Twice a year leadership meetings are convened to assemble the collaborators of the apostolic overseer of Gospel of Christ Ministries, all over the nation in order to provide direction for the work of God. This time around, the first leadership convention spanned two days, that is, February 6-7, 2015 at the GCM headquarters auditorium in Douala.
The man of God, Dr. Shawn Smith, dispensed vital truths in ministry under two themes: “Stay the Course”, and “Excellence of Attitude”. Dr. Shawn introduced the convention by describing ministry as a place of authority, and because it is a place of authority, it is equally a place of responsibility. He defined our responsibility as simply our response to His ability in us. Our union with Christ is the sum of the gospel and we share that which pertains to the Son of God to the point that ministry is the participation of each and every believer in the present day ministry of Jesus Christ.
The kingdom of God is a very real government, and because it is so, responsibilities are carried out in a manner where authority is acknowledged. During the first session, Dr. Shawn expounded on what we must acknowledge as ministry if we are to be excellent and efficient.
The majority of people claim to be under grace, but when it comes to their responsibilities as collaborators, they are still serving God under the law. Service under the law seeks for recognition and ways to outperform others and when this is not attained, the quality of their service diminishes. The law makes life perishable and is antagonistic to the new law of life and has given place to the new nature governed by the Father.
The gene of God is Jesus Christ and through our union with Him we are governed by the nature of God, as such if you are not excellent in whatever task is apportioned to you, it means you are still participating in the law which makes life perishable. To serve by law means your service is in vain (I Corinthians 15:58). The only manner of service which is not after the law is serving as a result of having your heart motivated by grace because of love – the labour of love (Hebrews 6:10).
Exegeting I Corinthians 15:53-58, Dr. Shawn explained that what Paul calls immortality is beyond living without dying in the body. The New Testament word for immortality is the same word used for sincerity. To serve God sincerely means to serve with immortality, to serve with His nature governing us.
Extracting a key Greek word from the above passage “ametakinetos”, which means, “unmoveable”, Dr. Shawn penetrated the mind of Paul who is asking us to “stay the course”. This metaphorical expression proceeds from the nautical world and refers to travelling in a straight line. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. A ship is used to sail the seas and oceans. A ship or boat is a type of ministry and the sea is a type of the world. It takes a crew to travel on sea. The ship has a crew where everyone is at their post with a designated responsibility for the furtherance of the ship.
The phrase stay the course was used to speak of being unmoveable. This also refers to no one changing or modifying instructions which have been previously given. Stay the course means the line that has been traced by the admiral should be kept no matter the weather conditions or adversity that lies ahead. Dr. Shawn illustrated the significance of this expression from Acts 11:16 (moving or travelling in a straight course) and Acts 21:1. If you are navigating a vessel and you change the course by a slight degree, you will not arrive at your destination because there are no external landmarks for you to know you are on course.
The second part of the seminar, titled “Excellence of Attitude” was consecrated to attitude. He recalled the power of association, citing Paul and our Lord Jesus Christ, stating that it is in true association and proximity that ministry (ministerial training) is made.
Dr. Shawn visited what the Apostle Paul said about excellence in Philippians 3:6-14, bringing out Paul’s attitude of excellence. He cited the examples of saints who preceded us, whom had they not pursued excellence we would have not benefitted of their heritage. He exhorted all to contemplate on what they are doing at a personal level for the furtherance of the gospel. This is a major issue because it revolves around the issue of excellence. One of the characteristics of an authentic call of God is what you give up to pursue the call. In Paul’s case he had everything up and running for him and had nothing to gain. The gospel gives you new priorities and pursuits.
Dr. Shawn insisted that resting in the grace of God doesn’t mean we become complacent.
Paul who was personally taught by Jesus Christ for over three years understood that there is more, that there is a higher calling beyond what he has experienced and known, and was still pressing forward to go above and beyond, for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He never sat back and take an attitude that he had arrived. Paul was predisposed to spend or give anything up for the sake of Christ because in his mind he didn’t take on the attitude of entitlement. Whatever thing we receive in grace should be counted as loss, meaning that we can part with it at any time without being affected, because whatever is given to us is given to equip us, to enable us to take the gospel forward. We idolise the blessings of God and make them what they ought not to be.
The most valuable, non-material asset that the Godhead possesses is His glory. But many people cannot value His glory because they do not have the concept of value beyond the material. It is the non-material that gives value to the material. Paul understood the place of all things, and in comparison to Christ, material things are dung. To experientially profit of all that is in Jesus Christ, the comparison of Christ to other things should make every other thing look like dung. But some people are so carried away by gold that they cannot see the face of Christ.
Dr. Shawn equally defined excellence as the quality of being above and beyond, he defined what is attitude and identified three spheres of excellence of attitude. Excellence is not an accident, and there’s no excellence without pursuit. Mediocrity says, “this is my best, if you don’t want it, leave it”. Dr. Shawn made the startling declaration that, as a minister who has ministered the gospel for over a decade, he has realised that people do not even know how to live as human beings not to speak of living as saints. They live without priorities or without even knowing why they are alive.
There’s nothing that is more unique and that can make one stand out more than an excellence of attitude. Aptitude has a very low percentage of how far one can go in life. Aptitude can take you somewhere, but attitude will keep you there. Sadly people spend the majority of their life perfecting their attitude, yet there are many who are qualified in particular fields and their services are not requested as a result of their attitude. The wrong attitude, such as bitterness or pride, can deprive one of grace.
To God attitude speaks louder than actions; it’s not just what you do but it’s the attitude with which you do it. Excellence is directly linked to one’s attitude in life.
There’s no excellence without a transformation of attitude. The right attitude builds honour. Dr. Shawn also went through the three spheres where excellence of attitude is seen: our approach towards life and ministry, our relationships towards others, and submission to authority. By the grace of God we will cultivate an excellence of attitude for the rising of the glorious church.
What the Lord Jesus Christ saved us for is greater than what He saved us from. The believer in Christ is separated from and separated unto. Every believer is a saint and every saint is a minister. The believer in Christ Jesus participates in the present day ministry of Jesus Christ: the ministry of reconciliation. The ministry of reconciliation is the primary focus of the gospel. The furtherance of the Gospel is the affair of every believer. Evangelism then is the affair of every believer, and as a minister of Jesus Christ, the believer must be prepared and ready to minister the gospel of peace to his sphere of influence.
It is with this understanding that from 30-31 January 2015, Drs Shawn and Annie Smith co-hosted an unprecedented national School of Evangelism at Gospel of Christ Ministries. The school was announced to equip saints on how to communicate the Lordship of His love to their various spheres of influence; how to share Christ in their day to day conversations, and how to pray for someone the Lord wants us to focus on till they believe.
Defining the Ekklesia as those who have perceived the call that has been extended to them in the Gospel, Dr. Shawn Smith summarised the role of the Ekklesia of Jesus Christ as that of bringing the world to the knowledge of their inclusion in Jesus Christ, which in essence is participation in the present day ministry of Jesus Christ.
During the first session of the school, titled, “Necessity is Laid Upon Me”, Dr. Shawn addressed the erroneous view that believers have of themselves which presupposes that the world revolves around them, explaining that it is this attitude that stands in the way of all the purposes of God. As such, there’s an “I” that you call “I” which is not you because it is not like Christ, and it is that “I” which stands in the way of all the purposes of God. Dr. Shawn inquired from his audience when was the last time they prayed for someone who has not yet been reached by the Gospel. He indicated that if the Gospel has not affected someone in your sphere of influence then it has not yet affected you.
Dr. Shawn equally indicated, citing reliable sources, that ninety eight percent (98%) of evangelism is done by only two percent (2%) of Christianity. Only these group of Christians are actively involved in sharing their faith and their witness of Jesus. Teaching from I Corinthians 9:16-17, Dr. Shawn insisted that evangelism is not to be seen as an obligation or a duty that we must perform. Exegeting the famous but most oft misinterpreted phrase, “for necessity is laid upon me…”, Dr. Shawn expounded its contextual significance to mean the following: the Gospel which we have received is that which is essential and indispensable for life to every human being and it is only the Gospel which can reveal to mankind why we are here on Earth, as such, what manner of men and women will we be if we keep the Gospel to ourselves and deny the world that which is essential and indispensable for their life? The analogy is like that of a woman who delivers a child and abandons the child in the streets. Dr. Shawn explained that the only way this is possible is as a result of selfishness, and there’s none that can be used of God except they step beyond the “I” that they call “I” which is not them because it is not like Christ. Dr. Shawn concluded the first session by indicating that the lifestyle of a minister flows from the realisation of necessity being laid upon them.
On the second day of the school, the focus was on communication; that is communicating the love of Christ, Dr. Annie Smith’s domain of predilection. The woman of God, the co-apostolic overseer of Gospel of Christ Ministries, was presented by Dr. Shawn, and in a concise power point presentation, she dispensed the tools of communication requisite in the domain of evangelism. She underscored the prime importance of the reputation of the evangelist, the overflow of the love of God through him seen in his genuine care and concern for others which all affect his credibility, the minister’s ability to socially integrate his sphere of influence, how he communes with people, and representation. She reiterated the vital truth that the world has not rejected Christ, but has rejected the Christ portrayed by the church.
Dr. Annie Smith also highlighted the prime importance of authority which is all onlookers seeing Christ, to whom we are submitted, when they look at us. Dr. Annie discussed the common pitfalls and barriers to communication in the domain of evangelism such as ministrations which leave wrong impressions and builds barriers or those which do not have as their focus the unconditional acceptance of the Father. She noted that preparation is crucial for effective evangelism in the form of prayer, stirring up one’s spirit and preparing in the word. In this light she explained the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time Bound) objectives approach from a completely spiritual perspective as a way of evangelising. She concluded her insightful and practical session by underscoring how essential and vital a tool listening is in the domain of evangelism.
At the close of the school, as Dr. Shawn drew the attention of the saints to the fact that Christianity was under attack, he underlined the role of the church to make every man see another portrait of Jesus Christ. He concluded by announcing a ministerial training project to raise seventy (70) evangelists who are going to go out on a weekly basis. These will be trained in the framework of another school of evangelism to be scheduled and announced in due time.
For this purpose, Dr. Shawn has authored two (02) tracts titled, “The Word Became Flesh” and “A Message from the Son of God”. The former explains the significance of the incarnation and the identity of Jesus Christ, while the latter is an extraction of different New Testament passages put in the form of a personal address from Jesus Christ. Both tracts are available in English and in French and more than ten thousand (10,000) tracts have been printed for distribution in the course of February 2015.
Dr. Shawn plans to write more tracts in the course of the year for distribution in these evangelism campaigns.
A new episode in salvation history has dawned upon the world. Abba, Father!
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