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Manifesto of Life Builder Training

These statements summarize the beliefs upon which Life Builder Training has been developed. The principles of LBT and the skills and attitudes associated with them are within the boundaries of those beliefs upon which the majority of Christians throughout history have agreed. The focus during Life Builder Training sessions is for each participant to acquire skills that are consistent with the principles described below, and to integrate them into the context of their life.

The Bible is the only adequate source of truth about how to live, now and for all eternity.

God calls all believers to tell people how he can change their lives. This assignment to take Jesus' good news to the ends of the earth1 is commonly called the Great Commission. The task is so clearly stated in the Bible that we cannot miss it.2 We would be overwhelmed by it if it were not for God's offer to prepare us,3 to provide his power within us,4 and to be with us—the Great Promise, "... I am with you always ...."5

The work of the church is done collectively. This project of world improvement is a task for believers as a group. When people who have diverse gifts6 collaborate toward godly tasks, good things happen. It is God's plan for the church and when it is followed, the church prevails.7

Preparation of believers for ministry is a process. It begins when people of character and compassion are called by their leadership or by the Leader.8 The fact that you are reading this indicates your interest in helping others, so perhaps you are called to a ministry of pastoral care. Confirming the call and becoming competent require learning biblical principles and developing the skills associated with them. This is best done through the processes Jesus and Paul used-learning from example,9 receiving instruction,10 growing in spiritual depth,11 and engaging in practical experience.12

Caring is to be expressed in Jesus' style. Christians hold that all people are valuable simply because they exist. When Jesus connected with any person it was with full acceptance of their value as a being despite their behavior; it was perfect love guided by perfect understanding. For us it is more difficult, but aided by the Spirit and equipped with skills consistent with biblical teaching we can connect with people and build relationships with them so that we understand their needs and can provide or facilitate fulfillment of those needs.

Caring is initially directed to what is important to the person. Typically people sense physical or financial needs most strongly, followed by emotional, relational, mental, and spiritual needs. This ranking reverses the priorities that Scripture commends to mature believers.14 But, we usually can initially connect with people only at the point of the needs or interests that are important to them, and we see that Jesus often took that approach.15 He was there for them, not for himself; he brought them to himself by first responding to their longings. We seek to follow that example and reach out to others for their benefit.

Not my will, but yours; not for me, but to them for you.

1 Acts 1:8b

2 Matt 28:19-20, Mark 16:15, John 20:21.

3 "... to prepare God's people for works of service ... " (Eph 4:12a)

4 “... his power that is at work within us ... " (Eph 3:20b. See also Acts 1:8a.)

5 It should not surprise us that assurance of Jesus' support (Matt28:20b) immediately follows the intimidating assignment of Matthew 28:19-20a. He loves us. Promises of God's care are peppered throughout Scripture, explicitly taught through illustrative stories, and revealed by the long history of his faithfulness to his chosen people. For example, Matthew 18:19-20 assures us of access to his participation and companionship as we seek to fulfill his purposes.

6 Rom 12:4-8

7 Matt 16:18

8 Acts 6:1-7

9 John 1:14, Gal 1:11-2:21, Col 1:24-27, 3:13,

10 L uke 11:1-13, Acts 1:1-2, Col 1:28, 1 Thes 4:1 -2

11 Matt 6:33, 1 Peter 1:13-25

12 Mark 6:7-13, Luke 10:1-24

13 We "may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim 3: 16-17).

14 Throughout Ecclesiastes, Luke 6:25

15 Here are listed only a few examples from one book: Matt 8:23-27, 8:28-34, 9:18-26,12:9-14,

14:13-23, 20:29-34.


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