GOT LITTLE FAITH? PART 4
MORE ON POWER FOR MINISTRY
I have a feeling that I may be misunderstood in some areas that I have written about. Just so there is NO CONFUSION AS TO WHAT I AM SAYING AND WHAT I AM NOT SAYING, PLEASE TAKE NOTE: I believe that leadership in the Church is necessary.
Among other things, Apostles go out and establish new territories and ministries for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God.
Among other things, Prophets bring words to the Church that will edify, that will exhort and that will encourage or comfort the Church.
Among other things, Evangelists proclaim Good news of the Kingdom of God to the unbelievers, and call them to repent of their sins.
Among other things, Teachers instruct the Body of Christ in the things concerning the Christian walk.
Among other things, Pastors tend the flock of God and fend off the wolves from coming in.
All of these ministries are intended to work together so that the disciples who have not yet discovered their calling can be perfected, and equipped to minister themselves. Most congregations have a “Senior Pastor” and an associate pastor, some deacons and/or an elder board, and the larger congregations have a Senior Pastor and several “regional” or “cell pastors”, but most are lacking the five fold ministry as an active part of their fellowship.
I DO NOT BELIEVE that those who are in leadership should LORD it over the flock of God, and get honor and glory to themselves. I believe those in leadership are called to be servants to the Body of Christ. Jesus was our example of what servant hood is.
I DO NOT BELIEVE that ministry is a job for pay or material gain. It is a PRIVELEGE to be called to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.
I DO NOT BELIEVE that those who profess to be in “ministry” should exclusively hold office hours. All those who know them should know that they have an open door policy at any time of day or night.
I believe that EVERY PERSON who is a born again disciple of Jesus Christ (remember, if you are born again, you are a disciple) needs to be in CLOSE fellowship with the BODY OF CHRIST. I believe that the Bible teaches that we are all to learn to be in submission to each other, and that God does appoint those in the five fold ministry as “leaders” for the above stated purposes. You cannot be an effective leader unless you first learn to submit.
I believe that Christians, whether they are in leadership or otherwise should be free with their finances and their possessions to use them in order to further the Kingdom of God. Ministries are financed in some way or another. Unless the minister is bi-vocational, his finances come through the generosity of other Christians who recognize the work that is being done as important and viable. Our primary goal as Christians should be to use our resources in furthering the Kingdom of God (Matt 6:33).
If the Body of Christ understood that TRUTH, there probably wouldn’t be as many so-called “faith based” ministries who stoop to making desperate appeals for support for their ministry! If you read my previous studies, you know how I feel about all that!
Having said that, I want to clarify that I believe that giving finances can be a ministry in itself, but I DO NOT BELIEVE that donating money should ever be a salve for our conscience and a means to justify our lack of service to the Lord. And “service” does not mean going to church at least one time a week. 1 Corinthians 12 was written to every Christian. That includes you (the bold letters will be the areas I emphasized to make a point):
1Co 12:1 Now concerning
spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
14 For the body is not one member, but many.
15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? (this verse and 21-25 shoots down the one man pastor’s show that takes place in most fellowships today!)
20 But now are they many members, yet but one body.
21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:
25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. "
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.
The closest most congregations get to resembling the church service described here is that some pastors will ask a person to come up and give a testimony, and many of the pastors will stand there and hold the microphone while the person speaks. That’s control. I once had a pastor say something like this: “Lance, someone HAS to be in control. If you have an open mike for every Tom, Dick and Harry that comes along, you don’t know what might happen.” THAT’S FEAR. I said “that’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. If it is the Lord’s Service, He will take care of it.” The pastor just rolled up his eyes.
Most pastors thrive off of control. They don’t really understand the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Their programs and orchestrated meetings have removed them from the spontaneous combustion that can take place as they just yield to the Holy Spirit. Because of the desire to be in control of their situation, a lot of pastors wouldn’t know what to do if they had to rely on the Holy Spirit to give them a message, so they spend their week preparing their speeches, memorizing their notes, and leaning on their ability to drum up a message that will flow good with the orchestrated worship time and that will result in a convincing altar call, and that will fit into their two hour or hour and a half “service”. I personally don’t see how a person can read the Word of God and be comfortable with that kind of a situation.
But again, if a person is into control, they wouldn’t know how to act if there was a true move of the Holy Spirit in their meeting. It’s almost like they think that the Holy Spirit is on a leash and they have Him trained to only move for the fifteen minutes following their memorized speech! That would almost be laughable if it wasn’t so blasphemous.
But because they are afraid they might lose people (and thus income) if the services are left to the Holy Spirit (the flesh is at enmity with the spirit), they leave Him out and substitute their abilities for the Work of the Holy Spirit. What do you mean, “lose people?” Services led by the Holy Spirit will be unpredictable. They might go on all day. Maybe the pastor won’t get to preach. The Holy Spirit might take over. There might be spontaneous healings and there might be prophetic utterances given. The service might start to look like the service described in 1 Cor 14. The Holy Spirit might change the pastor’s feel good message to one of true repentance. Some ignorant unlearned fisherman might stand up and give a powerful message that outshines all the prepared speeches the pastor gave in the past five years. The Word might be given decrying covetousness. Demons might get cast out. Divorce might be preached against. Sexual immorality might be condemned. People who live together outside of marriage might get offended.
Nope. Can’t have that…
A pastor might quote the scripture to justify his control over the proceedings: “Every thing needs to be decently and in order, right?” 1 Cor 14:40. That’s correct. I believe the Hoy Spirit is able to handle that. What you may perceive to be “decent and in order” may be completely out of line with the Holy Spirit’s definition!
It should be apparent by now that I am a firm believer that the Bible teaches and espouses the priesthood of the believer. I was part of a small church in Cleveland, Tennessee in the early 90s. There were numerous times when the pastor of that church would submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit and open the microphone to those who felt they had a Word from the Lord. The pastor would act as a moderator. If something off the wall was spoken (it didn’t happen a lot), he would gently correct the person through the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit, and bring everything back to where it needed to be. He was so in tune with the leading of the Lord that the person didn’t even realize the pastor had just corrected them! MANY people were sent out in ministry through that church, and not in the name of the church, but in the name of the Lord. I still consider him to be my pastor. The two and a half years spent there taught me a lot about yielding to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. There were Sundays where we would hear the pastor’s message and go home. They were always good messages. But there were Sundays where we wouldn’t hear his message, because the Holy Spirit would move mightily through the Body, with someone in the congregation responding to the prompting of the Lord Doctrines, Prophetic words, tongues, revelations, and interpretations of tongues. Sometimes the services would go on until 4:00 in the afternoon, and no one minded at all!
During the 19 years since I have responded to the Call of God on my life, I have been privileged to work in the capacity as a co-pastor or pastor in “church” settings on three different occasions (9 months, 2 ½ years, and 2 years). In each instance I applied the principles of 1 Cor 12-14. There was never any great disorder. The members were taught that they were ministers as well as myself. In each instance, I got to see wonderful fruit of the entire Body of Christ functioning as able ministers of the gospel.
I worked with one church where many precious saints of God 60 years old and over were joining us on the streets on a consistent basis as we evangelized the town.
LACK OF FAITH RESULTS IN CONTROL
Mat 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Jam 4:13 Go to now,
ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there
a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
Most anyone who is a Christian will say they believe the Bible to be the infallible inerrant Word of God. But they will dismiss this verse and verses like it by saying “that just doesn’t apply in our day and age. You Have to make plans if you want to succeed.” I have lost a lot of opportunities for various forms of ministry and many opportunities to go places have been lost because I have taken these verses literally. Some minister’s itineraries are planned five years in advance! They have one year, two year, five year and ten year goals. I believe that there are many who are so intent on their stated goals, that they miss the opportunity to see the move of the Holy Spirit in their ministry.
The world system is full of people who are successful. And many ministers emulate the world’s methods to attain success. Just because you do something in the Name of Jesus and have an outward show of success doesn’t mean it is of God.
A popular tent evangelist in the 1950s who generated large crowds and had many people receive salvation, and even saw many people healed was found dead in his hotel room, bottles of alcohol and pills strewn all around the room.
Many who have achieved a “name” in ministry and have appeared successful have fallen and have made shipwreck of their faith. I would rather be in the CENTER of the Lord’s Will than having a blast doing something that I made happen! I know that will rub against the grain as far as many people’s outlook on life or ministry goes, and maybe that is why the ministry the Lord has blessed me to work in has remained a small ministry (as far as scope, possessions and itineraries are concerned).
Maybe that’s why the ministry is not a wealthy (financially speaking) ministry. Maybe that’s why the ministry is not a famous (as far as names are concerned) ministry. I have no doubt that if I went about promoting what I do and who I am, I could have more things and go more places, and do more stuff. The problem (not really a problem) is that I only want to promote Jesus.
I gave up my con-man days when I met Jesus in a motel room in 1983. I only want what He sees fit to give me. I only want to be where He wants me to be. I only want to minister to the ones that He wants me to minister to. I only want to speak at the churches that HE wants me to speak at. I only want to minister with the ministries He wants me to work with. I only want to see HIS Will be done in every aspect of my life. I believe that’s where true success is. Since I don’t make appeals for money, whatever doors He opens are the ones I can step through with confidence.
If I find myself in a situation that seems dangerous, I can be confident that I am there because He put me there, and then I can know that nothing will happen that He hasn’t allowed to happen. I have seen numerous ministries proclaim that it is God’s Will for them to go to such and such a place, and solicit finances to get them there. I always wonder at that point if it’s really God’s Will. I just know that He has paid for every trip to every place He has ever called me to go to (Then again, in all fairness, I haven’t gone to as many places as they have gone to…). Then I have seen their plans to go to those places thwarted because not enough people “sowed into their ministry”. The funny thing is they never admit that they missed it. Or, I have heard about so many complications they had during their trip that God sent them on (they blame it on the devil, but could it be that they just took matters in their own hands and made something happen that wasn’t supposed to happen?). Or even a lot have gone through suffering and hardship and even death. I remember one famous man who said that unless he got 8 million dollars, the Lord was going to take him home! My question when I heard that was: “What’s wrong with going HOME?? I thought that was what we needed to reach for!"
The problem with what I am writing now is that EVEN IF IT IS GOD’S WILL for a person to go somewhere, and HE opened the door with no conniving or soliciting on their part, there still can be complications and hindrances, suffering, hardship and even death (all who live godly will suffer persecution). But the difference is that the ones who have pushed open doors and made things to happen so they could go, will always have a nagging thought in their mind as they face those things – “Did I miss God’s Will? I thought I was supposed to do this, but was I really doing what He wanted me to?” I have had many brothers and sisters confide in me that they really thought they were supposed to do this or that thing, and they realize they missed it.
But this doesn’t only pertain to missions trips or outreaches. Instituting building programs to build a bigger church, and then having the bottom fall out and struggling because of a split in the church, and now the bills can’t be paid. The question will always nag them…”Did I miss God in this one?”
But the one who lets the Lord open all the doors can rest, and say “here I am, Lord, Your servant in Your Hand. I know that ALL things work together for good for those who love You and are called according to YOUR Purpose.” I don’t suppose it is WRONG to make plans for the ministry, but we need to always preface those plans with “Lord willing, I will do this,” and we should be careful not to be so consumed with the plans that we have made that we miss HIS Plans for us!
If we are to see a revival sweep this land, we have to let the Lord have control of every aspect of our lives. We need to get out of the boat and boldly step forward into the ministry He has called us to!
If your pastor won't encourage you or train you in the calling the Lord has for you, seek the Lord's Face. He will teach you. He will lead you. Maybe the Lord will want you to find a pastor who is after His heart, and who will train you. Don't let a mere man rob you of your blessing in your service to the Lord! God will qualify those whom He has called. The qualification comes with the response of the individual to the calling of the Lord.
Hallelujah! The Lord has a wonderful Plan for you. Won’t you petition Him sincerely form your heart, and say, Not My will, Lord, But Yours be done!