Every week we meet for house church at people’s houses. Every house church follows the same format using the acronym H.O.U.S.E.
H (Huddle together over a meal)
O (Open hearts through ice breaker and praise)
U (Understand God’s Word)
S (Share our lives with each other)
E (Energized through vision and prayer)
Every member of a house church has at least one ministry that he/she does. Some ministries can be done by anyone whether a person is a Christ-follower or not. However, there are some that must be done only by Christ-followers. For example, anyone can host, lead ice breaker or organize social events. But only members of New Life can lead praise (picking out songs to sing is different from leading praise), conduct Bible study, facilitate sharing and prayer time, correspond with missionaries or serve as a shepherd.
Out of all these ministries, shepherding is the one that requires the most commitment and sacrifice. Hence, it is natural for us to have a higher standard and requirement for shepherds.
There are two different kinds of shepherds: full-fledged shepherd and deputy shepherd. Full-fledged shepherds are required to complete all the core classes New Life offers, while deputy shepherds are required to complete only a subset of the core classes.
What are the core classes New Life offers at this moment? They are 101 through 401 (4 weeks each), Living Life Bible Study (13 weeks), Transforming Life Bible Study (13 weeks), Experiencing God (13 weeks), Beginning the Journey (5 weeks one-on-one) and The Arrival Kit (11 weeks one-on-one). Then, what are the minimum required classes that deputy shepherds must finish before they can start serving as such? They are 101, 201, Living Life Bible Study, Beginning the Journey and The Arrival Kit.
Why do we have this minimum requirement even for deputy shepherds? In order for a person to be able to serve as a shepherd, he must be a member of New Life. Therefore, he needs to take 101. Shepherds must have an unshakeable assurance of salvation and a strong theological foundation. Therefore, he must take Living Life Bible Study. Shepherds must know four of the most foundational spiritual disciplines in the life of all Christ-followers and practice them regularly to grow and set an example for others to follow. Therefore, Class 201 is absolutely necessary. Shepherds often need to spend time with his members to help them with their spiritual walk. Therefore, one-on-one Bible studies such as Beginning the Journey and The Arrival Kit are very much needed.
This minimum requirement for the deputy shepherds will also apply to JCS core teachers and youth shepherds since the nature of these ministries is very similar to each other, shepherding human souls. And I would like for all of you who are part of these ministries to complete this minimum requirement by the end of 2011. One year is plenty of time to complete these classes that you are lacking to serve as a deputy shepherd, JCS core teacher or youth shepherd, since many of you have already taken several of them.
Unless you humble yourself and take these classes that church offers in order to equip yourself and grow spiritually, you can’t lead others to Christ who humbled himself and became one of us to save us. Therefore, in case you don’t finish this minimum requirement by the end of 2011, I will take it to mean that you are too busy. And the obvious choice for you is to have you rest from ministry so you can do the first thing first which is to take these required classes.
And if you have completed this minimum requirement, don’t stop there but continue to take all the other core classes so you will become more equipped. After taking all the core classes New Life offers I trust that you have become a self-feeding Christ-follower who not only can feed himself but help others also.
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