The course “Integral Church Development” was taught by Dr. Monica Mastronardi during the last session of 2011. In this course, which is part of the bachelor degree in Theology program offered by Nazarene Virtual Seminary Alliance, 31 students from many different countries participated in the course. Some of the countries represented included Argentina, Bolivia, Chili, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico and Nicaragua.
The purpose of the course is to understand how the healthy, integral development of the church occurs and the implications of this for the completing of the mission of God. This course requires that the students put into practice various strategies to help the local church to grow in its commitment as a body of Christ, ministering to the world.
In week 5 of the course, the students gave the Spiritual Gifts test to 10 people in their local congregation who were not involved in ministry, with very good results. Francisco Javier Magdeleno Velazco, from Tecate, Mexico, gave the test to 12 members of his local church and had this to say about the experience. “We were very excited to give this test to the brothers and sisters of the church because this showed us that there are people in the church who are not participating in ministry and two of our needs in the church are for Sunday School teachers and for workers in the evangelism ministry and we found that these are the two gifts that were most evident in those who were tested.”
Francisco commented about the benefits of this course assignment. “What is most clear to me is that we have people that can be a part of ministry in the church that need materials such as the spiritual gifts test so that they can identify where they should serve. Many of those who took the test were not sure what they were good at or in what way they could help in the church.”
Another student, Silvia Diaz, gave the Spiritual Gift test in her local church in Neuquen, Argentina. One lady who took the test had not been involved in ministry in quite some time and thought that her gift was in teaching. The test confirmed her suspicions but at the same time revealed something very surprising to her. She discovered that she also had the gift of being a pastor. This was a surprise to her, and she immediately spoke to her Pastor and now she is thinking in a new way about what God may have in store for her future ministry. This discovery has led her to increase he time in prayer and Bible study. She is so pleased but at the same time she feels a great responsibility to use the gifts that God has given her.
We are thankful to God for the online courses that are proving to be such a blessing for the development of ministers and churches.
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