Staff Culture: Empowerment

As your Pastor, I want to share about the culture I desire for our staff.  If I could use one word to really describe it, it would be "EMPOWERMENT."  This is something I have believed in for you for a long time.  I think at times there has been a gap between what I  believed and your actual performance.  Sometimes you don't realize that you may do the very thing that has been done to you!!

I worked in two churches before I came to pastor TFC.  I had very good times at both places and left on great terms with the pastors, but that doesn't mean it was easy.  I was a youth pastor in both places and that gave me some freedom to operate as I desired.  There were also times where I was able to work directly with the Pastor.  I was young and I messed up a lot!!  In both places, I had times where the senior pastor unloaded on me.  That probably happened about twice a year at the first church.  I developed such a good relationship with the pastor that I learned how to disarm him by the time he was through letting me have it. I would crack a joke and we both were laughing.  He knew I was always trying my best even when I messed up.  At the second location, I rarely interacted with the senior pastor.  One day he unloaded on me and things were so intense he threatened me, fired me, and then hired me back.  All of that happened because of a prayer I prayed that he did not feel was up to the level it should have been.  He later apologized, but his apology was quick and very non-relational.  That day something in me died towards that church.  I felt unsafe and I lost my passion.  If you know me, that is the worst thing that can happen!!!

I think the way we deal with the things we disagree with is huge in empowering people.  Do you feel that this is a place where you can make mistakes or one where your self-esteem will literally get ripped?  I think this is a little bit of a mixed bag at TFC.  If I am being self-aware, I think I have been good at it and at times been poor.  I say this to all of you: we are on a mission to make this a place of true empowerment!!!  That means you can go for it and feel safe even if you miss it.  I want to be surrounded by people who think big and are willing to take a risk!!  I believe that is what FAITH is.  It is us getting over our heads!!  God is doing great things, and He is looking for people that will trust Him for the impossible.  You can't do that if fear is in the room.

I John 4:18 says "There is no fear in love."  It doesn't mean that we don't correct and confront, it means we do it in a way that lifts and doesn't tear down.  Even if someone needs to be dealt with strongly, it is with respect and honor.

A couple of years ago, I had a visitation from God that changed my life forever.  I saw and felt His grace, His incredible love, and I have never been the same since.  Over the last few years, I have changed.  As I have learned to walk in more and more of this grace, my heart has been healed.  Honestly, I allowed God to love me more and that in turn allowed me to love others more.

I speak to every person on this staff that battles with self-esteem or being overly harsh to yourself.  I want you to know that I love you just the way you are and more importantly, God loves you.  Ephesians 3 talks about understanding the height, the length, the width and every dimension of God's incredible love. This overwhelms me.  This literally makes me cry as I type this.  His love is so, so special and magnificent.  It literally engulfs every weakness, struggle, hurt and pain we have ever felt.  He strengthens the weakness, ends the struggle, and removes the hurt and pain.  You go from lack and insecurity to confidence and wholeness instantly.  And that is when we just get a taste.  There is a scripture in Ezekiel 47 that talks about the move of God.  The vision is about water as an image of the spirit coming out from the temple door.  At first the water is just ankle deep, but then it goes knee deep, waist deep, and finally, he is overwhelmed and has to swim in it.  This water healed all that was sick and dying.   Everywhere it went there was life.

That life is God's empowerment!!  It lifts you to do things you never thought.  It fills the gap between your vision and your ability!!!  This is what I want as a culture in TFC.  I am going to go a step further; this is the culture we will have at TFC.  I declare to each and every one of you that I will be an example of that!!!

So here are my final words for you: dream big, think big, and act on it.  Yes, we need counsel to make sure we are acting wise, but never let FEAR be the thing that stops you!!  Fear is not allowed at TFC!!!  We make a decision to open the floodgates of God's spirit and love and we are ready to swim in it!

Preachers Are Servants, Not Celebrities

 
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Alistair Begg

Pastor, Chagrin Falls, Ohio

 

What I Learned from Charles Spurgeon

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On Sunday morning, August 5, 1855, 21-year-old Charles Haddon Spurgeon stepped behind the pulpit of New Park Street Chapel to challenge his congregation to follow the example of one of the saints who had inspired his ministry, the apostle Paul. “As a preacher of the word,” Spurgeon said of Paul, “he stands out pre-eminently as the prince of preachers and a preacher to kings.”

Young Spurgeon’s description of Paul was prophetic of his own future ministry. Within a few short years of that Sabbath morning, Spurgeon also earned the moniker “the prince of preachers” as he proclaimed God’s word to congregants from every stratum of society. The boy preacher from humble beginnings even became the “preacher to kings” as members of the British royal family filled his pews.

Lessons from the Prince of Preachers

“Spurgeon approached the Bible on his knees.”

I first heard the name “Spurgeon” as a young boy in Scotland. However, when I became a man and began to read his sermons and writings, he endeared himself to me even more. Today, as a minister, I find in his work and life a wonderful example of what it means to be a preacher of the gospel.

1. Preach the Word

As Spurgeon stood before the congregation of New Park Street Chapel that same August Sunday to discuss what it means to preach the word, he pointed his listeners to the veracity and sufficiency of the Scriptures. “Am I to take God’s Bible and sever it and say, ‘This is husk and this is wheat?’” Spurgeon said, “Am I to cast away anyone truth and say, ‘I dare not preach it’? No — God forbid!”

Throughout his ministry, Charles Spurgeon maintained an unwavering commitment to the word of God. Over time it became apparent that whether he was preaching in the Crystal Palace, before thousands in the Metropolitan Tabernacle, or with his students, Spurgeon was a man of integrity. His integrity, however, extended beyond his own personal life to encompass his concern for the gospel and theology. His preaching was forever crystal clear and Jesus-centered — qualities that have chased me down through the corridors of time to make me an unabashed fan of Spurgeon.

2. Cultivate the Heart of a Shepherd

Following the example of his Good Shepherd, Spurgeon was filled with compassion for sinners and longed to see them safely returned to the fold of God. Spurgeon firmly believed God loved saving the lost. It was a conviction that fueled his ministry. His tremendous longing to see men and women respond to the offer of the gospel was only matched by his intolerance for those who tainted the gospel of grace with the fallacy of good works.

“I find a great many preachers are preaching that kind of doctrine,” Spurgeon said. “They tell a poor convicted sinner, ‘You must go home and pray and read the Scriptures; you must attend the ministry.’ Works, works, works — instead of, ‘By grace are you saved through faith’” (see Ephesians 2:8).

“It is easier to spend five hours preparing for a sermon than to consecrate five minutes to prayer for our people.”

 

Spurgeon was also committed to tenderly feed his flock. Although he had very little formal education, there was something of genius about him. He read the primary sources of theological works, then took those incredibly complex concepts and distilled them down in a way that ensured the youngest person and the least educated person in the room could understand them. His clear and simple sermons are a shining example for all modern preachers to emulate.

3. Seek Godliness over Giftedness

Spurgeon was an absolute sensation in his time, preaching to over ten million people. During each service, stenographers recorded his message. At the end of the evening, the sermon was sent to print to be sold in shops and rail stations the next morning. Yet, for all his gifts and influence, Spurgeon was a humble man.

There was nothing superficial or showy about him. He approached the Bible on his knees. He seemed to have a deep awareness that he had been called by the grace of God, and that it was that same grace which empowered and equipped him for the privilege of ministry. This genuine humility of heart allowed him to realize he could plant and water, but only God could make things grow. “Remember,” Spurgeon admonished the congregation of New Park Street Chapel, “both trowel and mortar must come from him. The life, the voice, the talent, the imagination, the eloquence — all are the gifts of God!”

Spurgeon was convinced that the dangerous sin of pride could find him anywhere, even in the pulpit. Perhaps today’s ministers are even more vulnerable to hubris than in Spurgeon’s day. With the advent of social media in which “likes” and “followers” are the baselines for success, it is all too easy for a pastor to lose sight of the life of sacrifice to which he has been called.

As shepherds of God’s people, we are to give ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word, but it is far easier to spend five hours in preparation for a sermon than it is to consecrate five minutes to pray for our people. We think the congregation needs our giftedness, but the truth is, what they really need is our godliness.

“We think the congregation needs our giftedness, but the truth is, what they really need is our godliness.”

 

God has called us to be servants, not celebrities. It is important for us to be in the hospital visiting the sick and at the bedsides of those facing death. When we allow “the weed of pride” to take root in our ministries, we soil the reputation of the gospel by embracing a double standard that allows us to proclaim certain truths without living in the light of the very messages we proclaim. Let’s not kid ourselves. It is not what people say about us or what we say about ourselves that matters, but what God says about us.

Jesus is the chief Shepherd; we are the under-shepherds. It was this pattern of ministry that Spurgeon exemplified for me. May I, along with all of God’s servants who endeavor to preach the gospel, hold firmly to the pattern set before us, fulfilling our call to ministry with holy reverence. May we all say with the apostle Paul and with Spurgeon, “Woe unto us if we preach not the gospel!”

Jesus' Leadership Structure

Today, I want to look at leadership from a biblical viewpoint.  Jesus was the greatest leader ever.  When he came to the earth he had three goals.  One, he was to pronounce the coming of His kingdom.  He then demonstrated the coming of His kingdom with deliverance and healing power.  John 20:31 says that Jesus did many miracles so that the people would believe.  Second, and the most important was redemption.  Gal 3 says that Jesus became a curse for us so that we would be redeemed from the curse!!  The third, and sometimes overlooked goal was to build a team that would sustain the move of God.  We all know this was the twelve disciples.  Today I want to go further with this third thought.  The 12 disciples were just the beginning of God's ministry team.  Literally, Jesus set up a system for ministry and leadership.

Ephesians 1:22–23 (NIV84) — 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

In this verse, we start to get a picture of Jesus ministry and how it is structured.  The first and most important thing is this team has one leader and one leader only.  There is a saying that anything with two heads is a  monster.  Jesus is the head of the church or the team and we are the body!!  The head gives direction, vision, and purpose!!  We must always remember that for us to be in authority, we must be under authority.  We also remember it is Jesus that empowers us as leaders.  In fact, I want you to see that Jesus team structure is all about finding the God gifts in us and others.   These gifts are from the head of the church Jesus.  These gifts are God's grace or anointing on our lives!  Every Christian has their grace gift, and it determines their part of the team.  I believe these gifts are the authority Jesus gave us, to operate as a team for Him.

Matthew 28:18–19 (NIV84) — 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go...

When Jesus went to the cross, died and was resurrected, it was to take authority for us.  It is by that authority that Jesus bought and paid for, that we are to operate in a team and leadership.  I think many times we operate in our natural strength and do not realize who we are.  We rarely think that there is a supernatural anointing on me and an authority on my life.  The strongest that God ever has dealt with me was one Sunday I did not want to preach.  During the service, I prayed, God please let the worship go longer.  I was hoping Nathan and Star would just move in the power of God, and I wouldn't have to do anything.  I wasn't feeling it that morning.  The worship didn't go any longer than normal and it was my time to minister.  I was walking up to the stage and said to God, "you are going to have to get me through this."  I was a little whiny baby.  On the inside, it seemed God yelled at me.  He said, "stand on the authority I gave you."  It shook me and I adjusted my attitude immediately.  It changed the way I look at my role on God's team.  I am not to be timid, or fearful.  I am to stand on that authority God gave me!!!  Every time I walk on stage, I realize God that God gave me a gift, and in the gift is His authority to operate and minister to people.  I must stand boldly in what has been given, and so do you!

Ephesians 4:7–11 (NIV84) — 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8 This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” 9 (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? 10 He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,

In this verse we see the first line of leadership of Jesus church on the earth.  I like to call this the five ministry gifts.  These are grace gifts given to man!!  Another way to say it is God gave leadership gifts!!  These are Holy Spirit empowered leadership gifts given to man.  We don't pick them they pick us!!  I knew from the time I was 4 years old, something was on my life, even though I didn't know what it was.  I didn't get saved until I was 16, yet I knew some form of a gift was on my life!!   It was a leadership gift.

When Jesus looked for His twelve disciples or twelve leaders, what was He looking for!!  I heard one Pastor say He picked many of them because of their business skills.  I was drinking water when I read this, and I almost spit out of my mouth.  Are you kidding me?  Please, please hear this!!  There is a movement going on in the church that neutralizes the power of God.  We dial everything back to the mental realm.  Jesus did not pick the 12 disciples because of any natural gift, it was the grace gift of God on them!!  Why did Peter stand in front of the most educated group of leaders of his day and confound them with wisdom?  Was it his education, was it a pre-thought out speech that was stunning.  No and again I say no!!  It was the gift of God on the inside of him that empowered him!!!  Jesus had spent three and half years developing that gift and when the Holy Spirit came on Peter he was divinely inspired to lead!!  Many of you have one of these gifts on the inside of you.  It is God's gift to lead the church in some form or fashion.  I thank God for the training you are getting, but please remember that the true empowerment is from the Spirit of God in you!!!

Romans 12:4–8 (NIV84) — 4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

In the next set of verses, we see the next level of leadership.  I Cor. 12:28 calls it the ministry of helps. It is the ministry of the rest of the body of Christ!!!  In this verse, it says we all have different grace gifts!!  Then it goes into a list of those grace gifts.  I do not think this is an all-inclusive list.  I think Paul just gave us a sampling of gifts.  I believe there is an incredible number of grace gifts.  The success of your ministry will be how many of these type of people you can find and develop!!  God's plan is not for you to do it alone!!  If you do that it will limit your ministry!!  You see you have a gift, and when you focus on the gift God gave you, then you will be at your best.  If you are trying to do everything, then you are doing things you aren't gifted to do!!!  Your ministry shifts from being empowered by the Holy Spirit, to being empowered in your power.  The people around you will feel the power drain!!  Eph. 4 continues and tells us our job as ministers fo the gospel.

Ephesians 4:12–13 (NIV84) — 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

We are not to be a one man or woman show, but rather our job is to prepare and develop people for works of service.  This is the MAIN JOB of the five fold ministry.  In Matt. 28 Jesus said we are to go into all the world and make disciples!!  This is how people find their grace gift, their divine purpose in God's team.   It is the five ministry job to reach people, disciple them, and release them into ministry through their grace gift.   The entire body of Christ now begins to function!!  In many of our churches, people have a consumer mentality.  They want to come and receive.  They want to consume a spiritual product, and they want the ministry professional to create a great product.  Honestly, a lot of churches are built this way!!  That is not the leadership God has ordained.  When you have a consumer type of church, it isn't healthy.  A Healthy church congregation is equipped to minister.  That is what we all desire.  The question is how do we accomplish that?

There is a leadership principle called the 80/20 rule.  It says that 80 percent of the people will just be consumers, and 20 percent will desire to be discipled and empowered.  The 80 percent will be the people that complain and demand things.  If you are not careful you will listen and try to cater to that 80 percent.  I want you to hear this!!  The 80 percent is fickled.  You don't grow teams and great leadership by focusing on the 80 percent!!  It is the 20 percent who will open their hearts and do ministry.  They will be the ones that want to find their spiritual gifts, and be empowered.  So here is the rest of the rule.  You spend 80% of your time with the 20%, and 20% of your time with the 80%.  I am telling you the truth when I say the 80% are time robbers.  They complain and constantly want your time.  You think you are helping them, but they never grow.  They are like the Jews at Kadesh Barnea, they just complain but never grow in God.  They always want instead of giving.  They complain we aren't getting as much as another ministry, the music is too loud.  Please counsel me, be my friend.  You will have to stand up to these people.  Some will get mad, don't worry about it!  I had one person tell me that for him to come to my church, he would have to have a personal relationship with me the pastor!  I politely told him that was not possible!!  I have thousands of people and if they all wanted that I would have no time to do what God told me to do.  I said my job as your Pastor is to hear from God, and give an anointed word!!  He actually excepted my word, and is part of TFC today!

Our job is to locate the 20%; find and develop their gifts as members of God's team.  And you thought you were just called to preach!

A Wave Is Coming!

Guys this really touched my heart, and I believe that a wave of the Holy Spirit is coming.  Read and enjoy this expert from Kenneth Hagins book. - PJ

Kenneth E. Hagin Tongues: Beyond The Upper Room

I found out early on in my ministry that by praying with other tongues, the Holy Spirit would prepare me for things to come. For instance, I made mention earlier about the time in 1943 when I was alone in my study in Greggton, Texas, and I made a decision to pray in tongues for an hour. Then because the devil kept telling me I was wasting my time, I determined to pray for two more hours—and after that, another four hours! But as I neared my fifth hour of praying in tongues, I hit a gusher and started praying under a strong anointing in the Holy Ghost.

Most folks never pray in tongues long enough to hit a gusher.

They drill down right below the surface and hope to hit “oil” with as little time and effort as possible! When I hit that gusher in February 1943, a revelation of things to come suddenly started flowing out of me. The Lord said, “At the close of World War II, there will come a revival of divine healing to America.” I wrote those words down and dated the paper. A year and a half later in September 1944, I was preaching at a Pentecostal youth rally in east Texas, and in the middle of my sermon, I saw that paper in my Bible where I had written down the words the Lord had spoken to me. So I said to the people, “Let me read to you something the Spirit of God said to me while I was praying awhile back.” Then I read those words: “At the close of World War II, there will come a revival of divine healing to America.” As God is my witness, the moment I read those words, the power of God fell on that crowd! The Spirit of God moved in like a wind, and every minister in the room ran down the aisle and fell on the altar. Everyone else hit the floor, and everyone started praying in tongues. I didn’t tell them to do that—I was right in the middle of my sermon! But when I looked around and saw everyone on the floor, I just got down on the floor and prayed with them! We prayed up a storm for a good while. When we finally got through praying, I just picked up where I left off and finished my sermon! We need more of those kinds of services, where God’s power manifests while the preacher is preaching.

If today’s Spirit-filled believers would start believing God for the move of His Spirit and pray in the Holy Ghost the way Pentecostal believers did in those days, the same mighty power would be in manifestation today as it was then.

That Holy Ghost power may fall like rain. It may move in like a cloud. Or it may blow through like a wind and sweep everyone off the pews and onto the floor, just like it did in that meeting in September 1944 when God confirmed the word He’d given me.

The revival of divine healing began in 1947, sweeping the nation with the force of God’s healing power and lasting through 1958. You see, moves of God on this earth are like waves of the sea coming in to shore. And when those waves start coming in, blown by the wind of the Spirit, anyone can jump on them and ride! For instance, one Pentecostal minister told me, “Before this revival started, my wife and I had ministered for 35 years together and had never prayed for the sick or had a healing ministry. We’d minister in song, and my wife would minister a short message from the Word. Then we’d exhort sinners to get saved and give an altar call, and people would get saved. But when that wave of divine healing came, we just got on the wave and rode it! We started praying for the sick, and to our utter astonishment, people started getting healed everywhere! One completely blind woman was instantly healed under our ministry. It was the easiest thing in the world to get people healed!” Others told me the same thing. They got on the wave and rode it into shore! Now, it’s fine to do that, but people need to be careful that they don’t ride the wave when God’s Spirit is moving while neglecting their own time of personal fellowship with the Father. If they do that, they will miss the Holy Spirit’s cue when it’s time to get off that wave and get on another one. And as a result, they’ll be washed up on the shore and left there to sit and bellyache about how dry it is! Personally, I determined never to make that mistake, and I knew how to make sure I didn’t. During that mighty move of God’s healing power, an organization was formed among the healing evangelists called the “Voice of Healing,” and I was one of the ministers in that organization. One day a fellow “Voice of Healing” minister asked me, “Kenneth, how did your ministry suddenly just blossom out? What did you do to make that happen?”

Some folks are always looking for something “they” can do to reach their goal or find success. But the answer isn’t found in man’s natural strength or reasoning powers. I simply replied, “I’ll tell you what I did. It was a matter of waiting on God and spending hours praying in the Holy Ghost.

That’s how I have received direction and revelation for every step and every stage of my ministry.” The Next Two Waves of God’s Spirit In 1958, I was preaching at a church in Dallas, when suddenly by revelation, I spoke out, “The next revival is in the Church!” The congregation thought I meant in the Pentecostal church. But I didn’t mean that at all. In fact, the next wave of God’s Spirit almost missed the Pentecostal churches entirely. I meant the next revival would be in the denominational church world. After that, it wasn’t long before the Charismatic revival began. We rode that wonderful wave for quite a few years, and many church people’s lives were dramatically changed as they received the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Then that revival ran its course and has virtually subsided, although there are certainly people in the denominational church world who continue to receive the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues.

Then we had a great revival of teaching God’s Word—what some folks call the “faith message.” I don’t like that term. I simply call it “faith in the Word of God.” We’re not talking about trying to believe something that’s way out in left field. We just accept and believe what God has said in His Word. This teaching revival had its beginnings in the mandate the Lord gave me years ago when He said to me, “Go teach My people faith.” As a result of sowing the Word into God’s people, a great harvest has been reaped. I tried to be faithful with that message over the years, but the day came when the Lord said to me, “Today there are many other good teachers of faith in My Body.” (For a long time, it seemed like I was the only voice out there!) “Now you must go teach My people about the Holy Ghost!”

The Lord went on to say, “Charismatic believers know how to praise Me, but there is a move of the Spirit they know little or nothing about.

And should I tarry My coming, that understanding will be lost to future generations if you don’t teach them.” Of course, we will never leave behind the teaching of God’s Word. But God wants to combine a move of His Spirit with the solid foundation of Bible teaching that’s been built over the past few decades in the Body of Christ. The combination will cause the next move of the Holy Ghost to be the biggest one yet! The Next Wave of God’s Spirit Is Coming. When you’ve preached as long as I have (almost seven decades!), you can start to see some things come in waves.

And I can sense it in my spirit—there is another wave coming. Get ready for it.

It isn’t coming just because God said it’s coming. We are going to have to enter into the deeper realm of prayer we have been talking about and give birth to that which God wants to do. If you’ve ever gone down to the ocean and watched the waves come in, you know that before a wave ever breaks on the shore, it has its beginnings way out in the deeper waters of the ocean. The potential energy of the wave begins long before you ever see the final result washing up on the shore. Well, that’s what praying in tongues accomplishes in the spiritual realm. When you pray in tongues, you give impetus to the next move of God’s Spirit before that spiritual “wave” is ever seen with your natural eyes! When I talk to other ministers, I realize we all have the same thing in our spirits. We haven’t necessarily communicated in the natural with one another. There is just something in our spirits that tells us another wave is coming! So what do we do about it? Well, we determine that we’re not going to stay with the old wave and ride it into the shore, only to be left high and dry on the sand! Instead, we turn around and start swimming back out to the deep part of the ocean so we can get on the next wave—the next mighty move of God’s Spirit on this earth.

And how do we swim back out to the deep? By setting aside time and dedicating ourselves to fellowship with the Father and to pray in the Holy Ghost!

But if we are going to usher in the next mighty move of God’s Spirit in these last days, judgment must begin at the house of God. There is so much more God wants to do for His people. But He can’t do what He wants to do until Christians humble themselves, forget their petty little differences, and come together in unity to enter the realm of the Spirit in prayer. God is calling us to answer His call to pray in these last days. Jesus is coming soon—but before He comes, there is something He wants to do. And what He does on this earth, He will do through us, His Body. The Body has no coordination when half of its members are going one way and the other half are going the other way. So God is getting us ready. He is calling us to a common goal—to yield to the prompting of the Holy Ghost to pray in other tongues! The next wave is about to burst upon us in all of its glory, and every one of us should be determined not to miss it!

We have seen the wave called the healing revival. We have seen the wave called the Charismatic Movement. We have seen the wave of faith and of the teaching of God’s Word. But now another wave is coming! It’s the wave of the Holy Ghost!

Oh, yes, we’ve seen the power of the Holy Ghost in a limited fashion, but a wave is coming that will bring His power on a higher level and in a far greater measure than we have ever seen heretofore.

I can see that wave way out yonder in the deep waters. It’s coming! The waves of Holy Ghost power are building higher! Don’t stay on the old wave of yesterday’s move of the Spirit. Swim out to the deep waters of the Spirit realm by praying in the Holy Ghost, and get on the next wave of God’s purposes for this hour. Then keep on praying so you can ride that new wave as it builds and builds in divine power and glory. I’m convinced the wave that is coming will be twice as high as the healing wave, the Charismatic wave, or the faith wave. In fact, it will be twice as high as all of them put together! I believe it is going to be the wave that sweeps us right on in to the shores of the Glory World! Answering God’s Call to Prayer

The Lord told me that there is a depth of prayer and intercession in the Spirit that will be lost unless we who are experienced in prayer somehow get those truths over to this present generation of believers.

I’ve known a few folks over the years who were great intercessors and who became experts in this deeper realm of praying in the Holy Ghost. But God wants more who can pray like those few. He must have more believers who know how to pray in that deeper realm because there is a job to get done in these last days. If His plans and purposes are to be fulfilled in this late hour, more and more of His people must say no to their flesh and spend time praying out divine mysteries to God.

 

Jesus: The Role Model for Christian Leadership

Claybury International

Christian Leadership in Crisis

Since the autumn of 2011 the concept of leadership has definitely been in view.  The “Arab Spring” and its ongoing fallout has brought into focus failing and abusive forms of leadership; a style of leadership that demands and domineers and has little if any interest in people.  On the economic front, we still see the repercussions of the poor, arguably self-centered leadership that caused the credit crunch, the banking crisis, and the global recession. In many countries, like a recurring bad dream, we also repeatedly see somewhat less than inspiring political leadership. Is the sate of Christian leadership any better?

There is a lot that is said and written about Christian leadership too. Much of it is not actually about leadership at all but is focused on theological, expositional, hermeneutical, worship facilitation and communications skills. It’s also sad to say that Christian leadership today seems frequently to get confused with the modern concept of celebrity.  Where consideration is given to the vital skills of people and organizational leadership, the Christian world so often seems to call upon secular, worldly models, passing over the one role model who should be in focus – Jesus Christ.

This article is adapted from a paper published by Dr. Thorsten Grahn. It is a study on servant leadership which was modeled by Jesus as he grew and developed the disciples into the leaders of his Church.  As such, this is a model that should have primacy in Kingdom service.

What is Servant Leadership?

It is the focus on the growth of the individual, that they might flourish and achieve their full potential and not primarily the growth and potential of the organization, that distinguishes servant leadership from other leadership styles. The primary concern of the servant leader is service to their followers.

In the secular business schools, it was Robert Greenleaf who, in the early 1970s, proposed the servant leader model. However, the concept of a servant leader is not such a modern concept but can be found in the biblical account of the life of Jesus Christ. By examining his model we can identify a Christ-centred, Christ-like servant leadership style that works for Christians who lead people in any situation.

Jesus, the Model Servant Leader

Jesus submitted his own life to sacrificial service under the will of God (Luke 22:42), and he sacrificed his life freely out of service for others (John 10:30). He came to serve (Matthew 20:28) although he was God’s son and was thus more powerful than any other leader in the world. He healed the sick (Mark 7:31-37), drove out demons (Mark 5:1-20), was recognized as Teacher and Lord (John 13:13), and had power over the wind and the sea and even over death (Mark 4:35-41; Matthew 9:18-26).

In John 13:1-17 Jesus gives a very practical example of what it means to serve others (see also “The King Who Led With a Towel”).  He washes the feet of his followers, which was properly the responsibility of the house-servant. Examination of this passage shows that:

  1. Jesus’ basic motivation was love for his followers (v. 1).

  2. Jesus was fully aware of his position as leader (v. 14). Before the disciples experienced him as their servant, they had already experienced him many times before as Master, and as a strong and extremely powerful leader.

  3. Jesus voluntarily becomes a servant to his followers (v. 5-12). He did not come primarily as their foot washer, but he was ready to do this service for his followers if needed.

  4. Jesus wants to set an example for his followers to follow (v. 14-15).

The Servant Leader

From the teaching and example of Jesus Christ, we learn that being a servant leader in the most general sense means being:

  • voluntary servant, who submits themselves to a higher purpose, which is beyond their personal interests or the interests of others,

  • leader who uses the power that is entrusted to them to serve others,

  • servant who, out of love, serves others needs before their own,

  • teacher who teaches their followers, in word and deed, how to become servant leaders themselves.

The Christian Servant Leader

Applying these considerations of Jesus as a role model for Christian leaders we can see that, from a Biblical perspective, a servant leader is a person, who is:

  • Christ-centered in all aspects of life (a voluntary servant of Christ)

  • Committed to serve the needs of others before their own,

  • Courageous to lead with power and love as an expression of serving,

  • Consistently developing others into servant leaders, and

  • Continually inviting feedback from those that they want to serve in order to grow towards the ultimate servant leader, Jesus Christ.

There are some implications worthy of note that arise:

  • The servant leader is a “servant in all things” in relationship to God.

This is the Christian servant leader’s higher purpose. He is also a “servant first” in relationship to people.

  • Jesus Christ came into this world as God’s servant (Isaiah 42:1, Isaiah 52:13, Acts 3:26, 4:27). He also came to serve man (Matthew 20:28). However, Christ did not come to be our servant, whereas he came out of obedience to God, serving him.

  • Christians are called to be God’s servants in every aspect of our lives. From the Bible, it’s clear that this means serving fellow man in accordance with the higher purpose of serving God. Note, however, that simply serving people is insufficient. It does not necessarily imply that a leader is serving God. It is possible, for instance, to serve people based on a humanistic worldview.

  • There is a big difference between serving the needs of others and being a servant of others’ needs.

    • Serving the needs of others is liberating. It implies recognizing their needs (without judging them) and then doing what can be done, in line with the higher purpose of serving God first, to help satisfy that need. Whereas;

    • Being a servant of the needs of others requires that one must do anything and everything possible to satisfy those needs, whether it is in line with one’s service to God or not.

  • The servant leader themselves is a growing leader, led and grown by the Holy Spirit.

  • Jesus was the only human being who never abused his power.

  • For a leader, the abuse of power is a major issue and temptation. The keys to avoiding abuse of power are feedback from God and from the followers, along with sharing power. These factors are necessary to help the leader apply power in line with God’s purpose and for the best of the followers. The development and growth of followers into servant leaders inherently requires that the servant leader passes power on to them (sharing power) so that they can also grow in using that power to serve others according to the higher purpose.

  • Servant leadership is more about being than about doing.

  • Without a serving heart, it is almost impossible to become a servant leader. There are different ways to grow servant leaders, although Greenleaf (the founder of secular servant leadership) considers that a leader may need a “conversion experience” in order to become a servant leader. In any event, the highest priority should be given to help servant leaders to grow in their service to God. Out of the service to God, true service to others flows more easily.

3D Servant Leaders

There are three dimensions in which Christian servant leaders must grow:

  1. As a voluntary servant of God

  2. As a servant of others, and

  3. As a leader.

If someone is already a committed servant of God and of others, they need to employ their leadership gifts to serve others as a leader with the right use of power and with love. Leadership skills training, continuous encouragement, and feedback can support a servant leader in this growth process.

Someone, who is already a leader, but who wants to become a servant leader, also needs training, encouragement, and feedback, but they need a conversion towards servanthood much more. This commitment must then be strengthened again and again. It is harder to learn to be a servant than to learn to be a leader, especially for those who have been senior leaders for many years. Old habits die hard.

The servant leader must be a “learning servant” who wants to grow both as a leader and as a servant. Therefore, the servant leader invites feedback especially from God – through prayer, Bible reading, and communication with spiritual mentors – and from the people being served. One way to start a feedback process with the people being served is simply is to ask them how the leader can best serve them. Ideally, the feedback will be an ongoing process, resulting in the servant leader serving more effectively according to the actual needs of the people.

According to the Bible, to become a servant of God and to enjoy serving others is not only a decision that a person needs to take, it is first a gracious gift from God. More than this, because of our new nature, as Christian leaders, we should find ourselves readily drawn to the Christ-centred servant leadership model. It is the “leadership style” of our role model, Jesus Christ, and as we see throughout the Bible, serving God inherently includes serving others in line with his good plans and purposes.

Reflection

How do you compare to the leadership role model of Jesus? Are you drawn to the higher purpose of serving God? Are you focused on your people, those who follow you (remember leaders have followers) achieving their full potential for the Kingdom?  It requires a conscious decision to become a servant of a higher purpose and of others.

It may be that you have never looked at Jesus as a leadership role model. To discover more work through the references given in Thorsten’s article.  Take a look at the “King Who Led With a Towel” series on christian-leadership.org

An interesting exercise is to read through Mark’s Gospel and look to see how Jesus led and developed that disparate collection of men who became his disciples and to whom he entrusted his Church.

Remember, this Christ-centred servant leadership model is not just for Church leaders but Christian leaders in Kingdom enterprises and secular organizations too.

Growing the Servant Heart

Growing the Servant Heart” is a free online training programme that examines the nature and role of  Christ-centred servant leadership in Kingdom enterprises. It is available in the Academy section of Christian Leadership, which you can select from the menu

Increase Your Potential

I want to share my vision for TFC leadership.  As all of you know I believe that God has called us to a generational vision and leadership.  What God started in Terry and I 23 years ago, is to be passed down to the next generation.  I believe with all of my heart that this next generation will take this ministry to a whole other level.

I think it is important to clearly define what kind of leadership I am talking about!!  Many studies on leadership are based on good principles.  These principles include character development, team building, work ethic, and serving one another.  I love this stuff, and it is very, very important.  All these things will help you become all God has for you!!!  Let us be very clear though, this ministry is not built on good principles, but the very power of God. I remember when I tried out for this church 23 years ago, it was a very unhealthy church.  I had several people warn me not to take it.  I was told that you don't take on a church like this.  It had split so many times, that they were down to 60 old grumpy and super controlling people.  They actually closed church one Sunday and had the doors barred by the police because they didn't agree with the pastor.  These men fought and manipulated each other.  In 5 years they literally went through 4 pastors!!  They had a horrible reputation, and many lives were hurt because of their conduct.  I remember like it was yesterday, I was trying out for the second time.  I said God, not my will but yours.  He audibly spoke to me and said, "You will be the next Pastor of this church."  That was the only time in my life that I heard God audibly.  I would need it over the next few years, but it started out the ministry in a supernatural direction.  A few short months after this, one of our board members fell dead in our service on mothers day!!  I remember being so scared, yet with all the faith I could muster I prayed and God raised him up.  Over and over I would face problems that seemed insurmountable and God would come through in an incredible way!!!  In 23 years I have seen God do miracle after miracle!!  Even last year, we all witnessed the Tres Lagos land miracle.

I want you to understand a balance here.  Good leadership principles are foundational.  Those principles sustain us, but miracles propel us.  It takes both to get where we are at today!!  I want you to learn all the principles you can.  They will keep you steady and rock solid.  Then I want you to tap into the supernatural, that is what will take you to the next level.  Paul tells you what our faith needs to be in...

1 Corinthians 2:4–5 (NIV84) — 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.

Don't ever let your ministry be just about well thought out sermons and music.  People don't just need your words, they need the power of the spirit of God will transform!!  I have a confession to make to each and every one of you.  I think I have majored too much on good principles in the last few years and not the power of God.  God is stirring me in the spirit!!  I don't want you to be just a good leader, I want you to be a supernatural leader!!!  I don't want you to be just a good speaker, I want you to be empowered with the spirit.  I don't want you to just be a well-rehearsed singer, I want you to full of the power of God.

I want to share a secret to walking in the power of His Spirit.  First, and foremost it is your prayer life!!  But, it is not just any part of your prayer life, it is praying in other tongues!!  I believe for all of us, consistent lengthy times of praying in the spirit empowers us mightily.  Paul confirms this in several scriptures.

1 Corinthians 14:4 (NIV84) — 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself...

I want to focus on the word edify!  It literally means strengthen, builds up, to make more able, to increase the potential!!!  What part of you is being strengthened, built up, and increased?  It is your spirit man!!!  It is like spiritual weight training.  It literally increases your spiritual potential!!  It has been my habit for 23 years to spend at least one hour of praying in tongues before I ever hit the stage.  That is the very minimum!!  I never, never want to speak without spending that time to increase my spiritual potential.  I want to encourage every singer, speaker and staff person to spend this kind of time with God before our services!! We want the power of the spirit of God to move in all of our services.  Every child, teen, and adult needs the power of God to change their lives.

I also feel another kind of stirring in my heart from this scripture...

1 Corinthians 14:18 (NIV84) — 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.

Paul didn't just speak in tongues before he ministered, he spoke in tongues so much that he could confidently say, I speak in tongues more than all of you!!  Paul didn't just speak in tongues for ministry, he spoke in tongues to build himself for life.

Ephesians 3:16 (NIV84) — 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being...

I feel God is drawing us to into a greater move of God that we have ever seen!!  I believe God wants to move in our midst.  I believe He is calling us to come away and spend extra time to strengthen ourselves with power!

Let us be clear!!  This is our vision, this is our calling!  This is the leadership that will lead us into the next generation.  God has called us for such a time as this, to see lives not touched by just good leadership, but transformed by His power!!!

John Bevere: How Complaining Halts Your Destiny

 
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John Bevere

Messenger International

 

 

Joseph’s descendants were very different than him. They obeyed when their desires were met and when God manifested His mighty power on their behalf. Whenever they were discouraged or felt abandoned, they quickly drifted into disobedience.

The first symptom of such drifting always came in the form of complaining. Those offended with God usually are not so foolish as to directly oppose Him. Instead, they resist His Word or leadership. The children of Israel complained about their leaders, but Moses answered with, “Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord” (Ex. 16:8).

 

Complaining is a killer. It will short-circuit the life of God in you faster than almost any other thing! Complaining indirectly communicates to the Lord, “I don’t like what You are doing in my life—and if I were You, I would do it differently.” Complaining is nothing more than a manifestation of insubordination to God’s authority. It is extremely irreverent! God hates it! Joseph feared God, and he never complained.

That is why the Lord admonishes us, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing" (Phil. 2:12-14).

God sternly warns us not to allow complaining to take root in our hearts. We are not left helpless by its intense attack. The fear of the Lord is a force within us that will keep that killer out. Proverbs 14:27 confirms this: "The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death."

Joseph lived in a spiritual desert for more than 12 years. It appeared that nothing was going his way. There was nothing to strengthen and encourage him. But there was a fountain from which Joseph drew—one deep within.

This fountain provided the strength Joseph needed to obey God in tough, dry times. It was the fear of God! Joseph was able to avoid the pitfalls of hatred, offense, jealousy, resentment, anger, and adultery through the life-giving waters of that fountain.

When others would have fallen into the traps of death, Joseph was able to turn away and minister to others—even in his darkest hours.

Joseph was wise in his behavior because he feared God: “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom” (Prov. 15:33). Those who fear God are wise. Daniel points out, "Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever" (Dan. 12:3).

Joseph passed the ultimate heart test by giving of himself and declaring God’s faithfulness in his darkest hour. It wasn’t long before Joseph’s wisdom caused him to shine brightly in Egypt. His virtue could not be hidden but was revealed to an entire pagan nation.

Interestingly, it was Joseph’s behavior while in prison and his response to his fellow prisoners that eventually led to his promotion. In Genesis 40, we read that the Pharaoh’s chief butler and chief baker were among the prisoners. Both had dreams, which were interpreted by Joseph.

To the butler, Joseph proclaimed the meaning of the dream: "This is the interpretation of it: The three branches are three days. Now within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your place, and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand according to the former manner when you were his butler" (vv. 12-13).

But for the baker, the interpretation was not so good. Joseph said, “This is the interpretation of it: The three baskets are three days. Within three days Pharaoh will lift off your head from you and hang you on a tree, and the birds will eat your flesh from you" (vv. 18-19).

If there had been a morsel of complaint in Joseph’s heart, he would not have ministered to either the butler or the baker. If he hadn’t ministered to them, he would have remained in prison until his death.

In his final moments, Joseph would have still been murmuring about what appeared to be God’s unfaithfulness, when in reality God’s promise would have been aborted because of Joseph’s lack of godly fear. But God was faithful to release Joseph from his prison chains. At the appointed time, Joseph was summoned by the pharaoh himself to interpret a dream, at the recommendation of none other than the chief butler. And an entire nation was delivered from famine because one man—Joseph—feared the Lord.

In the latter half of the twentieth century, the church has displayed a lack of the fear of God. Therefore, we are viewed as a reproach rather than as shining stars before our nation in need. Our sins are frequently broadcast by the media, and we have lost the respect that believers should have. We have not demonstrated the faithful, God-fearing qualities found in Joseph. May God help us with His grace!