Master's Commission becomes
integral part of "We Build People"
by Tarrah Teigland
"To Know God and To Make Him Known": this is the twofold purpose
of Master's Commission discipleship ministry. Several months ago,
representatives from the Master's Commission International Network
(MCIN) met with General Superintendent Thomas Trask and other Headquarters
leaders to explore how Master's Commission might best fit into the
Assemblies of God General Council while maintaining their specified
purpose. A recommendation was made at that time to include them
within a newly formed Commission on Discipleship that would encompass
all the discipleship ministries of the Assemblies of God. "We Build
People" provides the thematic focus of this commission.
LeRoy Bartel, national director of the Division of Christian Education
and chairman of the new commission, explains that one level of We
Build People's ministry focuses on the "emphasis given to the ongoing
spiritual development of disciples." The other side, the development
of lay leaders in the church, is where Master's Commission will
especially fit in. Here, they will actively seek how they might
fulfill the Great Commission in more effective ministry ways.
The Commission on Discipleship, when fully in place, will consist
of no more than 40 members who come from various departments within
the Assemblies of God. Members of the commission will be responsible
for providing guidance to the various departments and ministries
in the commission and developing programs and resources to better
facilitate discipleship ministries within A/G churches. When shown
the proposal for the integration into the Commission on Discipleship,
the Master's Commission International Network unanimously accepted.
The Commission on Discipleship will have two representatives from
Master's as members.
In 1984, Master's Commission began at Phoenix First Assembly (the
Rev. Tommy Barnett, pastor) in Phoenix, Ariz., because of a vision
in the heart of Pastor Larry Kerychuck. Kerychuck believed that
if young Mormons could give 2 years of their life for their "mission,"
Christian young people could certainly consecrate 1 year to God.
Master's Commission began under the direction of Carman Balsamo
with daily prayer, Bible study and Scripture memorization as its
foundation. Upon Balzamo's unfortunate death in 1987, Barnett asked
the Rev. Lloyd Zeigler to direct the program. Under Zeigler, Master's
Commission has become a multi-dimensional ministry branching into
inner-city outreach, ministry training and church and campus evangelism.
Today, there are 50 Master's Commission programs affiliated with
the MCIN from Alabama to Auckland, New Zealand. Although the majority
of the churches with Master's programs are A/G affiliates, several
Church of God and independent churches have caught the vision of
discipleship for their church.
The Master's Commission International Network Affiliation began
in 1995 at an annual directors' meeting. Eric Hunsberger and his
wife Raquel head up this arm of the ministry. At the yearly Master's
Commission Discipleship Conference last year, Hunsberger says, "we
had about 4,000 people. Next year we expect 6,000-8,000. God has
been doing a massive movement with that." While the International
teams are not able to bring all their members, leaders from El Salvador,
Honduras, Australia, and the Philippines come to take the Master's
vision home to their members.
Young people deciding to join Master's Commission enter a life-changing
program which is geared toward coming "face to face" with God. To
be a part of Master's Commission, each candidate must be committed
to the program for the year, must give Christ his/her all by agreeing
not to date during the program, and most importantly, must love
Jesus Christ wholeheartedly and without reservation.
Master's Commission is designed to be more of a lifestyle than
an actual program. Says Loren Triplett , former Foreign Missions
director, "Their powerful ministries and multiplied good works have
brought blessing to many at home and abroad, and I recognize them
as young people of trust and superb spiritual effectiveness."
Master's Commission "disciples" spend weeks of their year learning
various ministries. They study how to reach out to youth, children,
and seniors alike. Traveling to nursing homes and spending time
in church nurseries are all a part of their efforts to live lives
of total selflessness. Missions is also an essential part of Master's
Commission, whether home or abroad. Teams travel to the Philippines,
Canada, Slovakia and other countries to share the gospel of Christ.
Zeigler speaks of an upcoming trip to Nicaragua where the Honduras
Master's Commission group, El Salvador's group, and the Phoenix
group will all work together. Still other teams participate in training
youth groups to reach their peers with effective ministry tools.
Zeigler is excited about the opportunities now afforded to Master's
Commission by the Assemblies of God. Concerning the "adoption,"
he says, "We have never been, as an organization, more excited about
something because we are growing so rapidly that we really feel
we need the structure of the Assemblies to help guide us." He feels
that the transition is important because Master's Commission is
already such a vital part of the actual church body. "We work with
the youth department, the children's department, the adult department,
the wheelchairs, the buses. We serve the church."
Bartel also stressed the educational opportunities for Master's
Commission graduates. Although students work on Berean courses for
the duration of the program, only a small percentage go on to attend
Bible schools. The majority go straight into full-time ministry.
Bartel hopes that the commission will "serve as a liaison, as a
covering and as a bridge for those who desire to pursue their education
and at that point hand them off to what's happening in Christian
"Discipleship is front and center to everything that the Master's
Commission is about; it is our passion," Zeigler says. He sees people
like Foreign Missions Director John Bueno going overseas "with a
warrior team that would be easily mobilized to go with him." Being
part of the "We Build People" team is "right on track with what
we are all about."
Wednesday, August 11 News...