Spiritual mentors are important and I am so glad to have as many of them that I have in my life. There is no doubt in my mind that many people such as my pastors, wife, friends and family who love me dearly and have prayed and imparted into me so much are a huge part of the reason I am where I am in my life today. I am also so glad to have access to those who I don’t know personally such as famous public figures we find in the Body of Christ. I have admired and learned a great deal through their sermons, teachings, books etc. As a pastor myself, and someone who enjoys working in leadership, God has given me a love of taking on challenges and seeing personal gains and victories. This is something that God puts in our very spiritual DNA. We were born to lead and to rule and reign with Christ. There is an inherent desire planted in us to want to succeed. Christ has made us winners, not losers.
On the other hand, we are also born to uplift and exhort those alongside of us. As pastors, mentors, teachers, and so on, it is especially important that we continuously find our value and purpose in God alone and guard our hearts from pride and adulation of men and women. I believe especially as pastors but also as individual members of the body of Christ we must always strive to live under the audience of one and be completely secure in our identity first and foremost and secondly in our calling, self-worth and value that are found in Christ.
I feel prompted to write this because there are two sides (equally important) to how God has established ministry to go forth and how we are to view and honor people in the Body of Christ. On one hand there is honoring people who God has anointed as part of the five-fold ministry that are a gift to the church. On the other hand there is recognizing the individual importance and anointing and gifts given to every other person in the body of Christ for their respective calling (we are all called to be ministers of the Ministry of Reconciliation). Often times and more historically, we have seen an imbalance or partiality that is both given and received between what is traditionally referred to as the “clergy” and the “laity”.
As someone who gets to enjoy the benefits of having so many people who love me and honor me as a pastor, I never want to take their love, friendship or importance to the Body of Christ for granted. In fact, I believe that one of the main functions of a pastor is to help people gain insight as well as to encourage and pray for them to come to a place where the prayer of Paul in Ephesians 1 becomes a reality for them. Any pastor that is called of God should have a desire to see all that is in their congregation walk into the fullness of their purpose, calling, anointing and destiny in Christ, even if it far supersedes their own. I believe that part of my attitude on this comes directly from the leadership I have been exposed to from my personal pastors.
I say this because when we all discover the truth about our unique place, function, and identity in Christ and how that relates to a special and exclusive relationship with Him, we will be satisfied only with that. We will not covet or desire the relationship, calling or destiny that someone else has. Why would we want to limit ourselves to that? I remember praying one time and was just talking to the Lord and saying “Jesus I want to have a relationship with you just like Peter had.” Instantly I heard the Holy Spirit rebuke me! I was a bit surprised but Holy Spirit just revealed to my heart that His relationship with me was unique and special and that I would miss out on all that He wanted to reveal to me about myself and about our relationship if I was to seek someone else’s relationship with Him.
When I finally answered God’s call to ministry on my life, I felt so unqualified. I had a mental rubric already in my mind that I used to sum up the picture of what an effective minister was. Once again, God jumped in the middle of my thinking and dashed it to pieces. This is one of the things I have come to love about God. He has no problem breaking through our preconceived notions to give us a better understanding. As I argued with God and presented all the reasons why I was not qualified, the Lord told me very plainly that the face of ministry as I had always known it was going to change forever. The Lord spoke to my heart and told me that He was tearing down kingdom’s men had built to themselves and He was going to build His kingdom and it would be built and sustained through His body.
Does that mean there won’t be pastors of large churches or leaders of large ministries? No, God is going to continue to use people in what He has called and anointed them to do, but the shift is going to be from building their own kingdom to building His Kingdom. Many of these people have been doing so in ignorance, but God is so gracious and He always has all of our best at heart. What is so amazing about God to me in this is that even in the midst of our mess (even if we aren’t aware of it) God partners with us to use us mightily for His glory and is always working to move us towards the dream and vision He has for our lives. I talk about many of these subjects in my book being released this year entitled I Am The One He Loves.
In addition, I believe God showed me and has many times over confirmed this through other pastors and people by giving them their own separate revelation concerning this truth; that the last great outpouring and movement (or revival if you prefer) is going to be sustained and carried out by the entire Body of Christ. Each person is going to play a vital role and serve a powerful purpose from the least to the greatest. This is going to be so great that no one person could ever sustain it. Personally, I believe this is why we have seen past revivals die out. The people camp around a movement of God and try to package it rather than just being led and being on board with Holy Spirit’s freedom. We all work to facilitate what Holy Spirit wants to do, we cannot “organize and contain” revival, you would have better chances of holding a star in your palm.
Some of the other reasons I wanted to write this is because I want us as believers to be vigilant in that we are aware of where and how we seek counsel and growth and how we regard each other in the body of Christ in respect to this. It is amazing to me that we all have personal and exclusive rights and opportunities to listen to and talk to Holy Spirit. There is no greater source of wisdom and revelation. Jesus made it very clear that Holy Spirit would reveal all things to us that we need and desire to know about God!
John 16:13-15 (AMPC)
13 But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future].
14 He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of (receive, draw upon) what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you.
15 Everything that the Father has is Mine. That is what I meant when I said that He [the Spirit] will take the things that are Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you.
I think that part of the problem for the church at large is that they only receive second hand revelation and once they receive part of it they camp there. It becomes easier to follow a movement or a person rather than to seek out firsthand revelation and come to know the giver of revelation.
Now, I don’t want to come off like I am naysaying any ministry, leaders, or movement but, it is important that we know in our hearts that absolutely nothing trumps personal revelation and first hand rhema words directly from Holy Spirit about the logos word and about ourselves and our lives. Not even a prophetic word from someone else, not a sermon, not a book, not a teaching and not a doctrine. So why do we as believers so often become willing to settle on only one facet of God? Perhaps it is the religious programming we have learned through generations in some attempt to understand God in a meaningful way only to exclude so much of God by camping around a singular revelation someone has given God that turned into a doctrine that we just learned to agree with.
I want to learn from the revelations that God has given others but most of all I want to experience revelation directly from my Father through direct interaction and communication! What’s more, we ALL have this available to us! This is why we cannot discount anyone in the body of Christ!
We have such a tendency to be camp oriented. If it’s not denominations, then it’s movements. People say “I’m Baptist” or “I’m Pentecostal” or they refer to the teachings of the movement they favor “Oh we believe in the Word of Faith” or “We believe in the Prophetic Movement”. All of those things are fine and some I even agree with but I personally don’t want to just camp on one revelation that God initiated with someone else. We want to be like the Israelite’s and carry over and save manna because it’s just easier than going out every day and gathering new and fresh manna.
How can we minimalize God in such a way especially after we read the book of Revelation?
Where the creatures full of eyes (that far see and comprehend more than we as humans) never stop praising God as they gain ongoing and new revelation about Him?
Revelation 4:8 (AMPC)
8 And the four living creatures, individually having six wings, were full of eyes all over and within [underneath their wings]; and day and night they never stop saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty (Omnipotent), Who was and Who is and Who is to come.
Because of this we congregate around certain leaders of personalities as being “experts” or people who have a monopoly on revelation or connection to God. Again, like the Israelite’s we look to these people to be a Moses for us. They go speak to God and then they bring back to the rest of us what God says. Sometimes it’s celebrities but often times it happens in our own churches. It breeds a society in the Body of Christ that allows for no honor towards the person to our left or right but only to those who we have elevated in front of us! What a shame that we miss out on so much opportunity to hear from and interact with our Father directly and from those in the Body of Christ that we have intimate access to personally! This is why we must always be open for God to speak to us through any medium – including a donkey if He should choose to do so.
Part of overcoming this thinking is something that my personal pastors have preached so vehemently; to create and continuously cultivate a culture of love and honor in the body of Christ, but even more taking it to another level. One of the things I believe that the church does that causes it to be robbed of so much is that we take each other for granted and we make others common to ourselves.
This is nothing new, it happened even to Jesus.
Matthew 13:55-57 (AMPC)
55 Is not this the carpenter’s Son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?
56 And do not all His sisters live here among us? Where then did this Man get all this?
57 And they took offense at Him [they were repelled and hindered from acknowledging His authority, and caused to stumble]. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.
We look at those around us and because we are familiar with them and know them, we assume that there could be nothing extraordinary about them. Yet, we will attend conferences, buy books and tune into TV shows as if because they are more visible publicly, that God has given them more authority or understanding. We often attribute these people to being spiritual superhero’s when standing in front of us may be a Godly Superman but we only see a Clark Kent.
What if we began to see others around us as someone who has the potential to bring great and outstanding gifts to the body that we are part of? Jesus did this everywhere He went and He still does today. A prophetic view of someone can release a prophetic truth in that person. We see them through the eyes of Jesus and honor the Christ in them!
I stand in awe of the men and women that God has entrusted with large ministries that are very visible to the body of Christ. There are many people I consider personal hero’s in the faith and that I have looked to for wisdom and guidance such as Shawn Bolz, Graham Cooke and Todd White just to name a few. I serve with senior pastors that love the Lord and perpetuate this ideology of loving and honoring each other as we do Jesus Christ; that we are the fullness of Him bodily and that we cannot be separate from Him. That what we do to and how we regard each other is important to the heart of Jesus. There are also men and women in our own church that I regard as such great men and women of God that have deep revelation insights, flow in gifts and have hearts of servants. I want to always honor them equally and be open to the fact that God will and does speak to them as He will anyone. I want to see them with such potential and to give them a place of honor so that what they have been endowed with is not restricted and I along with the rest of the body get to benefit from and be a part of what God is doing through them. Most of all, I am on the edge of my seat anticipating what God is going to speak to me and show me next about my life and my relationship with Him. To quote my pastor, Greg Worley, “Why not you?”
So how about it church, why not you?