For this paper, I had the honor of evaluating Minister Anthony Thornton of Committed to Christ International Ministries, Milwaukee WI. While in his early 40’s, Minister Thornton’s conversion came about when he was incarcerated, due to the consequences of living a life addicted to drugs and alcohol. During a prison ministry visit, he and many other inmates were able to receive the word of God. After a couple of sessions with the pastor of Committed to Christ International Ministries, Minister Thornton received Christ into his life.
Today Minister Thornton has acquired a Master’s degree in Biblical Theology, and is currently teaching Sunday school, along with the Associate’s degree program, in Basic Bible Information. He is responsible for overseeing 20-30 students or congregation members ranging in ages from 16 years and up. Minister Thornton has held this position in the church for many years now, and has significantly reaped the fruits of his labor. He is loved and respected by his peers, and is sought after by his leaders for spiritual wisdom.
He expressed that he lives and breathes (2 Timothy 2:15)“Study to show thyself approved, a workman need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. ” Minister Thornton is dedicated to spreading the gospel of Christ; his desire is to win souls. I met Minister at Applebee’s where he was delighted to be interviewed for my class assignment. Questions are as follows: 1. Would you say that your congregation (or the people within your particular department or area of ministry) is “Living Out the Mind of Christ” (i.
e. Unity, Humility, Selflessness) as they interact, serve, and minister to/with each other? How specifically do you as a ministry leader teach, cultivate, and maintain “The Mind of Christ” in your area of ministry? It is a work in progress. When new converts come in, they are at different levels in their spiritual walk. For these individuals, the “Mind of Christ” has to be learned. First, by seeing that the ministry leaders are a living example of Christ Jesus, and second, through His teachings.
They have to receive a “heart transplant” if you will, and then an “attitude adjustment. ” There are some who receive well, and there are some who become stagnant or complacent. Therefore, my centerpiece for teaching is the Word of God, which focuses on the humanity of our Lord and Savior. It’s to show how He suffered humility through the same afflictions that we have; and how He exhibited selflessness during his ministry. More important, to instruct us in being united with one another as one body in Christ.
A person cannot save themself, they have to be led to Christ, and Christ saves. (Philippians 2:5) says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. ” 2. Would you consider yourself a “Wounded Healer? ” Also, would you please share an example where you have ministered to a person who is/was “wounded” in the same manner that you once were? (cf. II Corinthians 1:3-5) Absolutely! To know pain is to learn how to heal. Having lived a life of great trial and suffering due to my drug and alcohol abuse, I can discern by the grace and mercy of God when someone needs help.
By the power of the Holy Spirit I have acquired the ability to get right there with another sufferer, and show them how to come out. Healing is a spiritual gift. When ministering to the wounded, we must be willing to reveal our wounds to the doubters in order that they may believe, and be healed. (Philippians 1:29) comes to mind, it says, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake. ” The neighborhood I grew up in was the same place of my downfall. There was a close friend who lived that life with me, who was obviously hurting.
I explained to him that my fall was a result of the sin in my life, and it tried to take me out, by forcing me to feel the pain of guilt and shame for what I did. For a moment I had to stop, and hold back the tears of knowing that by the grace of God there once goes I. It humbled me. I told my friend that he too can share the same saving grace. I told him that if he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, he can be delivered just like I was. Moreover, I reminded him that we both were cut from the same cloth, and I was no better than he was.
This gift of salvation is just as much his, as it is mine. 3. How specifically does the Holy Spirit help guide you as you lead/serve in your ministry? Also, can you give a specific example of how you were able to clearly recognize that the Holy Spirit was helping/guiding you in dealing with a particular situation and/or decision while in your ministry? What advice would you give me that, if I obeyed, would assure me that I would be able to be guided by the Holy Spirit in my life and/or ministry? Because He is a helper and not a hinderer.
He is my comforter when I am unsure of how to carry on. He helps me to pray accurately, and effectively. He gives me utterance in a language that only God recognizes, thus bypassing my doubtful mind and lack of understanding. When I allow Him, He gives me the words I speak, choices I make, who I will marry, and how I make, and spend my money. Many scriptures come to mind that speaks clearly about direction. One in specific, (Romans 8:14) “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God.”
It was by the power of the Holy Spirit that I made the conscious decision to surrender my life to Christ. There was a witnessing time where the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to testify the truth of God’s word to a family member who considered himself to be an atheist. I prayed that the Spirit give me the right words, He did, and a divine appointment took place. It changed this individual’s life. Today he is spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. I advise anyone I come in contact with to always be open to hearing and obeying the Spirit/Word of God, and you cannot go wrong.
4. Do you have a personal philosophy (i. e. an agreed upon plan of action/policy/understood protocol) of how/when/where you confront sin in the lives of 1) co-ministers/co-leaders in your ministry, and 2) people to whom you minister? If so, what is it? How did you come to this philosophy? If not, do you see a need for such a philosophy? Why or Why not? My protocol is to constantly stay on the path that Jesus took. I don’t condemn or attack the person for the sin, nor do I ignore it. “For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
I show them where there is no judgment. I allow them to see that they are struggling with this affliction that causes pain, and it keeps them bound. Many are our afflictions. I have to approach in love, and still confront the sin head on. It is my responsibility to win the believer from a sinful life, to a life of righteousness. More important, to continue to be mindful of bringing correction in love. 5. Can I perform a little ministry quiz on you? (Remember: This question is taken from the section within chapter 25 entitled “Recalling Encounters with God!”) a.
Can you recall for me what you specifically did (i. e. tasks performed, people you talked to, the number of hours of service) on any individual day in your ministry approximately six weeks ago? About six weeks ago, I was on a 21 day intercessory prayer without ceasing, for rampant gun violence to end in our community. In a matter of less than six months, we experience a multitude of lives lost due to gun violence. The lives taken were mostly young men between the ages of 16, and 25, and it was causing great trauma to our city.
b. Can you recall any time in the past that you were either so moved by hearing a sermon, reading a bible verse, hearing a testimony of a someone’s salvation that made such an impact upon your life that you still have a vivid recollection of the event today? How long ago did that spiritual event take place? God inhabits the praises of His people. What really holds near to my heart is when our music ministry singed “How Great is Our God. ” The part where it says, “all will see how great is our God. ” I thank Him that all will be able to one day see how great He is. Especially for the doubters.
Through this song, the Holy Spirit constantly affirms that He is the name above all names. Our music ministry usually sing about one half hour before service, but this particular evening, people all over the church was moved by the spirit of God. Over 50 people gave their life to Christ that night. c. Could you briefly describe for me how your daily “Quiet time with God” or your “Communion time with God” or “Your Devotion time with God” usually goes? I have a life that can be quite kaotic sometimes. However, my quiet time with God is mostly during the early morning hours 3-4 am.
I go to my secret place for lengthy prayer. Then, I read and study God’s word for as long as the Holy Spirit keeps me. I journal what speaks to me from God, and what I have learned. This is how I draw closer to God. It is my time to sit at His feet, a time I delight in, and truly enjoy. Again reflecting on my favorite verse, (2 Tim 2:15). 6. As a minister, are you ever tempted to become competitive with either a fellow minister or a neighboring ministry or covet the “success” or resources of other ministers and/or ministries? How do you overcome this temptation in your life if/when it ever comes up in your heart?
What advice would you give me to make sure I remain content with what God specifically has for me in my own life and/or ministry? My heart is so willing, but my flesh is weak. I have always been a competitive person. I believed in being number one at everything I pursue. Whether it was winning in a foot race, or drinking the most alcohol. There is a position for Associate Pastor available; myself and one other member are the only candidates. There is a series of tests/requirements that we need to adhere to, and it rears up the competiveness in me.
My flesh says win at all cost, but my spirit says let the will of God be done. I know that the Word of God is my sword. “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). We are all members of the body, and we each have a very important role. I advise anyone with this mindset to remain at the foot of the cross and always stay prayerful, and the spirit of God will show you the way. 7. Provide a summary of your interview. a.
What stood out to you the most from this interview? What stood out about this man of God was that He still had the zest and excitement for the work of Christ. His language is centered around what thus says the Lord, and He referenced a lot of scripture during the evaluation. Many are called and few are chosen. Minister Thornton has definitely been called out by God to do the work of the ministry. He reflects the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job, and the Strength of Samson. b. What did you learn that will help you develop your own philosophy of ministry?
I learned that the “Cross of Christ” must be the center of my existence. Anything outside of this gives me the Martha complex. Too busy to focus on what God wants me to know. This helps me to continue to live by the philosophy of knowing 1 John 4:4 says, “Because greater is he that is in me, than he that is in the world; Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ” These are the verses that gives me the strength and the courage to “Live Out The Mind Of Christ” without trying to run and hide like Gideon and Jonah did.
c. What did you learn about leadership that you feel is important when ministering to others? To keep my eyes on God. To not be afraid to minister with authority of the Word of God. To remember to regard myself as a humble servant of Christ, always pronouncing the Word. Walk in the seriousness of God’s Word so that others will know that my heart is there. Most important, constantly stay in prayer, study, and minister in love because the lives of the lost are sacred, and they have the right to know the TRUTH!
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