Inner Healing and Deliverance as an Essential Component of the Discipleship Structure of the Local Church
Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Leah Payne, PhD
Aida Ramos, PhD
Mark Chironna, DMin
This dissertation posits that Inner Healing and Deliverance (IHD) is an integral, essential component of the discipleship structure of a local church, contributing much to the spiritual growth and maturity of believers. By “integral” and “essential”, I make the point that IHD is not merely a supplementary ministry, like a “hospital unit” for emotionally wounded or spiritually oppressed believers. Rather, it exists as a ministry that is much more inclusive, for everyone who wishes to receive biblical teaching on life issues, and receive prayer counseling.
IHD brings a believer into an experiential encounter with God. This results in an effective and impactful removal and/or reduction of hindrances to spiritual growth not currently addressed by most conventional models of Christian discipleship. As the narrative in this research will show, an encounter with IHD will renew faith in God, impart biblical truths, and bring restoration and transformation to the lives of believers.
My research is supported by empirical data based on a unique model of discipleship (with IHD as an integral component) implemented in my local church, Trinity Christian Centre (henceforth known as TCC) in Singapore. I also interviewed pastors from Taiwan who have adopted TCC’s IHD model in their own discipleship structures.
TCC is a cell-based church comprising 7,500 congregants and 50 pastoral and ministerial staff. Some pastors provide leadership and pastoral care for the cellgroups, while others are pastors specialized in overseeing the children, youth, creative, and IHD ministries. The church has a discipleship structure that trains Spiritual Parents (SP) to evangelize and nurture new believers, Cell Leaders (CL) who lead cell groups of about 12 people, and Sectional Leaders (SL) who oversee a group of four cells or more.
In addition, LEAD (Leadership Empowerment and Discipleship) is the formal equipping and empowerment arm that provides leadership training courses (such as SP, CL and SL Training), including bible courses, spiritual formation courses (such as Holy Spirit and I, Prayer, Identity-in-Christ, and Prophetic ministry), family related courses (such as marriage, parenting and communication), and life-skill courses (such as finances and tithing). The IHD-ministry in TCC is known as Divine Exchange and Wholeness Ministry (DEW), an integral part of the church discipleship structure.
I am the pastor overseeing the DEW ministry with a team of about 50 DEW workers (who volunteer as prayer-counseling ministry workers). DEW has a discipleship-ministry program (that provides teaching and personal ministry) and a training program, that develops DEW workers into effective counselors. TCC also provides training and consultation to a variety of churches - its global reach extends to Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia, India, Bulgaria, England, Poland, South America, Malaysia, and the United States - who currently adopt our cell-based discipleship church model.
Chapter One introduces the glaring absence of IHD in most local churches’ discipleship structures. It introduces DEW model of IHD - one characterized by “events”, “memories”, “beliefs”, “emotions”, and “behaviors”. Events precipitate memories, beliefs and emotions. The tagging of the latter (memories, beliefs and emotions) with the former (events) depends on the nature of the events themselves, whether positive or negative. These combine to produce mindsets that direct a person’s behaviors, and ultimately, his entire life. This chapter also highlights the difficulties experienced by pastors in raising leaders who have themselves been saddled by past events, which again underscores the need for such a ministry.
Chapter Two examines data from extensive interviews conducted with pastors of seven churches in Taiwan, who have adopted TCC’s cell-based church model, and are currently implementing TCC’s IHD model (i.e. DEW) as part of their discipleship model. Interviews were also conducted with pastors from Trinity Christian Center (in Singapore), the mainstay of the DEW ministry. The chapter introduces a grounded IHD theory derived from the grounded theory method of data collection and analysis. It also showcases numerous examples of healings and deliverance, and of how these have transformed the lives of numerous believers. As these narratives illustrate, healing and deliverance are for today, and not confined merely to the early ministry of Jesus Christ and the Apostles.
Chapter Three explores the biblical and theological connections of IHD to sanctification and discipleship. First, it makes the point that IHD is part of discipleship and sanctification for all believers, not something reserved for a problematic few. Second, it portrays God not as a transcendental, mythical or impersonal being, but a God ever-present, participating intimately in the lives of the believers, healing and cleansing them. I draw upon two specific biblical accounts, the washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus, and the restoration of Peter in the book of John, as illustrative of the ontological omnipresence of Jesus in the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Christ. Third, IHD is one important mode by which our participation with God and His involvement in our lives takes a reciprocal form. Our positional sanctification is but a starting point for a progressive sanctification occurring in close partnership with the Holy Spirit.
Chapter Four examines church history with the view to understanding why IHD, at first prominent in the time of Jesus and the Apostles, sank into obscurity following the rise of secular and theological schools of thoughts, such as Aristotelian thought, scientism and the Cessationist and Diepensationalist schools. The chapter covers the latter period of church history marked by restoration of the ministries of IHD, with Pentecostal pastors and theologians increasingly prepared to consider the melding of spiritual elements with the modern world. The chapter shows why IHD ministries have often been viewed as a “hospital unit”, designated as “problematic, special and separate” from the rest of the discipleship structure.
Chapter Five explains the relevance of IHD in the context of modern society, and provides guidelines for including IHD in the discipleship structure of the local church. It describes the postmodern worldview, one characterized by an emphasis on experiential reality, as opposed the intellectual and disciplines-orientation of the earlier modern years. Importantly, the yearning for real experiences has created space for the insertion of IHD as relevant for a modern generation.
Finally, Chapter Six presents my conclusions that IHD is part of God’s ongoing work of sanctification, unstoppable, though man had sought at different junctures to phase out the working of healing, signs, miracles and wonders. Our partnering with the sanctification process through IHD is an integral part of the discipleship process of the church, essential for all believers, not just a special segment of them. Its relevance is for all times, so that although the IHD ministry seems to have declined throughout large swathes of church history, God still showed His hand among those who were open and yearning for His presence and Person.
Shoo Chiang, Jonathan Lee, "Inner Healing and Deliverance as an Essential Component of the Discipleship Structure of the Local Church" (2017). Doctor of Ministry. 234.