Church Models: Integration or Assimilation? by Jeannie Mok

Church Models: Integration or Assimilation?

by Jeannie Mok

Jeannie Mok

Mrs Jeannie Mok wrote as a pastor at International City Church, Brisbane, and the Principal of the Asian Pacific Institute, which offers accredited diploma (Australian), bachelor and masters degrees (from Manchester University) in multicultural and Pentecostal-charismatic studies and corporate cross-cultural training.  This paper is based on two articles written for Alive Magazine.


Renewal Journal 18: Servant Leadership – PDF


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Now that Australia is the most multicultural nation in the world, should churches alter their organizations to suit such a diversity of people?

Occasionally, the odd conservative politician may assert that it is the duty of migrants to become like all other Australians (whatever that may be) and not expect people to change things for them; after all, they are the ‘foreigners’ who came into this country, so shouldn’t it be a case of ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’?

Similarly, why worry about what church model to plant or restructure – after all, these new migrants are the ‘latecomers’ and they should try to fit in or assimilate into existing structures!  And unfortunately, many churches do think this way and remain the way they are.

I would like to suggest that one of the key factors determining how we organize our churches depends on what we think about other peoples and their cultures.  A close look at the variety of churches in Australia will reveal that how we organise our ministry and churches has in fact resulted from several myths or assumptions about ourselves and our culture and how we view foreigners and their cultures and communities.

These key assumptions influence the essential ‘flavour’ of a church and it will be shown that very often, these are misleading, bordering on racial prejudice, and should be replaced by more appropriate biblical principles.

An assumption that has existed for centuries has been Parochialism (the only one way assumption) – the ‘my way is the only way’ belief, where there is no real recognition of any other way of living, working or doing things.  British Colonial practice is a classic example of a policy aimed at making Englishmen out of the natives. Not surprisingly, the European missionaries in Africa and in Australia followed this lead and forced indigenous peoples to give up native ways and renounce traditional ‘pagan’ beliefs and practices.

In our cosmopolitan world, Parochialism should be replaced by Equifinality [1] (our way is not the only way) that suggests that there are many culturally distinct ways of reaching the same goal, or of living one’s life.  In fact, there are many equivalent ways to reach a final goal.

Traditional Western Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP) Churches reflect a parochial way of thinking.  They tend to therefore to be mono-cultural, carrying on in ways that ignore cultural differences.  Such churches could be Exclusionary, with one group dominating the others as all key decision making and administrative matters are in their hands.

In such Australian churches, if you do not speak the dominant language, you either sink or swim!  Thus foreigners will always remain on the fringe since cultural differences are seen as a problem.  Bible study groups, cell groups, etc., will not accommodate language differences.  Often, there is a negative evaluation of culturally different people, especially if they are from non-European countries.

Another belief is Ethnocentrism (the one best way myth /our way is the best way).  Such organizations recognize people’s differences but believe that their way is still the best, since all other ways are inferior versions.  This has in turn led to the establishment of Ethnocentric institutions which acknowledge that there may other ways out there, but “we feel ours is really the best way”.

It is true that in such clubs and organizations, the chief purpose is to preserve special cultural and linguistic understandings and customs that have generally diminished in a cosmopolitan or multicultural setting. And undoubtedly, the flow-on benefits are important as it is not possible to express certain beliefs and feelings outside the boundaries of specific psychological/cultural/linguistic traditions.

Thus ethnocentric churches are very much like monocultural clubs where race is the primary discriminator – membership is limited to a certain ethnic community (all Chinese or all Spanish or all Greek), but inclusive of all different classes and educational levels, with a limited number of selected non-group members and outsiders.  Such churches are closed ethnic enclaves but within each national group (e.g. Chinese) is contained a multiplicity of ethnicities (Taiwanese, Hong Kong, Malaysian/Singaporean Chinese, Mainland Chinese).  Policies change only under pressure since traditions are highly prized.  Gender could also be a discriminator in the management of the church – in favour of male leadership.  For example, Chinese evangelical churches are traditionally run by male pastors; female pastors are rare, and not highly respected by older members.

Then there is the Similarity myth which asserts that “people are all alike” or “they are all like me” since we all have the same life goals, career aspirations and activities.  This belief is faulty since a study of people’s values, attitudes and behaviour in 14 nations showed that whilst people felt more comfortable believing that this ‘similarity’ exists, this was not the case.[2] Apparently, people felt more comfortable believing in this similarity since ‘Differences’ were regarded as a threat.  Unfortunately, there are problems associated with this belief.  One gets disappointed and feels anger or surprise when people do not act as one expects them to.  Furthermore, this assumption denies the individuality of people, and negates their distinct characteristics.

Thus, it must be acknowledged that people share similarities and differences. (They are not just like me since many people are culturally different from me.  Most people have both cultural similarities and differences when compared to me).  It is thus a good thing to assume that there are differences first when meeting a ‘foreigner’, unless similarities are proven.

The Similarity assumption is akin to the Homogeneity or the Melting Pot Myth (We are all the same since everyone is and wants to be like the majority).  Homogeneity proponents state, however, that as a nation of many distinct cultures, they realize that it is impossible to get all to be the same.  Thus newly arrived migrants have to be integrated with the rest of Australians and become like everyone else.  And since Australia is basically ‘Waspish’, the newly-arrived must assimilate into the new ‘Home’ culture.

These two assumptions (Similarity and Homogeneity) often underlie non-discriminating and culturally aware organizations like International Churches and ‘Melting Pot’ Assimilationist Churches.  These Churches recognise cultural similarities and differences but choose to attempt to minimize the diversity by imposing single one-best-way solutions on all management situations.

Most international churches believe that they are multicultural, but in reality they are not, since there is still the one dominant culture (the ‘Waspish’ normally).  Competence requirements are higher for outsiders – especially fluency in the dominant language.  But such churches do attempt to seek change by changing race and gender profiles.  They will have a Missions group and international food festivals, etc., and allow token representation in management, and over time these could evolve into multicultural churches.

‘Melting pot’ churches operate on the belief that various cultural groups from all nations, must be treated with essential equality since “We are all Australians and we accept an Australianised form of English, and Christian moral principles and values.”  The belief is that in time, all will be unified as one large heterogenous ‘stew’ as cross-cultural marriages abound.  In such churches, individual ties to ethnic groups culturally rooted to other parts of the world are not so important, as these are actually regarded as potentially disruptive or distracting.  There is also the mistaken belief that as all are equal, all will have an influence in the pot.  Hence, this ‘multicultural stew’ method is seen as truly the best way of unifying everyone.

This all sounds most reasonable but in reality, new migrants are under pressure to conform and accept dominant cultural principles.  In Australia, they have to melt into an essentially Anglo-Celtic Protestant pot to be accepted.  They must shed essential aspects of their traditional cultural belief and practice if they are to fit in nicely.  The ‘Melting Pot’ is in reality the melting away of non-Anglo-Saxon traditions.[3]

The fact is that Heterogeneity or Cultural Pluralism is a hallmark of our society today. (We are not all the same); there are many culturally different groups in society.  It therefore makes sense that in our policy and practice, we need to consider the many equivalent or culturally distinct ways of reaching the same goals, since our way is not the only way!

One model of a Multicultural Church utilises the Equifinality or Parallel approach.  These are churches that recognise cultural similarities and differences; and allow parallel approaches based on members’ cultures to be used simultaneously in each management situation.  Such a church utilises a common language (through necessity), although diverse languages are still used widely for the respective ethnic groups.  Senior management is committed to power-sharing practices, and incorporates leaders to represent each major ethnic group found in the church.  It is usual to find that the key leaders can operate in a variety of languages, and are able to switch methods of cross-cultural communication to deal with the various ethnic groups.

Perhaps the ideal multicultural church is the Synergistic church, totally committed to the multicultural vision.  This church recognizes cultural similarities and differences and uses them to create new integrative solutions to organizational problems that go beyond the individual cultures of any single group.[4]

For instance, at their combined celebrations, when the Spanish, Chinese and English-speaking congregations come together, International City Church in Brisbane, has ‘invented’ a new kind of praise and worship session with worship leaders from the three language groups leading the mixed congregation in songs incorporating all the three languages; so that all can participate in the same song!  (Incidentally, this unique blend of languages has resulted in a project to produce the first real multicultural Praise and Worship CD in Australia).  Such a church also recognises diversity as a valuable strength (as productive, creative and resource-rich).  Initially, there may be many communication problems, but once this is overcome, huge benefits are realized.

Given the fact that Australia’s demographic profile has changed so radically recently, perhaps it is time for us to re-think our churches.  Should we now work hard at evolving our churches into Multicultural and Synergistic churches?  Are we inclusive and totally ‘user-friendly’ to the harvest (boat people and all) that awaits us in our own backyard?  Or are we still focusing on a traditional (middle-class ‘Waspish’) clientele that is fast diminishing?

We cannot totally eradicate our cultural biases.  An immediate start would be to replace the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you), with the Platinum Rule (Do unto others as Jesus did unto you).


Samovar L.A., Porter R.E. Intercultural Communication: A Reader   Wadsworth Publishing Co, USA 1997

Simons G.F., Vasquez C., Harris P.R. Transcultural Leadership: Empowering the Diverse Workforce Gulf Publishing Co Texas 1993

Weaver G.R. Culture, Communication and Conflict: Readings in Intercultural Relations   Simon and Schuster USA 1994

End Notes

[1] Nancy J. Adler, Domestic Multiculturalism: Cross-Cultural Management in the Public Sector (102) in Gary R. Weaver (Ed) Culture, Communication and Conflict: Readings in Intercultural Relations Simon and Schuster Custom Publishing MA, USA (1994)

[2]  ibid (102)

[3] R. Janzen Five Paradigms of Ethnic Relations (65) in Larry A. Samovar, Richard E. Porter Intercultural Communication Wadsworth Publishing Company USA 1997

[4] Nancy J. Adler   Domestic Multiculturalism (110)

©  Renewal Journal #18: Servant Leadership (2001, 2012)
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright included in the text.

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All Renewal Journal Topics

1 Revival,   2 Church Growth,   3 Community,   4 Healing,   5 Signs & Wonders,
6  Worship,   7  Blessing,   8  Awakening,   9  Mission,   10  Evangelism,
11  Discipleship,
   12  Harvest,   13  Ministry,   14  Anointing,   15  Wineskins,
16  Vision,
   17  Unity,   18  Servant Leadership,   19  Church,   20 Life
Also: 24/7 Worship & Prayer

Contents:  Renewal Journal 18: Servant Leadership

The Kingdom Within, by Irene Alexander

Church Models: Integration or Assimilation? by Jeannie Mok

Women in Ministry, by Sue Fairley

Women and Religions, by Susan Hyatt

Disciple-Makers, by Mark Setch

Ministry Confronts Secularisation, by Sam Hey

Book Reviews:
Jesus on Leadership by Gene Wilkes
In the Spirit We’re Equal by Susan Hyatt
Firestorm of the Lord by Stuart Piggin
Early Evangelical Revivals in Australia by Robert Evans 

Renewal Journal 18: Servant Leadership – PDF

Revival Blogs Links:

See also Revivals Index

See also Revival Blogs

See also Blogs Index 1: Revivals










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Also in Renewal Journals Vol 4: Issues 16-20
Renewal Journal Vol 4 (16-20) – PDF



Renewal Journal 17: Unity

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An article in Renewal Journal 17: Unity

Renewal Journal 17: Unity – PDF

All Renewal Journal Topics:

1 Revival,   2 Church Growth,
3 Community,   4 Healing,   
5 Signs & Wonders,   
6  Worship,   
7  Blessing,
   8  Awakening,  
9  Mission,   10  Evangelism,
11  Discipleship,
   12  Harvest,   
13  Ministry,
   14  Anointing,   
15  Wineskins,   
16  Vision,   
17  Unity,
   18  Servant Leadership,  
19  Church,   20 Life

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Contents:  Renewal Journal 17:  Unity

Snapshots of Glory, by George Otis Jr.

Lessons from Revivals, by Richard Riss

Spiritual Warfare, by Cecilia Estillore Oliver

Unity not Uniformity, by Geoff Waugh

Reviews: Transformations DVDs; Informed Intercession, by George Otis Jr.

Renewal Journal 17: Unity – PDF



All one in Christ Jesus

The Spirit of the Lord is speaking loudly and clearly to the church now about unity – not uniformity.

Unity is biblical – Jesus demands it.  We have no option on that.  We are one, and are to demonstrate that oneness by our love for one another.  Jesus commanded that on his last night with his disciples before he died (John 14-17).

Uniformity is unbiblical.  We are meant to be different – different gifts but the same Spirit, different services but the same Lord, different ministries but the same God (1 Cor. 12:4-6).

We make an awful mistake if we want others to think as we do – because our thinking is too small at the best of times, and always distorted or limited.  Another awful mistake is to want others to worship or work in the same way we do.  The Spirit gives a great variety of gifts and ministries.

All over the world, the Lord is raising up movements of unity across churches.  This demands humility, repentance and forgiveness.  Ministers are often the last to come on board because they are trained in their own tradition, and may be critical of other traditions.  Often, the people in the congregation are more excited about unity than ministers!

This issue of the Renewal Journal celebrates unity, not uniformity.  George Otis gives astounding accounts of visible unity among very different churches – different in theology and practice, but one in the Spirit.  They demonstrate that to whole cities and regions.

Richard Riss reminds us of key lessons from revivals, where again there has been great unity amid wide diversity.

Donald McGavran, a pioneer in church growth writing, broke new ground in the seventies by insisting that churches need to take the power of the Spirit seriously, and expect God to heal – to do what he says he does.  It’s worth careful consideration.  We will never understand life’s mysteries, but that’s no excuse to run from Scripture.  God is God, and wants to do ‘exceeding abundantly’ above everything we can ask or even think about (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Cecelia Estillore, a medical doctor, tackles head on the mystery of the spiritual dimensions of warfare with practical application in ministry, especially healing and deliverance.  I give examples of this from Africa and from South America, adapted from Chapter 4 in my book Body Ministry.

Global reports continue to be astounding.  No one can keep up with the outpouring of the Spirit in the world today.  Evil abounds, but grace abounds so much more – and usually that abounding grace does not make it into the newspapers!

©  Renewal Journal #17: Unity (2001, 2012)

Reproduction is allowed with the copyright included in the text.

Renewal Journals – contents of all issues
Book Depository – free postage worldwide
Book Depository – Bound Volumes (5 in each) – free postage
Amazon – Renewal Journal 17: Unity
Amazon – all journals and books – Look inside

Back to Renewal Journals

All Renewal Journal Topics

1 Revival,   2 Church Growth,   3 Community,   4 Healing,   5 Signs & Wonders,
6  Worship,   7  Blessing,   8  Awakening,   9  Mission,   10  Evangelism,
11  Discipleship,
   12  Harvest,   13  Ministry,   14  Anointing,   15  Wineskins,
16  Vision,
   17  Unity,   18  Servant Leadership,   19  Church,   20 Life
Also: 24/7 Worship & Prayer

Revival Blogs Links:

See also Revivals Index

See also Revival Blogs

See also Blogs Index 1: Revivals










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An article in Renewal Journal 17: Unity
Renewal Journal 17: Unity

Also in Renewal Journals Vol 4: Issues 16-20
Renewal Journal Vol 4 (16-20) – PDF


Interview with Steven Hill, by Steve Beard

Interview with Steven Hill

by Steve Beard

Steven Hill

Steven Hill was the evangelist in Pensacola at Brownsville Assembly of God in Florida, America, where revival has continued from Father’s Day, 18 June 1995 with over 100,000 people making commitments to Christ there. Steve Beard wrote this interview for his internet page.

Renewal Journal 13: Ministry – PDF

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 What prepared you for this revival?

 I was saved out of the drug culture. My background has helped me with the soul-winning aspect.

Early in my Christian life, back in 1977, I got around David Wilkerson’s ministry. He had an academy in Texas called Twin Oaks, a two-year leadership academy. Leonard Ravenhill taught on prayer. Nicky Cruz taught evangelism. It was a school where you were held responsible for what you learned. And if you did not learn, they would kick you out.

They would teach us on evangelism and then put us in a van, drive us to the streets of Dallas to a dope party, dump us out and say, “Go into that dope party. We’ll pick you up at four in the morning.” It was just hard-core evangelism. Instead of teaching the Four Spiritual Laws, they’d say, “Get out there, learn from experience.” When we came back, we’d talk about some of the hindrances we’d had, the bad experiences, and what we would change about our approach. Then they’d send us out again. You know very quickly whether you’re called to evangelism.

I graduated from that school, and went into church ministry. Then it was when I took a group of young people to Mexico God called me to the mission field. I went to Argentina, and the very first meeting I went to was a Carlos Annacondia meeting out in the middle of a soccer field. I’d never seen anything like it in my life. I saw fifteen to twenty-thousand people craving God. I mean, going after God.

I had Carlos lay hands on me one night, and I feel that from him came a real evangelistic anointing. I’ve had the evangelism desire all my life, but I watched him – he’s led over two million people to Jesus. At one o’clock in the morning he’s still praying with people. At two o’clock in the morning, he’s still laying hands on people. He’ll go night after night. He’s so common, so loving. All he cares about is that one little boy, that one grandpa, that one uncle that’s coming to Jesus.

I hung around that for seven years, and you absorb it.

How did you end up at Holy Trinity Brompton Anglican Church in London?

I read in Time magazine how God was moving. I had been to London several times, and 1 thought, “I’ve got to see this. I’ve got to see God moving in the Anglican Church because I can’t imagine it.” The article said they were laughing, they were falling, and I had a very critical spirit about it.

I went to the bed and breakfast that we stay at when I’m in London; it’s owned by a Christian couple. I asked them where God was moving, and they said, “It’s in our church.” They went to Holy Trinity Brompton.

I said, “I need to make an appointment with the pastor.”

They said, “Steve, he’s the busiest man in Europe. All of Europe comes here to get prayed for by him.”

I said, “Call him up and ask if he has time to pray for a Texan.” I wanted a little private visit with this guy (Sandy Miller) to see what was going on.

I went there at two o’clock that afternoon and there was a conference going on. I walked into the stately Anglican church in downtown London right by Harrod’s, the richest area of town, and stepped over about 500 bodies, people shaking all over the place. I had seen things like that before, but I’m an evangelist, so I’m after souls. If I can’t see hundreds and hundreds of people getting saved, then I’ll leave.

The Lord spoke to my heart and said, “You don’t need to talk to Sandy Miller. Just have him pray for you.” I walked up to him and said, “My name is Steve.” He says, “Oh my, we have an appointment at three o’clock, but look what’s happened in my church.”

I went up to him, he laid his hands on my head and it was over. I mean, I went down under the power of the Holy Spirit.

How do you channel revival fire?

That’s the most frustrating part to pastors because you can only live so long in this renewal. The first week after this broke out, I spoke a message on how to benefit from a divine refreshing.

  • The first point was get all you can get.
  • The second one was mix vegetables with the honey. Make sure you keep your feet on the ground.
  • And the third one was let your stall get dirty. Where there are no oxen, the stall is clean. Get out there. You’re bubbly, you’re all on fire with the Christians, but let that happen at the workplace.

And that’s what they started to do. And people started pouring in.

What is the relevance of it beginning Father’s Day?

I believe that was just a real special divine appointment. We didn’t really think about that. It was just totally spontaneous. The Father, he showed up on Father’s Day the way he did, and just loved on us. And you know, everybody got back to work. They got back to work in the fields and going after God, because they felt the nearness of the Lord.

What is the most important thing God has taught you through this revival?

What I’m convinced of more than anything else is the urgency of the hour – the urgency of the hour and the necessity of right now.

This is not a coliseum; this is not a secular place. This is night after night sinners are coming to a church. Why? They’re hungry. People are hungry and God has sent the famine. The Bible says in Amos, that God will send the famine. The famine for truth. So he’s going to do his part; we’re the feeding station. We’re the ones with tractor-trailer rigs full of food. We’re laden down with everything these people need but they come into our churches and what do they get? Nothing. They don’t get fed. They need to hear about hell. They need to hear the full gospel. But they don’t get it. God is doing his part, we need to do our part.

How do you keep track of what is taking place at the altar?

We’re seeing a thousand people saved a week, but we are very conservative with the figures. To me, when someone comes up and has backslidden, that’s a salvation. They are a prodigal. They’ve been living in sin. He came back, crawled on his face and he said, “I’m not worthy. I can’t even be under your roof.” And the Father received him. That’s why Charles Finney and Jonathan Edwards preached about backslidden conditions. Our country was back-slidden.

When we give that altar call, there are a lot of people that are saved for the first time. A lot of people that come down that have never known the Lord, but there are also a lot of people that are backsliders and prodigals that are coining back to the Lord.

After they come to the altar, what happens to them? How do you follow up with so many people?

There are a lot of people that are coming from out of state. I had never seen anything like this. We have fathers and mothers bringing their unsaved children from Minnesota. They bring in van loads from Birmingham and have four or five unsaved people in the van to be prayed for healing. They come down here and they get saved, and so we encourage them to get involved in the local church.

We do our very best to link them with people who have brought them, or we tell them about local Methodist churches and Baptist churches. Several pastors have gleaned people from this revival. But its an unusual type of situation because so many people are coining in from other areas that it is literally impossible for us to keep tabs on everybody that is coming. But another beauty of this is that a lot of people who get saved keep coming back because this is not a one week thing. So this is also like a discipleship process.

What do you make of the physical manifestations?

The Lord is welcome in this place to do anything he wants. But there is a balance here. They receive the gospel, they receive the cross, the blood. When the manifestations come, I welcome the manifestations, but I don’t major on the minors.

This last days awakening – mark these words, I’m not a prophet, this is not a prophecy, but this is what is going to happen. This awakening is going to shake this country, the power is going to come down.

I’m also a youth evangelist, and we are dealing with a culture that may not be demon-possessed, but they are possessed by demons. They are consumed with demonic warfare twenty-four hours a day. They have seen the power of Satan at work. You watch any rock concert: the frenzy, the fire, the pull, the enthusiasm that’s there. We talk about our God, and the power of God. We sing, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” and they’re going, “Where is it?”

They want to believe, but they see mom and dad are limp, weak, and they respond, “Where is the power? Mom, you’re popping valium and prozac and everything else and you’re talking about the power of God? Give me a break, Momma.” And so they come into this meeting. The punkers come in here. Every age, every kind of person in the world comes into this meeting and they are hit by the power of God. Undeniably swept off their feet by the power of God and by the hundreds they basically say, “What must I do to be saved?”

Does everyone respond so positively?

There will be folks here tonight, who are skeptical and critical – they hate this revival. They don’t want anything to do with it, but they are out there tonight, and they are going to get saved. They are going to fall to the ground under the power of God, they’re going to be back next week with their friends. Why? They’re out here because they’re curious, they’re out here because Aunt Mabel was healed of cancer, they’re here for a million different reasons.

Are you overwhelmed by the historic nature of this revival?

What is phenomenal about this is the fact that when I look upon the people I see all the hunger. They come from the corners of the globe. They don’t come for the beaches. They come for this meeting and yeah, that blows me away. And I’m beginning to see how this could affect the nation. People are attracted to the fire.

John Wesley said it: “I set myself on fire and the people come to watch me bum.”

Reproduced with permission

© Renewal Journal #13: Ministry
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright included in the text.

Renewal Journals – contents of all issues

Book Depository – free postage worldwide
Book Depository – Bound Volumes (5 in each) – free postage

Amazon – Renewal Journal 13: Ministry
Amazon – all journals and books – Look inside

Back to Renewal Journals

All Renewal Journal Topics

1 Revival,   2 Church Growth,   3 Community,   4 Healing,   5 Signs & Wonders,
6  Worship,   7  Blessing,   8  Awakening,   9  Mission,   10  Evangelism,
11  Discipleship,
   12  Harvest,   13  Ministry,   14  Anointing,   15  Wineskins,
16  Vision,
   17  Unity,   18  Servant Leadership,   19  Church,   20 Life

CONTENTS: Renewal Journal 13: Ministry

Pentecostalism’s Global Language, by Walter Hollenweger

Interview with Steven Hill, by Steve Beard

Revival in Mexico City, by Kevin Pate

Revival in Nepal, by Raju Sundras

Beyond Prophesying, by Mike Bickle

The Rise and Rise of the Apostles, by Phil Marshall

Evangelical Heroes Speak, by Richard Riss

Spirit Impacts in Revivals, by Geoff Waugh

The Primacy of Love, by Heidi Baker

Book Reviews:  Fire in the Outback, by John Blacket;  The Making of a Leader, by J R Clinton

Renewal Journal 13: Ministry – PDF

Revival Blogs Links:

See also Revivals Index

See also Revival Blogs

See also Blogs Index 1: Revivals











Pentecostalism’s Global Language, interview with Walter Hollenweger

Pentecostalism’s Global Language

by Walter Hollenweger



Dr Walter Hollenweger was Professor of Mission at the University of Birmingham.  His books The Pentecostals (1972) and Pentecosalism (1997) are landmark volumes.

Renewal Journal 13: Ministry – PDF

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It’s not tongues but
a different way of being a Christian

 Why is Pentecostalism so popular? It is now over half a billion strong worldwide, and has been and continues to be the fastest-growing Christian movement in the world. It has made inroads not only in third-world regions like Africa and Latin America, but it also continues to attract huge followings in the United States and Europe.

 Walter J. Hollenweger is the leading expert on worldwide Pentecostalism, which he has been studying for more than 40 years. Having grown up in the Pentecostal church, he later became ordained in the Reformed Church of Switzerland. From 1965 to 1971 he was executive secretary of the World Council of Churches, then served as professor of mission at England’s University of Birmingham for 18 years. His seminal book The Pentecostals (Hendrickson, 1972) was recently followed up by Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide (Hendrickson, 1997).

What is a Pentecostal?

Worldwide there is so much variety that about all one can say is that a Pentecostal is a Christian who calls himself a Pentecostal. Though Americans tend to focus on the gift of tongues, overall Pentecostals emphasize that God has given several gifts – not just speaking in tongues but also healing and the so-called rational gifts like organization or building a school. Diverse gifts to diverse people. It’s not a strictly theological definition but a phenomenological one.

Why is speaking in tongues the focus in America?

There are many reasons, of course, but one is that American and other middle-class cultures, as in Switzerland, find tongues an extraordinary phenomenon, so these experiences get a lot of attention. In Africa or Mexico, on the other hand, speaking in tongues and healings are not considered extraordinary – they can even be found in some indigenous pagan religions. (Speaking in tongues is not even “supernatural,” as many Pentecostals have found out.) Tongues aren’t even spoken in a lot of third-world Pentecostal churches. Instead, third-world Pentecostals focus on corporate worship, singing together, and Christian education. American Pentecostals don’t seek education as much as an experience of the supernatural.

What have been the key changes in Pentecostalism?

First, more and more young Pentecostals are becoming scholars through reputable universities. It’s true for Pentecostals in Europe, North America, and Latin America. It’s also true for Africa and for Asia.

There are now several hundred young Pentecostal scholars with doctorates, and that, of course, changes the breadth and depth of Pentecostalism. Most of them have maintained their roots in Pentecostalism, so they are now bilingual. They can speak in the university language, in the language of concepts and definitions, but they can also speak in the oral language of Pentecostalism, and I think that is an extremely important part of their success.

Second, this increase in education has led in many places to more ecumenical openness. In the past, nobody wanted to talk to the Pentecostals, and the Pentecostals didn’t want to talk to any of the other churches because they saw them as a lost cause. Now, for instance, there is a worldwide dialogue between Pentecostals and Roman Catholics that has been going on for 20 years. There have also been many contacts with the World Council of Churches, and the latest example is a global dialogue with the Presbyterian churches.

David du Plessis, a pioneer in ecumenism, has been instrumental in both these changes. He went to the Catholics. He went to the World Council of Churches. He went to all the universities. And the fact that he was a reasonable man and also a Pentecostal astonished many people. They thought Pentecostals were all a little crazy and could not think properly. But when they got to know him, they realized that it is possible to speak in tongues and be a critical scholar.

Another change, of course, is the worldwide explosive growth to nearly half a billion adherents.

Why is Pentecostalism so popular?

Some scholars think it has to do with its theology and doctrine. But Pentecostal theology is not homogeneous. Others think it’s because of Pentecostals’ aggressive evangelism. That is partly true because a real Pentecostal is by definition an evangelist, whose faith is as infectious as the flu.

The most important reason is that it is an oral religion. It is not defined by the abstract language that characterizes, for instance, Presbyterians or Catholics. Pentecostalism is communicated in stories, testimonies, and songs. Oral language is a much more global language than that of the universities or church declarations. Oral tradition is flexible and can adapt itself to a variety of circumstances.

Can’t oral tradition drift off into sub-Christian and even heretical beliefs?

Certainly, but overall there is a basic evangelical consensus among Pentecostals. They are similar to the early church in this respect. Early Christians didn’t have a formal, written confession of faith, as Presbyterians and others do today. They had the stories of Jesus. Even Jesus didn’t spell out doctrine; he gave his followers stories of miracles, and taught through proverbs and parables.

The earliest church was united, but not as much through their theology as through the Lord’s Prayer, Paul’s collection for Jerusalem (his theological “enemies”), baptism, and the Eucharist. Their statements of faith were simple, and the simplest was “Jesus is Lord.” It was a very different way of achieving togetherness, and it was achieved through these oral forms.

Ironically, when the ecumenical confessions came later, they did not unite the church. They divided it, as propositional theology always does. But across divided theology, it is possible to pray together, to sing together, and to act together. That’s what Pentecostals do at their best.

Is it fair to say that when you convert to Pentecostalism, you are converting not to a certain theology but to a new experience of faith?

Yes, and that has important evangelistic consequences for Pentecostals.

In many circles, when you become a Christian, you talk about gaining a new understanding of the Lord’s Supper and baptism (they are either more or less sacramental), but other people are not terribly interested in that. When you become a Pentecostal, you talk about how you’ve been healed or your very life has been changed. That’s something Pentecostals talk about over and over, partly because people are interested in hearing that sort of thing.

Pentecostalism today addresses the whole life, including the thinking part. More mainline forms of Christianity address the thinking part first and that often affects the rest of life, but not always.

Yet it seems most Pentecostals are far more right-brained and intuitive than left-brained and rational.

Indeed, the “orality” of Pentecostalism – the singing, the dancing, the speaking in tongues – accents the intuitive. But a mature Pentecostal will try to connect the intuitive and the rational. Always emphasizing the analytical will destroy faith. But only emphasizing the intuitive leads to chaos. A challenge of the Pentecostal movement is to combine rational thinking with its spontaneous emotional side.

This is the challenge for all Christians, really. The rationalist needs the Toronto Blessing and has to be slain in the Spirit to realize that. It sometimes seems silly to me, but you’ll notice that it is rationalists and intellectuals who fall down. People who have a balanced emotional and intuitive life don’t need that. True, some rationalists dance, sing, go walking in the mountains, or play a musical instrument, but then they go back to their science, to rational lives, and the two are not connected.

What most concerns you as you think about Pentecostalism in the coming century?

First, Pentecostalism must confront its tendency to segregate and separate into countless denominations. It’s happening all the time, and it really is a scandal.

The other challenge is common to all Christian churches: What do we do with the ecological threat to the world? What do we do with the threat of hunger and the plight of refugees? It’s a challenge that will hit Pentecostals harder than any other churches because their largest churches are on the poor side of the world. But as Christians, we have a contribution to make — not just in money but in prayer and in developing solutions that politicians cannot.

But Pentecostals are not known for their social activism.

That’s true in some ways, but it is a misconception in others. Many of Martin Luther King’s marchers were black Pentecostals. In Brazil there are many Pentecostals sitting in parliament. And in many third-world countries, Pentecostals are trying to develop new ways of gaining political influence without the game playing we have in the West. In Latin America, for example, they try to work with sectors of the Catholic church to get water or a school or a new street for a poor district. So there are quite a number of places where Pentecostals take up the structural issues, but they do not take them up by founding political parties. They start from the local needs and the local misery people experience every day.

Copyright 1998 by the author of Christianity Today, Inc./Christian History Magazine.

Spring 1998, Vol.XVII, No. 2, Page 42.  Used with permission.

(c) Renewal Journal 13: Ministry, 1998, 2012.
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright included in the text.

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16  Vision,
   17  Unity,   18  Servant Leadership,   19  Church,   20 Life

CONTENTS: Renewal Journal 13: Ministry

Pentecostalism’s Global Language, by Walter Hollenweger

Interview with Steven Hill, by Steve Beard

Revival in Mexico City, by Kevin Pate

Revival in Nepal, by Raju Sundras

Beyond Prophesying, by Mike Bickle

The Rise and Rise of the Apostles, by Phil Marshall

Evangelical Heroes Speak, by Richard Riss

Spirit Impacts in Revivals, by Geoff Waugh

The Primacy of Love, by Heidi Baker

Book Reviews:  Fire in the Outback, by John Blacket;  The Making of a Leader, by J R Clinton

Renewal Journal 13: Ministry – PDF

Revival Blogs Links:

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A Preface to The Acts, by Geoff Waugh

A A Preface to The Acts

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A Preface to The Acts of the Apostles

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Luke’s Preface – Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1

Issues raised in his preface

1  The Title of The Acts

The Acts of the Holy Spirit

The Kingdom of God


2  The Aim of The Acts

An orderly account of the origins and early spread of Christianity

An apologetic emphasis: Christianity was not politically dangerous

A reconciliation of Gentile and Jewish Christianity

An answer to Jewish opposition

A statement of the work of the Risen Lord by His Spirit through the Church

3  The Author of The Acts

Principal reasons supporting Lukan authorship:

1  Acts is by the same author as the Gospel of Luke

2  Similar style and vocabulary

3  Use of medical term in Acts

4  Luke was a companion of Paul

5  The “we-sections” in Acts suggest Luke

6  Luke’s name is missing: another would refer to him

7  Luke with Paul in Rome, where he could have completed the book.

8.  Luke, the man: Gentile; physician, historian, spiritual

Two others  theories regarding authorship

4   The Date of The Acts

Arguments favouring an early date, especially in the 60s

1  Conclusion of the story before the death of Paul

2. Luke’s two years in Rome would allow him to complete the work

3  The vivid descriptions of the “we-sections” suggests immediate recording

4  Details regarding Caesarea would have been collected or recorded early

5  No mention of the devastation of Jerusalem in 70 AD

6  No reference to Paul’s  letters

Arguments favouring a date about 75-85

1  Passages in Luke’s gospel which preceded the Acts

2  Synoptic issues affecting Luke’s earlier work

Arguments favouring a later date, about 95–100 AD

Luke may have used Josephus’ history published about 93 AD

5  The Sources of The Acts

1  The historical sections:


records in Jerusalem and Antioch

2  The biographical sections:

Luke’s diary


Other eyewitnesses

6  The Setting of The Acts

The Greeks:

Alexander’s conquests – a cosmopolitan society

The spread and use of the Koiné Greek – a common language

The Romans:

Stable world government

The Roman Peace

The System of Roads

The Slave Economy

The Jews :

Herod and his sons

The Roman Procurators: Pilate, Felix and Festus

The Scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees

The Jews of the Dispersion

Paul in this setting.

7  The Contents of The Acts

Historical and Biographical

Preparation for the witness  (1:1-26)

The witness in Jerusalem (2:1 – 8:3)

The witness in Judea and Samaria (8:4 – 12:25)

The  witness to Jews and Gentiles (13:1 – 28:31)

A Comparison and General Summary

An accurate history


A summary

Luke’s closing sentences

Appendix 1

Translations of Acts 1:1-9

Good News Bible

Today’s New International Version

J B Phillips Translation

The Message

The Amplified Bible

Buk Baibel (PNG)

Inter-linear Greek-English New Testament

Appendix 2

Renewal Journals and Books


Luke and The Acts are two volumes of one astounding history – the story of Jesus and his church.  Luke, “the beloved physician” (Colossians 4:14), often travelled with Paul in their pioneering missionary journeys.  Luke gives us a concise preface in the beginning of his writings, and then introduces the second part of his story with a short introduction linking the two.

Luke’s own preface reads:  “The Author to Theophilus: Many writers have undertaken to draw up an account  of the events that have happened among us, following the traditions handed down  to us by the original eyewitnesses and servants of the Gospel.  And so I in my turn,  your Excellency, as one who has gone over the whole course of these events in detail, have decided to write a connected narrative for you, so as to give you authentic knowledge about the matters of which you have been informed” (Luke 1:1-4, New English Bible).

Continuing his connected narrative, he commences part two with a sentence linking both:  “In the first part of my work, Theophilus, I wrote of all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom He had chosen, He was taken up into heaven” (Acts 1:1-2, NEB).

In his preface to the combined work, the author:

*  revealed his subject – the Word;

*  gave the sources of his information – eyewitnesses and ministers;

*  described his method – accurate tracing of the course of all things, writing them in order;

*  and declared the purpose –  that of giving certainty to Theophilus (Morgan, p.7).

So here in my book we explore these issues mentioned by Luke himself, and examine the title, aim, author, date, sources, setting, and contents of The Acts of the Apostles.

What a great story!  Luke traces the amazing growth of Jesus’ church from its beginnings in Jerusalem to its impact throughout the Roman Empire.

That story continues today.  We are part of it.  The God they worshipped is our God.  The Lord they served is our Lord.  The Holy Spirit they obeyed is in and with us.

This story of the Acts of the Holy Spirit continues today through the same Spirit of God.  It fulfils Jesus’ last promise:  You will receive power then the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses … to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

The following sample verses describe the acts of the Holy Spirit in both Luke and The Acts.

The Acts of the Holy Spirit

And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God (Luke 1:35).

John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (Luke 3:16).

And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22).

Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness (Luke 4:1)

Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region (Luke 4:14).

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken hearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD” (Luke 4:18-19).

In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight (Luke 10:21).

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).

This crucial theme continues in The Acts.

The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen (Acts 1:1-2).

John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:5).

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4).

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31).

Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business (Acts 6:3).

And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke (Acts 6:10).

But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God (Acts 7:55).

Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17).

Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot” (Acts 8:29).

Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:39).

And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17).

Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied (Acts 9:31).

While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you (Acts 10:19).

God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him (Acts 10:38).

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word (Acts 10:44).

And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also (Acts 10:45).

Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? (Acts 10:47)

Then the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house (Acts 11:12).

And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning (Acts 11:15).

Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:16).

For he [Barnabas] was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord (Acts 11:24).

Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar (Acts 11:28).

As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them” (Acts 13:2).

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus (Acts 13:4).

And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:52).

So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us (Acts 15:8).

For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things (Acts 15:28).

Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia (Acts 16:6).

After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them (Acts 16:7).

When Silas and Timothy had come from Macedonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ (Acts 18:5).

He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”  So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”  And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied (Acts 19:2, 6).

When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome” (Acts 19:21).

And see, now I go bound in the Spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there (Acts 20:22).

the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me (Acts 20:23).

Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28).

When he had come to us, he took Paul’s belt, bound his own hands and feet, and said, “Thus says the Holy Spirit, ‘So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man who owns this belt, and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles’” (Acts 21:11).

So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, saying, ‘ Go to this people and say:

“Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand;

And seeing you will see, and not perceive …”’” (Acts 28:25-26)

Then Luke concludes his story abruptly with, “Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.”

His closing reference to the kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ brings us full circle to how Luke began The Acts.  He tells us that the risen Lord taught his followers about the kingdom of God for 40 days and then promised them the power to continue teaching about the kingdom and demonstrating the kingdom, as Jesus had done.

This focus on the kingdom of God is another major theme in both Luke’s Gospel and The Acts.

Just as Jesus taught and demonstrated God’s kingdom on earth in the power of the Holy Spirit, so did his followers.

Author of A Preface to The Acts

Dr Geoff Waugh is the founding editor of the Renewal Journal and taught Ministry and Mission and Revivals at Trinity Theological College (part of the School of Theology at Griffith University) and at Christian Heritage College in Brisbane, Australia.

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A Kingdom Life

Kingdom Life in the Gospels
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Kingdom Life in Matthew – Blog
Kingdom Life in Matthew – PDF

Kingdom Life in Mark – Blog
Kingdom Life in Mark – PDF

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Body Ministry, by Geoff Waugh

Body Ministry

The Body of Christ Alive in His Spirit

Body Ministry – PDF

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Body Ministry – over 20 years of research updated to the 21st century.

This 250-page book (2011, 2015) is updated and compiled from two books:

The Body of Christ, Part 1: Body Ministry,  and

The Body of Christ, Part 2: Ministry Education.

Articles and books reproduced and adapted from this book:

Unity, not Uniformity (Renewal Journal 17: Unity) – selection from Chapter 4: Spiritual Gifts

Vision for Ministry (Renewal Journal 16: Vision) – selection from the Preface

Learning Together in Ministry – a book expanded from Chapter 15 – Mutual Education: From competition to co-operation.

From the Foreword by Rev Prof Dr James Haire

In this very helpful and timely book, the Rev Dr Geoff Waugh takes up the implications of these issues and applies them to ministry within and beyond the church, the Body of Christ.   As the framework above indicates, Dr Waugh’s analysis, evaluation and application of the theology of the living Body of Christ inevitably is no less than truly revolutionary, as is his analysis, evaluation and application of the theology of the living Spirit’s work.

Dr Waugh has had a long and distinguished mission career, especially in education, in addressing the central Christian issues outlined above.   It has been my honour and my privilege to have served alongside him for eight years (1987–1994) in Trinity Theological College, in the Brisbane College of Theology, and in the School of Theology of Griffith University, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.   He has been a dear and valued friend, and especially one who day-by-day in his life has lived out what he taught.   Moreover, he has had vast experience in his long teaching ministry, not only in Australia, but throughout the South Pacific, Asia, and in Africa.

His work is thus very important reading indeed for us all.

From the Preface to Part 1: Body Ministry,

by Rev Dr Col Warren

by Rev. Dr Colin Warren, Former Principal of Alcorn College, Senior Pastor of Rangeville Uniting Church before retirement and founder of Freedom Life Centre, Toowoomba.

In this brief Preface, I acknowledge that Geoff has had a very big impact on my life, both by the witness of his own life and by the quality of his teaching.  I pray that you and your church will be greatly blessed as you read and put into practice these basic biblical principles to reach and bless the people who are searching for the living Christ but often do not know what it is they are searching for.

Geoff and I have worked with students and on mission enterprises together over many years.  His writing has come from years of practical experience and a vast amount of prayerful study.  He has pioneered a work the results of which only eternity will reveal.  He has never sought recognition for his tireless and faithful service in honouring the Lord, in continuing to teach and to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.  He writes out of varied experiences.

He was the inaugural Principal of the Baptist Bible College in Papua New Guinea (1965-1970).  He has taught at Alcorn College and Trinity Theological College (1977-1994) and at Christian Heritage College School of Ministries (from 1995).  He is the author of many books, mostly in Christian Education with the Uniting Church, but also on Renewal and Revival.

In this important work, Geoff explores the ministry of the whole body of Christ when Holy Spirit gifts are recognized and are encouraged to be exercised.  Then the artificial division between clergy and laity or pastor and non-pastor is removed.  At the same time, there is the recognition of Holy Spirit endowed leadership gifting such as that between Paul and Timothy.  This means that Kingdom authority is expressed through Divine headship.  His emphasis on body ministry thus becomes a reality.

Geoff illustrates this clearly with his Case study Number 2 on page 34. There the church no longer consists of passive pew sitters but participants in fulfilling the command of Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach repentance, heal the sick and cast out demon spirits, having the certain knowledge that He is with them as He promised: “to the end of the age”.

Geoff points out that if the church is to live and grow in today’s world, it must recognize the need to emphasize relationships and adapt to change. This change will include such simple things as the way men and women both old and young dress, and allow others the freedom to dress differently as they attend places of worship in a non-judgmental atmosphere.

There is, too, the need to realize the reality that many are affected by a global sense of fear of nuclear destruction and of accelerated and constant change and uncertainty.  The church can provide an atmosphere of security through rediscovering the unchanging gospel in a changing world.

Denominations that once were able to be exclusive and hold their numbers in rigid theological disciplines, have been invaded via cassettes, CD’s, DVD’s, and the internet that have widened the thinking horizons of their often theologically bound members, resulting in communication at spiritual levels not possible previously.

Geoff points out that if we are going to fulfil the Great Commission, we must first live the life of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is only then that we can do the work of fulfilling Christ’s command to go.

I commend Body Ministry for you to read.  All Christians will benefit greatly from reading this insightful book.

From the Preface to Part 2: Ministry Education,

by Rev Dr Lewis Born

By Rev Dr Lewis Born, former Moderator of the Queensland Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia and Director of the Department of Christian Education.

Body Ministry and Open Ministry Education come at the right time for adult education, gospel communication, and the growth of the church.

Open Education promises to become the most commonly used adult educational methodology of the new millennium.  The demand is likely to increase.  This indicates that the work of Geoff Waugh is a significant contribution to the current educational enterprise.  It is particularly valuable to Christian Educators.  The author’s orientation is theological and his target audience is the faith community, its nurture, growth and outreach.

To this point in time the educative process has been inhibited by dependence on structured courses, the classroom and qualified teachers.  Accelerated technology, as Mr Waugh observes, has made modern resources commonly available to individuals, churches and schools in every village community.  By this medium Open Education for the first time in history is able to offer high quality education from the world’s best teachers to people in their own lounge, church or local group meeting place.

All this coinciding with the renewal movement has stimulated interest in theological learning to an unprecedented degree in the history of Christendom. The incredible numerical religious revival in the illiterate Asian and Latin church has been stimulated and served by modern technology.

This gives Open Ministry Education and therefore Mr Waugh’s work a global relevance, which he has applied in the Australian context.

As a fellow Australian I am appreciative.  My appreciation is greatly enhanced by a deep respect and affection for the author.  He is a competent teacher, an excellent communicator, an informed, disciplined renewalist and an experienced extension educator.

All these qualities combine to commend the author and his work.

Amazon Review:

Spirit-led ministry for the body of Christ

Author Geoff Waugh has been generous by providing several books encompassing body ministry. Each has a different flavor but all draw you closer to the concept of what today’s ministry needs to entail. Whether in church or in home groups all must center, he states, on relationships and using the varying gifts of the body to build up God’s kingdom. Just like Jesus taught on kingdom living we too need to break out of comfortable tradition, dissolve the gap between clergy and laity, and not conform to the world but be an agent of transformation to the world.

Servant leaders, Waugh believes, are called and anointed to equip others for ministry. It is not about position, hierarchy, or authority but a question of function and service. As the order of service is dictated by the Spirit’s outpouring, there are new songs in worship that can emerge as well as inspirational insights to edify the body.

The contrast given between traditional leading and 21 st century servant leadership is very informative. It allows pastors and leaders to evaluate the way things are done and help them lead in supportive ways.

The media and educational access via technology have allowed information at our fingertips and Waugh shares how the purpose of education has changed and what adult learners most appreciate today. This resource will be of benefit to all ministry leaders and teachers. I recommend it for positive change and for allowing the Holy Spirit, the Great Teacher, to have full reign.


Book Structure

Part 1:  Body Ministry

I. Body Ministry                        with                      II. Body Organization

1. Kingdom Authority                  with                      6. Divine Headship

2. Obedient Mission                    with                     7. Body Membership

3. Mutual Ministry                        with                     8. Servant Leadership

4. Spiritual Gifts                          with                     9. Body Life

5. Body Evangelism                    with                   10. Expanding Networks

Part 2:  Ministry Education

11.  Open Education: From narrow to wide

12.  Unlimited Education: From centralized to de-centralized

13.  Continuing Education: From classrooms to life

14.  Adult Education: From pedagogy to self-directed learning

15.  Mutual Education: From competition to co-operation

16.  Theological Education: From closed to open

17.  Contextual Education: From general to specific

18.  Ministry Education: From pre-service to in-service


 Foreword: Prof Dr James Haire

Prologue:  Change Changed      

 Part 1: Body Ministry

 Preface to Part 1, Body Ministry: Rev Dr Colin Warren                         

 Section I.  Body Ministry:  From few to many

Chapter 1.  Kingdom Authority:  From meetings to ministry

1. Church and Kingdom

2. Signs of the Kingdom

Chapter 2.  Obedient Mission:  From making decisions to making disciples

1. Empowering

2. Discipling

Chapter 3.  Mutual MinistryFrom spectators to participants

1. Clergy

2. Laity

Chapter 4.  Spiritual Gifts:  From limited to unlimited

1. Unity

2. Diversity

Chapter 5.  Body EvangelismFrom programs to growing churches

1. Program Evangelism

2. Power Evangelism


Section II.  Body Organization:  From some to all 

Chapter 6.  Divine Headship:  From figurehead to functional head

1. The Written Word

2. The Living Word

Chapter 7.  Body Membership:  From firm to flexible structures

1. The Organism

2. The Organization

Chapter 8.  Servant Leadership:  From management to equipping

1. Servanthood

2. Equipping for ministry

Chapter 9.  Body Life:  From passive to active

1. Concern for People

2. Concern for Task

Chapter 10.  Expanding Networks:  From maintenance to mission

1. Congregational Structures

2. Mission Structures

Case Study:  China miracle     


Part 2: Ministry Education

Preface to Part 2, Ministry Education: Rev Dr Lewis Born 

Introduction: Ministry Education in the Body of Christ:

From traditional to open ministry education

Chapter 11.  Open Education:  From narrow to wide

1. Open Ministry Education

2. Distance Education

Chapter 12.  Unlimited Education:  From centralized to decentralized

1. Advantages

2. Problems and Solutions

Chapter 13.  Continuing Education:  From classrooms to life

1. Increasing Change

2. Increasing Choice

Chapter 14.  Adult Education:  From pedagogy to self-directed learning

1. Principles

2. Foundations

Chapter 15.  Mutual Education:  From competition to co-operation

1. Aims and objectives

2. Implications

Chapter 16.  Theological Education:  From closed to open

Bases for Change in Theological Education

Chapter 17.  Contextual Education:  From general to specific

1. Theology in Context

2. Ministry in Context

Chapter 18.  Ministry Education:  From pre-service to in-service

1. Body Ministry

2. Servant Leadership

Epilogue:  The Unchanging Christ

Body Ministry is compiled, updated and expanded from these two books:

The Body of Christ: Part 1 – Body Ministry


The Body of Christ 2: Ministry Education

The Body of Christ: Part 2 – Ministry Education



See also:

A Learning Together in MinistryLearning Together

in Ministry

Learning Together in Ministry – PDF


This educational book is reproduced and expanded from chapter 5 of The Body of Christ, Part 2: Ministry Education and chapter 15 of Body Ministry: The Body of Christ Alive in His Spirit.

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The Spirit in the Church  by Adrian Commadeur

Adrian Commadeur

The Spirit in the Church

Adrian Commadeur comments on charismatic renewal and Christian communities. This account of his discoveries, following eight years as a Redemptorist student, is adapted from Chapter 4 of his book The Spirit in the Church.

Article in Renewal Journal 3: Community
Renewal Journal 3: Community -_PDF

Also in Renewal Journals bound volume 1 (Issues 1-5)
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An article in Renewal Journal 3: Community
The Spirit in the Church, by Adrian Commadeur


each has a sense of belonging,

plays a significant role in the community,

and is accountable to someone else


The gift of the Holy Spirit, with accompanying charisms, has the purpose of empowering the Christian to witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus.

This has been the experience of many in the charismatic renewal, both to desire and to be able to share the good news of Jesus Christ within the Christian community and to the world. While it belongs to the very nature of the church to proclaim the gospel, I grew up with the notion that the church was there to keep Catholics fervent, and reach out to the pagans in Africa or Asia to evangelise them.

Since the coming of the Holy Spirit in a fresh personal Pentecost, the call to evangelisation has stirred me strongly. At times I have responded according to my ability.

Life in the Spirit seminars

One of the early leaders of Renewal in the United States, Steve Clark, developed a series of

teachings in 1971. It was based on early Church practice of introducing catechumens or serious inquirers into the community of faith.

On the basis of the perceived needs of those seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the series consists of seven weekly sessions of teachings and discussions and prayers. Life in the Spirit Seminars have been used worldwide to bring people from either unbelief to faith, or from belief to deeper faith and the release of the Holy Spirit.

The seminar is an effective means of spiritual growth through teachings on basic Christian themes and daily biblical reflections between weekly sessions. A participant’s book including daily Scripture readings and prayers is made available to each person. More than one million copies have been printed.

For the team presenting the Seminar a Team Manual was prepared, showing in detail the method of conducting the seminar and the contents of each of the teachings. By 1974 already 100,000 copies were in use.

The Life in the Spirit Seminar has been, and continues to be, a most effective way of bringing people into a new and personal relationship with Jesus Christ by means of the release of the Holy Spirit. It is a marvellous way of renewing faith, clarifying the basics of doctrine, incorporating people into a community of faith and love, and introducing them to the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit which enables them to become more effective witnesses to the risen Jesus.

For nonbelievers, especially young people who have not heard the gospel (even though it may have been presented to them either at school or in church), it is an introduction to Christianity. For those who have been lukewarm in faith, or uncertain of their beliefs, it is a renewal, especially through an introduction to the person of Jesus. To those who search for a deeper life of faith and prayer, it is a fulfilment of the heart’s desire. For all, the Life in the Spirit Seminar is a fulfilment of the promise of Jesus, `You will receive power, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you’ (Acts 1:8).

Prayer groups

Prayer Groups are a wonderful means of evangelisation and introducing new people to a fuller life in Christ and the Spirit. There are approximately 450 Catholic charismatic prayer groups around Australia. They meet in churches, church halls, meeting rooms, school rooms, chapels and homes.

They range in numbers from as few as three or four, to around 300. The average size of the 90 groups in the Melbourne Archdiocese in 1991 was 25 participants. On special occasions like a healing Eucharist, there can be twice the normal number in attendance. If a conservative estimate of 20 people per meeting were accepted, then some 10,000 Catholics meet every week in charismatic prayer groups around Australia. Some 20,000 could be said to be active Australia wide.

While Covenant Communities are the major alternative, prayer meetings are the normal local expression of the Catholic charismatic renewal. This means that the prayer meeting should be a significant place for evangelisation into the local church community.

Renewed parishes

Across the spectrum of the Church there are now a number of exciting examples of renewed parishes where people flock to join in worship, fellowship, Christian formation and service. One of the major tensions that Catholic Charismatics must resolve is their commitment to their prayer meetings and to their parishes.

On the one hand, the prayer meeting often provides for warmth of fellowship, ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit, strength and conviction in praise and worship, and teaching that is based both on Scripture and on the spiritual experiences of the speaker. In addition, there are times of social activities and regional and national conferences, retreats, seminars and similar `celebrations’.

On the other hand the parish provides for Sunday and weekday Eucharist, the sacraments such as reconciliation, and pastoral care in sickness. Parish activities are multifaceted and provide for schooling, caring, sporting, social and adult education activities. In this way the different needs of the charismatic parishioner are met.

Ideally both these needs should be met in the parish that is renewed in the Spirit, in which there is a spiritual vitality that can attract others to its worship and lifestyle. On the one hand, people are satisfied with a deeper spiritual journey through the prayer meeting. On the other, the necessary and the obligatory elements of the faith are satisfied.

Certain principles apply in all parish renewals. It seems that there needs to be a sovereign

initiative of God and a parish clergy and leadership open to the Holy Spirit. One of the principal methods seems to be the formation of the Parish Group (Cell) System, to enable informal formation at a personal level.

The pastor at St Boniface’s, Fr Michael Eivers, outlines six factors that are keys to the success of the cell system.

* The cell system must initially be directed by the pastor and continue to have his support.

* Cells are community related, and reach out to people in the members’ neighbourhoods and work environments.

* Cells are selfmultiplying groups.

* The cell system is the parish way of life, not just another program.

* Cells are highly evangelistic, missionary groups.

* Continuous training and motivation of cell leaders is critical (Perini, p. 9).

I hope that in Australia there will soon be parish priests with their parish teams, who will dare to renew the sacramentalized and evangelise unbelievers in the power of the Holy Spirit and through the cell system.

Covenant Communities

One eloquent expression of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in charismatic renewal has been the formation of Covenant Communities.

Covenant Community is a group of Christians who have been led by the Lord to bind themselves to Him and also to one another in the form of public commitment. Its call is to live a Christian lifestyle, in family and single life, through openness to the charismatic gifts, worship and prayer, sharing and teaching, and support for one another (Emmanuel Covenant Community, Brisbane).

As early as 1971 the first members of prayer groups in the USA felt the call to bind themselves together in a shared lifestyle. It may have been relatively easy to do so for students and graduates of the various universities. They had both the idealism and the freedom to commit themselves to one another, without such other commitments as family or mortgages.

Some of the earliest communities were True House, led by Joe Byrne, and People of Praise, led by Kevin and Dorothy Ranaghan and Paul de Celles, in South Bend, Indiana, near the University of Notre Dame, and the Word of God, led by Ralph Martin and Steve Clark and others, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, around the University of Michigan.

On visiting them in 1973 I was impressed by the strength of numbers and commitment to the cause of renewal of the Church through a return to the lifestyle of the early Christians. Even within each community there seemed different levels of commitment. Many lived in households and some shared their goods and possessions, including their socks!

Australian communities

A number of Covenant Communities have developed within the charismatic scene in Australia. They range up and down in numbers and influence. If some have a lower profile they still have qualities shared by most other communities. There are also signs of new or renewed religious communities which give rise to hope for new sparkling life and ministry of the Church in Australia.

The Brisbane based Emmanuel Covenant Community was formed in 1975, with four men and their families responding to the call to bind themselves together in Community. First members and leaders of the Community were Brian Smith and John Carroll, with their wives, Lorraine and Penny, and their families. As early as 1976 Emmanuel became affiliated with other communities, notably in the United States, and later to others around the world in an International Brotherhood of Communities (IBOC), and in The Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships (1990).

Associated with Emmanuel in Australia are a number of Communities that have been helped by them in their establishment. These include Bethel in Perth, Hepzibah in Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide, and Disciples of Jesus in Sydney and Melbourne. Other communities include many small groups of people who have committed themselves to the Lord and to one another, but have not grown in strength or numbers. Although the membership of most Communities includes a majority of Catholics, a number of Communities could be said to be ecumenical such as Servants of Jesus in Sydney.

Membership of Catholics, Anglicans, Protestants and perhaps some Pentecostals requires sensitive leadership and acceptable common activities. Within ecumenical Communities, Catholic fraternities have at times been structured, to enable a specifically Catholic identity to be expressed, especially in the liturgical life of the Community.

Communities commit themselves to be of service in the Church and to the world. At times they do outstanding work either through large organised groups such as the National Evangelisation Team (NET) or through small teams of evangelists who travel within or outside of Australia to preach the gospel. Many Communities have developed a specific ministry such as to the poor, for unmarried mothers, or visiting the lonely.

Charismatic community lifestyle

Most of the Communities share a basic lifestyle which is expressed in certain practical ways. Membership of the community is demonstrated by participation in:

* general community gatherings.

* smaller groupings for discussion, sharing, and support.

* a Christian formation program for family and single life.

* informal gatherings for social activities.

* teaching and evangelistic outreaches according to the opportunities offered or initiated.

* leadership exercised by a group of elders, the number of which is determined by the needs and size of the community and supported materially and financially by the members.

* members seek to live in close geographical proximity for easier fellowship and support.

* traditional Eucharistic and liturgical prayer.

Communities are making a significant contribution to the renewal of the spiritual life of the

church. They promote a commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and a mutual love of members of the community. Extensive teaching programs and pastoral oversight have strengthened the life of faith and sharing among their members. Numerical strength and the pooling of resources have been made possible. This has enabled leaders to be constantly in touch with leaders worldwide and so have maintained bonds and standards of renewed community life.

Fraternity of Covenant Communities

On 30 November 1990, a significant event occurred in Rome. On that date the Pontifical Council for the Laity promulgated the decree which inaugurated the Catholic Fraternity of Covenant Communities and Fellowships. The decree noted that Covenant Communities from Australia, Canada, France, Malaysia, New Zealand and the United States were ‘motivated by the desire both to assure greater dialogue and collaboration among themselves and to deepen their communion with the Successor of Peter as an essential element of their Catholic identity.’

The decree recognised the Fraternity as a Private Association of the Christian Faithful within the Catholic Church. It expressed the hope that this recognition would consolidate and promote the Catholic expression of the charismatic movement, might increase its spiritual fruits and encourage intensified apostolic activity in the work of evangelisation.

At the inauguration, Brian Smith from Brisbane, was elected President of the Executive of the Fraternity. He noted that the declaration was the most significant event in the history of the charismatic renewal since the 1975 Holy Year international conference and the acknowledgment it received from Pope Paul VI at that time. He said, ‘It is the first time that the Renewal has had formal, canonical recognition by the Vatican.’

Communities of life and service

A further expression of the charismatic renewal has emerged in the church. Groups of committed people have established themselves as communities of life and service. These include the establishment of houses of prayer, teams of service, or new religious houses or communities of lay people married or single with a focus on such ministry as street kids or contemplative prayer. Localised and adapted to cultural and religious circumstances, these communities add greatly, but often unobtrusively, to the life of the church at large. All of them would consider themselves to be part of the main stream at the heart of the church.

One of these communities of life and service is the Holy Spirit of Freedom Community. Frank and Lu Feain lead this community with three houses in Melbourne and Perth, have a circle of collaborating tertiaries to support them financially, materially and spiritually and work for homeless `street kids’. This community brings the love of God to drug users and victims of domestic abuse, through `friendship evangelism.’

Another group is the House of Prayer at beautiful Carcoar, NSW, conducted by Helen and Neville Bowers and serving both the charismatic renewal and the local diocese. The ministry includes the provision of retreats, seminars and days of prayer.

Another significant development over recent years is the number of Schools of Evangelisation. Young people especially, receive formation in mature Christian living, and practical training in the skills of sharing the gospel with others.

The church exists to evangelise

All of the expressions of Catholic charismatic renewal demonstrate the creative activity and

ministry of the Holy Spirit. While some may judge one form or lifestyle or expression superior to another, all expressions of charismatic renewal aim to assist in the growth of personal holiness and to serve the church and world with the proclamation of the gospel.

In conclusion, the experience of successful prayer groups and communities shows that a dynamic lifestyle where each has a sense of belonging, plays a significant role in the community, and is accountable to someone else best attracts new believers, and keeps them as effective members of the church community.


Blum, Susan (undated) ‘A Parish Where Everyone Evangelizes’ in New Evangelization 2000, issue 5.

Perini, Pigel (undated) ‘New Evangelisation in an Ancient Basilica’ in New Evangelization 2000, issue 7.


(c) Adrian Commadeur, 1992, The Spirit in the Church. Melbourne: Comsoda Communication. Used by permission.

© Renewal Journal 3: Community (1994, 2011) 35-44
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright intact with the text.

Now available in updated book form (2nd edition 2011)

Renewal Journal 3: Community

Renewal Journal 3: Community -_PDF

RJ 03 Community 1

Renewal Journal 3: Community – Editorial

Lower the Drawbridge, by Charles Ringma

Called to Community, by D Mathieson & Tim McCowan

Covenant Community, by Shayne Bennett

The Spirit in the Church, by Adrian Commadeur

House Churches, by Ian Freestone

Church in the Home, by Spencer Colliver

The Home Church, by Colin Warren

China’s House Churches, by Barbara Nield

Renewal in a College Community, by Brian Edgar

Spirit Wave, by Darren Trinder


RJ Vol 1 (1-5) 1Also in Renewal Journals, Bound Volume 1 (Issues 1-5)

Renewal Journal Vol 1 (1-5)PDF

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The Spirit in the Church, by Adrian Commadeur
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