By Dr. Francis Akin-John
Signs of Static Pastors. Isaiah 56:10-11.
Small, medium size but struggling churches are the outcome of static churches. Static pastors are pastors of yesterday, driven by tradition, ceremony, doctrinal correctness, prejudice, dogmas and old pattern. Static pastors don’t go out to learn, improve themselves nor do they welcome change.
- Static in Knowledge
Little or no training
Once and for all training.
- Static in Message
Irrelevant and monotonous
Shallow and dry
Repetitive and routine.
- Static in Anointing
Dry, old and stale.
- Static in Character
Ungodly and unkind.
Unstable and inconsistent.
- Static in strategy
Outmoded and achaic
Irrelevant and ineffective
- Static in Relationship
Abusive, domineering and secretive
Unfriendly and unapproachable
Unsmiling and stone faced.
When pastors are static and stagnant in these areas, the church will always be the worse for it. When pastors are not growing, improving, resourceful and relevant, the church will take a nose-dive under them.
- Kinds of Pastors Today. Jere-miah 12:10; 10:21; Jeremiah 50:6.
Churches rise and fall based on the kinds of pastors leading them. Today, we have super pastors, first class pastors and average minded pastors. Which one are you? Furthermore, we can see these kinds of pastors on the church scene today:-
- Businessmen Pastors – they are in the ministry to make money – Lamentations 2:14; Micah 3:10-11.
- Funky Pastors – Wordly, carnal, sensual, who wateres down the gospel to please people. Jeremiah 6:13-14.
- Vocational Pastors – called by men and circumstance, not by God – Ezekiah 34:2-3
- Yesterdays Pastors – Ultra-conservative and traditionally minded.
- Political Pastors – Playing church or local politics to the detriment of the church.
- Occultic Pastors – Using means to ‘jazz’ up the work – Revelations 2:20,24; 3:9
- Shallow Pastors – They pretend to know, but they don’t know. Zepheniah 3:4.
- Ministry Pastors – Ministry is much more important than God.
- Sick Pastors – Spiritually sick but physically okay. Revelations 3:14-19.
- Wounded Pastors – Emotionally, Spiritually and Psychologically wounded.
- Technology Pastors – Relying on Computer, internet and Secular education only.
- Growing Pastors – Growing personally, Spiritually and professionally.
Majority of these kinds of pastors cannot lead the church up, but down spiritually. The church cannot grow to become a glorious and rapturable church under them.
- The Growing Pastor. Luke 2:40,52.
There can be no perfect leaders, but growing ones. People are not looking for perfect leaders, but growing leaders. The church will only move away from stagnancy when the pastors start to grow in these three areas:
- Spiritual Growth. Ephesians 6:10; II Peter 3:10.
Growing in the Lord, in the word of God, maturity in spiritual things and becoming deep with the Lord. Spiritually strong in prayers, waiting upon the Lord, voice and gifts of the Spirit must be permanent features in the life of pastors.
- Personal Growth. II Peter 1:5-11.
Character development, ability to read and write, self-improvement in leadership skills, relational skills, and building trust and competence are very crucial. Pastors must keep updating, upgrading and reinventing themselves in this work. What gets you there will surely not keep you there.
- Professional Growth. I Timothy 4:13; II Timothy 4:13.
Going for formal, informal and non-formal trainings and courses that will bring improved professional performance. Becoming resourceful and relevant through constant attendance of conferences, seminars and resources that will help your ministerial life. These must be continous and consistent.
- Update, Upgrade and Resourceful.
You must constantly learn, read books and gather resources that will help your progress in life and ministry. You must not be a stale minister, but a resourceful one.
- Powerful Communicator.
Your pulpit ministry must be growing. You must not only preach, you must grow to become a great communicator. Preachers are many, communicators are few.
Every church and ministry growth almost always starts from that of the pastor and leader. When growth stops in the life of pastors, decay will surely start in the churches.
Living for Growth
Growth! – Its sound alone makes you jump within Growth – The epitome of life and living. The only evidence of life in the human heart God has never grown, but authorizes growth in all.
The end result of doing something right.
FINANCIAL FREEDOM FOR PASTORS.
Money and financial matters have become a major issue in the church today. Majority of pastors and ministers have deviated and are deviating from New Testament ministry as a result of imbalanced emphasis on money. Many have watered down the true message of the gospel because they want more money to come into the church. Others have devised ingenious and ungodly ways to raise offerings and giving in the church. In many modern day pentecostal and charismatic churches, money, finance, and prosperity are the most common and repeated messages week in, week out. Churches have become financial business schools and pastors are now teaching people ‘how to make your millions in a week.’ Furthermore, many pastors are leaving the flock unfed and spend most of their time running after money, gain and profit. In the light of this, how can we strike the needed balance? I hope God will use this teaching to help us.
- Biblical Basis. Job 36:11; III John 2; Psalm 35:27; Deut 8:18; Acts 20:33:35.
Financial freedom is when you have your three basic needs met; (food, clothing and shelter) you are free from debt and your income is better than your expenditure. God desires our financial blessing and prosperity. Ministerial and pastoral calling is not a calling to poverty and penury, niether is it to opulence and extravagant lifestyle. Prov 30:7-9.
God is not happy when pastors live below poverty level.
God is not happy when pastors are poorly paid and uncatered for.
God is not happy when pastors cannot meet their financial obligations.
God is not happy when pastor’s family suffers due to poverty.
God is not glorified when minister’s live in debt and borrowing.
God want every pastor to have financial freedom so that you can glorify Him, take care of your responsibilities, fulfil your ministry, spread the vision, impact your world and be of assistance to others.
- Why do Pastors have Financial Crisis?
It is glaring that many pastors are having financial crisis today. Many are being poorly paid and many are wallowing in debt. Why?
Becoming full-time minister too soon.
Ignorance about financial freedom.
Lack of financial plan.
Raising too large a family.
Having only one source of income.
Hypocricy and prejudice about money matters.
Uninspiring leadership in the church.
Misappropriation of church money.
Stinginess and tightfistedness.
Failure to pay tithes and give offerings.
Wrong use of God’s money.
Financial crisis have led to ministerial poverty which have resulted in broken homes, wayward children, backsliding, breakaway in the church, compromised message, divorce, marrying a rich member and taking over of many churches by wealthy members.
- How God deal with His Ministers Financially.
From both Scripture and experience, we can deduce three ways that God seems to deal with his ministers when it comes to finance.
- Supplying your needs by talking to people on your behalf. Example is Adam. God supplied all he needed without him asking and working.
- God can ask you to pray and go talk to people. Example is Moses and David. He will allow people to give to you as you ask them.
- He can bless your skill, job and expertise to build your financial
Example is Apostle Paul. He worked and tentmaking for his needs and finance.
God can use any of these three ways to help you attain financial freedom in the ministry. However, you must know which one is the way God has been dealing with you and focus your effort and prayers on it.
How Pastors can Attain Financial Freedom.
If you follow these practical steps, you can really overcome financial burden in your life and ministry.
- Learn all you could about finance and money matters.
Ignorance have brought poverty to many pastors.
- Pray specifically about your money crisis.
Commit quality prayer time to settling your financial crisis.
- Tentmaking until your church is viable enough.
The calling of God is not the sending of God.
- Become a marketable minister.
There are monies that belong to you but they are not in your church.
- Live within your means.
Stop buying what you want, rather, buy what you need. Cut your coat according to your cloth.
- Plan your family upbringing.
Large families is not advisable these days for ministers.
- Have multiple streams of income.
Your money must never come from one source. It is better for N5,000 to be
coming from ten sources than N20,000 to come from one source.
- Follow a good financial plan: 60/20/20 principle.
Weeping will endure longer than a night when you have no savings.
- Practise the principle of giving.
Pay your personal and ministry tithes.
Give offerings and sow seeds. Don’t be at the receiving end only, be also at the giving end.
- Wise investments.
Don’t work for money, let your money work for you.
Invest in what will bring you much more money as the days goes by.
- Prayerfully build up partners.
God must speak to people to support and strengthen your hand financially,
materially and morally in this work. Luke 8:2,3. Pray them into existence.
If you can follow these time-tested and proven principles, your financial freedom is a sure guarantee. You only steal from yourself when you fail to manage your money properly.
POWER OF SIN IN A PASTOR’S LIFE
A religious christian who recently got truly born-again in a church confessed to a pastor that ‘in my former church, our pastor don’t preach against sin and I became a comfortable sinner inside the church’. In another church, certain members went to one of the top-most Bishop and complained that ‘we don’t hear messages on heaven, hell, rapture, sin and the likes in this church’, why sir? The Bishop replied, ‘God did not give us such messages here, we are here for breakthrough and prosperity, if you want to hear about sin ,rapture, heaven and hell, you can go to another church in town.’
Well, such pastors and churches are the signs of the end -time and they are in the majority. The terrible and bitter truth is that pastors and churches don’t talk and take a stand against sin(s) simply because they too are not FREE FROM SINS
- Biblical Foundation and Basis. Psalms 51:5; 66:18; Matt. 1:21; 1 Pet. 2:24.
Man is shapen and born in iniquity. By nature, man is a sinner, and sin separates from God. God is too holy to tolerate sin and evil. The sinless Christ came and procure atonement, pardon, propitation and forgiveness for man through his death, burial and resurrection. Romans 6:8-18.
The church is here on a rescue mission. To rescue from sin and get people ready for heaven. A true pastor must therefore speak against sin and take a stand against the sins of his day:
Sin draws the anger and judgement of God.
Sin makes God to hide his face from us. Isaiah 59:1-8.
Sin brings bondage and slavery to man.
Sin pays wages-instalmentally and continously
Sin Kills physically and spiritually.
Sin brings untold trouble, crisis and problems to man.
Sin will always sink you- pastors especially
The terrible state of the world today is as a result of the sinfulness and wickedness of man. Effective pastors must overcome sin in their personal lives and stand against it in the church. They must not whitewash and gloss over it, if they are to truly please the Lord.
- Sins that are Common to Pastors. Proverbs 28:15.
The sin you do not conquer when you are a new christian, church worker will finish you when you become a pastor. Most pastors today are living in secret and unconfessed sins, such as:
Stealing- taking church offerings and tithes audaciously under whatever guise using ungodly styles to take money from people.
Immorality- lusts, sexual abuse of women, members and daughters.
Lying- falsefying facts and exergeration during ministrations
Pride- show off and self-importance
Idolatry- worshipping other powers than that of God.
Manipulation- covetousness taking advantage of people through false
Drunkeness- taking substances, spirits and beers to cover shyness.
Because pastors are neck-deep in these sins, they now preach grace, grace and grace, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness. These are the seven deadly sins of pastors today. As a pastor, your secret;
sin will weaken you
make you compromise
Deaden your conscience
Muddle up your message
Call evil good and good evil
Makes sinners comfortable in your church
Preach only on finance and blessings
Turns the church to a religious gathering.
God has abandoned and is still abandoning many pastors and their churhces today because they are living in secret sins. Yes, the crowds might be there, money flowing in and fame spreading abroad, but the work will perish and scatter. Remember, twenty years after God had left king Saul, he still reigned on the throne of Isreal.
- The Sin of Pastors will be the Sin of the Church
The shallowness, fickleness, ungodliness and curruption of the church today are the direct replica of her pastors. Because pastors are living in secret sins, the church is living in open sins. Most pastors don’t speak against sin because they:
(a) are in the depth of it;
(b) fear of offending people;
(c) fear of losing members;
(d) the desire to belong;
(e) so as to welcome crowds, and
(f) to get the money of the people.
Sinful pastors lead to sinful churches and the folowing will be happening in the church:
The church cannot be a true light and salt.
God will abandone the church.
The church cannot make a difference in her world.
Demons will have free reign.
Stagnation and spritual darkness will reign supreme.
Nominal, carnal, fleshy and devilish people in position.
When pastors says ‘we don’t talk about sin in this church because we don’t want to make the people to be sin conscious’; it shows that something is fundamentally and Scripturally wrong. Failure to talk about sin means the pastor and the people will be swimming and wallowing in sin and ungodliness. Isaiah 58:1,2.
- God’s Judgement on Sins of Leaders.
If God exposed the sin of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Samson, David, Judas and Demas, He will surely expose your sins. If God judge the sins of these leaders, He will judge your own sins that you fail to repent off.
Divine punishment and shame for leaders.
Destruction and scattering of the work.
Bringing shame and ridicle to the leader
Untimely death and diseases.
Loss of place, position and prestige.
Loss of reward, heaven and glory.
God doesn’t take kindly to secret sins of His leaders. If He gave you time to repent and you fail to leave sin alone, He will put you to public ridicle. There had been many of such leaders in history and Nigeria, especially. Why did God stop working in many churches? Because leaders become sinful in one way or the other. How can pastors be free from sin?
- How to be Free from Sin, Within and Without
- Report yourself to a godly mentor.
- Acknowledge your sin(s)
- Be contrite and have godly sorrow for your sins.
- Repent and make a total u-turn from your sins.
- Pray God to uproot the root of sin from your heart
- Ask for the grace of holiness and righteousness.
- Speak out against sin in your life and in the church.
- Don’t hide sins in your life that wants to mruin you.
- Run from leaders that play and joke with sin.
- Protect yourself by praying out sin in your life. Matt. 3:10.
THE DYNAMIC PASTOR
God do not want a run-off-the-mill pastor to lead his church. Rather, He wants a red-hot, burning, fire-spitting and spiritually dynamic person to lead His church. Psalm 104:4. Cold, lukewarm and dull ministers don’t appeal to Him. Scripturally, God is pictured as constantly searching for a man. Isaiah 6:8, Ezek.22:30; II Chro 16:9. That man must be wise as serpent, harmless as dove, simple like a child and transparently sincere. That man must be holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and godly – Heb 7:26. That man must have power with God and man as Elijah, he must be prayerful and command the ears of heaven. James 5:16-18. He must be a man among men and have the approval of God following his ministry. – John 1:6; Acts 2:22. He is a man after God’s heart, who will do the will of God under any circumstance – Acts 13:22.
Churches rise and fall based on the dynamism of her pastors. Dynamic pastors must be in great supply today if God must work and the church take her rightful place in society. Without godly and dynamic pastors, there can be no vital and living chuches.
- Definition and Basis. Jer 3:15; Judges 2:7; 1 Sam 7:13-14; Acts 14:3.
Dynamic pastors are effective, result-oriented, impact-making and life-transforming ministers of the gospel. Dynamic pastors bring change, turn-around, progress, fruitfulness and become the difference maker in the church, families, business and personal lives of people. Dynamic pastors are:-
Spiritually dynamic – alive, vibrant, shinning and burning in the spirit.
Winsome personality – relationally strong and effective.
Competent and capable – increasing capacity and capability.
Dynamic pastors are connected to God and they have the fire of God burning in their bones. They cause spiritual revolution, change and transformation wherever they went. Things cannot and will never remain the same wherever you find a dynamic pastor. The question is, Are you a dynamic pastor? How dynamic are you in your pastoral ministry?
- Enemies of Pastoral Dynamism.
Too many pastors are not dynamic enough for the Lord today, the more reason the church is floundering. They are efficient but not effective, they are cloud without rain; fire without heat, position without performance and laboring without fruitful results to show. What are the enemies of pastoral dynamism?
Ignorance of what it entails.
Contentment with present level.
Wrong vision of being in ministry.
Too busy to connect with the Lord.
Distraction and digression from the Lord.
Seduced by other interests.
Termites and holes in your armour.
Lack of personal growth and improvement.
Moving with wrong friends and influencers.
Churches that are being led by undynamic pastors will only struggle and remain largely redundant. They will find growth and progress very difficult to attain.
- Marks of Dynamic Pastors. Acts 6:5-8; 8:5-9.
Churches will thrive when dynamic pastors are in control. How can you become a dynamic pastor? Well, you must inculcate these attributes in your life and pastoral leadership.
- Open and transparent living. Isaiah 43:1-3; 2 Tim 2:19-21.
You must live a life that is open, clean, transparent and godly channel of God’s grace and power. Nothing in you must hinder God from flowing through. You must be a vessel of honour. You must walk as He walked. 1 John 2:6; There must be no darkness in you, no skeleton in your cupboard. 1 John 1:5-6.
- Holy Spirit Drunk. Eph 5:18; Jude 20; Acts 10:38; Luke 4:18; 11:10-13.
Many pastors have lost the Holy Spirit or they don’t have him in the first place. How can they be dynamic? You must receive the Holy Spirit afresh and be filled with Him everyday. You must be so filled, drunk and drenched with the Holy Spirit that His dynamo will start operating through you.
- Persistent and Prevailing Prayers. James 5:16-18.
Dynamic pastors pray and spend quality times in prayers. They harness the power of prayers to help their work. Through intensive prayers, they draw down the hand of God fully into the work. They are not too busy to pray. Rather, they make time to pray and plan their time around their prayer life. Marthin Luther said ‘I have so much to do that I must spend the first three hours of the day in private prayers’. No wonder God used him to cause a spirtual revolution.
- Vision and Focused – Acts 26:18,19
Dynamic pastors receive their vision from the Lord and they pursued it vigorously. They renew their vision and focused on making the vision a reality. They refuse to be distracted or seduced by other interests.
- Proactive and not reactionary.
Dynamic leaders do not react to situations, rather they act with poise always. They take charge and take control, no matter what happened or is happening. They don’t lose their heads, misbehave and do stupid or foolish things in reaction to situations.
- Problem Solving. 1 Thess 5:14
Dynamic pastors confront and solve problems. They don’t dodge, side-step or ignore problems. They’ve developed enough capacity to tackle and solve problems. Church is problems and many times, these problems are people. Every problem you solve gives people another reason to trust your leadership.
- Courageous Change and Decisive. Acts 10:11-15.
Dynamic pastors possess the courage to change what hinders growth in the church. They confront change and bring needed change to the church. Church systems, methods, systems and traditions that are outdated must be changed. They are not afraid to take decisions. They are not facilating but decisive for growth and progress.
- Initiative and Creative.
Dynamic pastors are creative and they take initiative to do things that will bring growth, progress and expansion to the work. They can work without supervision and they create creative ways to do ministry in a better way. They don’t wait for their ships to come in, they swim out to meet them. They surely dig their wells before they are thirsty.
- Work on Themselves.
Dynamic pastors don’t take themselves for granted. They realize that they will either be their greatest asset or liability in ministry. They therefore consciously work on themselves. They improve, grow, hone and sharpen their character and skills to lead better.
- Love Truth more than People. II Cor 13:8.
Dynamic pastors love people, value people and always help people. But they love truth more than people. They speak the truth, stand for the truth, stand in the truth and loan out the truth to others, always.
- Task Oriented.
You cannot really become a dynamic pastor if you are not task-driven. Dynamic pastors concentrate on the task at hand and refused to be distracted by the words and actions of men. They know what to do and focus on it.
- Values and Ethics Driven. Phil 4:5,8.
Godly values and good ethics are the two pillars that undergird the life of dynamic pastors. They value godliness, honesty, character, family and do things that uphold others.
- Resourcefulness. Matt. 13:52
Dynamic pastors are resourceful enough to keep leading better. Dynamic churches, kingdom expansion and glorified Christ are the outcome of having dynamic pastors.
HOW TO PASTOR YOUR COMMUNITY
For too long a time, pastors have not come to term with their community responsibilities. The old thinking has been that all our pastoral responsibilities are within the four walls of the church and this has led us not to do anything tangible in and for the communities surounding the church. In actual fact, we have unconsciously built ‘us against them’ mentality and there has been an impregnable barrier between us and our host communities. But the new thinking and reality of today’s ministry is that pastors must not only pastor their churches but also their communities.
During one of the religious riots in northern Nigeria. The rioters surounds a church to burn it down. But the muslims in the community resist them vehemently. Why? ‘If the church is burnt down, then their daily bread is gone because the church has a food programme to the community’. In another city, muslims wanted a church to be turned into a mosque, but fellow muslims resisted it, because they said the pastor cares for everybody in the community.
- Biblical Foundation. Joshua 1:1-8; Acts. 1:8; Acts. 18:10; Gen. 13:17.
Every church must be located in a God-given locality, territory or community. You cannot just get into a place without God’s direction and hope to make meaningful impact there. Every church must affect and impact her immediate territory and that will largely be possible when the pastor realized his territorial leadership responsibility. 2 Kings 2:19-22.
Pastors are not only called to lead their churches but also their communities.
The pastor is the spiritual gate keeper of the community.
The pastor has spiritual authority over the community.
Only the pastor can stop the advance of darkness in the community
Pastors are the agents of God to bring light and liberation to the community.
Local churches must thrive in every community and the pastor is the leader there. Pastors must lead their churches in such a way as to win every community for Christ.
- The Church and the Community. Acts. 1:8; 2:47; 5:11-14.
The immediate community of a church is her immediate ministry area. Every church must show commitment to her territory. This is 1-5 kilometer radius of the church.
Churches must seek to affect their communities positively.
Churches must be morally, materially, spiritually and financially committed to their communities.
Eighty percent of the members must come from the community
The church must be careful to maintain a good image in the community.
The church must be known for good, godly and friendly disposition in the
The church must be involved in community efforts and charity work.
Consistent prayer for and in the community must be practised.
Churches that fail to affect their communities will quietly but surely lose steam and die. Before you venture out to win your Samaria and uttermost part of the earth, do everything to woo and win your Jerusalem and Judea for the Lord.
- Uprooting Barriers to Pastorting your Community.
Pastors are failing to pastor their communities due to ignorance; bad image; wayward living; deceitful and faulty foundations; wrong signal from the church; wrong lifestyle of pastors family and unholy competition among churches in the same community. Effective pastors must do away and find way round these obstacles in their effort to pastor their communities.
To pastor your community is to bring the light of God to people, create a bridge between the church and the people and create an avenue to preach the gospel effectively to the community. It doesn’t involve community politicks and representation. It is wholly a social and wholistic ministry of the church to the people of the community.
Some youth were vandalising all the vehicles in a particular street in Lagos. The only vehicle they did not touch was that of a certain pastor. Why? He is known as a true pastor who loves and prays for the community.
- Effective ways to Pastor your Community. Acts.5:11-14.
The pastor is very significant to community impact. You cannot pastor the church successfully without pastoring the community. Every pastor must provide leadership, not only for the church, but for the community also. This doesn’t mean that you become a community chief, local government officer or politician, but by doing the followings:
- Inspiring leadership inside the church.
Whatever happens inside the church, people in the community gets to hear.
- A good model and example
People do what people see. Truth are caught more than taught.
- Commitment to that church and place for 5 years at least.
When you are not staying, you can’t really impact the place.
- Share the vision of community impact
If your people don’t catch the vision, it might not be easy.
- Research the community: Physical, Historical and Spiritual
Don’t take the fences down unless you know the reason why it was put up in the first place.
- Rectify and Restitute any misdeeds.
Some churches have a history of conflict with their communities. Scandals and quarell had been the case in some instances. Through godly living, sincere effort to community leaders you should try to rectify all these.
- Be a good neighbour
Stop the unnecessary noise, shouting and disturbance of community peace. Sound-proff your building and reach out in a friendly way.
- Pray for the community
Pray in the church, outside the church and have a community praise and prayer effort. Pray for landlord and community leaders. Do spiritual warefare for the
- Partake in community projects
Contribute to water, electricity and road projects. You can have an annual food programme for widows, elderly, fatherless and single parents. You can sink a borehole for the community.
- Give gifts during yuletide seasons
Sends gifts to your community police chief and take prayer to them too. Let them know that the church is praying for them and care for them.
- Strategic evangelism.
Prayer from house to house and godly living by your people will greatly help your evangelistic impact in the community.
- Networking for Community Impact.
Pastors of churches in the community must come together to affect the community positively.
Pastors must come together to reconcile.
Pastors must repent and display unity.
Pastors must meet together for breakfast prayer.
Pastors must stop claiming the turf only for themselves.
Pastors must come together for warfare.
Pastors must engage the intercessors.
Community events and warfare strategies must be jointly carried out to the glory of God. God is looking up to you to lead your community back to God. You cannot afford to fail Him
SUPERNATURAL MINISTRY OF PASTORS
For too long a time, pastors have worked under the notion that they do not need and ca not operate in power ministries. They are not expected to see miracles, signs and wonders, prophetic ministrations, deliverances and power demonstrations in their ministries. All these can happen to evangelists, but not pastors. This wrong notion has led many pastors to rely on guest ministers, evangelists and deliverance ministers in the church. However, the truth today is that pastors MUST operate in power ministries if they hope to see true church growth and keep their people.
- Biblical Foundation. Heb. 2:4; Psalm 44:1-2; Acts. 11:21.
Supernatural ministry means the mighty hand, power and presence of God in the life of a pastor. It is the outstreched hand of God that brings results, change, turnaround and positive blessings to people. It is signs, wonders and miracles happening concurrently in the ministry of a pastor. 1 Cor. 2:4-5. To really see dynamic church growth, the pastor must have the power of God, through the gifts of the Holy Spirit,flowing through him. Acts. 10:38; 1:8; 1 Cor. 12:6-11. A dynamic pastor is not a one gift person.Working in the OFFICE of a pastor, you need the call and the gifts of power to operate. In the gift of a shepherd. You are people=oriented and have shepherd mentality.
- The Three Most Important Spiritual Gifts for Pastors. 1 Cor. 12:6-12.
To succeed and make mighty impact as pastors, you need these three gifts much more than any other one.
- Power demonstration – miracles, sgns and wonders.
- Teaching – deep ability to teach and equip people.
- Leading – large capacity to lead, relate, influence and enable people.
To bring sustainable growth to the church, the pastor must be 50% a leader; 30% power demonstration and 20% a teacher/ pastor. If all your ministry can be explained in terms of the natural, then forget true growth in the church. The supernatural is the sign and seal of the approval of God upon your ministry. Acts. 2:22.
- Reasons for The Supernatural in a Pastor’s Ministry. Joshua 3:7.
Pastors cannot rely on guest ministers or evangelists to demonstrate power in their churches. The followings are reasons why pastors must demonstrate power in their churches.
Pastors stay with the people more than anyone else.
It is the prove of your call and calling.
It is the key to dynamic growth.
People desire to follow a strong leader.
People come to church to have their problem solved.
People want a leader that can give them victory.
People want to see God working through their pastor.
People flock to a church where the power of God is at work through the
Every pastor that wants continous growth must seek to operate in prophetic, miracle, deliverance and sign and wonders. The hand of God must be at work to glorify Himself and bless the people.
- How to Operate in Supernatural Ministry.
Not only has Jesus given the supernatural ministry to every minister of the gospel, He has also given the spiritual gifts to the Church through the Holy Spirit of God.
Here are specific steps to take if you really desire to fulfil your supernatural ministry mandate:-
- Preach the Whole Gospel. Mark 16:20
Declare the whole gospel of Christ to save, heal and deliver. Don’t preach the gospel of powerlessness nor a set of rules that cannot deliver and liberate people. Rather, preach the gospel of freedom, liberation, deliverance and healings. Talk about the Christ that is mighty to save, heal and deliver from any oppression and bondage. As you faithfully declare the whole gospel, God will confirm His words with miracles, signs and wonders.
- Encourage People To Come For Healing. James 5: 14-15
Don’t only preach to people, encourage them also to come for healing. Preachers are many, ministers are few. Minister healing to people consistently in the church or in meetings. As you sincerely minister, God will honour your ministrations and bring healings to the people. You must learn to overcome your fears in this area.
After your preaching, call people out for healing and pray for them as you are led by the Lord. Healing schools, healing services and regular prayers for the sick must be regular in the church.
- Fast and Pray Sincerely: Matthew 17:21
To operate in the supernatural ministry, you’ll have to pay the price of intensive fasting and prayer. Fasting is not hunger strike but a deliberate effort to leave the flesh and get into the Spirit realm. Fasting helps our spirit to be in tune with the Spirit of God and therefore gain power over the works of the devil.
- Ask for Specific Work of Healing and Miracles. Acts 4:29-30
To see mighty healings and miracles in your ministry, you’ll have to pray intensively and ask God for specific work of healing and miracle. God is willing to work when we ask him to. But our asking must be in pure and godly motive. If we ask because of selfish glory, God will not honour it. Our motive must be clear, pure and God honouring.
- Launch Out in Faith: Romans 4:19-21
Operating in the supernatural ministry demands for faith on our part. The supernatural can be a daily occurence in your ministry and ministrations if you grow in your faith.
Doubt, fear, unbelief and anxiety must leave your heart.Your faith must be strong in the Lord to fulfil His word and honour your prayers. The disciples grew in their faith until the miraculous became a normal thing in their lives and ministries.
- Be an Open Channel. 2 Tim. 2:20-21
Operating in the supernatural ministry means that you must be and remain an open channel for God to flow through. Determine to be a vessel unto honour. Be clean in your heart, thoughts and feelings. Don’t allow nor harbour grudge, animosity, bitterness, immorality and unforgiving spirit within you. Always allow the blood of Jesus to cleanse and purge you from these negative things. If you allow them within you, they will become holes in your armour and the enemy will attack you through them.
- Be Open to The Leading of The Holy Spirit: Luke 4:18-19
More than anything and anybody else,the Holy Spirit is the one that has the mandate of bringing the supernatural power of God to the church today. There is nothing we can do without Him. Even our Lord Jesus attributed the miraculous in His life and ministry to the Holy Spirit. Every minister that wants to move in the healing ministry must be filled with the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit and commissioned by the Holy Spirit of God as Jesus was.
When you are in such vital relationship with the Holy Spirit of God, he can then lead you in various ways to be a channel of healings to the people. He works through :
Laying of hands (Mark 16:16)
Anointing with oil (James 5:14)
Touching people (Luke 7:14)
Being touched by people (Mark 6:56)
Power of the word of God (Matt.8:5-16)
Use of cloths or handkerchief (Acts 190:12)
Speaking and rebuking spirit of infirmity (Luke 13:18)
And a host of points of contact such as using of the Bible or shadow of Peter John 9:6; Acts 5:15.
The point is that we must be open to the Holy Spirit to see whichever means He is willing to use to bring healing and health to the people.
Natural, normal and routine but powerless pastoring cannot grow the church and kingdom of God today. Kingdom comes by power. Romans 14:17; 1 Cor. 4:20. Pastors must operate and demonstrate the power of the kingdom today, then the kingdom of darkness will bow and flee.
PASTORAL SUCCESSOR AND PREDECESSOR
One of the issues facing the pastoral ministry today is that of transfer and leaving of churches. Big and large denominational churches do transfer pastors from churches to churches. While independent churches with several local branches also practice such. Overall, pastors do leave one church to move to another church to pastor. Moreover, many practises and issues in this regard have not helped the health of the church. When a pastor leaves a church, how should he relate with his successor? When a pastor newly comes to a church, how should he relate with his preccessor? We hope to examine these critical issues in this session.
- Church Growth Fact. Pro 27:23; Joshua 1:1-5; 12-13; Psalm 90:17.
Facts are facts, even if you deny them, you cannot wish them away. Therefore durable and solid church growth doesn’t support short tenure of pastors, or 2-3 years constant transfer. Study after study has reinforced the positive balance between pastoral longevity and church growth. It is not until a pastor has served 4-7 years in a church that bias towards growth appears.
Pastors must sense the call of God to that church
Pastors must be committed to stay for a long time.
Pastors must stay around to build and nurture people.
It takes time and hard work to build a solid and durable work.
It takes time to build a great and all-round work.
Look around you, leaders that build great and durable churches have been there for a long time. Jack Hayford pastors his church for more than 35 years. Yonggi Cho has pastored the same church for more than 45 years. Rich Warren has pastored the same church for more than 25 years. The correlation between pastoral longevity and church growth is very strong and real.
- Why Constant Change or Transfer of Pastors?
Denominational and executive church leaders do change or transfer pastors due to unwholesome church policy; threats of breakaway; Suspicion of personal kingdom; Reports from jealous people; Ignorance of church dynamics and tactics to turn the people’s attention to the headquater only. Constant transfer or change of pastors doesn’t augur well for the health and growth of churches. These are some of the adverse effects:-
The Church is always in a starting mode.
Always trying to get used to a new leader.
Constant cancellation of programmes and reprogramming.
Uncommitted and non-challant people.
Disgruntled and wounded people.
Unstable in faith and breakaway.
Constant change in attendance and focus.
Lack of continuity and consistency.
Confusion, crisis and chaos among the people.
One of the means of reducing the positive impact of pastoral leadership is to change ministers every few years. And many denominational leaders are guilty of this.
- How Long Can a Pastor Stay in a Church?
Church growth supports long tenure of pastors, as long as these are happening:
Church is growing dynamically.
The people love him well.
There is no serious complain.
God is working in a mighty way.
There are no scandals and corruption.
God still have a job for him there.
Evidence of transformation and mighty impact.
Church planting and expansion.
Community impact and tranformation
With these happening in a church, the pastor should stay around for a very long time. The pastor should be allowedd to lead the church to great glory and win many people for the Lord. Quite unfortunately, i’ve seen and heard of cases where pastors are transfered because of the above reasons!
Remember, transfers or change of pastors will make or mar churches. There are churches that decay and die due to wrong transfer and change of pastors, and there are churches that experience revival due to right change of pastors.
When should a pastor leave or be transfered?
When the church is stagnant under him.
Properly verified complaint from genuine members.
Constant conflict, crisis and chaos.
Scandals and impropriety.
Run out of resources.
Incapable of leading the church higher.
Stagnation and back-door losses.
Sense God’s call to another place.
Can do a better job somewhere else.
More promotion and responsibility.
When pastors are transfered, they must be taken to churches that befit their exposure, experience and entitlements. When a dynamic pastor is transfered, another equally dynamic pastor must be brought in to replace him. Pastoral transfers should not be done with malice, sentiment and tribal considerations. Pastors must be given a fair hearing and situations must be objectively handled. Transfers that are based on routine, faulty policy and personal prejudice of a leader will ruin the vitality of churches. There must be consideration for the pastor’s family and well-being. The transfer should follow a due process; the pastor must be rightly informed, church leaders taken into confidence and proper handing over done.
- Your Relationship with Your Successor or Predecessor. 1 Cor 3:5-9.
Too many crisis, infighting, bickering and animosity among pastors and members have undermine the testimony of the church because of wrong handling of this issue. How you relate with your fellow ministers will either commend or condem you. How a pastor relates to his predecessor or his successor will be a strong indication of his character:
When coming to a new church, take note of the following:-
Show courtesy and respect to your predecessor.
Love God, love people and show common sense.
Be happy at his praise being sang.
Don’t criticise or make disparaging comments about him.
Seek the will of God for the church and call them to prayers.
If you seek to destroy him, you’ll destroy yourself.
Don’t rush to change his programmes.
Preach Christ, not leaders, and Christ powerfully.
Honour your successor by doing appreciation service for him.
Don’t welcome tale-bearers, rumor-mongers and back-bitters in your house.
Seek for ways to make improvements and be financially prudent.
Be the friend of your predecessor and invite him back to preach whenever possible.
By all means, win the lost and grow the church during your tenure.
When you are leaving a church:-
Give your successor the highest accolades possible.
Don’t poison people’s mind against your successor.
Stop littering or hovering around the house of members.
Don’t come back unless invited.
Pack up, move out and stay out.
Stop criticising the methods of your successsor.
Avoid contacts of any kind with members who are in trouble with the new pastor.
God will only ask you account of your time there, not after you’ve left.
Have an attitude of goodwill towards you successor and help him to settle well.
Don’t forget, one plants and another waters, but God gave the increase.
HOW TO BUILD PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH
The church is a garden. The Pastor is the gardener, the word of God is the seed and the people are the garden. (1 Cor. 3:9). Whatever you sow is what you ‘ll reap. The type of seeds you sow or pour into the ground determines the type of harvest you will get. You will always have a harvest that corresponds to the seed you have planted.
The story is told of two missionaries that came to a certain African Country. The first missionary preached the social gospel- prosperity, finance, management, farming and social work. While the second preached solid gospel of salvation, discipleship and godly living. After some few years, the communist took over government in that country and the
missionaries were driven out. Well, after ten years, there was a change of government again and the missionaries were allowed back to that country. But when they got back, they met different result. While the first one had no single true believer to welcome him, the second one had thousands of people and churches that come to welcome him. The lesson? Use church to build people for the Lord, not using people to build a ‘great’ church.
- Biblical Foundation 2 Tim. 2:2; 2:15; 1 Tim. 3:2; 4:6; 1 Pet. 5:2-3; Gen.14:14
The Pastor must be a teacher and he must teach and train people in the church. To build people is to disciple, train, teach, develop, discover the gifts and ministry of people in the chnurch. Matt. 28:19-20 says; Go, preach, baptise and disciple. Teach and disciple is the key. The purpose of the church is to win sinners, disciple them, train and equip them and release them for ministry. Pastors must not only bless the people, we must also build people for the Lord.
Pastors must stop using people to build a big church, rather, we must start using church to build a great people for the Lord. Here are imperatives of building people:-
People are more important than buildings
People are the most appreciable asset of leadersship
The word of God and people are the key priority in ministry
If people are not built up spiritually and in discipleship, the church will flounder
Building people is the law of explosive growth of the church.
Building people is investment in the future of the work.
Jesus took time to build, train and disciple his leaders. Mark 3:13-14
Building solid people is the key to solid and durable work.
Numerical growth without corresponding spiritual growth is a misnomer
Sustainable growth is determined by the quality of the people.
It is a ministry fact that the people you do not teach are the ones that will frustrate and kill you and your work. Crowds do not last, it is only discipled and well-trained people that will last with you.
- Why Pastors Don’t Really Build People in the Church
It is a fact of ministry that many churches have grown through transfer growth in the last 20 years. Pastors have therefore relied upon snatching christians from churches to become leaders in their own churches. In some cases, 99% of ministers in some Pentecostal churches are christians and ministers from other churches. They have virtually not trained or discipled anybody. Here are reasons why this is so:
Unspiritual, shallow and empty Pastor
Lack of personal discipleship and growth.
Failure to understand the true purpose of the church.
Too much emphasis on one line of truth.
Absentee Pastors and always on the move
Too proud to learn and keep learning
Wrong mindset about true growth.
Showmanship and extravagance oriented.
Lack of vision for discipleship.
Ignorance of how to go about it.
Too many Pastors are ill-equipped to disciple and build people in the church. The more reason we have numerous shallow, fickle, flaky and immoral christians in majority of our churches today. Sincere Pastors no longer have excuses today, because lots of information and resources are now available on how to really build people up in the church.
- Working Together as a Pastoral Team over a Church.
2 Tim. 2:2; Luke 10:1; Rom. 16:1-4.
To truly build a well-rounded church, it will take a pastoral team working together in unity. A local church should have one Pastor for 100 people; two Pastors for 150 people; 3 Pastors for 250 people. As the church grows, so also should the pastoral team. Moreover, the pastoral team should comprise of people with complementary gifts. Each one should use his/her gifts to build, grow, empower and solidify the Church of Christ, not having loyalists and ‘Church inside Church’.
So many pastoral teams are disunited, disloyal, working at cross purposes, allowing members to separate them, unhealthy ambition and failing to show respect to the senior pastor.
Healthy pastoral teams submit to the senior pastor, carry out his instructions, show fierce loyalty and interpret the vision correctly. They report evertything and work for the good of the team.
Pastoral teams that fails to work together in unity, love, respect and humility will always send wrong signals to the Church. When there is crisis on the altar, there will be trouble in the pews. So many congregations are in disarray because there is civil war going on in the pastorate. Psalm 23:2. When the waters are not STILL, the sheep will not come to drink.
- How to Truly Build People in the Church Prov. 27:23.
Taking time to build people up in the church is the onerous task of every pastor and pastoral team. We must focus on this assignment in earnest. Every gift and ministry in the Church must be channelled towards building and discipling people for the Lord. The benefits are enormous for now and eternity.
Yes, building and discipling people is hard work, yet that is what we must do if the work must last for now and eternity. How can we go about it?
- Pastors must Grow Personally and Professionlly.
Your growth will be the growth of your work. You cannot give what you don’t have.
- Be a Good Model and Example. Acts 1:1
Truths are caught more than taught. People will do what they see. What you do, speaks louder than what you say. Your example will influence them permanently.
- Preach a Balanced Gospel. Isaiah 28:9-10
Preach and teach the whole truth of the Bible. Preaching one line of truth will not help you to build a solid people, nor a durable ministry. Precept must be upon precept. Balance your messages and teachings scripturally. Use your pulpit to build people up. Let the pulpit be clear and forthright.
- Systematic Teaching and Training. 2 Tim. 2:2
Institute teaching and training in the Church. Train people to be true disciples of
the Lord before they start functioning in any position in the Church. Have periodic,
departmental and sectional trainings in the Church. Nobody should do anything in
the Church without passsing through quality trainings.
- Create an evironment of growth for everyone. 2 Pet. 3:18.
Growth should be the watchword in the Church. Nobody must remain in a primary class. Everyone must be encouraged to move up in the Lord.
- Provide Resources and Materials. 1 Tim 4:13; 2 Tim 4:13.
You can’t build people without quality resources for them. Handouts, seminar outlines must be provided at minimal cost for the people. People that are resourced are the ones that will ultimately grow up in the Lord.
- Give Room for Performance and Evaluate Them.
Allow people to perform and function. On the job training is also crucial to devel opment. However, you must realize that people don’t do what you expect, but what you inspect. So, have time to evaluate them and discover where they need further training.
Peace and progress will be the outcome when people are properly built up. Many hands that make large work and multiplication will be the end result of discipling and building people up in the Church.
WHO IS THE REAL LEADER IN THE CHURCH:
PASTOR OR ELDERS?
The times we are living in calls for clear voice and balanced biblical clarifications on these issues. One of such issues is that of pastors and deacons, elders and committees in the local church. Many denominational and pentecostal practises regarding this issue are unscriptural and way off the mark. Many local churches are in disarray due to infighting, quarrel, struggle for supremacy between pastors and elders. Elders, Council members, Patriachs, Matriachs and Foundation members in the church have taken over leadership surreptiously in most churches and growth has been stagnated.
- Various Church Practises Today. Heb. 11:3; 1 Pet. 5:1
It is an open secret that many of our practises on this issue are not truly scriptural. Here are some of them:-
* Deacons, Elders are chosen whimsically, based on money, position, education and bias.
* They are placed above pastors and made to pay and purnish them.
* Elders are highly regarded as senior and super church members.
* They have the power of life and death and they can sack and dismiss pastors.
* They have unfettered access to the General Overseer and can report and destroy pastors.
* They hold and disburse the money of the church as they will, without any recourse to the pastor.
* They are not trained, given terms of refrence and subject to church values.
* They are jointly ordained with pastors with the oil on their heads too!
These unwholesome practises in churches have lead these people into open rebellion, misappropriation of church monies, teleguiding the pastor, immoral practises, failure to co-operate with a godly minister and setting bad examples in the church.
- The Uniform Testimony of the Scriptures.
Psalm 103:7; Isaiah 6:8; Ezek 22:30; Rev. 2:1,12,8,18; 3:1,7,14; John 1:6.
The uniform testimony of the Bible is that God leads His church and people by calling out a man, not committee or group of people. God calls out a man, lead him and that man will lead the people.
God calls the man and the man calls and search out people that will work with him to achieve God’s purpose.
* God always search out a man after his heart for a work.
* God calls and commission such qualified man.
* He empowers and defends such man.
* That man must work to become an influential leader – 2 Sam 5:1-2.
* That man must rally people to follow and support his leadership – 1 Sam 22:1-2.
* That man must be in the front leading, not at the back pushing.
* The man must be allowed to lead, if God will work – 3 John 9,10.
* The man must not surrender leadership to lower forces.
* God’s man must be the spiritual and physical head of the work.
- Why Pastors have lost real leadership in the Church. 2 Sam. 5:1-2
It is true that many pastors are only positional leaders in the church and true leadership is with someone else. How did this happen in churches?
* Wrong church administration that places deacons above pastors.
* Wrong church policy that makes pastors to answer to deacons and elders.
* Pastors that lose respect due to secret sins and scandals. Acts 20:33
* Stagnant, unmarketable, incompetent and irrelevant pastors.
* Pastors that are too timid and shy to lead – (fear of rulers).
* Pastors that are afraid to offend and unable to take action for growth.
* unsure of God’s calling and commission to that particular church.
* No growth, progress and concrete achievement under your leadership.
* Having secret dealings with members and skeletons in your cupboard.
* Lack of purpose, plan, projects, focus and direction.
When pastors are into all the above, then, they will effectively lose their leadership in the church. When they lose leadership, others will take it over from them.
- Who chooses pastors over a church: God or Elders? Gal 1:1; Acts 16:6-9
Even though pastors are called to lead a church by elders, or transferred to lead in some denominational churches, yet pastors must be sure of the leading of God to such place.
* Pastors must seek God’s face before taking over in a church.
* Pastors are Gods’ agents of change over a church.
* Pastors are Gods’ ambassadors in a church.
* Pastors loyalty and faithfulness must be to God and His word.
* Pastors must carry out God’s purpose and vision for the church.
* Good and godly pastors are Gods’ favour over a church.
When pastors are to be placed over a church, either by transfer or appointment, it must not be done whimsically. God must be in control. His will must be sought by every side. Because, a wrong pastor can signal the death and deterioration of a church.
- Why Pastors must take the Lead in Churches. Psalm 89:20; Jere. 1:9-10.
Throughout history, God has always been an incarnational God – He loves to work through His chosen servants. Deacons, elders, trustees in the church MUST allow the pastor to lead. Churches will thrive in God’s plan when deacons and elders support, pray, assist and practically help the pastor physically, morally, spiritually, financially and psycologically to succeed in the church.
Pastors must take the lead in the church because they have been commissioned by God to lead the church: they possess the mind of God for the church; they are responsible to God to lead forward and the church will continue to lie prostrate so long they refuse to lead. To truly lead the church forward, pastors must imbibe the following:
- Live a Clean, Pure and Transparent Life. Heb 7:2,6; 2 Cor 1:12.
Your life must back up your ministry. You cannot live wrong and lead right.
- Grow in your Leadership Influence. Joshua 3:7
Leadership in the church is influence, and you don’t get it in a day, month or year. You have to earn it over a period of time. Little influence will not help you to lead the church forward. Your influence will be enhanced by results, integrity, empathy and commitment.
- Purposeful and Focused. 1 Cor 2:2
To lead a church forward, you have to show that you are serious, purposeful and focused. People will only permit you to influence and lead them when they discover that you know what you are doing and know where you are going.
- Hone your Leadership Ability. Psalm 23:2
To take the lead and bring progress to the church, the pastor must hone his ability to lead. Pastors must not only be shepherds, they must also acquire the ability to lead and lead well. Hone and sharpen your ability to relate, communicate, solve problems and chart the course.
- Become Tough and Tender.
If you are all flesh, people will eat you up, and if you are all bones, people will throw you away. So strike a balance between being tough and tender. A pastor must have the mind of a scholar, heart of a child and the skin of a rhino. Learn to take the tough decisions. Be gentle on people, but tough on issues.
- Bring Growth and Progress.
Your tenure must bring all round growth and progress, and you can only do that when you are loaded, resourceful and relevant. Work for growth and create an atmosphere of growth in the church.
- Be an Agent of Change.
Bring change and don’t be afraid to change unworkable systems in the church. If you don’t change, change will surely change you.
PASTORING WITHOUT TEARS
A certain pastor was called by God to lead a church. He came, laboured, prayed, spend money, time and resources until the church began to grow and pick up powerfully. Then, the people started spreading rumours about him, backstad him and plot against him. He was deeply wounded and wept many times and found it very hard to forgive the people. Many times, he thought of quitting and giving up, but the Lord would not allow him to do that, until he was healed by the Lord. Sadly, this is not an isolated case today. Many pastors are being wounded by their people and many are secretly weeping and going about with scars, hurts, tears and injuries.
- Tears of Genuine Pastors. Acts 20:17-21; 2 Cor 6:3-10; 11:23-29; Psalm 55:12-14.
The rich also cry. That was the theme of a television drama few years ago. It is also a frustrating reality in ministry today. Pastors are crying and in tears, unknown to their people. Here are factors that makes genuine pastors to cry today.
- Church: Matt 23:37-39
Difficult, stagnant, weak, sinful, religious, half-dead, stingy and rebellious churches that fail to yeild to prayers, preaching makes pastors to cry and weep. Jesus wept over the unrepentant nature of Jerusalem. Pastors weep over finance, crisis and accomodation problems in the church.
Majority of the tears of pastors comes from the dealings of people. Church is people-business. And many times, these people are hurting and hurtful. In the first instance, pastors meet these kinds of people in the church:
Refreshers – they inspire your dreams and energize your talents.
Refiners – they sharpen your ideas and clarify your vision.
Feflectors – they mirror your energy, neither adding nor substracting.
Reducers – they try to reduce your vision and efforts.
Rejecters – they hinder your efforts and impede your vision.
Furthermore in ministry, you will come accross people who are:-
Critics – they constantly complain about you.
Wet blankets – pessimistic about you.
Steam rollers – blindly insensitive.
Gossips – spread rumors and leak secrets.
Backstabbers – irrepressively two faced.
Green-eyed monsters – seethe with envy.
Sponges – always taking, never give back.
Competitors – always keep track of tit for tat.
Oftentimes, these people come as board members, deacons, trustee, associates, workers and close friends. They cause division, breakaway, crisis, confusion and chaos in the church. They inflict emotional, mental and spiritual injury on you as a leader. And because of them, pastors are in tears, discouraged, downcast, sorrowful and tired of continuing.
iii. Personal Warfare
Many pastors are in tears because of personal problems in the ministry. There are many battles that pastors are fighting that people knows nothing about. Such as:
A Sick wife or husband.
Personal struggle with sin.
Death of loved ones.
A curse of elders.
Debt and financial crisis.
Accomodation and housing.
Feeling of rejection.
A disease or sickness.
A weakness or bad habit.
Family crisis and problem.
Many genuine and sincere pastors are having daily battle with these problems and they don’t have a settled mind to concentrate on the work. In many instances, these personal problems have led to the closed down of churches and ministries.
- How Can You Pastor Without Tears. 2 Cor. 4:7-10; 11:7-10.
It is absolutely impossible to pastor without tears. Things that cause tears; in the church, with your people and in your personal lives will always be around, but you must learn how to handle them with maturity, courage and faith in God.
- Have a covenant relationship with the Lord. John 21:18; Acts.12:6.
Peter was able to sleep in prison because he knew God’s prophetic covenant for him. Also Paul the apostle in Acts 27:21-25.
- Place the Lord always before you. Psalm 16:8.
- Have courage to face whatever life throws at you.
- Build people, but don’t rely on people. Rely only on God. Isaiah 26:3-4.
5 Have no skeleton in your cupboard.
- Relate well with a good mentor, father and leader.
- Practise forgiveness and a large heart.
- Learn more about the ministry everyday.
- Make sure you are in the will of God always.
- Be pure, be good, be kind, be honest always.
- Commit everything to God in intensive prayers.
KEEP ON BROTHER.
I’ve dreamed many a dream that’s never come true
I’ve seen them vanish at dawn
But enough of my dreams have come true
To make me keep dreaming on.
I’ve prayed many a prayer that seemed no answer would come,
Though i’d waited so patient and long
But enough answers have come to my prayers
To make me keep praying on.
I’ve passed through many crisis and problems in ministry
That makes me to want to give up and quit
But i’ve seen enough of God’s power to deliver
To make me keep on soldering on.
I’ve sown many a seed that’s fallen by the wayside
For the birds fo feed upon
But i’ve held enough golden sheaves in my hands
To make me keep sowing on.
I’ve trusted many a friend that’s failed me
And left me to weep alone
But enough of my friends have been true-blue
To make me keep trusting on.
I’ve helped many a people in the course of life and ministry
That turns around to smite and hiss at me
But i’ve seen enough appreciative blessings
To make me to keep on helping people.
I’ve drained the cup of disappointment and pain
And gone many a day without song
But i’ve sipped enough nectar from the roses of life
To make me want to live on.
I’ve considered giving up on life and living many times.
Due to adverse situations and circumstances.
But I’ve learnt that this too will always pass.
That I’m determined to keep living and keeping on.
PART-TIME OR FULL-TIME PASTORS
Church growth teachings always seek to bring needed balance to issues that have divided the church and render the work moribund in our hands. It also seeks to examine many of our church practices in the light of Scripture and health of the church. One of such issues is that of part-time and full-time pastors. 40 or 50 years ago. full-time pastoring was the order of the day. Nobody dare do the work on part-time basis. In actual fact, there was a distinction made between secular and spiritual work then.
But 20 years ago, the trend of part-time or bivocational pastors started and today, it is the order of the day. And many are teaching that this should be the case due to obvious reasons.
- Pastoral Purpose. Eph. 4:11; Acts. 20:28; Pro. 27:23; 1 Pet.5:2,3.
The purpose, ministry and calling of a pastor is to feed, nurture, care, develop, protect and lead the people in the way and things of the Lord, either part-time or full-time.
Pastors are directly responsible for the spiritual life of the people.
Pastors are to stay with the people and disciple them for God.
Pastors are to see to the discovery and development of the gifts of the
These job descriptions of pastoring make it much more demanding than any other ministry gift. Either on part-time or full-time basis, pastors must still fulfil these job descriptions. Pastoring job requires lots of time; time with God and time with people. Acts 6:4.
- Part-Time Pastoring. Acts. 20:24; 18:3; 1 Cor. 12; 1 Thess. 2:9.
There are thousands of bi-vocational pastors around the world who are doing tremendous job for the Lord. They combine their daily job with pastoring a church because of the following reasons:-
Small and struggling church of less than 100 adult members
Low financial income from the Church.
Difficult terrain of ministry life.
Large family and dependents.
Pioneering stage of the work.
Part-time pastoring is praise worthy, welcomed, allowed and acceptable under these
conditions. Infact, Church growth teachings emphasize that pastors must have another source of income when the church is in this stage and level.
Demerits of Part-Time Pastorate.
Many large denominations today practise the policy of part-time pastors, not because of those reasons, but because they want low overhead cost, much more money and giving pastoral positions to men of power, wealth and education in the church. Therefore, you still have part-time pastors over 500, 1000, 2000, 5,000 member churches. In many cases, those bi-vocational pastors rule over full-time, dedicated pastors.What are the demerits?
Empty, pressurized and spiritually dry pastors.
Shallow, fickle and unscriptural people.
Unspirituality of the work.
Lack of proper nuturing of the church.
Withdrawal of God’s presence and power.
Powerless pulpit and letter that killeth.
Eventual stagnation and downward spiral of the church.
Scandals, crisis, breakaway and bad image for the church.
Many of such churches are already on the throes of stagnation. Things were okay for sometime, but now the evidence are clear and glaring for all to see. When a church moves past 150-200 adult membership and the pastor is too busy to stay and nurture the people through intensive prayers, indepth study and teaching of the word, training and empowering them for service, then the church will soon begin to die from inside. Remember, building a spiritually strong church requires lots of time with God and with people. Acts 6:4;
1 Sam 12:32.
- Full – Time Pastoring. John 9:4
Full – time pastoring is considered to be the ideal in ministry and many full-time pastors are around. However, many pastors, both denominational and independent, becomes full-time pastors too soon and too quickly. Pastors become full-time because of:-
Ignorance of God’s leading.
Rushing ahead of God.
Resigning into poverty.
Pressure of vision and call.
It is the emphasis of church growth that pastors should not become full-time when the work is just starting; the work is still struggling; you are still in preparatory stage, there is little or no source of income and there is no clear leading of the Lord. Many who have made this mistake have unnecessary suffering, poverty and crisis starring them in the face. These are the demerits of becoming full-time pastors too quickly.
Merits of Full-Time Pastoring. 1 Sam. 12:32; Acts. 6:4.
Full-time pastoring gives you ample time to concentrate on the work.
It allows you to stay in God’s presence in prayer and receiving from him.
It allows you to be spiritually loaded and full of scriptural insight.
The people will be properly fed with spiritual meat.
It brings spirituality and spiritual dynamism to the work.
God’s spirit will flow mightily in the church due to pastoral intercession.
The pastor is always available to nurture, counsel and equip the people.
The church becomes spiritually, financially and physically healthy.
The church will move to the next level of impact.
Though there are full-time pastors who are lazy, indolent, prayerless and fruitless, yet the truth is that becoming a full-time pastor after your church cross the 100-150 barrier will bring marked spiritual and numerical progress to the church.
- Striking the Needed Balance for Healthy Church.
Blessed are the balanced, for they shall outlast everybody else. Here are the summary of this issue:-
- Pastors can and should be part-time ministers when their churches are
small – under 100 members.
- Pastors must have some other sources of income when the work is too small to support them financially.
- Pastoring job requires lots of time – with God and with the people.
- Pastors must become full-time when the church is getting to 150, 200 and above.
- Pastors who lead middle-size and large churches but who give most of their time to business and chasing money will surely destroy the spirituality of the work.
- Growing and healthy churches require pastors that are available to pray, teach, train and counsel the people.
- Pastors that have the ability but lack the availability will only bring spiritual setback to the work.
I sincerely hope that denominational and independent church leaders will take a que from these truths and lead their churches accordingly.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF PASTORS
A few years ago, a respected General Overseer anounced to his pastors that he is handing off from the administration of the church. Why? ‘There are many things happening in the administration of this church that will not make me to get to heaven if I touch them’. He therefore abdicates that responsibility to others. That is amazing. No leader should or can lead without being responsible for managing the church.
It is fact of leadership that you can delegate everything except responsibility. Godly and great pastors don’t abdicate their responsibility to lead the church that God has put in their care (Acts 20:28; Prov. 27:23; 1 Pet. 5:2-3). Pastors are responsible under God to lead the Church forward in the will and plan of God. Genuine pastors must be alive to this responsibility. Promotion, open door, open heaven and divine favour awaits those who take thier responsibilities very seriously. Administrative sins, neglect and injustice can send pastors to hell, unknowingly. Acts. 6;1. The pastor may not be an administrator, but the bulk stops at his table. Those who are administering MUST take their instructions from him and he is resposible.
- The Pastor and the Church. Acts 20:28
The pastor and the church are interwoven. They both pull and push each other. The pastor is not the church, but God has determined not to do anything in the church in the absence of the pastor. The pastor must function as;
Shepherd – Nurturing, caring and feeding the sheep.
Servant – Selfless serving and leading by example.
Teacher – Instructing, grounding and modelling.
Mentor – Raising, developing and empowering.
Coach – Challenging, honing, discovering and allowing.
Leader – Enabling, equipping and opportunity.
Administrator – Overseeing, inspecting and management. Acts. 6:1-7.
Churches rise and fall based on her type and kind of pastors. The days of God’s power in a church are the days you find pastors that can function in these roles.
- The Responsibilities of Every Pastor. 1 Pet. 4:10.
Every pastor must know, understand and be able to handle these responsibilities in the church, if they are to succeed in the ministry. We must be good stewards of the resources of God in the church.
- Lead Men. 1 Thess. 5:14; Rom. 12:17-18.
Pastors must know how to lead various kinds and editions of men and women in the church. Your ability to handle different editions of men will determine your success.
Kinds of Men Characteristics Strategy.
i). The Sherman Tank Rides over people Stand up to them when
ii). The Religious Bigot Pretender and hypocrite Confront and demand
iii). The Space Cadet Utopia, perfectionist Bring them to reality.
iv). The Volcano Explosive, unpredictable Remove from crowd, be direct.
v). The Thump – Sucker Self – pity and petty Do not reward, expose them to challenges.
vi). The Wet – Blanket Always down and moody Be honest, do not let them lead.
vii). The Garbage Collector Attracts the worst, dumpsite Challenge their claims, face honesty.
viii). The Carmeleon Deceptive, temptress Protect yourself and carefulness.
ix). The User Demands for attention Set boundaries, demand accountability.
x). The Sunshine Always up and helpful Do not over use and over depend.
Pastors must lead men and put them in their proper place in the church, else, they eill turn the church into something else.
- Manage Money. 1 Cor 16:12
If you manage well the money of a church, people will almost always like you. Some pastors, through ignorance and pseudo-humility allows Deacons, Elders, Ushers to steal, misuse and misappropriate the monies of the church. Offerings are stolen, tithes are misappropriated and contracts are inflated. Pastors can manage church money very well, if they abide by the following;
Tithes and offerings belong to God, not to man of God. It must be spent for work of God and workers of God.
There must be proper record and account of Income and Expenditure.
The pastor should not keep physical cash in his hand, neither should he be
Nobody spends the money without the approval of the Pastor.
Lodgement in the bank must be prompt and verified.
Viable projects must be started and completed in time.
Money raised must be used for intended purposes.
The pastor must be on emoluments, allowances or percentage.
Yearly account statements and records must be provided for those who want to see.
Nobody must be allowed to cheat or shortchanged the church financially.
Financial growth is part of the growth of the church. Effective pastors must know and understand how to attract, make, manage and multiply money in the church. The church must be lead to become financially bouyant. Integrity, sincerity and godliness must be the watchword in managing the money of the church.
- Manage Machinery.
The property, buildings, materials and equipments of the church and ministry are very important. Amplifiers, engines, generators, building, lands, microphones, cars, chairs are tools of ministry. They must not be in a state of disrepair or wrong hands. They must be kept in prime and proper condition.
Buy good and durable church equipments.
Let them be handled by experts.
There must be inventories for them.
They cannot just be borrowed by anybody.
Maintenance culture must be highly encouraged.
Good machinery makes ministry easy and interesting. Effective pastors invest in modern tools for effective ministry. Constant inspection and appraisal is
- Manage Methods.
Effective pastors must equally manage methods in the church. Methods that have outlived their usefulness must be scrapped. No method must become a sacred cow. Church methods must be constantly updated, reviewed and realigned to current trends in human behaviour. Old, achaic and outmoded methods of programming, preaching, evangelising, and doing ministry must be courageously changed.
Pastors are responsible to make the church relevant, dynamic and progressive. They cannot shift or abdicate that responsibility to anybody else. Proper management, leadership and administration makes for a heallthy church. A healthy church must be properly led and well-managed. Sick churches are wonderfully led, but poorly managed or properly managed but poorly led. Pastors must always srike a balance between proper administration and dynamic leadership. It is then and only that the church will be healthy.
PATORAL LIMITS AND LIMITATIONS
It is a fact of ministry that your life is your ministry. There is no ministry outside the life you are living. Whatever affects or limits your life therefore is directly limiting your ministry. It is not a question of whether you have limits over your life, rather it is a question of what are you going to do with your limits, lest they become your limitations. Every pastor and leader has limits on his life, nobody is born without them. And they don’t disappear when a person receives God’s call, a title, position, or get invested with power and resposibilities. Just as weeds is to plants, so are limits to our lives. Things that limit us are around and within us.
- Biblical Foundation and Definition.- Matt. 27:62-66; Gen. 32:24-29; Pro. 22:28.
Limits are issues, little foxes Songs 2:15; little leavens 1 Cor. 5:6-8; little follies Ecc. 10:1; weaknessess and problems in our lives that are trying to undermine our personal progress and ministry effectiveness. They are persona,l internal, external, corporate and devilish in nature. You are born with some limits, while some are aquired as habit and others are demonic deposits. Matt. 3:10, 12; 13:25; 2 Cor. 4:9-10.
King Saul and David were two clear examples of limits and limitations in life and ministry.
- King Saul- 2 Samuel 5:1-4.
While God remove every external limits from him, he fails to work at removing his
internal lids. Fear, impatience, impulsiveness, deceit, jealousy, insecurity. anger, venge ful heart and people-pleaser. Saul never won his inner battles. On the outside, he was tall, good-looking and well built, however, on the inside, he was a small man.
Because Saul never work at removing these limits from his life and leadership, God had to remove him from the throne of Isreal. Many pastor are losing their leadership, ministry and life today for the same reason.
- King David- 1 Samuel 17:28.
David’s limitation starts at home. His father forgot him; his brothers detested him; they accused him of pride; his leader wanted to kill him; he had a poor background; he had no exeperience and he was a loner. Yet, he became a great leader and achiever, not because he had no limitations in his life but because he knew how to lift off his limits. You will have to deal with the limits in your life, if you are going to amount to anything in life and ministry.
- Limits and Limitations Today Matt. 3:10, 12.
It is not a crime to have limits in your life, but it is a crime not to lift off those limits. Many of us have issues from our past, upbringing and culture that we must deal with, else, they will ruin our lives, ministry and leadership. Different limits confront pastors and leaders today, such as:-
Lack of proper education
Persecution and opposition
No support, helper or encouragement
Lusts and immorality
Rejection abandonment and past abuse
Suspicious, hating criticism and control freak
Curses of elders and wrong foundation
Inferiority complex and insecurity
Envy, jealousy and covetousness
Anger, deceit and manipulation
Stinginess, avarice and greedy for money.
Aaron was a people-pleaser; Korah struggled with loyalty; Baalam with money;
Samson with lusts; Gehazi with untruthfulness and covetousness; Solomon with women; Judas with stealing of money and Demas with the love of this world. These issues became their personal warfare and since they fail to deal with them, they were eventually dealth with by these limitations.
- Power of Limits Heb. 12:15-17.
Limits serve as lids, cork and seal over your life and ministry. You will normally struggle in the area you have these lids. What are the effects?
They disallow you from rising and shinning
They serve as holes in your armour
They are your personal battle ground
They limit your impact and effectiveness
They hinder you from fruitfulness and productivity
They lead to regret, shame and dethronement
Limit can grow up to become your limitations, if unattended to. They make your sun to set at noon and they can become your achille heels in life and ministry.
- How to Overcome Your Limits Gen. 32:24-29; 2 Chro. 4:9-10; Gen. 15:13.
You must take steps to lift off your limits, lest they become your limitations. Jacobs learn how to lift off his limitations off his name, so also is Jabesh. They decided to remove their personal limits so that other areas of their life can rise and shine. How can you lift them off?
- Believe that they can be lifted.
What happens to you do not matter, it is what happen in you that matters.
Your condition doesn’t matter, it is your conclusion that matters.
- Work at removing your limits by working on your character.
We are given our gifts, but we must work on our character.
Our character earns the trust of others.
Only good character gives lasting success with people.
Sound character communicates credibility and consistency.
Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.
We cannot rise above the limitations of our character.
- Develop yourself personally.
If you don’t work on yourself, nobody will work on you. Your personal growth will be the growth of your work. You must grow mentally, spiritually, socially and relationally.
- Pray and seek God’s face concerning them
Pray specifically and intentionally over your limits. The power of Prayer can over come every problem. Jacob prayed-through over his name and Jabesh also prevail.
- Allow others to help you lift some limits
There are limits that friends can help you to lift. They can assist you to become better and sharpen you.
- Determine to change and grow continually
If you refuse to change, change will change you.
We must travel on the inside before we can travel on the outside, because the journey of growth and success is first an internal one.
PATOR’S SEXUAL LIFE
I’m fully convinced that pastors and ministry leaders that want to be highly effective must face up squarely to this issue today. Just few weeks ago in Lagos, a pentecostal church pastor was killed by the irate husband of a church member. Why? The man caught the pastor pants down having sex with his wife! In reaction to my book, ’Sexual Purity in Leadership’ a man wrote “If I open my mouth to talk of what my pastor friends are doing with women in and outside their churches, many christians will become muslims”. What terrible words! Furthermore, I’ve heard amazing confessions since the publications of the book that necessitate that we take a further look at this issue over and over again in our pastoral and leadership meetings.
- Biblical Foundation. 1 Cor. 7:4-5; 1 Thess. 4:3-4; Prov. 5:15-19. Gen. 4:1; 24:67.
Sex was created by God to be enjoyed within the boundaries of marriage. God did not create sex for everyone to practise it. Rather, He sets a BOUNDRY- it is only for married people- male and female. Pastors must therefore marry and have a fruitful and fulfiling sexual life. 1 Cor. 7:1-5.
Pastors are not angels- they are human beings that have blood running in their veins. They are therefore susceptible to sexual desires and fulfilment. Highly effective pastors that want to please God must be healthy in their sexual life:
Pastors must be rightly informed and knowledgeable about wholesome sex.
Pastors will have to handle sexual issues in their pastoral and counselling ministry.
Pastors are visible people and therefore subject to sexual temptation.
Secret sexual bondage of whatever kind will ultimately ruin your ministry and you.
Lack of sexual fulfilment in marriage will surely lead to great disasters.
Satan and his agents always use sexual temptation ,to destroy pastors.
1 Cor. 10:8; Rev. 2:13-14,15; Prov. 7:26-27; Neh. 13:26.
True pastors must be free from lust, immoral thoughts and sexual pervasion if they hope to last long in this work and get to heaven. Bishop Earl Pulk, Jimmy Swaggart, Robert Liadon and Ted Haggard are enough examples for those who are wise.
- Sexual Abuse by Pastoral leaders. Neh. 13:26; Gen. 49:3-4.
In the average church, women are always much more than men and many corrupt leaders have taken advantage of this. Many pastors, both male and female have been abusive in this area. They have sexually molest, harass and take advantage of others by virtue of their position.
Check these true stories:
Pastors who slept with secretaries in the church.
Associate pastors and personal assistants who slept with choir members.
Pastors who slept repeatedly with those who came for counselling.
Pastors who taught that he must do deliverance for the private part of women before they can become members.
Pastors who gave birth to children in every church they were transfered to.
Pastors who slept with those that wanted to be married in their churches.
Pastors who picks regular sexual partners in the guise of private prayers.
Female pastors, pastors’ wives and lady evangelists that allowed deacons, pastors, associates pastors to have it with them.
Pastors who regularly slept with their biological daughters and daughters in the Lord.
Pastors who slept with maids, sisters-in-law and relations in their houses.
God frowns and will judge leaders who are involved in sexual pervasion. These stories are nauseting but true and many more are coming out everyday in both the prints and electronics media. Pastors fall into these abuses as a result of:
Bondage to lust, immorality and sinfulness.
An undisciplined and uncontrollable sexua life.
Unsatisfactory sexual life in marriage.
Counselling session with those who arouses them.
Lack of complete freedom when they got saved (If at all they are)
Body tension and inward fire towards a particular member.
Pride and carelessness with the opposite sex.
Walking at the brink of sin and boasting that ‘I cannot fall’.
Denials, concealment and cover up.
Discovery, shame and loss of name and work.
Demonic traps, enslavement and seduction.
I’ve known pastors who are busy preaching here and there, yet secretly are battling with sexual abuse in their life and ministries. One of them lost 68 churches by sleeping with one of his staff; another one had his church and ministry closed down because he eloped with the wife of a rich member.
- Spiritual Implication of Sexual Laxity.
Sex is much more than physical union of the organs of the body. It is a spiritual thing. It is an avenue for transferance of blessing or curse. Whoever you have it with have power over you. Part of you have gone out and will never return to you.
It is used to ruin many young men. Prov. 7:26-27.- Remember Reuben
It is used by the devil to ruin people. Rev. 2:14,20.- People of Sheckem.
Demonised agents are sent to seduce and entice men. Gen. 39:5-12- Remember Joseph.
It is used to entice someone with bright future. Prov. 6:23-33.
It is an avenue to destroy one’s great destiny Prov. 5:7-14; 1 Chron. 5:1.
It brings God’s wrath and judgement. Num. 25:1-9; 1 Sam. 2:22,30;
Many strong men has been ruined by it. Neh. 13:26. – Solomon, Absalom, Amnon, Samson.
Occultic powers use it to ruin men and kill them.
Death, destruction, poverty and penury has been brought on men through sex. Pro. 7:24-27.
If you have any precious thing in your life- dreams, money, gifts, anointing, talent and great future – the devil will always give you free sex so as to trap and ruin you.
- Sexual Purity in Pastoral Ministry. Numbers 25:6-13; 1 Cor. 9:27
The choice is yours-you can decide to be a Phinehas for God or be in the cesspool of sexual pervasion seen all around us today. Phinehas stood for God and for godliness, even when everybody was doing it, and God honoured him. How can you be a Phinehas for God?
- Celebrate Purity in Pastoral Ministry
It is not a sin to be fully complete in body. Sex was not created by satan, but by God. Once we do it according to the dictates of God, there is nothing to be ashamed of.
- Seek Freedom from past Entanglements.
If you need to seek for deliverance from sexual addiction, please do. The spirit of lust must be renounced and demonic bondage broken.
- Enjoy your Marriage. Prov. 5:15-21.
Many pastors are enduring rather than enjoying their marriages simply because they did not pay attention to their partner and take time to nurture their marriage. Be properly married and stay married. It is better to marry than to burn. Nurture your marriage with love, time, care and maturity. Normally, marriage should be able to give you sexual fulfilment.
- Practise Self-discipline 1 Cor. 9:27.
Even when you have all the food in your house, you should still be able to fast, so also is the issue of sex. Don’t let your flesh rule, ruin and destroy you. Learn to keep your body under, saying no to the desire of the flesh.
- Draw a Line of Boundry which must never be crossed, from the first day of your relationship with the opposite sex in the office, Church and outings.
Do not play on anyone’s emotion. Let your motive be clear from the onset.
- Don’t touch, hug, pat, embrace and play with opposite sex as a habit.
Some ‘innocent’ touch can spark a fire that will consume you.
- Don’t go anywhere alone or counsel alone in the office behind closed doors.
Always leave a witness to your actions and life. Stop playing with fire else, it will consume you.
- Stop visiting Daughters, Members, Maids, Relations, Single Mothers Divorcees and Widows alone in their houses nor should they visit you alone.
Your house is not a hospital or mission station. Do not allow them to sleep over, especially when your wife is not around.
- Run away and stop chatting with women that arouses you
He that runs away today lives to fight another day.
- Soak your Body, Soul and Spirit in Prayer and the Word of God.
1 John 5:5-8.
Pray out any strange and immoral thought, deeds or feelings from your body. Let the word, blood and spirit of God wash and burn anything strange that you might have contacted in your course of ministry and ministrations.
One of the major minus of the pastoral ministry of today is the de-emphasis on the priestly prayer for the people. Pastors of today are too busy to pray, interceed and hold up their people in heartfelt prayers. Research among pastors have shown that they are too busy to pray and nurture their own spiritual life today. 2 out of 3 pastors spend less than 22 minutes in prayers daily. Pastors of today spend most of their time:
Patching up problems;
Planning for growth;
Perspire over finances;
Paniking over people.
But they fail to pray for their people. The priestly ministry of the pastor have been neglected, abandoned and ignored, the more reason we are having ungodliness and carnality gaining ascendancy in the church.
- Biblical Foundation. 1 Sam. 12:23; Heb. 7:25; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 1:15-23; Eph. 3:14-21; Luke 2:8.
The priest is to appear before God with the names of the children of Isreal written at their chest. Jesus lives to make intercession for his people. The shepherds take care of their sheep in the night. Apostle Paul interceded for his christians in Galatia, Ephesus, Colosse and Phillipi. He linked the growth of the church, the spirituality of the converts, their spiritual enlightenment and upliftment to prayer. He prayed and interceeded for his people continously.
Pastors and leaders must be men and women of prayer.
Pastors must lift up their people to God in prayers.
Failure to pray and interceed for your people is sin- 1 Sam. 12:23.
The foundational and fundamental duty of a pastor is to interceed and travail for the people in prayer. 1 Tim. 2:1-2.
- Your Number One and Two Ministry. Acts. 6:4; Luke 2:8; 22:32; John 17:9; Exo. 32:32; Num. 14:17.
The priestly ministry of pastors is to come before the Lord on behalf of the people and bring the word of God to the people. Pastors must pray, interceed and travail in prayer for the people. Moses prayed for Isreal so that God will not destroy them. Jesus prayed for Peter when he backslided. Jesus prayed for the church and is still interceeding for the church. Why should pastors pray for the people?. Phil.1:4; Col.1:9-12.
The spiritual growth of the church depends on pastor’s prayers.
The spirituality of the Christians will only be enhanced by it. Eph 3:14-20
The word of God will only be effective through prayer back up.
The mighty hand of God will only be at work through intensive prayers.
Salvation, restoration, healings and mercy of God upon the people.
Salvation from wrath, danger, sin and satanic manipulations.
Church growth is 60% prayer and 40% principles and methods. The bulk of the prayer must come from pastors and the pastorate. Churches that have prayerless pastors will always be a playing field for the devil and his cohorts.
- Enemies of Pastor’s Prayer Life. Acts. 6:4; 1 Sam. 12:23; Isaiah 59:16; Ezek.22:30.
Too many pastors today cannot be effective because they are too busy, lazy and powerless to pray and interceed for their people. Today, pastors and ministers talk too much; eat too much; play too much; sleep too much; too much meetings; work too much but prays so little. What are the hindrances to pastors prayer life?
Secret sins, guilt and condemnation.
Loss of focus, vision and purpose.
Loss of interest in the ministry.
Pursuing after money, gain and profit.
The desire to be like another minister’s.
Too much activities and lack of time.
Worry, anxiety, unbelief and lack of faith.
Backsliding in the heart and deception.
Trusting in your skill and equipments.
Pressures of work, family and business.
Pastor, your prayer life is your power house and jugular vein. Once the devil can successfully stopped you from praying, then he can deceive, destroy and finish your life and work. Once you stop maintaining a prayer watch over the people, then the wolf can come in unawares. The sudden death, calamities, accidents, apostacy and devilish machinations among our people, without God revealing them to us, are pointers to our prayerlessness and being far away from God. Daniel 2:22; Amos 3:7.
- How to Be Free from the Sin of Prayerlessness. 1 Sam 12:23; 1 Tim 2:8.
The Sin of prayerlessness is a terrible sin that many pastors and church leaders are quilty of. And this sin have largely stopped God from working in the church. Samuel determined to be free from this sin by constantly and consistently praying for his people, so must we today.
- Discipline Yourself to Pray. Luke 2:8
You must overcome your physical weakness, tiredness, lack of interest and general distractions to pray. Wake up to pray and take time to pray during the day. Rather not eat than not to pray. It takes serious discipline to pray and interceed in the night.
- Build up a Praying Group. Exo 17:12.
Have friends you pray together. Build up a personal prayer team. Prayerfully select your Aaron and Hur that will lift up the hand of the prophet. Have week days you pray and do vigils together. Pray for yourself, your church, people, the nation and government.
- Build the Prayer Life of the Church.
Churches must pray and be taught to pray. Pastors must model prayers for the church and teach the church to pray. Prayer before, during and after services must be practised; special days of prayer in the church; special teachings on prayer and
intercession; times of corporate fastings and prayers and prayer evangelism must
be practised in the church. Churches that cannot pray cannot see the great power of God at work.
- Maintain a Prayer Roster. Gal 4:19; Luke 22:32.
Pastors must regularly and consistently interceed for their people. You can do that through listing of their names, families in your diary, text a prayer to them
regularly through SMS. A prayer roster for families in the church and corporate intercession for members.
- Fight for Your Prayer Life. Matt 26: 40-41
If you are too busy to pray, you’ll be too busy to live a holy life. The least time a minister must pray is one hour each day. Set that as a target and aim for it every day. Don’t let anything take away your prayer life. Fight to maintain it anywhere or where ever you find yourself. If you fail, rise up again and again.
If you desire true revival in your life and in the work, you must constantly watch unto prayer. 1 Thess. 5:17; 1 Pet. 4:7.
PASTORS’ PRICE TO LEAD A CHURCH FORWARD
An interesting survey done years ago. It asked unchurched people what would be the one thing that would most encouraged them to select a particular church. The highest factor by far was the Pastor. The pastor was substantially more important to those unbelievers than the denomination, the facilities, the friendliness, the church programme, the doctrines and even whether they have friends who go there. It is still true today.
To lead the church to growth, the pastor is very important. No principle of church growth is as important as the first one: the pastor must want the church to grow and be willing to pay the price.
- Short-cut to Numerical Growth Today . Jer. 6:13-14; 2:1-9.
In the last 25-30 years, there have been awareness of the gospel that made many people to attend churches. Increased visibility of the church, advertisement on television, radio and newspapers, various kinds of programmes and events and highly placed people coming to churches. But the truth is that fundamental christianity have not really increased. What we have largedly is compromised church growth. We have the followings:
pulpit compromise – preaching pseudo-religious rants.
ordination to tie down rich and position-conscious people.
Lord supper and feet washing in open air.
candle light and palm-front in church
worldly and revealing dressings.
worldly music, musicians and mimicking
failure to rebuke sin and evil practises.
excessive prosperity and money- nothing about how it was acquired.
satanic and demonic power to ‘jazz up’ church growth
initiating people and putting fear in them so that they won’t leave.
These and many more have resulted in many people coming to the church today. But how many of them really know the Lord and are free from the cluthes of sin and satan? The main reason why many pastors are taking short-cut is because they cannot pay the price for true church growth.
True church growth means the church is true light and salt. Matt. 5:14-16; 1 John 1:5-7. While light dispels darkness, salt prevents corruption. True church growth leads to spiritual, personal, family, moral, financial, physical, relational and social transformations. Transformations not reformation are the hallmark of true church growth. And that will only happen when the pastor is ready and willing to pay the price.
- There is a Price for Everything. Luke 14:28; Psalm 27:3.
You can go to any where you want in life, provided you are willing to pay the price. There is a price to going up and of remaining at the same level. There is a price for jumping higher and moving up. There is also a price for stagnation and retrogression. There are two keys to achievement in life: know what you want and be willing to pay the price.
* Growth is a matter of choice.
* Make a choice for growth.
* Every choice you make will make you.
* Today’s choices are tomorrow’s realities.
* Make choice for growth and determine to pay the price.
What you advently believed in, fervently prayed for, readily pays the price for will inevitably come to reality in your life and ministry.
- Pastors Prices for Church Growth. Acts. 2;42-46; 1 Cor. 3:6
God wants your church to grow, but you must pay the price. There are special prices the pastor must pay if he really want to see genuine and durable growth in the church. True church growth must pay these prices.
- Personal Growth. 2 Pet. 1:5-11
Without personal growth, there can be no church growth. Pastors that are too busy, proud and lazy to grow and keep growing in their personal life will not see growth in their churches. Your lack of growth will pull down the growth of your work. So, pay and keep on paying the price of personal and proffesional
- Genuine and Real. Acts.1:1; Pro.12:28; 22:29.
The number one principle of management is : people do what people see. Your life speaks more than your message. You must model what you preach. You must take the counsel you give to others. People despise phoney and fake pastors. Your private sins will ruin your public ministry. Pastors must be true examples, not
- Get ready to work hard. Pro. 12:24.
You must buckle up to work. You must make the conditions right before God will send His blessings. Area of work are:
Persistent and prevailing prayers.
Intensive and serious fastings- personal and corporate.
Taking courses in church growth.
Studying the strength and weakness of your church.
Changing achaic policies and methods.
Creating atmosphere for growth in the church.
- Share Your Vision. Acts.26:18,19
Growth answers to vision and goal-setting. Get a clear vision from the Lord for the church and share that vision with the people. People commit themselves more to a vision than to a personality. People give more to a vision than to a personality. Vision of who we are, where we are going and road map to get there must be shared simply, clearly, consistently and you must model the vision.
- Share the Ministry. 2 Tim.2:2.
A pastor can do all the work of a small church until it reaches 100-150, but after that he will have to share the ministry if the church must keep growing. A
spectator- sport church will remain a small church forever. That is a church where the pastor is doing everything. Pastors must:
* Take time to train and teach people.
* Allow them to share part of the work load.
* Give them platform to perform.
* Welcome their contribution and support.
* Appreciate their effort and encourage them.
In churches where people were unwilling to participate in ministry, there is usually a LEAD problem. Leadership, Exposive, Attitude and Discipleship.
- Stay Long Around
There is usually two ways to have a larger church: lead the present one to growth or move to another one. You cannot see high commitment from people and expe- rience great church growth if you are moving away from that church very soon. Constant transfer or change of pastors doesn’t augur well for the health and growth of churches. Pastors with ‘Destination disease’- always on the move or looking for greener pastures rarely see growth in their churches.
- Become a Leader not only a Shepherd. Exo. 13:17.
A shepherd does all the work alone-praying, visiting, counselling, naming and caring. But a leader delegates these work to capable and well trained associates. If the church will grow, focus on the major and leave the minor to others.
- Holy Spirit at Work. 2 Cor. 14:13.
Pay the price to see the Holy Spirit at work in miracles, signs and wonders in the church. One solid miracle is better than ten thousand sermons. God must come down to save, heal, deliver and liberate people in every service. Seek His leading, presence, power and demonstration. And don’t forget to give Him all the glory. Run away also from things that will vex and quench Him. Isaiah 13:10.
What kind of church do you want to build? It must be conservative church. It has been discovered that churches that are conservative in lifestyle, doctrine, outlook, emphasis and values lasts much more longer than churches that are loud, shallow, fickle, worldly and compromising.
LEADERSHIP TESTS OF GOD
Many years ago, when I was in a certain Bible school, My professor of Biblical studies would always end his lecture in the class with this statement, “As you are studying the Bible, study the character of God also”. This got me curious and I asked him one day to explain the difference between bible knowledge and knowing God’s character. He asked me to find it out by myself. Well, one of the characters of God that I’ve found out is that He tests and tries His people. The more He uses you, the more He will test and try you. It is one thing to trust God, it is another thing for God to trust us. Before He can trust us enough to commit great and precious work into our hands, He will test and try us
- Bible foundation. Gen 22:1-3; Deut 8:2; Psalm 11:5; 17:3; James 1:2-4.
God test and tried his people. He tested Abraham, Moses, Joseph, David and all the people He used. He still tests and tries those of us who are his people today – 1 Peter 5:10; Zech.13:9; Mal. 3:3. The purpose of these tests of God:
Is to purify our inner being.
To ground and solidify us in Him.
To know what is within us.
To get us ready for His great move
To make us channel of His great power.
The tests and trials of God are not meant to kill and destroy us. Rather, they are tokens of His love and our preparation for greater blessings. There is no carry-over in His tests. You either pass or fail. And He will keep testing you until you learn your lesson and pass the test. So long you keep passing His tests, His blessings will keep flowing, but when you start flunking them, things will start to stagnate in your life and work.
David was a man who exemplify the tests of God fully. His life shows the kind of tests that God will give to all those He intends to use mightily today:
- Test of Obscurity. 1 Sam 16:11-12; 17:34-36.
David was forgotten of his father in the wilderness. He was made to keep the sheep. He could have allowed the lion and bear to kill the lambs and sheep and nobody could have blamed Him. But to God, he would have failed the test of obscurity. What’s the test: Faithfulness to serve in obscure, unnoticed and unrewarded place, when nobody is watching.
- Test of Sincerity. 1 Sam 16:17-18.
David was doing everything honestly, sincerely and plainly, not knowing that some one is watching and taking notice of him, until he was brought to the palace. Can you be honest, sincere and plain in all you do? Can you work in a honest and sincere way, not waiting for rewards and human appreciation?
- Test of Preparation. 1 Sam 16:21-23.
Even after David had been ordained and anointed, God did not give him the throne. He made him to serve under king Saul as his armour-bearer. He was being prepared. God wanted him to grow into leadership, not just to appear in leadership. Can you wait for your time of preparation? Did you pass the test of preparation under your own leader? His service and ministration refreshed his leader. He did not kill or de stroy his leader. How about you here?
- Test of Faithfulness. 1 Sam 16:20-27.
David was faithful unto King Saul, despite his repeated attempt to kill him. He be haved himself wisely in all his ways. He never plot or plan against Saul and he did all that he was told faithfully. How faithful are you in your duty post? How faithful are you to your leader? How faithful are you to God’s call and dealings?
- Test of Revenge. 1 Sam 24:1-21.
David had every opportunity to revenge himself and kill Saul with his own hands. Time and again, God deliver Saul into his hand, but David passed the test in flying colours. He never kill Saul by himself, rather, he waited for God to put him on the throne. How have you been passing this test? Have you been fighting and revenging for yourself?
- Test of Hebron. 2 Sam 2:11
This is a test of small fulfilment. God promised the whole kingdom of Israel to David, but He first made him king of Hebron. He wants to see how he will handle it. Well, are you passing the test of Hebron in your life and ministry? How are you handling your small, small blessings and successes.
- Test of Jerusalem. 2 Kings 5:3-5
Because he passed the previous tests, God gave him the throne of Israel. He saw the full fulfilment of the promise. He prospered in Jerusalem. But God also tested him to see what he wil do with the throne. Has His blessings taken over your heart? Has His blessings become a curse in your life that made you to drift from his will?
- Test of Achievement. 2 Sam 12:7-12.
Even after he got the throne, God still test him and when he failed, God dealt with him. No matter where we are and what we have achieved, God will keep testing us. God could have given him more, had it been he passed the test but he became abusive and misused his position and that was the beginning of the end for him.
How about you and I today? Are we passing His continuous test in these areas. Remember, if you don’t pass his test, you cannot move forward. And when you repeatedly fail his test, your past success will pale into insignificance.
- HOW CAN YOU PASS THE TEST OF GOD? John 8:29.
- Remain simple, level-headed and focused.
- Seek and determine to please Him in everything.
- Surrender your life and ministry totally to Him.
- Be secure in the will and ways of God.
- Know His dealings with you and respond obediently.
- Value character, honesty, integrity and godliness.
7 Stop murmuring at the dealings of God.
- Pray, pray, pray and obey, obey and obey.
THE PASTORS HOME
If you are Good Lawyer, Doctor,Engineer, Legislator or even President and CEO of a country or company, you can succeed vocationally very well without a good home, but not as a pastor. If you want to really impact your community, country and your world, the place to start is in your home. Our ministry will amount to nothing outside, if we have no good home life. This was the value that Joshua brought into leadership. He put his family first. He took responsibility for the spiritual well-being of his family before anything else. Starting at home is always the key to affecting others in a positive way. Because Joshua had his priorities right and had led his household well, he gained credibility to lead the entire house of Isreal. When a leader or pastor put his family first, the church benefits. When a pastor puts the church and ministry first, both his family and church suffers – lack of care for his home will affect the church and community in a negative way.
- Bible Basis. Joshua 24:15; Luke 1:5-7; Col. 318-19; 1 Tim. 5:8.
Our fathers in the faith have taught us wrong values concerning our homes. Ministry is said to be much more important than the home. And this had led to many avoidable crisis, problems, waywardness, divorce, remarriage, demonised spouse and children. However, pastors and leaders must make their home as number one, just like Joshua and Zacharias.
The pastor’s home will make or mar the ministry.
When there is no peace in the home, there would be pieces in ministry.
When pastors neglects their home, they lose credibility to lead.
Many churches have collapsed due to problems in the home of pastors.
Pastors must fight for good marriage and home life.
A godly home will help pastors to do a better job.
Pastor, don’t let everything revolve around your church and ministry alone. Stop neglecting your home in the name of ministry. Stop treating your spouse shabbily in the name of ministry.
- Problems in Pastors’ Homes.
Recently, a pastor was arrested for killing his wife. Also, divorce, separation, wayward children and upsurge of court cases have gained ascendancy in the home of many pastors of recent. Well, problems militating against the home of pastors are not entirely made by the devil and his cohorts only, there are also mistakes from pastors and their spouses. Such as:
- Wrong Foundation Psalm 11:3
When leaders’ marriage and home are founded on lies, deceit, rebellion, impatience and permissive will of God, there will always be problems.
- Lack of Marriage Values.
When pastors are not really committed to the marriage institution, thay can jump out at the slightest discomfort. Too many marry, but they don’t believe in marriage.
iii. Over Commitment.
Too much time with work, ministry, church, members and hobby. Some pastors can spend time with every other person,except their spouse. No time to pray, play,
romance, help, assist, nurture and listen to your spouse.
- Stubborness and Pride.
Many women and pastor’s wives are too stubborn, proud and disobedient. They want to rule and have their way over their husbands.
- Selfishness and Stinginess.
Many male pastors are selfish and stingy. They only think about themselves and fail to provide, care and see to the welfare of their homes.
- Demonic Intrusion
The influence of bad friends, advisers and being far away from God can and do lead to demonic intrusion in the home. When a spouse is demonised, the home will be in
vii. Lack of communication
Inability to have time to talk, share, pray and plan together has resulted in the ruin of the home of pastors.
- Complaints from Pastors’ Home.
Remember, you always get what you are looking for. If you are looking for complaints, here are some.
By the pastor:
My wife doesn’t understand my vision and calling.
She is not interested in what I am doing.
She is too critical, nagging and sarcastic.
She is demonised and occultic.
She is always complaining and murmuring.
She uses sex as a weapon to punish me.
She listens to bad advise from members.
She is too unspiritual carnal and worldly.
She doesn’t support me enough in the ministry.
By the pastor’s wife:
Ministry is more important than me.
He prefers to go out with others than me.
He doesn’t communicate what he is doing.
He is too rigid, stone-faced and unyeilding.
He is not romantic-only smiles when he needs me.
He is not ministering to my need for love and care.
He doesn’t give me gifts and show appreciation.
He is not providing and available at his home enough.
By the children:
The work takes our father away most of the time.
We are not seeing true role models to follow.
We are left on our own to grow up-with no direction.
We long for time to play and relax with our parents.
- Healthy Home of Pastors. Gen. 18:18-19; 1 Pet. 3:1-7.
Pastors who love their life and ministry enough must make conscious effort to build a healthy home. Leader with unhealthy homes such as Moses.Eli. David and Samuel abounds. However, other leaders such as Abraham, Joseph, Joshua. Manoa and Peter had good homes too. These are pillars that will undergird the healthy homes of pastors:
- Believe in the sanctity of the marriage institution.
- Love one another unconditionally – accept each other.
- Let Jesus be the Lord of your home.
- Communicate and share together always.
- Forgive and forbear with one another.
- Help one another to grow and succeed.
- Jointly plan your family upbringing.
- Respect and appreciate each other.
- Plan your finances together.
- Adjust sexually to each other. 1 Cor. 7:2-5.
- Don’t let third-party rule and ruin your home.
- Be alive to your responsibilities.
- Grow to become good parents to your children.
- Jointly face and fight your problems.
- Pray and interceed for one another.