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 an