Following the Spirit

Disciple-making in practice

Friday, April 13, 2018
Avondale alumnus’ new discipleship book a deep study of Acts

Following the Spirit: Disciple-making, Church-planting and Movement-building Today (Signs Publishing, 2018)
Dr Peter Roennfeldt


Acts is undoubtedly the Bible’s most exciting book, as we watch the Holy Spirit transform the wavering and disappointed disciples into a fast-growing movement that continues with you and me today. Exploring this history, Following the Spirit: Disciple-making, Church-planting and Movement-building Today traces the power of the Holy Spirit and dependence on prayer, beginning with the 120 disciples waiting for the promise after the ascension of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit begins a deliberate and dramatic reversal of the curse of Babel, breaking down language barriers at Pentecost in Acts 2 and, throughout the progression of the early church, breaking down many other cultural and ethnic barriers. With a bias for those at the bottom of the Jerusalem class system, the disciples build the gospel movement through the lower city of old Jerusalem. Jesus suffered to save suffering people, so the church ministered to suffering people.

As such, the gospel embraces cultural diversity. The first church plant in Acts is in Antioch, a multicultural church in which many were refugees. It’s usually the disinherited and those on the margins who create gospel movements. We also see the Holy Spirit include gender diversity in the call to spread the gospel. Consider the ministries of Dorcas, Lydia and Priscilla or the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8, who the Spirit pursues through Phillip and becomes the church’s first foreign missionary.

Following the Spirit is essential reading, showing the simplicity of sharing Jesus with non-believers and how the Holy Spirit does the heavy lifting on our behalf. Throughout Acts, we see the leaders and believers take the gospel to where the people lived. The identity of churches is not in their size but whether or not they are multiplying hubs of new groups of believers.

While Following the Spirit stands alone as a study of the church in Acts, as a sequel to Following Jesus, it demonstrates how the disciple-making method of Jesus played out in the life and mission of those first disciples. While Following the Spirit has more explication of the text than did Following Jesus, Avondale College of Higher Education alumnus Dr Peter Roennfeldt’s new book is another prompt to deep study and discussion, ideally suited for use by church leadership teams or small groups, as well as for individual or family study.

Following the Spirit

Following the Spirit is available from Adventist bookstores in Australia and New Zealand.

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Author

Leigh Rice

Dr Leigh Rice is Leader of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific’s Discipleship Ministries Team.

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