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I am hoping you read my doctoral dissertation and be gripped by the reality that every believer, every follower of Christ, is truly called into ministry, is profoundly gifted for ministry by the Holy Spirit, is to be trained and equipped for ministry and is to be sent into ministry. Ministry is not merely for clergy, pastors, missionaries or “professionals.” It is for all who have responded to the call to follow Christ. This dissertation was written a long time ago – in 1979. Much has changed in the years since it was written. But God’s universal call to all believers is not one of them.

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John Wesley was a revolutionary. Not in the standard way, but rather in how he viewed the “ordinary Christian.” He saw what others did not see. As I began to “unpack” Wesley’s extraordinary use of the “common person” of England in the massive Evangelical Awakening in the 1700s in Britain, I realized that there were some concepts that were transferable, that could be taken across hundreds of years, and across national boundaries. In fact, I came to realize that these were not merely universal principles followed by Wesley but inherent within the Bible itself. What were these concepts? That the so-called “average” Christ follower is:
  • called into ministry (not merely the clergy or pastors)
  • gifted for ministry (by the Holy Spirit)
  • to be trained for ministry (that is the equipping role of the pastor)
  • to be sent into ministry (an impartation of the Holy Spirit)
From my doctoral dissertation came a popularized version, a book titled Partners in Ministry. In conjunction with this book came a special notebook with instructional materials. Predating that was the LITE (Lay Institute to Equip) Student & Leaders Guide. After that came two videos (“All God’s People” and “Partners in Ministry”) and a musical (“We [laity] are Ministers”). From these flowed numerous other writings and lectures on the topic. Doctoral dissertations are destined to sit on dusty selves – unread – but I am making this available, not because of my brilliance because, I am not brilliant. In fact, it was written by a 31-year-old grad student who didn’t know much (and that may still be the case today). I suspect there might be things that should have been expressed differently in this document. But I am not concerned about that. What I am hoping for is that as you read this, you will be gripped by the reality that every believer, every follower of Christ, is truly called into ministry, is profoundly gifted for ministry by the Holy Spirit, is to be trained and equipped for ministry and is to be sent into ministry. Ministry is not merely for clergy, pastors, missionaries or “professionals.” It is for all who have responded to the call to follow Christ. This dissertation was written a long time ago – in 1979. Much has changed in the years since it was written. But God’s universal call to all believers is not one of them.