V-MAIL TO THE FRONTLINE
THE PRESENTATION OF MINISTRY
I have been around a while and seen several different styles of music and speaking ministries and I have noticed something very interesting. Churches are like faces in that all are different yet all have the basic components of singing and someone bringing a message. The difference is “how” the music and sermon is presented and of course the higher the level of anointing the more powerful it will be! For example; one speaker can bring a word that is accurate but in a “low key” delivery and a congregation just sits there yawning. Another speaker can preach the same message but inject high energy and enthusiasm and the people will shout and rejoice, testifying how blessed they were to hear such a powerful message. If both are anointed and both have spoken the divine truth what is the difference? Listen, I don’t care what arena you would like to consider – presentation measures effectiveness and there is not one person that was ever given a vision that did not want to be as effective as they can possibly be. Could a dramatic presentation generate more respect and convince the listener of a higher level of revelation and authority? Could a listener’s interest be increased by a speaker’s level of passion?
Who said Jesus was quiet and presented boring lectures? When you know that what you are saying is the difference between life and death you will have confidence in your words. When you have been given a divine revelation you are transformed from an orator to a person that holds the antidote that can save the world. Jesus knew that what He was saying was not just a strong conviction – but absolute truth filled with the ultimate authority and power of Almighty God. Each word was dripping with illumination that had the power to pierce the mind and heart and leave the listener dumbfounded – and still does! This is an hour when serving cereal is not enough – God wants His ministers to serve steak. This will not happen when we have too many irons in the fire but only when we let go of this world and become saturated in God’s presence.
There is nothing wrong with examining what we are doing, how we are doing it and make sure we are delivering His ministry the way He desires for us to present it. I realize that many will respond and say, “This is the way I’ve always been and I do not need to change anything” but this may not be as much about changing style as it is allowing God to breathe life into our work. Is being spiritually passionate a “style” or an overflow from a heart that has been to the mountain and seen God? Now is not the time to serve leftovers or just go through the motions! It is time to re-structure the way we think church should be and hand it over to Him. It is time to throw away the religious agenda and remove the bondage of religion. God’s people are thirsty for His presence and want to be free in His Spirit and will search until they find it! I have heard people say they worship the Lord quietly and are afraid of acting fleshly but do you think we will hold in our emotions in heaven? Anyone that has true joy will explode with an outward display of gratitude. If emotions can be manifested with crying when something happens that hurts us or makes us sad then why can’t people release joy and praise to their God? And for those who claim to be quiet natured, do not tell me you are quiet when your favorite team scores or how “low key” you would be if you won the lottery. Whatever means the most to us in our life is what we are going to focus all of our energy and emotion into and what we are going to give our highest attention. If we are low on passion with our ministry it could mean that we are simply being distracted with too many irons in the fire and are splitting the enthusiasm with something or someone else. Walking in God’s presence is our highest priority and He will not share His glory with anything else including how highly we think of ourselves. For example “trying” to pray is very intense spiritual warfare and is no match for the faint hearted. We know we need to seek God’s face and find that quiet place but it is not as easy as it sounds. We will say to ourselves, “after I finish this page I’m typing or after I finish reading this chapter I will pray.” This is a good one; “I will wait until tonight while everyone sleeps.” But many times we end up working late, taking a shower, becoming very tired and mumbling something about trying again first thing tomorrow, and then wonder why our relationship and anointing is growing weak. God supplies the power but we are called to supply the discipline. If we cannot control our flesh then God cannot fulfill His destiny in us. Many wait on God – while God is waiting on them!
You would not think that we could become lethargic with our ministry style but it does happen. We have heard the illustration of how standing water can become stagnant verses the freshness of a moving stream and if you have been around the church world for a while you can look back and see how things have changed from what they were a few years ago. Technology has played a part in the way things are done and styles have contributed also but hopefully the Covenant truth is the same – just packaged in a different container. Knowing when to change and how to change is important to keeping the people enthused and being anointed for new spiritual growth. If we sing the same songs and teach the same message every time it will become boring and that produces a dry, “packaged” heavy atmosphere similar to a funeral home. Many churches need spiritual CPR to “revive” them back from the dead and obeying God is the only thing that will make a difference. Of course the most important part of our ministry is “proving” to people how much we love them. Sheep must know that we will walk across the desert to help them and that we are truly sincere. If we are so busy with our lives that it seems we do not care about people – it is time to start over or let someone else be the Shepard. A true Shepard is focused on God and the sheep!
One way we can pump some excitement in our services is to stop thinking that only one or two people are to provide the entire ministry. Pastors need to mentor other ministers and let them exercise their gifts to bring variety into the mix. Have the worship team learn new songs and encourage singers and musicians to minister special music or do special concerts. Be creative with props, prayer lines and messages from God. Have guest speakers and ministries in to stir up some enthusiasm and get out of the comfortable rut of doing things the same way. This can fall into a traditional, religious parade of going through the motions because they feel of obligation to earn their salary. Pastors that ignore God trying to get their attention and continue being stubborn doing things their own way will live in disappointment. When people are truly seeking the presence of God and are not being spiritually satisfied they will venture out to find the love, joy, peace and nourishment they are craving.
I realize the most important foundation of what we do must be based on the Holy Spirit leading us and moving through us and we can see that God does not just move in one specific type of church. There are times when God moves in Baptist and Methodist churches and there are times when He moves in Holiness and Pentecostal churches even though the styles are like night and day. This can only mean that obedience has everything to do with the level of God’s presence and the pastor has been given the mantle to know what to do. I believe it is purity and sincerity that God sees in the heart of His people that causes Him to want to fellowship and bless those who are gathered in His name. The ones who choose to allow Him to lead their services and that desire to be free in His Spirit prove how much they really want Him to lead the service. We cry out how much God is welcome in our midst and in our prayers we invite Him to come but it seems to be a contradiction when we refuse to let go of our control. We shout about freedom and how we are yielding to His Spirit but with our programs and time limits we hinder Him from doing what He wants to do.
I believe the most important contribution we can make is to pray. When we read about the great revivals we find they began with prayer. The devil is not alarmed with us just being filled with God’s Spirit. But he begins to panic when we start doing something with it. If we know that demons tremble when we hit our knees then why don’t we stay on them? If we believe our prayers can change us and all those around us, then what are we waiting for? Why don’t we open up the church every night for prayer? Because we are too busy with our own life!
All preachers, teachers and worship leaders have natural personalities just like everyone else and the congregation gets familiar with them just like you would with a good friend. Leaders that are involved with public speaking on a regular basis learn, grow and develop their presentation and style of communication over time and that is normal. Not many people really think about it but in a church setting there is a fine line between being led of the Spirit and leaning on the abilities of the mind. Yes, we live in a flesh body and must use our mind in cooperation with our mouth in order to express thoughts but the idea of the anointing is to be used as a channel for God to speak through. Saints do not want to hear a human philosophy – they get ready and drive to church because they want to hear what God is saying. People who are serious about their walk with the Lord will not be satisfied with a dry, boring service because God’s music and words are to be filled with power and excitement. The excitement level of the pastor controls the thermometer of the personality of a congregation. If the pastor is sleepy, the assembly will have a laid-back persona. If the pastor is aggressive, bold, and on fire the people will either get on board or feel uncomfortable. The calling includes spending time in God’s presence and to be fearless as they lead the frontline into battle! Churches that are in the survival mode will be very unlikely to release the power of God while a pastor on fire will ignite an assembly to praise, energy, love, to move in their gifts, labor in the outreach ministries and evangelize the community. As the pastor goes – so the church goes!