Dr. James C. Boswell, Sr.
My one great passion in life has been to practically perfect and fully equip the saints for the work of ministry. (Eph.4:11-16) I do this by partnering with the Holy Spirit to teach and train each person whom God has assigned to me until that person's:
character has been brought under the Lordship of Jesus
thoughts, motives and actions are under Holy Spirit control 24/7
ministry skills are fully developed
charismatic gifts are fully functioning
spiritual maturity is complete and he is ready for release into his calling
Learning how to do this effectively has been a long, slow, and painful process. I made a lot of mistakes during the learning process. Fortunately, I also learned from those mistakes. In the beginning, I followed the examples of the so-called 'successful' ministries, but ultimately found their methods unsuccessful in producing the required biblical results. The Holy Spirit has slowly revealed to me biblical truths to replace the misconceptions and doctrine errors that I and others taught. In addition, the Holy Spirit also revealed to me the ministry required to perfect the saints, as well as the process that will produce perfected saints. It has taken 40+ years to refine each of these areas, and I mainly attribute that lengthy process to having no role models to follow.
Although many church leaders talk about perfecting the saints, few, if any, actually do all that is necessary to accomplish the goal. Many actually do help develop preaching skills, and some even help develop gifts, but few or none practically train people to develop Christ-like character. Jesus actually concentrated more on His disciples' characters than their ministry skills. I do not believe that the failure of church leaders to deal with character is deliberate. I believe that their neglect of character development is due to either a lack of revelation or the pressure to follow tradition. It takes a brave soul to go against tradition, even when there is clear revelation.
Over the 40+ years that I have been in ministry, God has slowly revealed His plan for "perfecting the saints" in character, ministry skills, and gifts. Christ's plan is so simple that we blindly stumble over it -- simply follow the pattern that Jesus established while He was on the earth as the son of man.
Jesus came to the earth to accomplish two goals, both of which are essential to apply when attempting to perfect the saints.
With His own body and lifeblood Jesus paid the penalty of suffering and death as a substitute for the punishment God has declared we receive as the penalty for our sins. Without this wonderful provision we would have no hope and no possibility of escaping our punishment of eternal suffering and damnation in the lake of fire.
Jesus came to establish the pattern for the church to carry out His command to "perfect the saints." (John 17:4)
The pattern Jesus used to bring His disciples into maturity was to teach basic biblical principles and then to disciple each one individually. Discipling involved practical application of the things He taught, as well as supervised on-the-job training. After His disciples had come into maturity and were filled with the Holy Spirit He then sent them into ministry. (John 17:4-10)
Jesus taught in parables to large groups, but He often did so in such a way that they did not understand. He later explained to His disciples the meanings of His messages. Occasionally He taught individuals. It is clear, however, that His teaching was primarily for His personal disciples.
Jesus discipled by teaching, example, and training. He gave a detailed explanation (teaching), showed them by example, and then trained them through practical applications on both a personal and group basis. He corrected them when they were out of order to refine their characters. He assigned them specific ministries and supervised their performances until He was satisfied with their skills and assured of their motives.
His success in "perfecting the saints" was directly attributable to the authority His disciples gave Him. The authority to direct and correct His disciples' progress for their fastest development brought quick maturity. Without authority, each disciple would have decided when and if he wanted to be with Jesus and whether or not he would do what Jesus had asked.
The same is true today. Any Pastor's success in "perfecting you for the work of ministering" will depend on two things. First, are you willing to recognize him as chosen by the Lord for you? And second, will you give him the necessary authority to hold you accountable to obey the Holy Spirit's directions to you? In most churches the Pastor only has the right to preach to you whenever you decide to attend. As a result, it is impossible for him to complete his task of perfecting you for ministry.
Let's look at a comparable example. Assume that your supervisor at work assigns to you the responsibility of accomplishing a task within a specific time period, along with a group of people to do the job. His instructions are, "Get it done or you are fired!" But he did not tell anyone in the group that you are the boss and he gave you no authority over the people. You are right with an impossible task in which you are bound to fail. Since you have no authority to direct the people, you must try to convince them to submit to your authority using flattery, bribery, threats or some other con man method. In this impractical situation you will probably fail. Responsibility without authority is impossible to fulfill. If you can see the impossibility of this situation, then you should be able to see that a Pastor without the authority to do his job also has an impossible task. Most usually attempt to use flattery, bribery and threats to get people to follow Jesus. Ultimately, they give up and become the entertainment director of the local meeting place called church.
Everything I have written has the purpose of providing information that must be formed into your life. Formation or implementation must be done on a local level. Pray that the Lord will reveal to you the person He has selected to disciple you. Then give that person the authority to hold you accountable to obey the Holy Spirit.
BIOGRAPHY OF DR. JAMES C. BOSWELL, SR.
BS Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering - Texas A&I University
MBA Business Administration - Texas A&I University
Ph.D. Clinical Psychology - Jacksonville Theological SeminaryDr. Boswell was the President of three small corporations when Christ revealed himself and became his Savior and Lord. He immediately began training for ministry and has been in ministry since 1963. He spent several years as an evangelist operating in the ministry gifts of word of knowledge, healings, miracles, and faith. During those years God used him to manifest every recorded New Testament miracle and healing, with the exception of walking on water and the healing of a leper. In 1969 he founded a church in Carmichael, California that quickly grew to 500 in regular attendance. In 1975 he made his first trip to Africa where he taught Pastors from all denominations in seminars of up to 40 hours in length. While in Africa, he and Reinhard Bonnke worked together in several pastor's conventions where attendance reached up to 1,000 pastors. He spent the next ten years teaching pastors of all denominations as he traveled mostly in Africa, but also in the Philippines, Latin America, and the United States. It was during this time that God revealed to him the inadequacies of traditional ministry to produce mature saints who biblically qualify to be called the glorious church. He and his wife, Carol, lead Disciples Training Center.