First year courses

The local Church and Evangelism

Evangelism is not a special gifting the Holy Spirit gives only to a few members of the Body. It is a command of our Lord, and the privilege and responsibility of every believer.

Students enrolled in Berean courses may be training for ministry or enriching their personal Bible studies. This course is designed to primarily help anyone seeking ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God. If you are, or plan to be, a youth pastor, children's pastor, music minister, or business administrator in a local church, evangelism should be part of your ministry.

While this course is applicable to anyone engaged in part-time or full-time ministry, it is primarily designed for senior pastors of local congregations. Without the senior pastor's leadership, all ministries of the church will lack direction, focus, and motivation.

If you are preparing for credentialed ministry, you may approach this course in one of two ways:

  1. You can study to acquire the knowledge needed to pass examinations as a quali cation for obtaining Assemblies of God credentials.

  2. You can place your life and ministry before the Lord and allow the content of the course to in uence what kind of minister you will be. Particularly if you pastor a congregation, you can determine that you will do everything you can, with the Spirit's enablement, to lead your church to reach the spiritually lost of your community and make an impact on the lost of this world. 

Acts of the Apostles the Holy Spirit at work.

The major emphasis of this study course, as explained in the Course Introduction, is the four foundational or cardinal doctrines of the Assemblies of God. But truth must have its own solid foundation. We are therefore devoting four lessons, in this introductory unit, to the Bible as the divinely inspired revelation of God to humankind. God's Word, the Bible, is our infallible and authoritative rule of faith and conduct.

William W. Menzies, author of Bible Doctrines: A Pentecostal Perspective, gives a concise summary of where people look to nd authority for their beliefs. "There are three basic kinds of religious authority: (1) human reason, (2) the church, and (3) God's Word.” Menzies then observes the high regard today's culture has for human reason. "Given enough time, the rationalist contends, human genius will unlock all the secrets of the universe and lead to perfect life, peace, health, wealth, and continuing prosperity” (Menzies 1993, 17).

Some churches or denominations have, over the centuries of their existence, placed church leaders and their additions to church doctrine above the authority of Scripture. However, Bible believing churches, like the Assemblies of God, hold the Bible to be the highest authority for our beliefs and for the way we live. 

The Prison Letters

The Prison Epistles are the correspondence of Paul, the consummate apostle, traditionally assigned to his period of house arrest in Rome about AD 60–61. Unable to visit the churches personally, Paul wrote these apostolic letters: Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, and Philippians. They reflect and express his personal friendship, apostolic passion, and pastoral concern. In these letters Paul articulates his apostolic message,

his theological reflection, and his characteristic emphasis upon practical Christian living. Three of these characteristics deserve special attention.

Apostolic passion. Paul in these letters speaks with apostolic authority. Whether writing to a church he had not directly founded or visited (Colossians) or writing to a congregation he had intimate relationship with (Philippians), or a group of congregations (Ephesians), his apostolic passion shines through. His concern for the truth of the gospel, its progress and extension, and the cause of Christ are hallmarks of these epistles.

Pastoral concern. The spiritual health and welfare of congregations was clearly the driving force behind these letters. Paul’s pastoral concern, however, extends beyond congregations to individuals. His letter to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus is a primary example. Paul’s heart throbs for the welfare of each church and its individual members.

Practical emphasis. Paul insists that Christians must live out what it means to be “in Christ.” His message is “Be what you are!”

Building Fruitful Ministry

So you want to be a minister? Actually, we can agree that this occupation begins with a calling more than a desire. Most individuals who engage this life journey find the road ahead is not exactly as they had anticipated. The image of power in the pulpit is only a small portion of the vast array of expectations awaiting those whom God has called. Even after completing the standard training for ministerial life, few discover themselves truly prepared for what is ahead.

Relationships and Ethics in Ministry offers the student a journey through the diverse challenges facing the modern minister. While no text can fully prepare us for the work of ministry, this course will explore numerous topics—from the pastor’s emotional and personal journey to managing church dynamics and community relations—that will help the minister understand some of the expectations that await him or her. After completing this course, the student will presumably be better equipped for the requirements each presents. Ultimately, success will be measured by the fruit that is borne out in faithfulness.

Course Description      MIN181 Relationships and Ethics in Ministry (5 CEUs)

A biblical approach to the relationships that are important to the minister, both personally and professionally, this course examines relationships and ethics in view of the minister’s personal growth, ministry challenges, and community. In addition to using your Bible, we also recommend that you use Ministerial Ethics: A Guide for Spirit- Filled Leaders by T. Burton Pierce to enhance your learning experience.