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.
We are presently witnessing a transition in ministry across this country. There are many senior pastors who are about to leave the scene and many, if not most, are not ready to pass the baton to someone else! Some of the larger megachurches have an even bigger issue on their hands when their senior leader steps down or retires because they have to find a leader with the gifts and charisma to fill huge auditoriums. (If their successors cannot fill them, it will be interesting to see how they will be able to pay their utility bills with half-empty sanctuaries!)
My wife Joyce and I planted our local church over thirty years ago (on January 29, 1984) in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, New York. We were not sent out with any money and with only a handful of people who volunteered to serve with us. The following is based on all the mistakes I have made as a church planter and the lessons I wish someone had coached me through.
I. Be sent from your local church
The word of God teaches us that there are times God’s presence can leave the corporate expression of His people. We see this in 1 Samuel 4:21-22 when the name Ichabod was given to the grandson of Eli, the high priest, after the ark of the covenant was captured by the Philistines. Also, in the book of Revelation 3:1 Jesus told the church of Sardis that they had a reputation of being alive but was dead. Hence, it is possible for communities of faith to be dead or dying.
Christianity is always only one generation away from extinction!
The only way the witness of Christ can continue in the earth is if His followers continue His mission. Based on my observations, there are five current models regarding attempts by Christ followers to continue the mission of the Lord Jesus.
In this two-part series, we will explore debunking eleven primary arguments against divine healing. Click here to read part one. The following are the last six arguments:
6. The book of Job
Some point to Job’s sickness as a way to say that sometimes it’s God’s permissive will to allow a person to be sick. The Book of James carries over the book of Job into the New Testament age which shows that God’s sovereignty—even in regards to sickness and allowing adverse circumstances—can still providentially take place for His glory. That being said, we have to remember several things:
From the outset of this article I do not want to convey the thought that just because leaders have name recognition or become popular that they are not people of God. Many of my close friends in the ministry are also celebrities in their own right but do not exhibit the below traits. However, it would be less than honest for those of us in the church not to admit the aberrant behavior of some of our own.
1. Effective Ministries Value the Whole Church
To be effective in the current culture wars, Evangelicals can no longer afford to shun their Catholic and Orthodox brethren. It is going to take the whole church standing together on social issues to see societal transformation. We may not be in the same denomination or local church, but we share the same overarching values regarding the Trinity, the need for the cross of Christ for salvation, the deity of Christ, and the Ten Commandments as a blueprint for the laws of a nation.
A prophetic culture is an exciting and much needed element for a cutting edge local church. By “prophetic culture” I am referring to having a sense of anticipation among the attendees that God is going to manifest His presence and speak directly to His people, either through the preached Word of God and/or through the worship experience. By prophetic culture I am not merely referring to a plethora of prophetic words being released during church services.
When a church has a true prophetic culture, there is a deep connection to God during congregational gatherings that result in believers getting transformed and consecrating themselves to the call of God. When there are many prophetic words but no personal transformation, folks are mainly prophesying out of their own souls and not representing God’s heart. There are several things needed to bring this kind of atmosphere into a local church.
- Book Reviews
- Daily Blog
- Emotional Health
- Faith and Culture
- Faith and Life
- Ministry Reports
- Position Papers
- Societal Transformations
- Spanish Audio
- Spanish English Products
- The Church
- Weekly Featured