Thursday, May 7, 2009

Your Ministry - Tips for Partnering with God

So, you want to serve Jesus? There are some things that you should know before you get in, or maybe understand now that things are not going quite the way you envisioned.

We have an adversary, that is the devil seeking to devour us. We also struggle with our flesh and our sin nature, along with the damage that has come to us from our sin, and the sin of others against us.

Even Paul suffered as he partnered with God to take the kingdom back; buffeted by the devil.

In Luke 22:31,32, Jesus warned Peter that Satan would sift him like wheat. But, Jesus had prayed for Peter; and Peter would be restored to be able to strengthen his brothers. Though Satan would try, he didn't destroy Peter's destiny.

Maybe you just want a peaceful existence and do what you can at your local church to serve others, but when you got saved you joined an army; the army of God. Regardless of whether you chose to engage or not, here are your marching orders.

Matthew 11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. KJV

Beyond what the devil is doing, and will continue to do until the end of time, there are some things that we can do to enter into a partnership with God that is effective and fruitful for the kingdom.

After 30 years of salvation, here are some thing that I have learned about serving God. I have spent a considerable amount of time on the sidelines, some of it my own doing, and some of it working against the religious spirit that is present in any place that the church is established for a period of time.

-1 Random meetings (divine appointments) with Christians on the street have produced more ministry invitations than I ever had from attending a local church. 1 meeting turned in to 2 trips to Brazil where I ministered 2 or 3 times a day for weeks. The other was a guy I just decided help bring his belongings up to a third floor apartment, that gave me 12 months of preaching and ministry engagements.

-2 If you are going to choose a church to be a part of, that has a senior pastor, go to him from day one to see what his vision is. Because most churches do not embrace the 5-Fold ministry model, he'll usually be one of those-- having a heart for evangelism, a heart for pastoring and healing, a heart for revelation... but he will not be motivated in all areas unless he is an apostle. If your personal ministry vision is something that unlike his, KEEP looking. I can't tell you how many churches where I didn't fit the pastoral mold and I ended up sidelined and rejected!

-3 Assess your ministry and spiritual gifts and see how they might fit into your local church. You and God need to work out your calling. It's worth the meeting to say to leadership, this is on my heart, and this is who I am, can you use me? I'd really like to serve Jesus here. IE: If deliverance is your thing, then you need to see if the pastor needs someone to cast out demons. If not, KEEP looking.

My particular gifting has often been threatening to pastors. Why they won't embrace gifting they do not posses themselves, is still somewhat of a mystery. Waiting to "come out" is never a good idea, the end result will be the same; lack of acceptance. You need to look at the fruit of your ministry. If you are prophetic, how accurate are you? If you are an evangelist, how many people have you brought to Christ? If you are a teacher, is it being received? Be honest with yourself, and check it out with Christian that know you. It's about fruit, not numbers

-4 Who is promoting your gift, you, or the Holy Spirit? If it is you, you may be on the sidelines for awhile. Get with God on it. The Lord spoke to me about 11 years ago, and said, "Never invite yourself anywhere, and never ask for money." I have worked in marketing, and I know how to execute promotion. I have spent a lot of time on the sidelines, but obedience is where it's at.

-5 Ministry can easily flow out of relationship-- and should! Have gatherings at your home and allow anyone to come. Each year for the last 4 years, we have invited the neighborhood, and also folks that we know from church to an open house. I have yet to get to minister anyone, but I have had a lot of questions from the neighbors about stuff social issues. We have also tried home-groups, marriage groups and movie nights. God is about small beginnings-- don't despise them.

-5 Authority is often misused in the church. Period. Real shepherds lead from the rear of the flock, and so should pastors. Fear and pride end up inviting a controlling spirit to church. This is why the 5-fold model provides for all ministries and full vision for a church, not just one or the other. Being released by someone in authority is certainly the best scenario. But conditional release is a misuse of authority.

-6 Character and humility is essential, but not required. When God does use us, it is easy to get all big on ourselves. We then to say "I" a lot more than "He." This happens the most, from ministries that operate from the platform or pulpit. The Lord spoke this to me some years ago. "David, be sure to ask my forgiveness before you minister a single prayer, or play a single note. Without it, you would be nothing. David, you know I love you, and when you give me the glory, I can fill you to overflowing." I am a little religious about both asking for forgiveness, and giving thanks after an event. However; I need to rely on Him.

-7 If you need a mentor or an equipper, press those that can help you. I had some wonderful experiences carrying the briefcase of a highly regarded minister. Another time, I drove a big name minister around my region for 4 days. I took him to dinner, carried his stuff, dropped him at meetings and at the hotel. I learned so much from that. Being around the anointing was very cool. It never hurts to ask. Personally, I am sad that we don't have many more leaders like Elijah that were all about having an Elisha with a double portion. Leaders are you listening?

-8 Prayer and fasting are different for each of us, just make it personal with God.

1 comment:

photogr said...

This is certainly an answer to my search. Being rejuvinated back to God after an absence, I have been having a deep passion to serve the Lord again but have hit some road blocks at some churches in the past which led me to worship singularly for the last few years.

Perhaps my enthuiasm to serve overwhelmed them as they appeared to be a bit of a "clickish" church. I felt they were only serving their selves.

The three main themes I found in all my research that was stressed was worship, fellow ship, and service to God.

At one time I felt compeled to start my own church on those three principles but that was only a thought. Now I am too old to become an ordained minister and the thought of bearing that kind of responsibility is scary.

I think being a leader of a small group would be more fitted for me if God wants me for that purpose.It is all up to Him. I will follow his guidance. He has been giving me some feed back on those issues so He is leading me for His purpose. I will just have to let Him guide me and not think of what I want to do just to be sure it is divine guidance.

Thanks for the read.

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