It was Christ Jesus who declares emphatically that “I will build my church…”

Matthew 16:18. The church is His and if so, He must be the Lord over everything in our churches. We must surrender to His Lordship in every area. That means, He must be given preeminence in all things. We must seek to run and do our churches in ways that honour and obey His Lordship. It means we must copy and model His lifestyles. It means everyone, from Pastor, bishop, apostle to every member in the church must focus and imbibe the peculiar priorities of Christ life.

Early on in Jesus’ ministry, when He challenged the disciples to “follow me,” He took His disciples to a wedding party up in Galilee and performed His first miracle (John 2:1–11). Making the journey to Galilee, attending the wedding and then traveling to Capernaum for a “few days” with Jesus’ mother and brothers meant that He and His disciples were together for several days (John 2:12).

No doubt this was a time of teaching, relationship building, answering basic questions and deepening friendship. From there Jesus went up to the Passover and met with Nicodemus (John 2–3). “After this,” John tells us in summary, “Jesus and his disciples [followers] went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized” (John 3:22).

Jesus took the time to get to know His followers, and they got to know Him. Relationships take time and growth takes time. Jesus knew there was no effective way to speed up this process. He spent up to 18 months just developing His disciples through this first stage.1

For Jesus and the initial followers, this was a critical stage of development. He was modeling life to them, modeling what it meant to walk as He walked, which He later commanded them to do (1 John 2:6). He knew that in this first phase of life, much like in the early phases of child rearing, more is caught than taught. Children learn more by watching and participating than by taking notes. So He invested relationally in His young followers.

In these early months, Jesus modeled six foundational priorities for His new followers.2

  1. Jesus modeled full dependence upon the Holy Spirit.The Scriptures are clear—every aspect of Jesus’ life and ministry was saturated with the Spirit of God. Jesus was conceived by the Spirit (Luke 1:35), anointed by the Spirit (Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38; Isaiah 61:1), filled with the Spirit (Luke 4:1, 14; John 3:34), sealed by the Spirit (John 6:27), led by the Spirit (Luke 4:1), rejoiced in the Spirit (Luke 10:21), gave commands by the Spirit (Acts 1:2), performed miracles by the power of the Spirit (Matthew 12:28; Luke 4:14–15, 18), was resurrected by the Spirit (Romans 8:11) and through the Spirit presented Himself fully obedient (Hebrews 9:14).
  1. Jesus modeled the centrality of prayer in His life and ministry.His ministry began in prayer (Luke 3:21) and ended in prayer (Luke 23:46). Shortly after His baptism the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness (Luke 4:1), where He launched His ministry with 40 days of fasting and prayer.

The busier He became, the more He slipped away to pray (Mark 6:31). Before every major decision He makes, you find Him coming out of prayer (Luke 6:12). Over 45 passages in the Gospels record how Jesus often slipped away to pray (Luke 5:16).

  1. Jesus modeled the importance of obedience to His Father’s will.Early in Jesus’ life, when He was 12 years old, He was obedient to His earthly parents, Mary and Joseph (Luke 2:51). For His entire life He was obedient to His Heavenly Father. Obedience wasn’t easy. He suffered for His obedience, and He learned obedience through what He suffered (Hebrews 2:18; 5:8). Jesus himself said, “I seek not to please myself but him who sent me” (John 5:30) and that His will was to do what the Father desired, “Yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).

Later Jesus turned to His disciples and told them to “go and make disciples … teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19–20). He knew that obedience was His Father’s love language.

  1. God’s Word was central in Christ’s life and ministry.He modeled its use in every situation. He knew the Word and used it as He encountered the everyday issues of life. He referred to the Old Testament more than 80 times, quoting from over 70 different chapters. Scripture was on His lips during His entire ministry, from the hour of His temptation to the moment of His death. Jesus wanted His disciples to know that He had not come to set aside the Scriptures but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17).

The Pharisees grieved Jesus because they didn’t study the Word diligently. He often said, “Have you never read what David did?” (Luke 6:3) or “Have you never read in the Law?” He rebuked the Sadducees for not studying the Word: “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures?” (Mark 12:24). Jesus recognized Scripture as His guide for knowing the Father’s will and understanding His own role in the world (John 13:1; 19:28).

  1. Christ consistently modeled the pattern of exalting His Father in every area of life.This was evident early in His ministry, as He stated: “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God” (John 3:21). Toward the end of His ministry, Jesus still acknowledged that everything He had came from the Father: “Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you” (John 17:7).

Again and again, Jesus claimed, “I do nothing on my own…. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work” (John 8:28; 14:10). Every part of His life exalted the Father and His union with His Father. In the same way, we are to exalt the Father in all that we do, following the example set for us by Jesus.

  1. Jesus modeled intentional relationships of love and integrity throughout His life.The very essence of the incarnation underscores this truth. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Early in His ministry, Jesus prioritized building relationships with a broad base of people. From these relationships Jesus later identified a few with whom He went deeper. Not only was Jesus proactive with the lost but also intentionally pursued the initial disciples.

Love was the basis of Jesus’ relational life and He challenged the disciples to have the same love in their relationships. “As I have loved you,” He commanded, “so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34–35).

These six priorities were foundational to the way Jesus lived His earthly life. When Jesus told His disciples to walk as He had walked, it was these priorities He wanted them to embody (1 John 2:6). It is these values new believers must see modeled by more mature believers as they start their Christian journey.

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BOOKS BY BOLA AKIN-JOHN

  1. Fruitful and Fulfilling Ministry Today
  2. Grow the Pastor Grow the Church
  3. Sexual Purity in Leadership
  4. Money, Ministers and Ministry Today
  5. 22 Dynamic Laws of Church Growth
  6. 25 Pillars of Church Health
  7. Personal Growth Today
  8. The Loyal Associate
  9. Guest Ministers Today
  10. 120 Strategic Ways to Increase Church Attendance
  11. Quality and Quantity Growth in Churches
  12. Strategic Church Planting Today
  13. Spiritual Warfare for Dynamic Church Growth
  14. Supernatural Power, Miracles, Signs and Wonders Today
  15. Church Change
  16. The Place of Anointing and Administration in Church Growth
  17. Pulpit Power for Church Growth
  18. Daily Nourishment for Leaders
  19. Healthy Leaders Healthy Churches
  20. Anointing Alone is Not Enough
  21. 101 Ministry Lessons
  22. Healthy Home
  23. Small Middle-Size and Mega Churches
  24. How to follow well
  25. Strategic Living
  26. True success in ministry
  27. Rise and Fall of Churches / Ministries
  28. Closing the Back Door
  29. 25 Indispensable Qualities of a Competent and Credible Minister
  30. Church Growth Principles of Jesus
  31. Your Church Your Community
  32. Your Growth is Your Future
  33. Frank Talk to Men
  34. The Cell Church
  35. Our Churches and His Church
  36. How to Support & Strengthen your Pastor
  37. 101 ways to progressively kill a church
  38. The Real Man in Every Church
  39. Matured Pastor’s Wife & Female Minister
  40. Pray and Grow
  41. Short Course on Family Growth
  42. Short Course on Church Growth
  43. Short Course on Wholesome Sexuality
  44. Short Course on Financial Growth
  45. Short Course on Personal Growth
  46. Fundamental Teaching & Doctrines of the Bible
  47. With Jesus in the School of Money
  48. Holy Spirit the True Vicar of Life and Ministry
  49. Five Fold Ministry
  50. Prophet & Prophetic Ministry Today
  51. Leading your Church to Lasting Growth
  52. Your Image is Your Growth
  53. Conflict and Crisis in Ministry
  54. Thy Kingdom Come
  55. DiscipleShift Today
  56. Healthy Local Church
  57. Congregational and Cell Church Today
  58. Heart of a Christian
  59. Overseer and Senior Pastor Hand book 1
  60. Abusive Pastor Abusive Churches
  61. Church Turn-Around Strategies
  62. Pastor and People’s Price For Church Growth
  63. Fatherhood and Sonship
  64. Healthy Woman Minister
  65. Women In Church Growth Resource
  66. Kingdom Stewardship
  67. Overcome At The Gate
  68. Healthy Pastor, Dangerous Pastor
  69. Sexually Wholesome Church
  70. Healthy Pastors, Dangerous Pastor
  71. Impact-Driven Church
  72. Clergy Coupes
  73. Apostolic Ministry
  74. Evangelist Ministry
  75. Pastoral Ministry
  76. Prophetic Ministry
  77. Teaching Ministry
  78. Your Church Can Grow in a Healthy Way
  79. Real Men Resource
  80. Strong Christian, Strong Christian
  81. Planting Disciples-Making Church
  82. Front and back Door of Your Church
  83. Discipleship Process Recourse
  84. True Biblical Church Growth is still Possible
  85. Daily Nourishment 2
  86. Reaching and Disciplining Children and Youth in today’s Church
  87. Eschatology and Kingdom Teaching Resource
  88. I Can’t Breathe