. By mid-morning we move to the church premises for another intercessory prayer for the local church and the evangelization of the whole community and its surroundings. This lasted between the hours of10:30am to 1:00pm and was led by Deacon Fiifi Kakraba.

In the later afternoon we were on our knees again in prayers till 6:40pm. Evening service began with an opening prayer. Pastor Obed delivered sermon.  The topic was “Maintaining your deliverance”. He stated that the intention of God is to totally deliver man from the powers of darkness. The scriptural text was from Luke 13:10-15, where a certain woman was in bondage for eighteen years yet still believe in Christ but had not received total deliverance as a child of God. He said that so many Christian today are still in the churches that are spiritually trapped into satanic domination, control and oppression. This he said wasn’t the plan of God for his children. He further explained that Christians can receive deeper revelation from God as seen in Matthew 16:17-18.  At the same time like Apostle Peter received revelation from the Lord but later was rebuke by the Lord because was Satan hiding behind him to oppose Christ purpose in going to the cross as stated Matt 16: 21-23. He said that as believers in Christ we ought to be diligently to maintain our spiritual alertness, sensitivity and deliverance through consistence fellowship with God, daily walk with Jesus Christ, personal Bible study and prayer lifestyle. We have being delivered from the kingdom of darkness and have been translated into the Kingdom of God; we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling and holding firm our unshakable victory that our Lord Jesus Christ has freely given to us through his bloodshed on the cross. Pastor Obed ended his message by praying for revival and the total deliverance of everyone from satanic domination and oppression. Click here to view the full message. The service came to a close with a prayer by Rev Ed Arcton. Before retiring to bed our missionary team continued earnestly in prayers for the missionary work and the local church in the community.

Rev Arcton Teaching at Awomberew Baptist Church

On the 3rd day, Sunday, was worship service; early hours in the morning we engaged ourselves into spiritual warfare, also to prepare ourselves for worship service. Church Service begins at about 8:30 am with a prayer time led by Pastor Obed. Sunday school Teaching was led by Rev Arcton. The topic for was “Living the Great Commandment as we fulfilled the Great Commission” with emphasis on living as true disciple for Christ Jesus and making disciples for Christ. The Scriptural message was from Matthew 28:18-20 He explains the authority of Jesus Christ which He received through the Cross and thereby commanding the church to go and make disciples of Him, Jesus Christ. He stressed on Jesus Christ triumphing over the power of sin and death. The Lord Jesus Christ purpose was to build his Church and spread the Gospel in all Nations of the earth by means of making disciples through his own people who believe in Him. He has received power and authority from his Father in heaven and now delegating that same power and authority to all who believe in Him to go and do as he did. He explained that one can only become a disciple of Jesus Christ by faith and receiving Christ righteousness as a gift freely given. He ended with a word of prayer and asks everyone to dedicate their life to Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Click here to view the full Teaching.

Deacon Fiifi Kakraba Preaching Sunday Sermon at Awomberew Baptist Church

Sunday sermon was delivered by Deacon Fiifi Kakraba. He preached on “The fight of faith”. The Scripture text was from Hebrews 4:2, Deacon Fiifi Kakraba explained and expanded the scripture text and highlighted the effect of unbelief and disobedience which makes the Good news preached powerless and unproductive in the life of a Christian. As children of God, we ought to manifest the glory of God through Jesus Christ who conquered sins with his great Love on the cross. He further said that we as children of God should fight the good fight for our faith in Christ Jesus; the devil comes only to steal, killed and destroys what is not his. His assignment is to destroy our faith and stop us from laying hold of the promise God as its written the Holy Scriptures. He concluded by calling people to total repentance and reject unbelief, disobedient and stubborn of hearts. We have to accept and believe that the Good news is the power of God to save sinful mankind from the dominion of sin and death. Click here to view the full sermon.

Church service came to a close after Rev Ed Arcton pronouncing the benediction and sharing of the Grace of God.

Sports Evangelism – Kumasi City.

Sports evangelism is now finding it breakthrough into our local Churches here in Ghana. Rescue Sports Foundation seeks to pinion and champion this course and be a ring leader in this effort with the strength of the Holy Spirit. To achieve this goal RSF hosted Jimmy Larche, founder of Breakaway Sports USA in Ghana for sports outreach. Jimmy arrives at the Ghana Airport on Friday afternoon 22nd February 2019. He was welcome by the Director of RSF and Board Chairman. Straight away we set off from the City of Accra heading to Kumasi City for the sports evangelism outreach and arrives same today.

It was 5 to 6 hours drive. Going out of the city was a slow motion and entering into another city did the same owning to traffic congestion. However, we made it by the Grace of God, even though stressful and a long journey on the highway. The travelling mercy of God was with us and the peace of God gloom our hearts as we landed in the city of Kumasi. It was night at our arrival and we find rest for the night waiting to see the brightness of the day with its glamour and glorious sunlight at Kumasi city.

Before mid mornings we were on the field with different groups of disabilities sports teams waiting for our arrival and massage.

Amputee Football Team, Jimmy Larche and some RSF Officials

Jimmy Larche from Breakaway begins by sharing the Love of God reveal in his Son Jesus Christ to our audience. Goodnews is what God gave us in his begotten Son Jesus Christ. Heaven is our eternal home. This life on earth is temporal not permanent. Our physical conditions are not forever, and our disabilities will change in the present of our God.  In heaven we will be different and be made like Him. This was Jimmy Larche speaking.

Rev Arcton added and said, no matter how we look like in the eye of people and no matter how people view us to be, the truth is this, God made us all in his own image and likeness. The Psalmist says we are fearfully and wonderful made by our God. Hear the words of King David saying …“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully wonderfully made: marvellous [are] thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well”. (Psalms 139:14)

Therefore, self acceptance and appreciation to God for who am I and who we are is a victory over challengers. Thanking God for giving us life and having Jesus in my life is the greatest joy and achievement. He said further that in life, we are not equal in positions, we are not equal in functions however, we must understand that we are all equal in IMPORANTCY. God made it so. Be grateful and give God thanks everyday when the darkness of night blows away by the wings of the wind and thereby we can see the brightness of the dawn and gazing on beauty of the sunlight. If you’re able to wake up and breathe in fresh air all day long, be thankful. This is not by chance as other may think, it’s absolutely Gift of God. Let’s us rejoice and be thankful unto our maker, Our Lord and our God.

Coach Ben Annor, the Director of Rescue Sports Foundation was our host, the Lord is with him. His calling and Ministry is to preach Christ Jesus and make HIM known through the vehicle of Sports Outreach. More importantly to reach out to the disabilities people group in our society neglected, ignored by many and look down upon as people rejected from families and homes. He believes the power of the Gospel, and sharing the Love of God in Jesus Christ is sufficient and have the power to bring regeneration and transforms human life from nobody to somebody.

Sports world is our Mission field, unreached and non-evangelized with the Gospel. Our aim is to reach out to evangelize and make disciple for Christ through sharing the Love of God and living the power of the Gospel in sports fields around the globe. The sports world needs people of God to witness the power of the Gospel and live the Love of God among them today.

We met with different disability sports teams. Such as —

  1. Amputee Soccer Team
  2. Deaf and Mute Rugby and Handball Teams
  3. The Blind Team
  4. Wheel Chair Team
  5. Church Juvenile Teams
  6. All Coaches
  7. And Others

The message of the Gospel was delivered in love to each of the sports disciplines.

At CPC Sports field Jimmy Larche begin his Baseball Sports training with the youth. It was awesome! The Juvenile teams were there to display their soccer skills. The message of the cross was presented to them. The Pastor of CPC was there in person and gave us his full support and blessings. He also refreshes us after the program. We are indeed grateful.

Baseball Training with Jimmy Larche from USA

Suddenly hours runs faster than we would have considered. The evening hours appears. Telling us, it’s time to take a break from daily activities.

The night quickly flew away. Sunday morning comes; it’s the Lord’s Day we were at PIWC hall for worship service. Officially welcome and introduced by our host Pastor and Leaders. Pastor Jimmy stated our purpose of visit, which is Sports evangelism. The Pastor of PIWC preached powerful message, we were bless by the sermon. Soon the Church service was over at about 9:30 a.m Sunday morning. Therefrom we set off to the CPC Church for another Church Service, we arrives and as usual, were officially welcome and introduce by the Pastor in charge. Pastor Jimmy Larche was the main guest preacher. The Love of the father was his message to the church. It was powerful message delivered with boldness and with passion for the lost, which touches everyone at Church. Soon again Church Service was over. The Host Pastor Rev Achia invited us for Lunch. We say thank you Pastor.

Coach Ben Annor, Rev Ed Arcton, and Jimmy Larche at PIWC Church Service: Asokwa – Kumasi.

After waiting awhile the TV clues arrive for an interview on sports outreach. Pastor Jimmy Lache and Rev Arcton spoke on air to the TV Clue when they arrived at the Church Hall.

By 4:30 pm we were on our way to PIWC Church Hall for RSF Board of Directors meeting with Jimmy Larche. The meeting began at 5:30 pm, Rev Arcton Chaired the meeting. It last for the period of two hours. The Board discussed matters of interest with Pastor Jimmy Larche to establish a common ground for partnership, cooperation and exchange of ideas to advance sports evangelism and missions globally.

New Board Chairman Elect.                                

In conclusion, the Board agreed on numbers of issues and identify areas and platform to work together with Breakaways Sports USA, to advance Sports Outreach Ministry around the global. Before meeting came to a close the Board elected Rev Ed Arcton as their new Board Chairman with Mr. Kwabena Adu Baah as Vice Chairman to run the affairs of the Rescue Sports Foundation. The day activities were sealed with a prayer after the Board meeting came to closure. The minutes of the Board meeting is here

RSF Board Meeting with Coach Jimmy Larche

Thank be unto our God for a successful evangelism mission at Kumasi City, Ghana.

To Learn more about Sports Ministry and Evangelism click the here

LMC Reporting.

Mission Field Report

1st Missionary trip 2019, Awombrew Baptist Church, Awombrew Village

We arrive at the Church premises late Friday evening for the All Night Prayer Service. The service has already begun and everybody was on the knee praying. Presiding Deacon James, welcome us later to the All night prayer service, likewise the members of the church who were happy to receive us.

The Service was than handle over to Rev Arcton and Pastor Obed to lead the service through to the end. It was a blessed time spent in prayer and in the presence of the Lord. Rev Arcton exhausted the people to cultivate the habit and spirit of prayer as it was in the beginning of the Church in Acts of Apostles when the growing young church always came together for prayer service.

Pastor Obed Preaching at Awombrew Baptist Church

Pastor Obed took over and led us into serious prayer time for the church and the community. We prayed for great move of God and salvation of souls into the Kingdom of God. He further explained the need to deal with and pray against satanic strongholds and activities in the community. The Light of God must dispel darkness. Those in darkness must see the light of God shining in the church and our life must attract sinners into Christ Jesus for salvation. The All Night Prayer Service came to a close at 4:00 am.

After resting awhile we found ourselves back to the church premises again on Saturday morning, this time with the Women Association of Baptist Convention. They came from all the district area for Retreat and prayer for the church and Leadership. It was a moment of reflection and seeking God for the Church.

Rev Arcton spoke on the importance of prayer for the Church in Ghana and the whole Nation. We need God interventions and Revival he said. He encourages the women to take the challenge to their respective Churches and raise an alter of continues prayerforce for Ghana and its Presidency. The Women’s Prayer Retreat ended with a blessing from Rev Arcton.

 In the evening, Rev Arcton met section of the Youth Ministry and with Words of encouragement admonishes them to be committed fully to the person of Jesus Christ and the Local Church. He shares his own life experiences and bold decisions he took that enable him to survive through all challenges and trails as a youth and student at that time.

Sunday morning arrive with its brightness and soundness. We were in the Church Service; the joy of the Lord was with everyone. The Church with great enthusiasm and eagerness were ready to hear the word of the Lord from us. Rev Arcton taught them from the Holy Scriptures during the Sunday school session. The topic of the message is “The Apostle Paul Prayer for the Church”. The message is here.

During the Church Service he also preach the sermon on the Topic “Love, the greatest Christian Virtue” Click to here to view the message.

Awombrew Baptist Church

Pastor Obed took over the Pulpit and Preach the Message entitled “The Value of a Soul”. The text was taken from the Book of Mark 8:36.  He said among many other things, what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loss his soul. He stressed the importance of soul of people who have not receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.  He said the Souls of men and women are important for that sake God sent His only Begotten Son to die for and to save them from the power of darkness, sin and Satan. We as Church of God should also commit ourselves by sharing the Goodnews of Jesus to all men for their Salvation. They must know God just as you and I have Jesus Christ in our Life. The Massage is here

Conclusion

Our Missionary trip was a successful one. God, carrying out his purpose in and through us will at all course and by all means perform His own purpose wherever we go and shall be blessed. We are his vessel created unto good work in Christ Jesus. AMEN.

Forgive Others

What a glorious Sunday we have at Church Service today, everyone was happy and cheerful. Nicely dressed as occasion demands. Sunday Church Service at Village side.

Pastor Dan Lartey preached from Luke Gospel, 23:1-12, it was all about, the Lord Jesus when he came under trails and facing judgement from sinful men he came to save, and to give then eternal life. He was falsely accused of things he did not do or say by his own people and nation.

 Kings could not find any wrong doing about him, after thorough examination they say “I see no false of death about him” as his accusers demanded. Yet he was commend to death and was crucified and died on the cross on behalf of all. What a Great demonstration of the Father’s love shown to us sinners by allowing his own begotten Son to died to save sinners like us. 

Jesus gave up himself willingly so that through his death and resurrection, He might bring us back to God. He sacrifice himself as ransom, he was betrayed, accused, condemned and crucified on the cross. It happen to show us how to love and learn to forgive others who trespass against us no matter the degree of the offence committed. The Lord Jesus Christ coming down here on earth was a full demonstration of his Father’s love for us even though we are all dead in sin and trespasses.  He, Jesus became a sinner, one who knew no sin so that we all must live through him. 

If God has done this and so much for us, how do we also treats our neighbor and people around us. As we see year coming to a close we need to reexamined ourselves in the light of what Jesus did and the scriptures so that we all repent and turn our hearts full to God for forgiveness and salvation in his Son Jesus Christ.

We must stop accusing and cursing people that have hurt us in the past, or hurting us presently and those who will hurt us in the future. Instead we ought to pray for them and love those who have wrong us painfully, whether in the pass, present and future. Our everyday life should reveals the Love God in and through us wherever we are or may be. The Love of God and love for our neighbors or enemies means we have Jesus in our hearts and we are also living for Him at all time.

Rev Arcton led them to pray the sinners prayer and to invite Jesus into their life as Lord and Savoir.

After the message many gave their life to Christ and Lord and personal savoir and rededicate them to the Lord for revival.

Ordination of Pastor Chris.

Ordination of Pastor Francis Christian Anoquampong

Date: 2nd December 2018

The Ordination of Rev Francis Christian Anoquampong, a student and Graduate of Christian Leaders Institute (CLI) Michigan, USA. He was ordained as a Commission Minister of the Word. This was officiated by Rev Ed Arcton from Ghana on the 2nd December 2018 at Christ Victory Evangelical Church, Takoradi – Ghana. There were other Ministers of the Gospel that witness and grace the occasion with their presence and gifts. Family members, friends of the newly Ordained Minister and the whole Church were in attendance. The Holy Spirit presence was greatly felt and the joy of the Lord fills the hearts and life of everyone presence.

The testimony about the Newly Ordained (Rev Christian Anoquampong) by Rev Hagan, Pastor of House of Kings OMI is here. Rev Forson testimony is also here

Rev Christian Anoquampong and his wife knee as the Officiating Minister and Other Pastors pray for them.

In a sermon delivered by Rev Ed Arcton, the Officiating Minister, stresses the need for the newly Ordain Pastor to learn and practice the habit of total dependence on the Holy Spirit in every area of his life, calling and Ministry. He said the Lord Jesus Christ himself during his life on earth saw the need of his fully dependency, empowerment and obedience of the Spirit of God from the beginning to the end of his ministry on earth.

In the Book of Luke Gospel 3: 21-22; scripture says; 21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

Likewise in Chapter 4: 1-2. He was led by the Spirit of God to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. In verse 14 same chapter after the temptation he was full of the Holy Ghost, there he begin to preach and teach. Rev Arcton emphasis the continues infilling of the Holy Spirit if we are to make any impart that affect the life of people that hear us when we preach and teach the Word of God everywhere and anytime. The Scripture declares that from there the Lord Jesus enters into the synagogues and it was delivered unto him the Book of Isaiah, the (Holy Scriptures) where it was written about him, the purpose of his life and mission on earth. Rev Arcton said that the Holy Scriptures, is the Word of God, everything we need to start and finish our God given assignment here on earth in the Bible. This Bible must be sufficient and enough for us as Ministers of the Gospel. We should not look for anything outside the Word of God, the Bible. Worldly attractions will certainly rise its head at all course, Satan will attack us from different direction but cannot overcome us when we are fully situated in Word of God and filled with the Spirit of God.

Newly Ordained: Rev Francis Christian Anoquampong being introduce to the congregation after his consecration by Officiating Ministers.

The Lord Jesus Christ declares in Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Rev Arcton said we need more of the Holy Ghost in our daily living to fully obey God, we need always to abide under the anointing of the Holy Spirit if we are to carry out God given mandate and faithfully discharge our God’s given assignment to the end. Without the Holy Spirit in our life and ministry all that we do will be in vain at the end of our journey on earth.

It is the Holy Scriptures delivered to the Lord Jesus, where he find the road map of divine assignment. He open the scriptures and it is there in the scripture he discovered His Mission here on earth.

As newly ordained minister of the Gospel, you must devote your totally life fully in studying the whole Bible not some part but all. The Bible have all that we will need to do God’s will from beginning to the end. God’s Word gives us wisdom, knowledge and power to accomplish the impossible for Christ Jesus and advance the kingdom of God wherever we are.

The Apostle Paul charged Timothy and said 1 Timothy 4:10-14 – ” 10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. 11 These things command and teach12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Newly Ordained: Rev Francis Christian Anoquampong delivering his Ordination speech to the Church.

The Newly Ordained, Christian F. Anoquampong response after his Ordination is here

In conclusion Rev Arcton charge the newly Ordained Minister to hold in high honor the Holy Bible. He said …

“You must open the Bible, read it and eat them everyday as your daily meal.  Live the Bible and let your daily lifestyle be a written Scriptures to all who observes you. In the same way it is your responsibility to preach and teach others the same Word of God and let them do just as you have done”.

God Bless you all. Amen.

Click here to view our sermons and learn more

On Air: Aseda 105.9 FM Radio Station (Takoradi City)

30th November 2018

Rev Arcton arrives at Takoradi City, by noon time Friday. An hour later himself, Rev Forson and Rev Chris. Anoquampong (Our host) were on Air to talk about Ordination at Aseda 105 FM Radio Station, Takoradi/Sekendi City. We have a fruitful discussion on the Topic. The responses and feedback were very encouraging.

Some of the questions many want to know are;

  1. What is Ordination?
  2. Who is to be Ordain?
  3. It is Necessary to be Ordain?
  4. What is the procedure for Ordination?
  5. Can anything hinder one from being Ordain?
  6. Who ordains the candidate?
  7. What is the role of the local Church?

These and many other questions were discussed thoroughly. Rev Arcton and Rev Forson provide adequate answers to the above questions to our listens.

The Highlight of our Talk on Radio FM Station is as fellows

Ordination as Recognition of Spiritual Leadership

A strong biblical doctrine of the ministry of the laity may at first appear to diminish the necessity and importance of an ordained clergy, those who are specially set apart for the leadership of the church. To the contrary, it actually heightens the need, for the laity must be spiritually formed, trained, and led on a massive scale if the mission of the church is to be accomplished. Scripture emphasizes that ministry leaders are Christ’s gifts (doma) for the explicit purpose of preparing the people of God for their ministries of building up the church (Ephesians 4:7-12).

The selection and preparation of spiritual leaders is a crucial matter throughout the New Testament. Jesus’ appointment and nurture of the first apostles provided servant leaders who exercised a vital leadership role in the Early Church. The Twelve were also aided by men like Stephen (Acts 6), Philip (Acts 8), and Barnabas (Acts 13), whom the Spirit singularly marked out for leadership in advancing the mission of the church. These and others are to be found among an expanding leadership group in the New Testament.

Paul and Barnabas were careful to appoint elders for leadership in each new church (Acts 14:23). For that appointment, Luke used a verb (cheirotoneō) which means “to choose, to appoint or elect by raising hands.” Thus the congregations may well have had a part in the selection, as in the choice of the “seven” in the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:1-6). These appointments were made in a context of prayer, fasting, and apparently with some kind of public “ordination” service.

Divine initiative in the appointment of spiritual leaders is basic to New Testament theology. Instructing his churches, Paul wrote, “And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues” (1 Corinthians 12:28, NASB).

First, note that these “offices” (or “ministries”) are of divine origin. Second, they are arranged in specific order—first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then Spirit gifted individuals with a wide array of spiritual gifts, both miraculous (e.g., “healing” and “tongues”) and functional (e.g., “administration”) Third, all these ministries are charismatic in nature, in that they are granted and energized as specific gifts of God by His Spirit. Fourth, the ministries of both the “leaders” and the “led,” the “pastors” and the “parishioners,” flow from the charismata, the spiritual gifts.

Paul wrote in much the same way in his letter to Ephesus. “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11). These ministries are not provided by human initiative but by the grace (charis [4:7]) of the risen Lord Jesus Christ who “gave gifts (doma) to men” (4:8). Moreover, Christ’s gifts of ministry leaders are granted “to prepare God’s people for works of service (diakonia), so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12,13).

Ordination of Ministry Leaders

The selection of spiritual leaders throughout Scripture is normally recognized in a public way that signifies the spiritual origins of the call. In the Old Testament, a formal anointing with oil, bringing with it the power of the Spirit, accompanied God’s selection. Jesus purposefully drew the 12 disciples aside and appointed them to be apostles (Mark 3:13-19). Judas’ successor was prayerfully and publicly chosen (Acts 1:15-22). When the seven deacons were chosen, the apostles prayed and “laid their hands on them” (Acts 6:6). Similarly, the Spirit announced his choice of Paul and Barnabas for missionary service, a choice followed by fasting, prayer, and the laying on of hands (Acts 13:2,3). Paul’s letters to Timothy, who represents a younger generation of ministers, imply a kind of formal ordination. At some unidentified point, Paul and a body of elders laid hands on Timothy to set him apart for the ministry. The work of the Spirit in Timothy’s ordination is also noteworthy, “Do not neglect your gift (charisma), which was given you through a prophetic message (prophēteia) when the body of elders laid their hands on you” (1 Timothy 4:14). Moreover, Paul continued to mentor his young colleague, “fan into flame the gift (charisma) of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Timothy 1:6). The practice of selecting and “ordaining” qualified elders, crucial to the success of the missionary churches, became a strategic step for Paul’s ministry team. Following the pattern of his first missionary journey (Acts 14:23), Paul commanded Titus, charged with setting the churches of Crete in order, “appoint elders in every town” (Titus 1:5). Timothy, likewise, had as a part of his ministry similar tasks in the appointment and supervision of elders (1 Timothy 5:17-22)

 

Biblical Qualifications of Pastor

The Bible specifically speaks about the qualifications for those who will lead a congregation of people. These qualifications have been the same for almost 2,000 years. Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of these qualifications as the “senior pastor” of the Church.

Rev Arcton on Air, Live at Aseda 105 FM, Takoradi City

Above Reproach

(Titus 1:671 Tim 3:2)

This is the overarching, summarizing characteristic. You will find similar (but not identical) lists in First Timothy and Titus. Living a life above reproach is the first requirement in both lists and Titus repeats it. The other items on the list explain what “above reproach” means. If we peruse the two lists, as well as First Peter, we find 17 qualifications of an elder who is above reproach.

  1. A pastor must be devoted to his wife; one-woman man (Titus 1:61 Tim 3:2). The pastor’s marriage illustrates Christ’s love for His church—His bride ( 5:22ff.). A Pastor must love his wife exclusively with his mind, will and emotions and not just his body.
  2. A pastor’s children must be in submission, though not perfect (Titus 1:61 Tim 3:4-5). If a man does not know how to manage his own family, he will not know how to take care of God’s church. The first flock for a pastor is his own family as Pastor Dad. A Pastor’s qualification for the church starts in his home management as he leads them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord ( 6:4).
  3. A pastor is a faithful steward (Titus 1:7). Here the term used is overseer (Greek episkopos). It is not another office, but a functional title of the elder. It is what he does. He is a steward, a manager of God’s resources and Jesus’ flock. He takes responsibility, but not ownership.
  4. A pastor must be humble — not arrogant (Titus 1:7). A pastor must constantly demonstrate the gospel by admitting when he is wrong and assuming responsibility and restoring relationships.
  5. A pastor must be gentle — not quick-tempered (Titus 1:71 Tim 3:3). No man will be of any use in the kingdom that is quick-tempered. The difference between how Jesus demonstrated anger is that He was angry at the abuse of others in the name of religion and the dishonoring of God. We get angry at how it affects us.
  6. A pastor must be sober — not a drunkard (Titus 1:71 Tim 3:3). This is not just overindulgence in alcohol but is idiomatic for any behavior that fuels addictive responses.
  7. A pastor must be peaceful — not violent (Titus 1:71 Tim 3:3). A pastor is prone to inflict violence through his words. He is to be a peacemaker.
  8. A pastor must have financial integrity — not greedy for gain (Titus 1:71 Tim 3:31 Peter 5:3). A pastor is to be upright in his financial dealings and not accused of pursuing money over the kingdom of God.
  9. A pastor must be hospitable (Titus 1:81 Tim 3:2). A pastor’s home is to be open for others to enjoy. A pastor’s home is not a heaven on earth, but rather a place of ministry.
  10. A pastor must be a lover of good (Titus 1:8). A pastor genuinely loves what is good. He does not just think he should love it.
  11. A pastor must be self-controlled (Titus 1:81 Tim 3:2). Self-control is a characterization of every area of a pastor’s life: diet, time, mouth, exercise, relationships, sex, and money.
  12. A pastor must be upright (Titus 1:8). He has integrity in his relationships and in how he treats others.
  13. A pastor must be holy (Titus 1:8). His life is devoted wholeheartedly to Jesus externally and internally.
  14. A pastor must be able to teach (Titus 1:91 Tim 3:2). All of the other qualifications are character qualities. This is the only ability-based requirement. He is to be able to teach sound doctrine, not just be able to communicate in an excellent manner. His teaching can be to one or two, to twenty, to a hundred or to a thousand. Most of the churches in Crete were house churches. The elders were to defend the faith once delivered to the saints against the numerous false teachers that arose.
  15. A pastor must be spiritually mature (1 Tim 3:6). Positions of authority without spiritual maturity lead to the trap of pride. When pride grows in a man, sin abounds.
  16. A pastor must be respectable (1 Tim 3:7). That does not mean that everyone must like him or even appreciate him. It means that there is no credible witness to an ongoing sinful behavior.
  17. A pastor must be an example to the flock (1 Peter 5:3). Elders are examples of biblical expressions sexually, time management, marriage, parenting, worship, relationships and any other way. A pastor should be someone your sons could pattern their life after and the kind of man your daughter should marry.

Conclusion

What would you do if an elder violates one of these requirements? 1 Timothy 5:19-20 warns us not to accuse an elder flippantly. Matthew 18:15-18 gives us the steps: 1) Go to the elder alone, 2) If still unsatisfied, go with another person, 3) If still unsatisfied, let the greater eldership know. If accusations are verified and the elder remains unrepentant, rebuking that elder before all is the next biblical step.

 

WOMEN IN MINISTRY

In the following article, we present Fuller Seminary’s position on women in ministry, as described and biblically supported by the late Professor of New Testament David M. Scholer.

This “Women in Ministry” article was adapted, with permission, from those authored by David M. Scholer for The Covenant Companion: December 1, 1983; December 15, 1983; January 1984; and February 1984 issues.

An Introduction

Women have contributed much to the ministry of the Church throughout its history. However, their role in this area has never been free from controversy. Today, most church bodies are discussing the place of women in their ministries. Crucial to these discussions for many of us are the matters of faithful biblical interpretation.

Perhaps a few words should be said about the concept of ministry itself on the basis of the New Testament. Today, we tend to confuse our specific church traditions about ordination with the biblical concept of ministry. The New Testament says relatively little about ordination. It clearly portrays, however, the fact that the early church had a varied and faithful ministry arising from the fact that all of God’s people were “gifted” by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of building up one another (see, for example, 1 Corinthians 12:4–31; 14:1–19; Romans 12:3–8; Ephesians 4:7–16; 1 Peter 4:8–11). Any person could exercise ministry (which means, remember, service) who was called and gifted by God and affirmed by the body of Christ, the Church. Some were set apart in leadership positions and some were assigned specific tasks to accomplish, but the differences among ministries were not distinctions of kind. Eventually, certain types of affirmation were combined with certain functions of ministry to produce our current understanding of ordination.

Modern debates over the ordination of women often miss the crucial and basic issues of the holistic concept of the ministry of the Church reflected in the New Testament. Of course, no person should be ordained or given any responsibilities of ministry within the Church because of gender or for the sake of a “point.” On the other hand, we have affirmed in the Church that no person, called and gifted by God, should be denied any role of ministry or leadership in the Church because of one’s gender.

The Basis in Creation

First, man (‘adam), a generic term meaning the “human person,” is created in God’s very own image (Genesis 1:26–27; 5:1–2). This creation in God’s image includes the identification of persons as male and female. This mutuality of women and men carries no suggestion of male headship or female submission.

Second, this mutuality is confirmed by the fact that both the man and the woman together, without distinction, are charged with responsibility for all of God’s creation (Genesis 1:26, 28). This equal partnership between man and woman is also present in the retelling of the creation story in Genesis 2. Here the man is found in need of a companion, but none of the creatures God has created qualify (Genesis 2:18–20). Thus, God differentiates man (‘adam) into man (‘ish) and woman (‘ishshah), persons of separate male and female gender identity. The point of such a provision of companionship is to relate the male and female persons as equals, indicated by the common designations (‘ish/’ishshah; the same word root) and the common identity of bone and flesh (Genesis 2:23). This is climaxed with the concept of mutuality expressed in the “one flesh” language (Genesis 2:24).

Some have interpreted Genesis 2:23, in which the man (‘ish) calls the “bones of my bones and flesh of my flesh” woman (‘ishshah), as an act of naming that demonstrates the headship or authority of man over woman. However, that type of naming does not occur until after the Fall when “Adam named his wife Eve”(Genesis 3:20).

Genesis 2 also indicates that the woman partner with the man will be an appropriate “helper” (Genesis 2:18). The word “helper” (‘ezer), when used of a person in the Old Testament, always refers to God (in 29 places) apart from one reference to David. The word “helper,” then, is not to be understood as an expression of submission and service to man; rather, the woman as helper serves God with man.

The woman and man sin together (Genesis 3:1–7). Although it does not show in English translations, the serpent addresses the woman with the plural “you.” Genesis 3:6 states that the woman “gave some [of the fruit] to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” The fact that the man was with her (a phrase sometimes omitted from English translations!) indicates that both partners are together involved in disobedience to God. This is also seen by the fact that it is after both ate that it is said: “Then the eyes of both of them were opened” (Genesis 3:7).

The statements of judgment for disobedience (Genesis 3:14–19) are descriptive ones of future realities, which involved a supremacy/subjection relationship between man and woman. These statements are not creation mandates; rather, the relationship of mutuality, partnership, and equality portrayed in Genesis 1:1–3:7 is now sadly marred by sin.

The Basis in Jesus’ Ministry

In the time of Jesus’s ministry, women were usually regarded as subordinate and inferior in virtually every area of life. They were to remain at home, to be good wives and mothers, and to take no part in public discourse or education. Josephus, a Jewish historian, said: “The woman, says the Law, is in all things inferior to the man. Let her accordingly be submissive.” It was also said: “Better is the wickedness of a man than a woman who does good” (Sirach).

Jesus, however, by his teaching and actions, affirmed the worth and value of women as persons to be included along with men within God’s love and service. Jesus challenged “sexual put-downs” of women. In Jesus’s setting, the prerogative of divorce belonged almost exclusively with men, and virtually any reason could be used to justify divorce. Jesus tolerated no such “male chauvinism.” He recalled the “one flesh” concept (Genesis 2:24) of mutual partnership and God’s intention for marriage (Matthew 19:3–9). Although women were held responsible, in Jesus’s time, for all sexual sin, Jesus rejected this “sexism” with his dramatic indictment of men: “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).

Jesus reached out to women who were rejected. In spite of the laws regarding uncleanness, Jesus allowed a woman with a twelve-year menstrual problem to touch him, and he commended her faith (Mark 5:25–34). Jesus permitted a sinful woman to anoint and kiss his feet (Luke 7:36–50). Jesus challenged religious leaders by saying: “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you” (Matthew 21:31). He also offered salvation directly to women who were known as adulteresses (John 4:4–42 and John 8:1–11).

In Jesus’s day responsible teachers were not to teach women. Nevertheless, Jesus taught women and included them in his group of committed disciples. He taught Mary of Bethany and commended her learning to her sister who was carrying out the traditional tasks (Luke 10:38–42). It was to the Samaritan woman that Jesus made his most explicit affirmation that he was the Messiah, and he shared with her his basic mission (John 4:4–42). According to Luke 8:1–3, many women were in Jesus’s band of traveling disciples. These same women were present at the crucifixion and burial and on resurrection morning (Luke 23:49, 55–56; 24:1).

Jesus affirmed the value of committed discipleship and obedience to God, even over the natural and valued role of mother: “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice” (Luke 8:21), and “Blessed [rather than his own mother] are those who hear the word of God and obey it” (Luke 11:28).

The women Jesus included became the proclaimers of Jesus as Savior and risen Lord. The Samaritan woman was responsible for evangelizing her town (John 4:39–42). All of the Gospels show that it was Jesus’s women disciples who were the first persons to declare the message of Jesus’s resurrection, central to the gospel in the early church.

Among Jesus’s disciples we know of seventeen men by name: the Twelve, Joseph Justus, and Matthias (Acts 1:23), Lazarus, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea. What is not so often noted is that we also know women by name from among his circle of devoted disciples: Mary the mother, Mary Magdalene, the “other” Mary, Mary of Bethany, Joanna, Susanna, and Salome.

Jesus’s inclusion of and ministry to and through women within his own life and teaching were a powerful witness to the early church of the partnership of women and men within its membership and ministry.

The Basis in the Early Church

Apart from documenting the widespread presence of women in the early church, the account in Acts presents us with three additional items of importance. First is the fact that when the Holy Spirit came in power and in fulfillment of God’s Word (Joel 2:28–32) both men and women were present (Acts 1–2). Peter interpreted the events of Pentecost to mean that the “last days” of God’s time had come and that God’s Spirit was poured out on both women and men enabling them to prophesy. This foundational role was significant in the early church (see Acts 21:8–9; 1 Corinthians 11:5). Throughout the history of the modern church, the events of Acts 2 have been one of the major arguments in favor of women in ministry.

Second, the involvement of women in the establishment of the Philippian church is noteworthy (Acts 16:11–40). Paul begins the church in Philippi, the leading city of its district, with a group of women gathered for prayer outside the city gate (Acts 16:13–15). The “place of prayer” here is probably to be understood as a synagogue. Clearly one of the leaders of this remarkable women’s synagogue was Lydia. She and her home became the center of the new Philippian church (Acts 16:14–15, 40). This data is very significant background for the two women of Philippi who worked with Paul in the gospel ministry (Philippians 4:2–3).

Third, Acts gives some indication of the importance of Priscilla (Acts 18:2,18, 26). She, along with her husband Aquila, instructed Apollos, who became a noted teacher in the church (Acts 18:26). There has always been debate over the significance of the fact that Priscilla taught Apollos at home rather than in the church, but it must be recognized that she did teach Apollos (see 1 Timothy 2:12).

The Basis in Paul

Galatians 3:28, like Acts 2, has been cited for hundreds of years as a basis for women in ministry. Detractors of women in ministry often argue that Galatians 3:28 refers only to the spiritual reality of equal access to God through faith in Christ Jesus. The text does refer to this, but it clearly encompasses other realities as well. There are three traditional pairings, and they reflect the three basic social divides of hostility within the first century AD in the Roman Empire. Paul’s declaration would have had no less actual social impact than an American preacher’s statement in the 1950s that “in Christ Jesus there is neither Black nor White” would have had.

Further, the conflict of Paul and Peter recorded in Galatians 2:11–14 demonstrated that the declaration of “neither Jew nor Greek” had social implications in the life of the church. Paul’s letter to Philemon has similar implications for “neither slave nor free” in asking Philemon to accept Onesimus as a dear brother in the Lord just like Paul (Philemon 15–17)! Paul’s declaration about male and female had implications, too, for the life of the church. The point is not the obliteration of God’s created differences between male and female, but that sexual differentiation does not determine the participation in Christ’s Church for persons created in the image of God.

Paul also notes the mutuality of men and women in Christ in two striking passages in 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 7:3–5 Paul makes it clear that sexual relations between a husband and wife are matters of mutuality and equality in respect and in rights. Such a position grew out of the love and inclusiveness of Christ and was directly counter to the prevailing Jewish and pagan opinion in the Roman Empire that the husband had all the sexual rights over his wife. In 1 Corinthians 11:11–12 Paul includes a strong and explicit assertion of the mutuality of men and women lest his discussion about head coverings be misunderstood as against women’s participation.

The discussion of head coverings for women in 1 Corinthians 11:2–16 clearly implies and assumes that women, as well as men, engage in prayer and prophecy (1 Corinthians 11:5). The participation in prophecy is the “highest” gift in the Church because it is the means of edification, encourage-ment, and comfort in the Church (1 Corinthians 14:3). Such edification is the purpose of the Church’s life together and constitutes, under the Holy Spirit, the exercise of authority and teaching in the Church. Thus, Paul concludes the first part of his discussion on head coverings (1 Corinthians 11:2–10) by stating that women ought to have authority on their heads. First Corinthians 11:10 is rarely translated accurately in English (most often one finds “a sign of authority” or “veil”), but Paul asserts that women have authority, using his normal word, which always means the active exercise of authority (and never the passive reception of it).

Paul’s letters also mention twelve women by name who were coworkers with him in the gospel ministry. This is the most often neglected evidence from the New Testament relevant to the participation of women in ministry.

Three women are known as leaders of house churches (the only type of church there was in the first century!): Chloe (1 Corinthians 1:11), Nympha (Colossians 4:15) and Apphia (Philemon 2). To this group we can add Lydia, a Pauline house church leader known from Acts 16.

Paul stated that four women—Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis (Romans 16:6, 12)—had worked very hard in the Lord. The Greek word translated “work very hard” was used very regularly by Paul to refer to the special work of the gospel ministry, including his own apostolic ministry (1 Corinthians 4:12; 15:10; Galatians 4:11; Philippians 2:16; Colossians 1:29; 1 Timothy 4:10; see also Acts 20:35) as well as the work of others in the ministry, leaders and persons of authority in each case (1 Corinthians 16:15–16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; 1 Timothy 5:17). Thus, for Paul, the term “work very hard” was not a casual term referring to menial tasks.

In Romans 16:3–4 Paul greeted Priscilla and Aquila. This husband and wife team is mentioned six times elsewhere in the New Testament. It is significant that Priscilla is usually mentioned first, since the cultural pattern would be to name the husband first. This may indicate that Priscilla was the more important or visible leader and may suggest that she had a higher social status and/or more wealth than Aquila. Paul indicated that he and all the Gentile churches were indebted to both of them. Paul designated Priscilla and her husband, Aquila, “fellow workers in Christ Jesus,” a term used regularly for other leaders in the gospel ministry: Urbanus (Romans 16:9), Timothy (Romans 16:21), Titus (2 Corinthians 8:23), Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25), Clement (Philippians 4:3), Philemon (Philemon 1), Demas and Luke (Philemon 24), Apollos and himself (1 Corinthians 3:9), and several others (Colossians 4:11).

In Philippians 4:2–3 Paul mentioned two women, Euodia and Syntyche, whom he also classed “along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers,” and noted that these two women fellow workers “contended at my side in the cause of the gospel,” an expression similar to the “worked very hard in the Lord” phrase applied to the four women noted in Romans 16. In view of Acts 16:11–40 it is not surprising that two such women leaders emerged in the Philippian church.

Phoebe, usually assumed to have been the one to deliver Paul’s letter to Rome, is warmly commended by Paul to the Roman church (Romans 16:1–2). Phoebe is designated as “a servant of the church in Cenchrea.” Although some have thought the word “servant” here means “deacon” (or “deaconess”), that is most unlikely since the other New Testament texts that refer to the office of deacon mention the office of bishop in immediate conjunction with it (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8, 12). Paul regularly used this term “servant” to refer to persons clearly understood to be ministers of the gospel: Christ (Romans 15:8), Apollos (1 Corinthians 3:5), Epaphras (Colossians 1:7), Timothy (1 Timothy 4:6), Tychicus (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7), himself (1 Corinthians 3:5; Ephesians 3:7; Colossians 1:23, 25), and generally (2 Corinthians 3:6; 6:4; 11:15, 23). Thus, Phoebe should be understood as well as the minister (leader/preacher/teacher) of the church in Cenchrea.

Paul identified Andronicus and Junias as “outstanding among the apostles” (Romans 16:7), an expression that includes them within the apostolic circle. Junias is a male name in English translations, but there is no evidence that such a male name existed in the first century AD. Junia, a female name, was common, however. The Greek grammar of the sentence in Romans 16:7 means that the male and female forms of this name would be spelled identically. Thus, one has to decide—on the basis of other evidence—whether this person is a woman (Junia) or a man (Junias). Since Junia is the name attested in the first century and since the great church father and commentator on Paul in the fourth century, John Chrysostom (no friend of women in ministry), understood the reference to be a woman Junia, we ought to read it that way as well. In fact, it was not until the thirteenth century that she was changed to Junias!

These thirteen women surveyed here (Lydia, Chloe, Nympha, Apphia, Mary, Persis, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Priscilla, Euodia, Syntyche, Phoebe, and Junia) provide clear evidence from Paul that women did participate in the gospel ministry, as did men. Paul’s common terminology made no distinctions in roles or functions between men and women in ministry.

1 Corinthians 14:34–35

It should be recalled that Paul has already indicated in this letter—1 Corinthians—that women did participate in prayer and prophecy with the authority in the church (1 Corinthians 11:5, 10; 14:3–5). This fact alone shows that 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 cannot be a general, absolute, and timeless prohibition on women speaking in church.

It was common at one time to “dismiss” the evidence of 1 Corinthians 11:5, 10 (and a few would still argue this position). It was suggested that 1 Corinthians 11:2–16 did not refer to a meeting of the church but only to a private non-church gathering. The whole context of 1 Corinthians 11:2–14:40, the argument of 1 Corinthians 11:16, and the parallel between 1 Corinthians 11:2 and 11:17 make such an idea most untenable. Some have even suggested that 1 Corinthians 11:5 was only hypothetical, but such an approach is clearly an argument of desperation.

The silence enjoined in 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 must be a specific, limited silence. Numerous suggestions have been offered, but only the major alternatives can be reviewed here (some scholars, with slight evidence, have also suggested either that 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 was not written by Paul but was inserted by a copyist or that it is a question from Paul’s opponents in Corinth which Paul denounces in 1 Corinthians 14:36). One view is that the speaking prohibited here is mere babbling. There is, however, nothing specific in the context to support this meaning of “speak,” and such nonsense would certainly have been prohibited to all persons in the worship Paul described. Another view suggests that the speaking prohibited is speaking in tongues (glossolalia) since that is frequently mentioned in the preceding context (1 Corinthians 14). However, glossolalia is always referred to as “tongues” or “speaking in tongues” and never simply as speaking.

Probably the most popular view today among those who oppose women speaking with authority in the church is to identify the speaking prohibited with the judgment of the prophets mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14:29. Thus, it is argued that women may prophesy (1 Corinthians 11:5) but may not judge or evaluate prophecy. The evaluation of prophecy is seen as the truly authoritative level of speech in the church from which women are to be excluded.

This view has two major difficulties. First, the word “speak” in 1 Corinthians 14:34 has no implication within the word itself or in its immediate context (14:34–35) to support identifying it with the concept of prophetic evaluation. Second, the idea of two levels of speech in the church—prophecy and the judgment of prophecy—with the understanding that one is higher than the other and is for men only has no clear or implied support elsewhere in Paul. In fact, Paul’s own definition and defense of prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:1–25) implies directly that prophecy itself is authoritative speech of the highest level in the church.

The view that seems best to me is to understand the speaking prohibited here to women to refer only to disruptive questions that wives (usually uneducated in the culture of Paul’s time) were asking their husbands. This corresponds precisely with the resolution Paul offers (1 Corinthians 14:35): “if they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home. .  .  .” Such disruptive questioning was also considered a disgrace in Paul’s day in which it was widely believed that it was morally indiscreet for any wife to say anything on any subject in public. This view of disruptive questioning also fits well the specific context (1 Corinthians 14:26–40) in which Paul is concerned about appropriateness and order, which permit genuine edification (note that 1 Corinthians 14:26 expects everyone to participate). Thus, there are actually three injunctions to silence (1 Corinthians 14:28, 30, 34), although many Bible translations use “silent” only in 1 Corinthians 14:34.

1 Timothy 2:8–15

First Timothy 2:8–15 is the paragraph in the New Testament that provides the injunctions (2:11–12) most often cited as conclusive by those who oppose preaching, teaching, and leadership ministries for women in the church. It is inappropriate, however, to isolate verses 11–12 from the immediate context of 1 Timothy 2:8–15. If any of the paragraph is perceived as culturally bound (as 2:8–10 often is) or as especially difficult in terms of Pauline theology (as 2:15 often is), it must be realized that these same issues must be confronted in understanding 2:11–14.

It should also be observed that 1 Timothy 2:11–12 is a general prohibition on teaching and authority exercised by women. It is not directed to only a certain level of persons (such as “ordained” in distinction from “non-ordained” or “pastors” as distinct from “missionaries”). Further, it is not limited to only certain styles of teaching (“preaching” as distinct from “sharing,” seminary teaching, or writing theological books). In other words, if 1 Timothy 2:11–12 were a transcultural, absolute prohibition on women teaching and exercising authority in the church, then it prohibits all such activity.

The word in verses 11 and 12 often translated as “in quietness” (11) and “silent” (12) is identical in Greek. The same term is used by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 3:12, which the NIV translates as “settle down.” The point is that this term, which is often assumed to mean only “verbal silence,” is better understood as an indication of proper order or acceptance of normal practice. The term translated “to have authority” (authentein) occurs only here in the New Testament and was rarely used in the Greek language. It is not the usual word for positive, active authority. Rather, it is a negative term, which refers to the usurpation and abuse of authority. Thus, the prohibition (2:11–12) is against some abusive activity, but not against the appropriate exercise of teaching and authority in the church. The clue to the abuse implied is found within the heretical activity outlined in 1–2 Timothy. The heretics evidently had a deviant approach to sexuality (1 Timothy 4:3; 5:11–15) and a particular focus on deluding women, who were generally uneducated (2 Timothy 3:6–7).

The injunctions are supported with selective Genesis arguments (1 Timothy 2:13–14), using Genesis 2 rather than Genesis 1 (2:13) and the fact of Eve’s deception (2:14, see the use of this in 2 Corinthians 11:3 for male heretics). The function of the Genesis argument is parallel to its use in 1 Corinthians 11:7–9 where it is employed to argue that women must have their heads covered in prayer and prophecy. In both cases scriptural argument is employed to buttress a localized, limited instruction. The concluding word of hope for women (1 Timothy 2:15) is an affirmation of the role of bearing and nurturing children, a role considered as the only appropriate one by many in the culture who believed women incapable of other roles as well. This conclusion (2:15) is parallel in thrust to 1 Timothy 5:3–16 and Titus 2:3–5, both of which are concerned with specific cultural expectations.

Consistency and Balance

Two broad and basic issues of responsible biblical interpretation should concern us in this, indeed, in any issue—balance and consistency. In terms of balance, it is the total witness of Scripture that must inform our thought and action. In terms of consistency, it is crucial to approach our understanding of all biblical texts in the same way in order to offset as much as possible our blind spots and biases.

Opposition to women in ministry has often been mounted virtually on the basis of one Pauline text—1 Timothy 2:11–12. Whatever that difficult text and context means, it must be put in balance with all other biblical texts that bear on the same issue. This shows, in my judgment, that the 1 Timothy text does, in fact, speak to a limited situation.

Further, in regard to balance, one must struggle with starting points. For example, on the matter of “eternal security” of believers, does one read Hebrews 6:4–6 “through” Romans 8:28–39, or should the Romans text be read “through” the one from Hebrews? It has often been assumed without question that 1 Timothy 2:11–12 is the “control” (i.e., authoritative) text through which all other New Testament data on women in ministry must be challenged. It is more plausible, in my judgment, to approach 1 Timothy 2:8–15 through the accumulated witness of all the other Pauline passages on women in the church.

Consistency in interpretation is notoriously difficult. Yet, to push it here may help considerably in the attempt “to hear” the Scriptures. Why is it that so many persons insist that 1 Timothy 2:11–12 is a transcultural, absolutely normative text, but at the same time do not approach other texts in 1 Timothy with the same passion? Pressed in the same way, 1 Timothy 3:2 would rule out all single men from ministry, and 1 Timothy 5:3–16 would require churches to establish “orders of widows” for those sixty and older and would require that all widows fifty-nine and under remarry for the reasons of their sensual desires and idleness.

Most of us do not literally exchange the kiss of peace or holy kiss even though the New Testament commands it five times (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14). Most of us do not consider foot washing a necessity even though Jesus explicitly commanded it (John 13:14–15). Obviously, our inherited tradition and/or our sense of the cultural contexts of certain texts strongly inform our interpretations.

Finally, consistency and balance mean that we cannot impose on texts understandings that are not there. We cannot devalue the authority Jesus gave to his followers or the authority of prophecy in the Corinthian church just because they do not have the same structural pattern as that of 1 Timothy. We cannot divide the injunction of 1 Timothy 2:11–12 into two levels of authority imposed from our context so that women can be included in some activities but excluded from the “highest” levels.

In conclusion, it is my deepest conviction that the full evidence of Scripture and an understanding of balance and consistency in interpretation mean that we must rethink some of our traditions and reaffirm with clarity and conviction the biblical basis for the full participation of women in the ministries of the church. The underlying biblical theology of a “new creation in Christ” in which there is “neither male and female” is a powerful affirmation of the commitment to equality in the gospel, the Church, and all of its ministries. Jesus’s inclusion of women among his disciples and witnesses, the coming of the Holy Spirit on both sons and daughters, and Paul’s inclusion of women in his circles of coworkers in the ministry all affirm the full and equal participation of both women and men in all the ministries of the gospel.

The Whirlwind

The Whirlwind

 

“Well shoot, this has been harder than I thought.” Some people call it Church Planting, but many pastors and leaders I have talked to that have gone through the process, would more affectionately dub it as the “whirlwind.”  It’s the wild journey you go through on the way to fulfilling that beautiful dream that God has so wonderfully sowed deep inside your heart. It’s the building of a web site, opening bank accounts, buying equipment, constantly asking for money, dealing with school administrations, etc.… you know all the fun stuff. The truth is, it’s a lot to think about and at some point in the journey it is inevitable to feel tired, weary, and discouraged. The whirlwind of the ten thousand little things you need to think on and execute in planting can truly take your breath away. And it will continue to take your breath away until the moment you remember, “How did I get here and why did I do this?”

For many of us who have planted, we can think back on the days when we were at our previous job, in an office somewhere, day dreaming about the prospects of actually taking the plunge and starting this church. It was so beautiful in your head wasn’t it. We could see crowds coming every Sunday, our friends leading in new ways, people far from God meeting Jesus as we finally started the church “that we can invite our friends to.” I don’t know about you but I didn’t really dream about fundraising. I mean maybe it’s just me but I didn’t really dream about setting up and tearing down every Sunday, while figuring out where to store that 25 foot trailer every week (that I don’t even know how to pull myself). I didn’t long for the days to see my friends in ministry that I never thought would leave, leave. I didn’t think about the family members I knew would say yes to supporting us financially, say no. I never really considered that there would be members at our previous church that wouldn’t want to speak to us again because we left them. I mean I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t think I would have days where I would actually doubt what I was doing. What happened? The whirlwind happened.

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At the end of Mark 4, Jesus has a great idea for the disciples, “Let’s get into the boat and cross over to the other side of the lake” (Mark 4:35). It seemed like they were about to embark on yet another exhilarating adventure with Jesus, except what was to come next was something they clearly weren’t ready for. The Bible says that as they set out on the lake, a fierce wind storm came and began to fill the boat with water. Oh and Jesus was asleep.“What’s happening?” The disciples must have thought. “I signed up to get to the other side of this lake to see Jesus perform more miracles, but I didn’t sign up for this! And Jesus is taking a nap! Does he care at all?” It must have been easy for the disciples to dream about what was to come on the other side of the lake with Jesus, but they were not ready for the whirlwind on the way.

It would be easy to think the devil threw the storm on the lake to stop Jesus and the disciples from getting to the other side. That’s probably true. But because Jesus is all-knowing, to think He did not know what He was leading his friends into would not be true. Jesus is using the storm to reveal something. You see what we discover in the story is that the whirlwind is necessary because it shows us, just like it did to the disciples, exactly where our faith is. It brings us to the end of ourselves and asks us, “Now what? Are you going to keep going or give up? Will you choose to let your doubt dominate your faith?” We need the whirlwind, because it is in the middle of it where we see, first hand, our faith crumble or solidify.

What’s interesting is what was awaiting the disciples on the other side of that lake. The well-known story of the “demoniac” is what Mark 5 brings us. It is the most detailed account of a demon-possessed man being set free in all of the Bible. But don’t you know what came before was also the most detailed story of both a wind storm and Jesus sleeping in all the Bible. What does that mean for us? Jesus is in our whirlwind. When we are worried, he is not worried at all. What’s on the other side of the whirlwind is the most significant ministry that God will do through you. And the journey there, it’s not punishment, but preparation. As leaders, we trust God, but the question is, can God trust you? You prove that to Him by how you act, respond, and believe in the midst of the whirlwind.

 

Prayer

“Father thank you for the whirlwind. It wasn’t the most fun part of this journey, but it prepared me the most and reminded me of your steadfast love the most because you were right there the whole time. Thank you for being in every storm. You are always faithful, and because of that, I know there is no whirlwind that can keep me from where you are taking me.”

— Love your Son, Weston

Revive Church

The story of NW Independence and Van Horn is a comeback story like no other. In 2008 Van Horn, along with four other schools were annexed into the Independence school district from KC. Van Horn, at the time was one of the worst-performing schools in all of the metro. Independence has been known as the “meth” capital and a place too far gone to save until about 2008. The school sparked enough good in the neighborhood to get things rolling. Several other organizations came into the city about the same time to help this revitalization effort.

In 2013, I got the “bug” to pursue church planting. I was living in Wichita Kansas, working as a youth pastor at a large church and living in a neighborhood that many had moved out and away from because of crime concerns. My wife Krystin was working in the medical field and we had a 2-year-old daughter, Nora.  We were learning a lot to prepare us for what God had next. I was learning a lot of healthy church structures from my role in youth ministry and learning how to create community and relationships on my block at the same time. I prayed for God to combine these lessons into one mission. I had been watching a church plant in KC from a distance, a friend of mine moved there about five years before to plant a unique church that partnered with the city and served the needs of the neighborhood. So, we took a big jump, sold our house, raised money, signed up with a church planting organization and moved to KC to do a residency with a 5-year-old church plant.

Once we moved, we found ourselves in a strange land and season in life. Everything was new, loose and we felt like a drop in a bucket of effecting change. My role was to meet some ministerial needs at the church I served but mainly to drive around the city, network, pray and eventually figure out where we would land and plant this church. We quickly ran into the story of Van Horn High School in Independence Missouri, an urban-type suburb (I know that’s unique) right outside of KC. The coolest things happened, I ended up in the principal’s office (this time for good) at Van Horn pitching this idea of planting a church in the school. What I learned later was this principal and his wife had been praying for a ministry to come to the school/neighborhood.  This same couple are leaders in our church to this day. Here’s a lesson, God assembles His team to accomplish His plan.

In 2014, the plan to Revive the city was underway, we became the church “spoke” on the hub of betterment for the city.  We named our church Revive because it fit the movement of the neighborhood. Our tagline is Bringing New Life to The Neighborhood. Which comes from John 11, where Jesus brings Lazarus back to life, we can easily see Jesus brings the new life and we participate. We met at Van Horn for 2.5 years then moved right across the street into a building of our own. We are great friends and advocates for the school district, the city and the close by neighborhoods we serve. God has been faithful to keep us focused on the mission. He put in our heart’s years back. Since launch, we have baptized 47 people in the name and power of Jesus, started several community efforts and seen families change from the inside out as they find this “new life” we often speak of.

What impact have you seen in your city/community?

When you partner well and advocate for those you serve, the wins are vast and celebrated by many outside of just the church. We have seen the negative reputation of our city change, and new families move in, churches partner well for the betterment efforts and the enemy lose more and more ground.

What are you trusting God for in the future?

We have a passion and plan to plant another church in the city directly south of us with a similar story over the next 2-3 years. We are convinced that what God is doing in us at Revive could be done again and again; it’s reproducible!

Follow along with Revive Church: www.gorevivechurch.com