Tuesday, August 18, 2015

CHURCH - why, what and how? | Colin D Cruz

This message was preached by Colin D' Cruz at Word of Grace Church on the 16th of August 2015. To listen/download the audio please click here

Is there a purpose to meeting every Sunday? What is the point? Is there a purpose? The Bible is our benchmark.

Acts 2
Jesus was crucified. He lived a great life and spoke the most amazing things. Jesus died to pay for our sins but not just that. He rose from the dead and he gave them instructions
The Holy Spirit fell on Pentecost and those 120 people were never the same again. The people spoke in different languages. The outsiders were amazed at this.

Peter stood up and preached the good news. We were separated from a Holy god but Jesus made a way. His blood washes us clean. When we accept His death and forgiveness our lives are changed forever – our past, present and future are taken care of.

On that day (Acts 2:41) three thousand were added to the 120.
What were the four things that were present in the early church?

They were a SAVED CHURCH

SAVED - It was made up of people who acknowledged that their sins were forgiven. They had REPENTENED. There was a change of direction in life. The power of God breaks addiction, habits, and sin’s power over us.
Repentance is just not mental but actual. Your life has changed and people notice it.
BAPTIZED  v38. This is a mark that you are truly following Jesus. They are also baptized with the Holy Spirit
ADDED TO THE CHURCH  v41. Somebody was keeping attendance and noted the numbers added. It means “I want to belong to the local church” I’m a part of it and in it. To build god’s church you need the above 4.

They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching. Wherever the church went in history they educated people. They started schools next to the church because the Christian faith requires that you study.

In India the missionaries are the first over to start schools, universities for all people. Today there are many mediums of information – the web; everything is available with a “click”
Are you involved in studying God’s word and developing yourself as a Christian? If you want to grow you need to feed yourself.

The early church devoted themselves. They were intentional about it.
Join the IDT ( Indepth Discipleship Training) and invest in yourself.


This means partnership, friendship. Encourage you to build relationship within the church. There are levels of friendship: acquaintances, friends, close friends and intimate friends.
Relationships are very important. You can download worship, messages and worship at home. But this won’t give you fellowship.

V46  They were into each other’s home. Is your home open? Do you people in your home, do you go over to people’s home?


I am amazed at the numbers of answered prayer we see. We want to see more and more. As we pray for people we are getting involved in their lives. We meet twice a month for prayer as a church. We have the prayer chain, daily prayer in the office, Prayer breakfast. Be a part of one of these. What’s the result? Awe, and the presence of God comes down.
SHARING  They shared with each other. They were a generous people were they gave as people had needs.

Much joy, favour of God. The kingdom advances and people get added to the church.

We are involved in all this to one end. Rev 20:11-12  Everything is recorded and we will be judged and either be with Jesus or in the lake of fire.

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Gather 2015 Igatpuri :Raising up Epaphras| Steve Oliver

This message was preached by Steve Oliver at Gather 2015 Conference at Igatpuri on July 23rd 2015

Q. What do you have in your home?

Elisha asked this questions and the widow replied, “Nothing, just a little bit of oil”. God takes that little bit of oil and multiplies it to remove her debt

Don't look at another church but look at what you have in your body. Celebrate it and give thanks for them and start working with them. If we are faithful with little, God will entrust much to us

Acts 19: 6-10
The importance of this is to step into the Bible and live that life. We see it is very much like what we are doing and we can learn something.

Paul arrived in Ephesus and arrives there and finds some disciples of John. The Spirit comes on them. He entered the synagogue, spoke boldly there for 3 months and daily had discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. I want to take this 2 year period in the lecture hall of Tyrannus and give some understanding to what could have happened.

Take the life of a young man and show how God can do great works. Tyrannus had a lecture hall in which he used to teach during the mid-day period when it was very hot - many would go and sleep. So Paul finds this slot during the day - so all those working could come during the break. Paul would give understanding of the Word of God. He saw an opportunity which he grabbed.

He saw that Ephesus had gathered people from all over Asia. It was an economic hub. People came into Ephesus from all over, to trade and to make some money. When the workers heard the message of the gospel - not only about salvation, but about the kingdom of God and the rule of God coming to the nations- this young man/worker, hears the message and God gets hold of him

In Colossians Paul has a visitor - Epaphras from Colossi. He has travelled 2000k on foot and by boat over many days to bring a report to Paul. When Paul was in the hall of Tyrannus, many like Epaphras sat day after day listening to the apostle’s teaching. But he didn’t just sit there - God was building up this young man and the time came that a burning desire to reach the nations was in him. Eventually, Epaphras leaves Ephesus and goes back to his own town and starts preaching the gospel. There is a community there. Philemon, Epaphras , etc. come together that there is a community of the Spirit formed

In 2 years - Paul is able to say, the whole of Asia-minor has been reached. It must have been such a warm embrace when Epaphras meets Paul. I bring you greetings from the Church of Colossi, and all the stories of the people there.
I cannot tell you how Paul must have felt when he heard about the church in Colosse

Q. How did he get this right- that the whole of Asia Minor is reached? He only went to a few places for such a short time.
In Acts 20 Paul speaking now to the Elders in Ephesus. A few years ago there were 12 men who had not even heard that the Holy Spirit had been given.

Q. What was the secret to his impact?

Is it his anointing? His brain? His understanding of theology? Signs and wonders? What enabled Paul to raise up so many people so quickly and touch so many lives.
The answer is in Acts 20: 18 “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you from the first day I came into the province of Asia.”

You want to raise people - share your life: the good, the bad and the ugly. I believe it is the most effective way. As we share life, we put our teaching on display. We have to deal with life’s complications and act in power, faith and prayer and so we model something.

Paul writes to some of the other churches as well "You know how I lived when I was with you". I said to my elders who do most of my teaching in Gateway, “I have so many 5 points, etc. I want you to share your life in the congregation” Someone asked, “Isn’t that being boastful?”No. Start telling people about the mistakes you made, how God proved his faithfulness to you, the prayers that have not been answered, the storms that came. Tell them, you do not need to win my approval. I believe God has brought us together so I am going to share my life with you. Don’t worry about reputation, etc.

Paul says, I served the Lord with great humility, with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. If you want to be a good disciple find a leader who will share his life with you. So Paul at Miletus says "There is nothing hidden about me.” That is the key. I believe Epaphras saw something modeled in Paul that he wanted to follow

However, there is no one complete leader. As we see others we say "I want to be like that".

Epaphras - goes back with the little has and starts in time a community of the Spirit is born in Colossi. He is one of my heroes of the bible. I long for God to raise up many more Epaphras’ in our movement- among the government, the poor, the airport, etc. We know that Epaphras saw humility modeled

I want you to see a little secret here. It’s not only colossi but the letter to Philemon also goes here. After seeing humble servant leadersihip, and even though Epaphras had success, he knew he was building for another.

I didnt understand this in Clarens. I thought I was Gods answer to church planting. This is not about be, not for me, not by me and won’t happen through me because I am weak. By then Simon and Gary were starting to model apostolic ministry and so I started building the work for then. You then feel you are an overseer and a caretaker. You are not only accountable to Jesus - his sheep, whom he died for.

Epaphras goes all the way up across the Mediterranean to Rome and says to Paul - here is the community. Paul knows the people so well through Epaphras - but never got there and met them. True apostolic doctrine is given in the letter to the Colossians. Apostolic ministry is about giving ourselves to one another, living life together. That we remain humble and true to God’s word not get to a point of saying this is my church. That is why team is so important

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.  

Gather 2015 Igatpuri :Apostolic Passion| Steve Oliver

This message was preached by Steve Oliver at Gather 2015 Conference at Igatpuri on July 22nd 2015

Paul is writing to the roman church which is not a church he planted. It’s possible that it was Peter who gathered and gave birth to the church. Some 5 years earlier, Caesar got rid of the Jews in Rome. Many Jewish believers also had to leave. Now under a new Caesar many had returned and a great church was starting to blossom in Rome.  

Paul writes differently. He writes as one coming as an apostle but not as one having authority over the church.

He gives an amazing teaching! Terry Virgo says, "Apostolic passion, can only be satisfied by the birth of a community of the Spirit." To just see leaders raised up is not enough, to see a church birthed and come to maturity satisfies apostolic passion.

In Romans 16 - Paul is enjoying the fulfillment of this passion that he has. The church is the most beautiful creation, so Paul just overflows with joy.

Rom 15:14I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.” What is already on the ground in Rome, has enough in it to bring it to maturity. To be honest, I feel that about India. I want to say, I am satisfied. You are full of goodness, knowledge and able to instruct one another.

In verse 15 he says “I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me ...

Gary used to call Simon Petit a pathological optimist. I feel the same. Sometimes as believers we forget the godly DNA and involvement in the local church. Satan would love to stop the purposes of God. Over history, people have tried to wipe out Christianity. It will never happen

1857, after months of training, 2 young men left Gary's nations of England. They sailed for some 6-7 months across the world to the South Sea Islands – Fiji because during a meeting God had laid it on those people’s hearts. These 2 men in their 20s were lowered into a dingy and they rode ashore, and watched their security sail away

As the large boat was leaving, they watched these 2 young men land on the beach, unpack their belongings, and as they walked on the beach they were both killed by spears that hit them.

Many months later the story got back to England. 800 people signed up to go to that island. John Patton’s  incredible story of suffering and breakthrough. All those islands received the gospel over the next 25 years. It’s the apostolic confidence in God in the people.

Paul is looking at the people, the gifts and saying , I've got confidence that what God has begun he will bring it to completion

When we speak boldly, it’s born out of a passion to see you succeed. If we establish multi generational eldership teams - we will reach India. Remember, we operate out of the grace given us. We don’t earn it or deserve it.
In Romans 15:16 Paul says, “to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Paul sees the Roman believers ready so that one day they may be an acceptable offering to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God I have reason to be proud of my work for God

Look at Paul’s life and see how many trials and troubles he faced. He planted and had to leave because of persecution. He knew when a church was started, there was one greater than him who would bring it to completion. The success of your church rests very much on your leadership and how best we can help you but it does not depend on how often you receive me or any other gift. Jesus will build his church.

When it is lonely and hard, don’t get discouraged. Get some scripture in you and pray. He will send you some people. You start calling your people in by faith

I would stand before God and ask, “Lord every person that belongs to me, every little sheep you have entrusted to me that is lying in their comfortable bed now, would you shake them , wake them and bring them.” I want to tell you, I can show you a graph we kept all the numbers, suddenly it just started growing. That’s what we have to do. In the church there is this God given promise that he will build it. He does not want us to suffer doing it. He wants to sing over us. Start praying over your people

Romans 15:18-19: “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.”
Paul says, that because of what God had been doing all the way from Jerusalem to Illyricum (past Greece), I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ.

Q. What was on the ground? How many churches were planted?

He says I've finished all my work, just because in that whole region there were churches dotted. Paul knew that because there was a local church in those areas, the gospel would reach the rest of the areas. The local church - it carries a promise, a DNA to change the world. It didn’t rely on some big name. God builds his church. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Gather 2015 Igatpuri :Raising up Elders| Gary Welsh

This message was preached by Gary Welsh at Gather 2015 Conference at Igatpuri on July 22nd 2015

Raising of elders is a battleground around the world. We need to fight for this.

In the 18th Century, there were two men who God used powerfully in the UK and the US. Their names are, George Whitfield and John Wesley. Only one man left a lasting legacy. Whitfield is still spoken about and biographies are written about him. However, Wesley was of a whole different nature. He gave his life to lifting up of leaders and elders and has given birth to the Methodist church.

There are 8 basic things that it is good to give yourself to, if you are a leader. We can’t be perfect in every area. But teach and train people in these areas if they are looking at becoming elders. What’s stopping someone from being an elder now? Target those areas to see a significant change in it.
1.      Following Jesus- Jesus is our pattern for all our leadership. When Jesus was crucified, his disciples run away. But it did not stop Jesus from going to the cross. Even though they were weak in many areas, he went on. The leadership skills are learnt from Jesus. 

The disciples were recognized as unschooled ordinary men, but they have been with Jesus. They saw something of Jesus in them. They watched what Jesus did and did what he did. Let’s be taught by the gospel at the heart of all that Jesus talked about.

We need to have elders who have a heart for the lost. Not necessarily an evangelist, but to equip the saints to reach the lost. Everything we do is to reach the lost.

2.      Be a Son-Jesus said, the Father knows me and I know the Father. We must make sure that it is true of us. What impresses you about leaders? We are in an age where many leaders get elevation and publicity because of their teaching, signs and wonders, large church etc. What should impress us is their security in knowing that they are sons. It has been great to be led by a man who knows Jesus.

We need to be a people who love wasting time in the presence of Jesus, hearing God's voice, understanding that however much we know we never get to the end always ready to understand more. The great tragedy of some leadership is that we can do many things for God without knowing God. We need to have not just a daily ritual with a daily reading and prayer but have a real living relationship.

  1. Be a people who know Grace- We have to be a people motivated by grace the to motivate others by grace. Everything we do is to be motivated by grace and thanksgiving. We need to know that we can do nothing that will make God let go of you.
Q.     If we tell them that – won’t they go and do anything they like?
Then they have not understood grace. You will know the truth and the truth will set you free
If we are not a people of grace, we will not lead people with grace. There is now no condemnation/punishment for those in Christ Jesus. There are consequences but there is no condemnation
The Bible says I am righteous! Nothing changes that. There is no possibility that God will find out what is underneath.  God is not going to say, “I saw the robes of righteousness, but I did not know that Gary Welsh was inside!”
If you are not leading in the abundant joy of the grace of God, get some help - otherwise you are going to be a heavy load. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling because God is at work in us.
There is work for us to do but it doesn’t include getting right with God. That’s an unhealthy striving before God. We are loved, accepted and forgiven in Christ Jesus.

4.      We must be servants-  All leaders are servants. Our leadership must be from underneath lifting people up.
Phil 2: 1-4: “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others”

Humility is a big issue. Christian leaders are humble leaders. Paul is addressing the whole church – humility. We need to be humble enough to serve everybody

Don’t misinterpret a desire to be a leader/elder as not being humble. Watch out for false humility as it’s just another manifestation of pride.

Learn submission. Richard Foster defined submission as being relieved of the burden of always having my own way. If you are looking for elders, look at who is eager to put the chairs out, wash up, who is eager to do the jobs no one else wants to do. Those are the guys who can lead the church.

5. Learn to be part of a TEAM
The word team is not in the English bible. But we see the concept everywhere. Jesus called 12, sent them out 2 by 2. The early church grew by teams. Peter and John went to the temple together. The church is praying together. Philip in Samaria is joined by the apostles. Throughout the New Testament we have Paul and Barnabas, and Paul and his team.

There is a very interesting incident in Act 16. Paul has a vision of a man from Macedonia calling them.

Team is what Jesus modeled- it is complementary gifts working together. We see it in 1 Cor. 12 - the church as a team.

You don’t have to be the best at everything and neither should you try to be the best. Don't be scared if some people are better than you at some things.
A measure of wise leadership is to surround yourself with very gifted people. It will make you look better than you are.

In scripture we have the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit who are a team. They are functionally different. The Father didn't die on the cross. Jesus died on the cross.

Sometimes where churches get stuck in appointing elders is because the main leader cannot work in team. To such leaders, I’d say, change or die. If you are leading a church at the moment and you can't work in a team you have to change.

Your church will only work as big as you are. You won’t be as effective as having a team.

6. Learn to Love
In John 10 where Jesus talks about being the good shepherd, he is contrasting with Eze 34 a prophecy against the shepherds of Israel. You've had many shepherds, but I am the good shepherd.

When Ezekiel brings  a prophecy, he says I will come and shepherd my people
These are the charges Eze brings
1. You take care of yourself
2. You don’t strengthen the weak
3. the sick
4. the injured
5. the strays
6. the lost
7. harshly and brutally
8. scattered the sheep (bitten the sheep)

We must be a people of love. We must not be harsh. The fruit of the spirit is gentleness. There is no excuse to be harsh - you need to change. If the spirit is in you, you have to seek God to change you.
John 3:16 - Jesus is our example and model. The temptation is to get out a whip. One of the things that stop us is remembering that Jesus died for my sins. If you do get out the whip, get it out for yourself first.

1 John 3 it says that Jesus laid down his life and we have to lay down our lives. The truth is we will have to lead people who are not easy to love

Some people are nice without God and nice with God. Some people make it tough to love them. Sheep get into all kinds of trouble. Sheep are dumb sometimes - tramples over one another, fall down holes etc. Jesus spoke about the shepherd going after a lost sheep.

We need to lead with a soft heart. Some of us have been in business or seen our parents and picked up leadership skills from there. But we need to learn it from the Bible.

7. Learn to Withdraw- Jesus is our model here. He gave his life for us. But he withdrew often.

We have a big task before us, to take the gospel to the nations
If we don’t have time to be in God’s presence, we will have times of tiring endless activity.

The Statistics say that 1 leader in 10 makes it to the end.
One of the reasons is that they just run out of energy. Some leaders can burn out, run out of energy for the job to be done.

Cell phones have an on off switch but it’s always on.They can be of great help, but you cannot be available every single minute of every day. We need to use them as helpful tools not unhelpful masters

Make sure our identity is in who we are in God not what we do. It can also make us feel important

8. Learn to Reproduce- Reproduction is fundamental to being a Christian
Matthew 28:19 says Go and make disciples of all nationsThis is a command not an invitation. It does not say if you can find some time in your busy life do it. It does not ask us to bring people who warm seats on a sun morning - disciples not converts

Discipleship is sharing our lives, showing stuff we might not want to show. In Acts 15 - Paul takes hold of Timothy. He does not send him to bible school
Acts 16-20 Timothy is watching and learning. Finally Paul writes to the Corinthians- I'm going to send Timothy to you, he know all my ways in Christ. He refers to Timothy as my beloved son.

The result of not reproducing is disaster. Look at guys who can come quickly into eldership. There are a whole bunch of guys who need to be brought into discipleship. Don’t leave someone’s discipleship in their own hands. Someone needs to be doing a hands-on training. Jesus said - make disciples, baptize them, teach them to obey. Our effectiveness to reach all that God has called us to reach is in direct proportion to how well we make disciples.

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.  

Gather 2015 Igatpuri :Building a Team| Steve Oliver

This message was preached by Steve Oliver at Gather 2015 Conference at Igatpuri on July 22nd 2015

We believe in eldership- 3 elders or more in a church.

Q. But where do we actually start?

2 experiences:

I.                    In 1996 Heather and our 3 boys planted our first church.
The day I became an elder, Jeff Kidwelll was the key elder/leader. The day they announced I would be an elder, they announced that we would be leaving the church to plant a church

There was an honoring and sending with authority. I come from a context similar to many many of you (Africa). We planted the church with very little experience. I had only preached once or twice before. I had no formal training, only a promise from God. I was sent off to plant this church. Sheldon as an 18 year old came with us and helped to lead worship. 64 people got saved on the 1st Sunday when a friend of mine preached (I was too nervous) and within 9 months we had between 200-300 people

I read scripture. In the book of Mark, Jesus gets released into his calling. He begins teaching and praying for people and sees massive healings. He starts speaking about the kingdom- big things!! A lot of disciples started following him. Jesus didn’t start with 12. Jesus began to teach the crowd and disciples and began to model a kingdom life to them, then began to call out specific people.
He called Peter and Andrew who were fishermen, the Tax collector – Matthew, even a Zealot. Not everybody had to be the same! But then a time comes in Mark 3: 7 when Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake and a large crowd from Galilee followed. In verse13, Jesus went up on a mountain and called to him those he wanted and they came to him.

I started with a crowd. Heather would you cook every Wednesday  for 24 people. One night, double the amount of people arrived and we had food only for 18. God multiplied the food.

We only had 1 car in the church. In Africa we have a saying "How many can you get in your car?" - "Well, how many are there?"
Got 24 into the car once

Q. Whom did I bring home?

When I saw someone taking initiative - a lady straightening the chairs - I invited her to my leadership meeting. There must be something in her for her to do that. When we wanted something done in the church and someone did it - I invited them. All we would do is this - eat Heathers lovely food, sing a few songs, pray and I would bring a simple teaching. I didn’t ask anybody their qualifications because 1 Cor. 1 says that God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. Why have only the educated?

I chose a random group of people. One guy was very naughty - within a few weeks he got  a lady pregnant. One man stole stuff from the house - he had a drinking problem. Out of the original 18 about 7 started to arise as leaders. Raising leaders is all about faith. If you believe God I have to lead these people I need leaders - it is a faith issue from the word go. So when church leaders say "I don’t have any other leaders in the church" I quote scripture "O ye of little faith".

Ask God, he builds his church, gives his materials for it. Pray them into the church. You've got to start living with leaders even if you don’t have them. So we begin to work with this raw material - many of them could not read or write. 50% could not speak English. I could not speak their language. We used sign language, acted out scripture. God is good.

The bible tells me that my God takes the people on the ash heap and lifts them and empowers them so they become princes. Ps 113:7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; He seats them with princes ...

Sometimes we have created this understanding that elders fall out of heaven. That is not true. God lifts us up, he makes us he forms us. When you become biblically convinced it gives you faith for people. Stop judging people from the outside, ask for spiritual eyes. After a period of time we had this massive group gathering on Sundays. A time came when I began to see leadership anointing on some people

Wherever I went, I always took 1, 2 or 3 with me. Heather sent me shopping, I took someone. I used every opportunity to train. You are a nation that loves qualifications and certificates. Please continue to get them, they are good! But there is so much training we can do in everyday life. You can’t live in a book.

Without realizing it we were changing a culture by sharing our lives. For me to preach a message on a Friday mornings, takes me 9 hours to prepare. But by the following Wednesday no one remembers the 3 points I’ve shared. Share your life and you will see people learn!
We were very wealthy compared to everyone else in the church, so the pressure is how do we share that with so many people? We did our best to share everything. I even gave some of my young leaders my best red wine. I didn’t want them to learn rules, I wanted them to learn godliness.
I didn’t lead a private life and then something else on Sundays. We need to share our lives. People started to trust us and then I started training and teaching them. The night I took 16 people into the big meeting room/barn to teach them about baptism with the Holy Spirit, God poured out on all except 2 even before I began to teach.

Q. did we have failures? Yes we did

Some mistakes I made:

1. Not being inclusive when it came to my leadership team. So I would gather them to tell them what is going to happen. They would come from very ordinary backgrounds and I never empowered them to take decisions. If I wanted something done - I would tell them how and when I wanted it done. That was a mistake.

2. I never involved enough people from outside to be involved in my life. We had lots of friends who would come and minister. But my understanding was that God had called me, it’s my responsibility- and nobody should interfere. 7 years later, God pulled the carpet, and the church came crashing down and I realized that I needed help. I got sent to Gary Welsh. I realized how badly I was building and I started all over again with the help of godly brothers. Things were so bad with my team that I got Gary to lead the team even though he was living so far from us.

We honor one another’s gifting. All these wonderful things we have been learning- we preferred one another, I started giving people freedom- Ok you lead the meeting this week. When someone would ask me, what must I do, I said go and pray. Suddenly we started to see leaders coming through. We started to give the younger guys opportunity to preach and usually, we didn’t check their notes. 
We wanted them to know that I trust what I have taught you. Afterwards we used to be so encouraging, point out a few shortcomings but we would celebrate that a young leader took a step of faith. Where they made errors we just brought a simple explanation and suddenly we saw leaders come through. Eventually we had 7 elders and 5 in training and 12 young men and women in future leaders. Fusi Mokeana is one of those 12 who came.

II.                  Then we moved to Dubai
It was a different scenario. There were no elders in a church of 200. I had to do it in a different way. There was a loose leadership team and so I took the existing group - 2 of them had preached in the church before- and started to work with them and started to release them almost immediately. It was a bit of a shock for them. I guided them a bit and off you go. Very soon, I started to watch for other leaders.

Where leaders make a mistake is to wait for people to prove themselves before they recognize them. It should be the other way round. If you see something in someone, it’s your job to get it out of them. I started to go after people. After about 7 months of being in Gateway we grew from 200 to about 275 and one of them who had been there for quite a while came to visit us. When he arrived he saw all these new leaders in operation and he wept.  All I did was to give people opportunity and let them know I was there for their success. We met together, drank coffee, talked about the things of God and gave opportunity.

I said to the church, because of the nature of Dubai, we could have a big name preacher every week and gather a crowd or we could take some of the young men in the church and give them opportunity to preach. By choosing the latter, in a year to come, we will be able to celebrate that we have raised a whole army of people. Often we want our leaders to be perfect before they minister

Q. Who then is up to the task?

After 3 years we began establish an eldership team. I had 10 men - this is the key- not all of the elders could minister publicly from the word of God.

1 Tim 3: 3 says that the elder should be able to teach. Some of my elders are able to teach 5's or 10's but not able to teach a group of 100. But they are elders. It doesn’t say -elders must be charismatic and able to expound the scriptures to 150 people. To some of my elders I would say, “would you meet that new convert and teach him?”

Not all my elders are able to handle a church budget. So what we do? In the eldership team, we understand our capacity. We understand what we can do and can’t do. I (Steve) am not on the finance team because I would give all the money away. I submit a proposal and the elders decide. If I as the lead elder overrule then it shows I do not trust them. That’s how team works.

I do not lead our elders meetings because then all we would do is pray and prophesy and we would never plan. Somebody else leads the meetings. So play to your strengths.

When it comes to setting our budget - 5 of the 10 elders have the capacity to handle that type of thing and so we let them do it and then once they finalize and have a good budget and plan for the year they send it to all 10 and then we meet and pray over it.

We also handle very little pastoral issues in our eldership team. We have got a church of between 600-700 people. The church is full of sinners so there are lots of problems. If we know someone is having a problem we don’t take 10 men’s time to discuss it. We find those who are relationally linked and release them to go address the issue. All they have to do is to tell us that it is done.

All the elders were not exactly the same. They did different tasks, had different capacities and anointing. But we are a Team.

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.