He reminded us that two weeks were set aside for the preparatory talks aimed to make participants understand what LISS would entail and bring them closer to the goal which is to achieve not only transformation and regeneration of the heart but also reinvigoration of the Spirit received at baptism. He stressed that LISS aimed at bringing out your inner man and becoming truly “born again” in a spiritual rebirth.
Brother Magnus warned against the trend of some facilitators who would be unable to answer some questions posed to them by participants but would strive to do so nevertheless. He urged those who found themselves in such a situation to beckon to a leader or manoeuvre around the question in order to ask a leader later, if he or she was unable to answer the question posed. He emphasized the need to be of exemplary character, as the participants would be watching the facilitators and needed to adhere to strict discipline since LISS was God’s business.
He highlighted four main things that we needed to convey to participants about LISS which were:
1. That the seminar was not intended to solve all problems. I initially had a problem with that because I thought that it would dissuade those already hesitant
from continuing the seminar. However, he cautioned us against making promises which we would not be able to keep.
2. That for some participants, LISS would deepen their relationship with God. I would later find out that this would only be possible for those who attended LISS with an open mind
3. That for those participants who had fallen, LISS would amend their broken relationship with God
4. That for those who were not Christians, LISS would propel them to start a new relationship with God
In order for the participants to fully appreciate LISS, he pointed out some things that they needed to realize over the course of the seminar which were:
1. that no sin is too much
2. that they can pray deeply
3. that there is need for bible study
4. that there should be deep conversion and real holiness in ALL aspects
5. that it is time to show boldness to shame the devil who is ready to do anything to pull you down
6. that there is joy in adversity but that the road will not be easy
7. that they will have strength in suffering which toughens the skin and that perseverance will eventually obtain you gifts and blessings
Brother Magnus mentioned the qualities facilitators should have to be able to facilitate a group which were:
1. possess sound teaching gifts seen in the ability to relate God’s word to daily life experiences and make it understandable to participants
2. must have experienced the Holy Spirit and its workings
3. must be able to lovingly pray with people and compassionately listen to them
The discussion concerning counselling was quite engaging as he stressed the sensitivity of the role of the facilitators in counselling during “personal contact” sessions which may involve them delving into the following:
1. isolating serious cases so deliverance can be specifically conducted
2. finding out about the involvement of a blood covenant which might be disguised in traditional events such as the Ogbuefi titles or in charms or friendships
3. finding out whether the participant is quick-tempered or unforgivable
4. finding out whether the participant experiences dreams and remembers them
5. finding out those with marital issues
We left the vigil with a deeper understanding of our role as facilitators and the resolution to be fruitful as workers in God’s vineyard. May we continue to bear fruit during this parish Life in the Spirit Seminar, as we experience and draw people yet again to the awesome power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus name. Amen.