I was recently with a friend of mine (whom I will leave nameless for obvious reasons) who said that the reason his city is in such a mess is because “the pulpits are polluted”! When he said this, I immediately began to think and pray about the implications and reasons for this strong statement. Upon reflection, I found his statement to be true, based on conversations I have had with numerous leaders across the globe.
I have served as a senior pastor for over 30 years, and I have also worked extensively with political, community and business leaders over the past three decades. As my understanding regarding the Kingdom of God and marketplace ministry has evolved, I see church with a new lens and notice the frustration many young people and professionals have regarding their local churches. Many in these categories feel limited rather than celebrated and released into their callings.
I have been in countless meetings with church leaders who are impassioned to see a revival in our nation and/or in their churches and communities.
One time, after a national prayer leader spoke on the need for the church to pray for revival, I raised my hand and asked him: “For what purpose do we want revival?” He was dumbfounded by that simple question and could not really answer me.
I have found that revival in and of itself is never enough!
I have been a pastor almost thirty-four years and have been involved in initiating or participated in many local, citywide and national prayer gatherings. God has made it very clear that our first priority as leaders is to spend time with Him before we are sent out to minister (Mark 3:14). The apostle Paul also implores all believers to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In spite of all this, there are many denominational and non-denominational churches that do not have a regular prayer meeting. Consequently, in spite of the many good programs they may have, there is a huge gap in the church.
The goal of every minister of the gospel should be to serve as the unofficial chaplain of their entire community. Because of this, studying one’s community is vital to be effective as a minister. Key pastors and apostolic leaders should have as a goal to systematically know their communities better than anyone else. Following are seven strategies to accomplish this:
As a lead pastor for more than three decades, I have observed that many people in the church have an orphan spirit. Not only that, but there are organizations and churches that function more like an orphanage than a life giving community. By orphan spirit I am referring to people who have a sense of alienation from their father and/or those who attempt to earn their father’s love through success.
One of the biggest challenges in life is to stay focused upon the assignment the Lord has appointed for us. In life there are many adversaries and distractions that can take you off track so that your life misses the mark. This is called “mission drift.” Perhaps most people in this world have drifted from their primary purpose and mission in life.
As much as I feel uncomfortable with this, transfer growth (that is, numerical growth to a local church when people migrate from another church) is a reality pastors around the world need to plan for. I understand there are going to be some people assigned to our local church from other churches for various reasons. One of these reasons is that apostolic/prophetic people will be drawn to apostolic/prophetic churches modeled after the New Testament church, and in some cases these people may come to Christ in churches without that New Testament revelation.
It is evident there are many in the Body of Christ who attempt to integrate their Christian faith with the pursuit of happiness. Some have even gone so far as to have a theology of happiness, in which they obey or disobey Scripture based on what gives them the most happiness. Several years ago a prominent pastor in New York City divorced his wife and married someone else in his church because, he said, “God wants me happy!”
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