ROMANS: WE DO IT ISLAND STYLE
Sharon and I made it up to Washington State where I led a two day seminar and spoke Sunday morning at Islands Community Church in Friday Harbor. We were hosted by my Junior High and High School friend Dale and wife Patty Pratt, and the seminar was organized by Light and Power House (early days ministry at UCLA) former student Gary Covington. There’s is nothing sweeter than long time friendships.
The focus of the workshop/seminar was “A Ministry Paradigm and Practical Ministry Tools from the Book of Romans. Paul says in his introduction that he wrote Romans “in order to have a harvest” among the Jesus followers in Rome (Romans 1:13). Romans is the outline that Paul will expand upon when he travels to Rome and is with them in person to do that.
The essence of Romans is found in Romans 1:16-17:
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”
The rest of the book unpacks the power for salvation of the Gospel. In our workshop (and Phase 1 training internationally), we worked our way through Romans, not only looking at what Paul taught (the paradigm of ministry), but also what he evidenced (practical ministry tools) in what he wrote.
We believe Romans (as with all of Scripture) it is meant to be interpreted literally, historically, and grammatically, and relationally, redemptively, and missionally. Paul not only grounded Christ-followers in the basic truths of the Gospel, but he also sought to equip and strengthen them in a practical ministry.
A PARADIGM OF MINISTRY
A key to unpacking Romans is to see that it is intentionally sequential. We break Romans into four sections (diagram below), each of which builds on the previous section. Each of the four sections has a basic theme that we aliterate with the letter “R”:
People around us need to be Rescued…then Restored. We want people to come to believe in Jesus and also be transformed by Him. As we are being Restored, we then become part of God’s Rescue Team (“Rescuers”)…then “Restorers” and “Reproducers.” Each of the four sections of Romans sequentially build upon each other. The first two sections (chapters 1-8) are the path that leads to “Life Transformation.” The corresponding second two sections (chapters 9-16) are the path leading to “Missional Impact.”
PRACTICAL MINISTRY TOOLS
We don’t stop at presenting Romans as a roadmap. We also identify 12 practical ministry tools…just in the first 12 chapters. In case you can’t decipher these in my great artwork in the picture (we do a lot of diagramming on flip charts), here are the twelve practical tools and the verses from which we glean them:
- “Cinderella’s Shoe” and “the Chilean Miner Story” are drawn from Romans 1:1-17.
- The “Right Now Wrath of the 5 Is” (that’s the capital letter I) are found in Romans 1:18-31.
- The “Two Ladders of Futility” are found in Romans 2:1-3:20.
- The “One Sentence Gospel” is from Romans 3:21-22.
- “Your Story” is part of the One Sentence Gospel
- The “Bank Illustration” is the bridge from Rescue to Restore in Romans 5:1.
- The “Treasure Chest” is in Romans 5-6, and 8.
- The “Death Grip” is from Romans 7.
- “4 Worlds” is from Romans 9:1-5.
- “The Greatest Rescue” is drawn especially from Romans 10.
These are just some of the practical ministry tools to communicate the Good News of Jesus that we glean and adapt from Romans. It is exciting to see people view Romans through a different lens, and get excited afresh about the Gospel and reaching and restoring others.
NEXT UP: WHITE SALMON AND BRAZIL
Following our time on San Juan Island, Sharon and I will drive to our daughter Kristin and Son-in-Law Cory’s home in White Salmon, Washington, where after a few days I leave Sharon, and travel on to Los Angeles. There, I will join Phil Graf and fly to Brazil where with our Brazilian Divine Expedition team led by Sammy Diab, we will train leaders in two states and six cities.
Please pray for Sharon while I am away…and pray that our training will bring much fruit, and that we will bring the sweet aroma of Christ wherever we go.
With thankfulness for your partnership with us for the Gospel,
Linus and Sharon