Truths that shaped the ministry and direction of Gospel Outreach
To achieve this purpose, our vision focuses on three main areas:
1. To become more like Jesus through personal discipleship. This includes building a vital relationship with the Lord through prayer and worship, through study of the scriptures, and a wholesome relationship to a part of His church. "For who he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Romans 8:29).
2. To preach the Gospel throughout the earth by whatever means that lie within our reach, including personal outreach in our workplace and communities, following God's call into other nations as missionaries, and investing of our time and material resources in helping to fulfill the Great Commission. "Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the Ages. Amen." (Mathew 28:19-20).
3. To promote unity among the Body of Christ, recognizing that He has placed each believer in the body with great diversity of abilities, gifts, strengths and weaknesses, and perspectives and understandings of the scriptures themselves. The context of our relationship with other Christians should be one of "endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:3-6). "That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me." (John 17:21).
2. What is "Apostolic Foundation" ?
Jesus is the foundation. 1 Cor 3:10; Mt 16:18 Jesus is the foundation when His word is obeyed and practiced. Mt 7:24 Believing is not enough.
Some important premises:
The concept of "practice the Word" builds in us a deep knowledge of our personal responsibility in life and confronts the destructive and all-too-common tendency to blame-shift.
Out of "practice the Word" came an introduction to discipleship. Lk 6:40; 14:26,27,33 Some of the implications of discipleship: Jesus as Lord, not just Savior. Putting God's will first. Obedience to God's Word. Accountability. Jesus is the Master. We are all His disciples. There is no hierarchy. We are all brothers. Mt 23:8
The foundation of Jesus Christ -- and His Word obeyed -- is laid by the apostolic-prophetic ministry. This introduced the concept of the equipping ministries and the equipping mandate. Just being good and going to church was not enough. The believer must be a vital, living and giving member of the body of Christ. This means becoming equipped. Eph 2:20; Eph 4:12
Some implications, on the individual level, of equipping:
3. Purpose and Vision: "What Should I Do With My Life?"
"Practice the Word" naturally leads to "purpose and vision" because it causes us to say not only: "How am I to handle each and every situation in life God's way?" but: "What am I to do with my whole life?"
What is purpose and vision?
Purpose is simply the conclusion that we exist to glorify God, to exalt Jesus in this life, and to enjoy His presence forever. Rom 15:6; 11:36; Ps 145:11,12; 105:1; 113:3,4; 1 Cor 6:20; 10:31; Phil 3:12; 1 Thess 4:1; 2 Thess 1:12; Col 1:17,18; 3:17;
This purpose finds immediate direction in what we call God's vision, which has three primary aspects:
Out of purpose and vision comes:
Living to accomplish what God wants. Purpose and vision gives a framework within which to make decisions about the direction of our lives. Discipleship implies wholeheartedness and dedication. Purpose and vision directs the dedication.
The basic concept flowed from the second aspect of the vision, the unity of the body of Christ. God is a covenant-making, covenant-keeping God. Made in His image, we are designed to be a covenant-making, covenant-keeping people, and thus glorify His name. 1 Cor 12-14; Eph 4:1-6; Eph 4:25-5:2; 5:21; Col 3:12-14
Acts 14:23; 15; 16:4,5; 20:25-31; 1 Cor 16:16; 1 Ti 5:17; Tit 1:5-9; Heb 13:7,17; 1 Pe 5:1 The New Testament model for church government and authority incluses an eldership, with a presiding elder, governing the local church. Apostolic authority oversees the eldership of the churches. We also recognize that within a sphere of ministry (2 Cor 10:13) there is one apostle in general oversight, with apostolic authority delegated as needed. Equipping ministers operate under apostolic direction to equip the saints in all the churches. Eph 4:1-16
Our understanding of spiritual authority yielded some important principles:
4. Spiritual Identity: What Do I Believe About Myself?
Purpose and vision provokes a crisis. It challenges personal priorities by bringing them into a bigger framework than just: "What fulfills me personally?" It causes us to give our gifts to God's work. Ultimately, it causes us to "go" and do something, thus exposing us to the unknown and the risk of failure. This forces upon us the question: "Who am I?" This, I would say, is the single greatest battleground of ministry: spiritual identity.
We believe that God's gifts and grace are in every saint. This yielded our understanding of "dreams and visions". Whatever apparent problems, failures, sin, weakness or lack, God, through your obedience to His Word, is able to transform you into a mighty man of God. Equipping is designed to bring out in each saint the fullest understanding of their identity in Christ."
The teaching of identity in Christ brought out the importance of the principles of faith or what we often called "believe, confess and act".
Believe: Implies knowing God's Word and being saturated with it. Also, meditating on the Word. Josh 1:6-9; Ps 1; 119; Mk 11:24; Phil 4:8
Confess: Don't speak your fears and your feelings. Speak the Word. This led to "Training Your Soul", with the basic concept that I am spirit, with a soul and body; that I can speak to my soul, train it and expect it to comply. Ps 118:24; Pr 15:28; 16:23; 18:21; Mt 10:32; Rom 4:17; 10:10
Act: Faith requires action. Step out in faith. Do the Word. Show your faith by your deeds. Mt 7:21-27; Jas 2:17
Each of these teachings had a strong emphasis among us, and helped to shape the core values that are now embedded in the "culture" of Gospel Outreach. It is critical to our future, if we are to fulfill the work for which God has designed us, that we understand, strengthen and pass on to faithful men these distinctives. Ps 78:1-7; 2 Tim 2:2