The first module, Gateways to Empowered Ministry, is foundational for the entire Dunamis Project. Everything else builds on from here, and the teaching is offered in condensed, catch-up sessions in later modules where necessary. The main topics covered are:
1. The Holy Spirit and The Great Commission
The commission given by Jesus to his church is crucial and yet impossible in our own strength. Jesus therefore promises the Spirit’s empowering presence to equip his church for her task – this is the fundamental focus of the Dunamis Project.
Our understanding of God and the world is significantly coloured, or even determined, by cultural and other 'filters' – often unconsciously. Western worldview is shaped by materialism and anti-supernaturalism. A Biblical worldview accepts the reality of a supernatural dimension and the possibility of personal interaction with God.
3. The Holy Spirit and the Trinity
The Holy Spirit is to be understood and treated as a person – the third person of the Holy Trinity – with a distinct role. This is not a 'force' that we access and use, but a person with whom we relate and cooperate. Our attitude, vocabulary and practice should reflect this fact.
4. The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
The Spirit is life-giving and life-sustaining. His Old Testament activity mainly follows a pattern of episodic anointing with power for particular tasks. There are occasional hints of the Spirit’s character-transforming work, but this is mostly the subject of prophetic anticipation.
5. Jesus and the Holy Spirit
Jesus’ character is utterly Spirit-moulded from conception, and this is characteristic of the New Covenant. But having relinquished his 'supernatural advantage' in the Incarnation, his empowered-ministry began only after he was himself baptized with the Holy Spirit. He promises we will do the same ministry.
6. Four basic works of the Holy Spirit
A balanced appreciation of the Spirit’s work recognizes his role in justification (new-birth); sanctification (forming a Christ-like character); empowerment (equipping for ministry and mission); and koinonia (creating diverse unity in the Body of Christ and an intimate relationship with the Father).
7. Being filled with the Holy Spirit
The Spirit’s work within us is the character-transforming, fruit-growing work ('filled' = Greek pleroo & pleres), which is the characteristic NT development. The Spirit also works upon us, clothing us with power ('filled' = pletho), which follows the OT episodic pattern. Both aspects are essential.
8. Is there a baptism with the Holy Spirit?
A controversial, but Biblical, phrase that actually is not about any particular gift, emotion or experience but which relates to our initial reception of the outward, empowering work of the Spirit to equip us for fulfilling the Great Commission.
9. Growing in receiving the power of the Holy Spirit
There is no 'magic' formula! But a heart-hunger and a humble, surrendered dependence upon the Lord help us to be more fully opened to the promised empowerment by the Holy Spirit.