Wednesday, June 30, 2010

21st Century Armorbearers

Ask the right questions.
Lack of communication breeds misunderstanding. As an armorbearer, it is part of your anointing to discover exactly what your leader expects. As you tap into that anointing, you can effectively carry out the vision with Godly strength and surety. What are your responsibilities? Ask your leader for clear instructions so there will be no misunderstanding. It’s up to you – not someone else.

Why are you there?
The armorbearer is not just an office. It is also an attitude. Having that understanding will equip you with the right spirit to do the job during hard times. Elisha’s double-portion ministry had its beginnings as a servant to Elijah. His heart remained humble because there was no ulterior motive. He wasn’t there to “climb the ladder” to success. You are called to the high place of laying down your desires for ministry in order to fulfill someone else’s. You may have to constantly reaffirm why you are there because it will produce major tests. Lay your desires before the Lord and determine to remain with your leader until Jesus comes. SERVE.

Having done all, stand.
People will always have an opinion about what you should be doing. My wife and I stilled the voices around us and made a decision to obey God at whatever cost. We remained faithful in our positions for 23 years until the Holy Spirit released us with the blessing of our Pastor. People will always speak when they see an anointing. Do not be moved from the high place to chase a premature vision. Remain faithful to God and He will reward you. When that time of reward comes, you will have the confidence to do His will.

Understand the times.
Christianity has always been under attack, but never on such a broad, vicious scale as today. James Dobson recently commented that 1,500 ministers are quitting the ministry each month. Satan is trying to destroy the leadership so he can scatter the people. As no other time in history, you must be aware of natural and supernatural situations. Throughout the Bible, the leaders that moved the strongest with God understood the times they lived in. Take time to read the Bible in that light and see how each generation was affected by wise leadership. Especially in this day, to be a strong armorbearer, you must understand the times.

Pray! Pray!? Pray!
Prayer should be the undisputed number one priority in your life. The only way you can remain faithful during difficult times is to keep yourself in a position to hear from the Holy Spirit. That position only comes from a disciplined prayer life. Prayer always moves God into your world. Picture the will of God like a train. Your prayer life lays the tracks for God to move in your situation. Many a day I have laid on the floor in prayer due to times of discouragement. Each time I have been infused with the strength to continue and overcome because of the Holy Spirit. Allow God to be in charge of your situation by laying it before Him in prayer.

Terry Nance

Monday, June 28, 2010

Are you a Rebel?

Are you a rebel? Websters dictionary defines rebel as: to oppose or disobey one in authority or in control; to act in or show opposition or disobedience;

A rebel draws their characteristics from the word REBELLION.

Imagine this: your boss tells you that they need something done immediately and you sarcastically respond that there is no way you can do it now. That's rebellion. When a teenager asks their parents if they can go somewhere and the parents say "no" and the teenager responds "I am going to do it anyway, you can't stop me." That's rebellion. When we know what God's Word says and we refuse to do it...that's rebellion.

What is the definition of rebellion? I believe it is simply knowing what we should do and refusing to do it.

The Scriptures teach us that God hates rebellion and He puts it in the same catergory as Idolatry and sexual immorality. If we know that God hates it...then why do we do it?

There's an interesting story in Numbers 16 that reveals a deep seated display of rebellion by a man named Korah. Let's take a look at what caused him to become rebellious and how it relates to us, especially those who serve in ministry.

"I Should Be In Charge"

Korah and his cohorts approach Moses and Aaron and claim that their leadership isn't needed anymore and he could do just as well as them.

  • Numbers 16:3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?

Korah wants to be equal in authority to Moses or over him. After watching Moses do his job, he starts to think that he could do a better job than Moses. Probably many of us have thought to ourselves, "I can do my boss' job better than he does." However, this is where the start of rebellion begins.

Working with teens for many years as well as raising one, I realize that every teenager living feels at some point in their adolesence they can do a better job running their life rather than their parents.

Rebellion stems from jealousy. Satan did the same thing in Heaven when he declared that "he would become like the most high." (Isaiah 14:14)

When I begin to think I should be the one leading, instead of the leader, that is the beginning of rebellion. Whether it is home, or work or at church.

"I'm Being Heldback"

  • Numbers 16:9 Seemeth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hath separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them?

Korah and his followers were feeling like God was restricting their freedom. This causes men to rebel. None of us like being told what to do. In fact, some people don't go to church routinely because they feel like God is restricting their freedom. So...they rebel.

Friend, God isn't trying to restrict our freedom. He desires us to grow in Him. Learning to submit actually gives you inner liberty.

"You Should Have Done It My Way"

  • Numbers 16:13 Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyself altogether a prince over us? Moreover thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out the eyes of these men? we will not come up.

Moses faced the challenge of dealing with a restless people because he didn't take the people where he said he was going to take them. Suppose you were promised at work that you would get a raise after six months on the job. The six months pass and nothing happens. You are going to start getting rebellious. Why? Because plans did not turn out like you thought.

Sometimes ministers get discouraged with God because their plans of entering the ministry don't turn out like they think or their vocational plans of moving into fulltime ministry are delayed. When it doesn't materialize, rebellion can manifest and as a result some leave the ministry.

Or, if you have followed a pastor or a ministry and you found out that they are not living like they preach. You are tempted to rebel against everything they have taught you because it was your plan that they should live it 100% without any failures.

What are the consequences of rebellion?

Innocent People Can Get Hurt

  • Numbers 16:28-32 28And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind. 29If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the LORD hath not sent me. 30But if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. 31And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: 32And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.

In these verses Moses says, "this is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things and that it was not my idea..."

These three men rebelled against Moses and Aaron. Their families had nothing to do with the rebellion, however, their families suffered the consequences of these men's actions. If we choose to rebel against God today, our spouse could suffer, our church family can suffer and those in our community who know us as a Christian can suffer.

Choosing to rebel causes others to suffer the consequences.

It Will Cost Me Personally

  • Numbers 16:35 And there came out a fire from the LORD, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

Don't forget that there were innocent people who were hurt by those who rebelled. Our rebellion may not cost our life as it did in this passage but don't be deceived into thinking it won't cost you something. It always does.

Rebellion Spreads

  • Numbers 16:41 But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the LORD.

Where you leave off, someone else picks up. You start putting down your church, then everyone starts putting down their church. Rebellion spreads.

You Are Rebelling Against God

  • Numbers 16:11 For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the LORD: and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him?

You may think your rebellion is against your boss, or against your parents, or against your pastor but ultimately it is against God. Their problem was not against Moses but God.

No Time For God - Practical Perspectives

Have you asked God for something and He’s given it to you and now it’s taken you away from Him?

It's sort of like the wife who wanted to have a baby and then when the baby came she no longer had time for her husband. He may not be too happy to hear her when she says she wants to have another baby.

Have you asked God for that promotion at work and now you have to work so many hours you can’t go to church anymore? You can’t spend time with God anymore because you’re so busy working trying to keep everyone around you happy?

Have you asked God to help your ministry grow but now you’re so busy working for Him that you don’t have time to be with Him?

Are you so busy building your new house that you don’t have time to pray anymore or spend with God?

Don’t be surprised if God isn’t too excited about giving you something else.

What we think we will do and what we do are two different things.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Bossy Britches"

I grew up in a home where my parents modeled a meek leadership style. I witnessed humility, compliance, submission and gentleness in the way they served their leaders in the body of Christ. In no way, were they stifled in presenting their ideas and thoughts but they held to the concept “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

My parents serve with a peaceful personality style. They are not the kind of people that make waves or cause division by being highly opinionated and “loud in the crowd.” With that in mind, I became accustomed to operating in the ministry with this style of personality being deemed the proper way of doing things.

It wasn’t until I ventured out beyond my upbringing that I discovered other types of leadership styles that were vastly different and also effective in their own right.

Since serving in pastoral work for the past eleven years, I have learned that there are four personality types that each of us possess. Two are probably more predominate either in the strength of one and weakness in the other or vice versa.

These four are:

  • Choleric – Goal oriented personality
  • Sanguine – Party personality
  • Phlegmatic – Team player personality
  • Melancholic – Perfectionist personality

Once I gained an understanding of these personality types, I discovered that my predominate personality was melancholic.

In this blog post I want to speak about the choleric personality. It is my opinion, that my upbringing would best describe this type of person, who may lack the development of the fruit of the Spirit, as “bossy britches.”

Choleric personalities are awesome people who add strength to any team!

The strengths of a choleric personality could be defined as:

  • A natural born leader.
  • One that seeks to make change.
  • A need to correct situations that need corrected.
  • A decisive person who can independently work on their own.
  • One that can overcome discouragement easily by detaching their emotions from given situations.
  • They exude confidence.
  • They need a goal to work toward. Once they have a goal they are moved to action until that goal is completed.
  • They are highly organized and welcome a challenge.
  • They desire to see productive results.
  • They are not afraid of a challenge (opposition) while pursuing their goal. In fact, it makes the journey even more stimulating.
  • They don’t necessarily need a lot of friends around to stay motivated.
  • Emergency situations cause them to excel.

The weaknesses could be defined as:

  • They can come across as rude, impatient and bossy.
  • Their temper is sometimes quick and they don’t like to admit when they may be wrong.
  • They can come on too strong and intimidate other personality types with their sternness.
  • Since their accustomed to excelling in emergency situations they can appear to be unsympathetic.
  • They have a tendency to over dominate and give answers too quickly.
  • They can become impatient easily with mistakes of other and have little tolerance with people who show poor performance.
  • They can be demanding of others and believe that the end justifies the means.
  • They demand loyalty in the ranks and are driven by a strong work ethic.
  • They appear to know everything and like to be the decision maker.
  • They have a difficult time apologizing, although they may often be right.

The funny thing about all four personality types, is that when you begin to describe them, I normally find myself describing the choleric first and using their personality type as “Example A.” Most people can identify with someone in their life who exemplifies this strong personality style. Having a choleric personality isn’t a negative…it can very much be a positive! In fact, I have an excellent member of my team who exemplifies this personality and I’ve learned to truly embrace their positive aspects.

With that being said, our team at BFWC would be scary if every member was a choleric. And the same could be said if no one was a choleric.

Choleric personalities are self-motivated. When they see that something needs to be done, they get it done one way or another. You don’t have to hold their hand and walk them through the process from point A to point B. They aren’t afraid to lead – however, they must really work on their people skills, because they can be impatient and short tempered if they don’t and run people off if they’re too abrasive.

If I give a choleric personality an idea and point them in the right direction, I can sit back and drink a tall glass of sweet tea knowing that the job will get done. If they have questions, they will ask and if something comes up they will deal with it. As long as they are committed to being under delegated authority and fulfilling the vision of their leader this works well.

However, if they are not determined to submit to delegated authority and decide to work their own agenda, they become dangerous because choleric personalities want to understand why they are doing something. They will not usually work at tasks that don’t make a lot of sense to them. But, if they understand spiritual authority, they will obey leadership, trusting God with the outcome.

Now, let’s suppose you are a choleric spouse and have a hard time submitting to your spouse, let alone your employer. You will have to really work and ask God to speak to your heart so that you can embrace the authority that has been placed over your life.

If you’re not careful, you can run people over with your strong personality. That is why it is essential that you work on your people skills. When you find out what makes you tick you’ll discover what makes other people tick as well. If you’re successful at this, you’ll end up appreciating other people’s personalities and will work well with anyone.

Choleric personalities like to be in charge. It’s not because they’re prideful, they are driven with a true spirit of leadership – a gift from the Lord. They have the ability to observe a situation and then develop a plan to bring about a solution. That’s why I love having choleric people in my life!

On the side of caution, you must make sure they know what their boundaries are. They have a tendency to take charge where they‘ve not been given authority. It’s easy for choleric personalities to have a “take over” spirit especially if a quiet melancholic or phlegmatic is in authority and is assumed to not be assertive enough. It would be easy for them to “take over” but that would not be right. The leader is the leader whether you like how they are leading or not.

As already stated, sometimes choleric personalities are accused of being insensitive and even heartless. However, that is not true. The issue comes from them being highly opinionated. They aren’t afraid to speak their mind, because words don’t carry a lot of weight to them. Therefore, they can shrug off negative comments rather easily and can’t understand why others are so easily offended.

An issue comes from their “quick to speak” personality, when other personality types feel they’re being attacked or undervalued. Here’s where the choleric personality can gain ground…if they are willing to pursue understanding and make adjustments, by learning to soften what they say or better yet, just be quiet and listen.

We have all four personality types in us. However, two are predominate. Here’s another way to view it:

  • Let’s say you’re a choleric/sanguine - you’ll be able to get the job done and make sure everyone is having fun at the same time.
  • If you’re a choleric/melancholic – you’ll not only get the job done but in the end you’ll give everyone a detailed report of how they did.
  • If you’re a choleric/phlegmatic – you’ll get your job done and have patience enough to let others get their job done without interference.

A choleric personality can appear to be tough as nails on the exterior. Words don’t usually harm them. However, if they feel they are misunderstood they can become discouraged. Also, they have a heart that loves and wants to be loved, even if they don’t always show it.

Embrace the choleric personality in your life. If you’re having a difficult time receiving their words or actions, don’t be afraid to tell them what’s on your mind. Your words won’t hurt them and honestly they might not know their words or actions are being offensive. Just tell them. They can handle it.

Learn to embrace their leadership style and you’ll have one of the most loyal team members a pastor could ask for!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Rebellious Leadership - A Train Wreck Waiting To Happen (part 2)

Rebellion is nothing new in ministry. Every church has seen it's share and just about every Pastor/Leader has had to deal with it firsthand.

Rebellion becomes all to obvious when someone decides, by their own council, to go off and do their own thing, or leaders who speak against their spiritual covering, or just plain lazy leaders who don't do what they are supposed to. These are all examples of rebellion.

How does rebellion show up? Another way to ask that question is, where does it come from? Now that it's manifested, what do you do about it? Can it be prevented from showing up again?

Rebellion usually surfaces when someone rejects authority. Remember, all authority comes from God. So, if rebellion shows up while under authority, the bottom line is it's a rebellion against God. Satan led the rebellion in heaven, attempting to overthrow God from His position. (Isaiah 14:12-14)

One third of the angels in Heaven joined his effort. Needless to say, it wasn't successful and Satan lost his place. (Luke 10:18)

Rebellion has been around a long time. It is difficult to destroy especially after it takes root in the heart. Satan shot the arrow of rebellion into the heart of Adam and Eve till infectiously spread through their mind that they felt they were justified to disobey God's command. (Not to partake of one tree in the garden.)

Satan was successful and man came under the curse of disobedience from that point forward. We continue to deal with a rebellious spirit today...even in the church.

We grow up rebellious because we have seen it modeled everywhere. Children are rebellious because their parents are rebellious. Parents are rebellious because their leaders are rebellious. Leaders are rebellious because their pastors are rebellious. It passes from one generation to the next till it's assumed to be "normal." We even expect our teens to rebel. Why? Because we have become accustomed to it.

The Scripture tells us in Proverbs 22:6 to "train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - nowhere in this verse does the Scripture speak of rebellion. It says "he will not depart from it."

I know that many of you have had to deal with rebellion in your homes. But it not only takes place in the home, it can even take place in the church. Some churches aren't birthed by a "mother church" they are birthed out of rebellion.

It's not the new convert or even the halfway in or out Christian that causes church splits. It's ALWAYS the leader who becomes disgruntled with the pastor or the leadership and rebellion begins to run it's course.

Where did we begin believing that rebellion and strife now take the place of submission and forgiveness? When a person becomes rebellious, they will ALWAYS try to get other people to join with them in agreeing. They do so to rationalize their behavior and convince others of their cause.

Thus, we have church splits because of one single seed of rebellion that was allowed to grow and mature in the heart of a leader. The result...a harvest of rebellion.

As a pastor, I make no excuse for being aware of what the leaders in our church are doing and saying. If their heart begins to manifest in hints of rebellion, it must be dealt with immediately before it takes full bloom. Rebellion is easy to stop when it is in it's early stages, but the longer you wait to stop it, the harder a work it is to change that person's heart.

What do you do?

First, begin by examining your heart. Where did this root of rebellion come from? Repent of the rebellion. There must be a restoration of relationship for true healing to take place.

Second, break the curse of rebellion over your life. Declare that no more rebellion will be allowed in your life nor in your family's life.

Breaking this curse is essential if you are to move forward in healthy leadership or ministry. If you're reading this today and are questioning whether or not you have rebellion in your heart, do yourself a favor and destroy the rebellion now!

Rebellious Leadership - A Train Wreck Waiting To Happen (part 1)

God hates nothing more than the disobedience of His commandments, even though the intent seems good to man.

Perhaps you've read in 1 Samuel 15 where King Saul turned back from following the Lord's commands? In doing so, he made the Lord his enemy. The prophet Samuel spends the whole night prayerfully pleading for Saul. Anytime you see someone make an obvious wrong choice - their rejection of God's plan causes you to grieve.

When you know someone is making a wrong choice, a choice that will cause hardship for them and their family down the road, it grieves your heart. God does not delight in their demise, nor should we.

Saul tries to convince Samuel by justifying himself to escape being judged of the Lord. However, the lowing of the cattle and the bleating of the sheep in the background were too loud to be ignored.

You can't convince others you're in the will of God when your words and actions are full of an indulgence of the flesh, your love of the world, a disrespectful spirit and a neglect of spiritual obligations which speak louder than the conversation itself. Those things speak against you just like the cattle and sheep that Saul kept back from death.

Disobedience is never right in the eyes of the Lord. When we think to excuse ourselves from God's commandments by what pleases ourselves, we are placing our will over God's and that becomes evil in the sight of God.

God is pleased by humble, sincere and conscientious obedience to His will rather than all the works you've ever done in your lifetime. He gets more glory when we deny our flesh through obedience rather than sacrifice. Sure, you can bring a sacrifice before God, in the form of works, but if you can't cast down every high thought to the obedience of God's will - than you're unfit and unworthy to sit in a place of leadership in His Kingdom.

How can you lead others when you won't allow God to lead you?

Notice the Scripture: 1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Samuel does his best to bring Saul to a place of accountability for his actions. God is watching with all of His grace and mercy. However, the deceitfulness of the heart of man evokes the justice of God.

PRIVATELY - God and the prophet Samuel have a conversation

  • God regrets that He ever made Saul King.
  • He does not alter His will, but wills an alteration.
  • All the honor associated with Saul's position in the kingdom were now displaced from the original calling.
  • God repents that He ever gave Saul the kingdom and the honor and power that belonged to it. However, He never repented that he had given the gifts and callings - for they are without repentance.
  • The change took place in the heart of Saul - he turned his back from following God.
  • It grieves Samuel that Saul has forfeited God's favor and that God has resolved to cast him off.
  • He prays throughout the night in intercession for Saul.

PUBLICLY - Samuel and Saul have a conversation

  • Samuel has the unfortunate news of telling Saul the results of his wilful disobedience.
  • It is never easy speaking to someone about the consequences of their actions. Especially when they delight in their actions with a great deal of pomp and self assurance.
  • Nevertheless, Samuel obeys the Lord and shares, like Ezekiel in bitterness of soul, the unfortunate news of Saul's ruined reign.
  • Saul attempts to justify his actions - perhaps hoping Samuel would fore go the words that were bound to be spoken.
  • Saul knew what God had commanded and required of him. However, he now tries to blame the people for his own disobedience.
  • Samuel is unswayed and unmoved by Saul's partial obedience and excuses.
  • Samuel overlooks Saul's pleas and proceeds, in God's name, to give judgment against him.
  • Those who complain that their pastor is too harsh with them should remember that, while they keep to the Word of God, they are only the messengers, and must say as the Lord directs.
  • Even after Samuel pronounces judgment, Saul continues to try to vindicate himself by denying any disobedience. In other words, he still sees himself much wiser than God Himself.
  • He took it upon himself to keep King Agag alive - thinking God would be pleased that there was not wilful waste. Yet, this is not what God instructed him to do.
  • But this was Saul's doing...not God's.
  • Friend, it is difficult to convince the disobedient.

Nothing is so pleasing to God as obedience - not even sacrifices and offerings. Nothing is so provoking to God as disobedience, setting up our wills in competition with His. This is called rebellion and stubbornness, and is said to be as bad as witchcraft and idolatry.

In the end, Samuel reads Saul's doom ... "Because you have rejected the Word of the Lord, God has rejected thee as king. He that made thee king has determined to unmake thee again."

More to follow...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Kingdom Needs You

If you toy with the notion of quitting, sooner or later you'll do just what you've thought about doing.

In the past twenty plus years of active ministry, I've talked personally with people who have quit the ministry for one reason or another and found all of them to have regrets for doing so.

As a Pastor, I can honestly say, I've thought about quitting more times than I care to admit. However, I'm always jolted back into reality by the words of Pastor Tommy Barnett, "You can think about quitting, as long as you know you won't!"

There's not a person in ministry today who hasn't thought about walking away from it all at some time or another. I believe the thought of quitting comes when you're tired, exhausted, drained, emotionally spent or even aggravated. These are normal feelings for anyone, regardless of their calling or vocation.

Anyone who has answered the call of God will at some point wrestle within themselves as to whether they were ever called by God. When you add stress, affliction, unforeseen circumstances, family problems, financial worries and personality conflicts to the equation, those feelings will plague you even more. Sometimes, you may go through a dry spell that will stretch out for a period of months or worse yet, even years.

However, quitting is not the solution you think it will be. It is not a "cure all" for the discomfort or even the dissatisfaction you may be experiencing. It only takes one minute to resign, but it could take a lifetime to recover from a flesh motivated decision.

The thought may have crossed your mind, "I could probably make a living doing something else." You're right. You probably could make a great living doing something else. However, ministry is not a's a calling. What you'll find during your best moments and even your darkest moments is you'll never be able to escape the blueprint of God's design for your life. Your soul will crave it. Friend, if your smart enough to be a pastor, whether it's ministerial, administrative or operational, you're smart enough to make a living doing something else. But you will not find it satisfying, fulfilling, or as energizing as the powerful call of God.

We all get tired. If you've pioneered a church or pastored an existing work that has seen measurable growth, you're going to to reach a point in your physical body where you'll need to consider how long you can sustain the stamina required to do what you're presently doing.

In the past eleven years, we've made adjustments to our schedule that has brought more rest to our physical bodies. I realized, by the Lord's promptings, in 2007 that a change in our church schedule was necessary if we were going to be able to serve in the Kingdom with longevity. We started with 22 members, transitioned to two morning services, outgrew facilities, moved locations, renovated buildings, and dealt with a lot of stuff along the way.

We decided to factor in some modifications that would allow for rest and strengthen our families. After all, we're not supermen. A breath of fresh air came back into my lungs. Friend...get some rest, take some time off, go on vacation, see a counselor...BUT DON'T QUIT!

Getting back into the ministry after you quit is not easy. You'll find that once you quit, people will view you differently. Your friends won't call as much and churches will always wonder "why you quit." In fact, most people in general find it hard to place confidence in someone who has quit or makes quitting their pattern. Quitting may look like the easy fix today, but it could take you a lifetime to get back to the place of God's original design.

Maybe you feel like you're not making a difference. You'd be surprised at the number of people who will be affected by your decision to quit. There are many people watching your life and the fact that you've been able to keep the faith, and walk through the ups and downs of life's problems has given them the courage they need to do the same.

If you quit now, what kind of impact will this have on the baby Christians who are looking up to you? Or your associates, leaders, laity and even your children?

Someone cares about who you are and what you do and are blessed by it. Don't quit.

If you quit, you'll look back over you shoulder and realize that those years in ministry were really the best years in your life. Not only for you, but for your family as well.

You're going to have times of discouragement, disillusionment, tiredness and aggravation. However, take it from me...someone who made a decision to quit seventeen years ago, who thought he'd never have a chance again - BUT GOD! By His mercy and grace, He afforded me another opportunity to serve in His Kingdom. I know firsthand the pain involved from making a flesh decision.

I made it back. The story I can tell you would be too long for this blog. I won't quit again. Don't quit. It won't solve anything.

If you think, "he don't know how bad things are" - believe me I do. Give me a call, email me or come see me before you quit.

The Kingdom needs you and you are making a difference! Don't quit.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Is God Calling Me?

We've all heard of the "call of God." What does that call look like? How do you know what your calling is? I guess you could say that whatever your passionate about God will connect with His eternal purpose. When we live according to His purpose and not our own, then we in essence, tap into His eternal purpose through our temporal living. Great fulfillment comes from fulfilling God's Kingdom plan.

All of us have been called to minister to this world. We are called to "preach" the Gospel. Some just do it in a pulpit. We may not all preach in a pulpit. We may not all teach in a classroom. However, our platform for ministry is everywhere we go, everything we do and everything we say.

What is involved with being "called" to the ministry by God?

Isaiah 49:1-3 1Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. 2And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; 3And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.

  1. It will be God who calls you. (v.1)
  2. God will fill the called with His word (v.2)
  3. God will prepare you before He uses you (v.2)
  4. God will give you rest (v.2)
  5. God will bring glory to His name (v.3)

There are a few types of calling to consider:

The call to Salvation - this is the first call you will receive.

  • Mark 2:17 17When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
  • Luke 5:32 32I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
  • Acts 2:39 39For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
  • Romans 1:5-6 5By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: 6Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

The call to Holiness - this is the call to learning how to walk "IN" Christ.

  • Romans 8:28-30 28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

The Call to Full-time or Vocational Ministry - this is where your temporal occupation naturally progresses to a spiritual occupation based upon the evidence of your calling and situational opportunity. Consider how the call of God came to those in Scripture:

  • Moses was called from a burning bush (Exodus 3)
  • Joshua was appointed by God (Joshua 1:1-9)
  • Isaiah was called in a vision (Isaiah 6)
  • Nehemiah was called through distressing news (Nehemiah 1)
  • Barnabas was sent by the church in Jerusalem to Antioch (Acts 11:22)
  • Jeremiah was called from his mother's womb (Jeremiah 1:4-10)
  • The Apostles were called (Matthew 4:19; 9:9; Mark 1:17)
  • Paul was dramatically called (Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:15)

The call to a specific task - this is where a particular assignment is given to you from the Lord.

  • Peter and John were sent by the church in Jerusalem to investigate the work of Philip in Samaria. (Acts 8:14)
  • Barnabas was sent by the church in Jerusalem to Antioch to follow up on the church that had been planted there. (Acts 11:22)

The clarity of God's calling will come in multiple ways:

  • Scripture and Prayer - God's calling will not contradict His Word. He is not the author of confusion. If He calls you, that calling will line up with what He has already identified in Scripture.
  • Righteousness - we each receive a purpose with our calling. At the root of that purpose, will be a desire to reflect a pure image of Jesus to the world. When you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you will not only be filled but you will also be fulfilled.
  • Rightness - each of us are wired for a unique purpose. God makes no mistakes. He doesn't change His mind and later decide that you're no longer called. If we tell God that we are no longer called and He can have the calling back - we do so in error - for God makes no mistakes. To suggest you are no longer called is to INSULT the integrity of God and to make Him out to be a liar. In our weakness, He will become strong if we endure the trial of faith we face. His calling is a "right" fit and will be evidenced by fruitfulness.
  • Confirmation - this is a critical element. God will use the body of Christ to confirm the call of God in your life. Your pastor, leaders, church and even friends and family will confirm that God is speaking in your life. Your calling will come in the context of relationship. Listen with a discerning ear to Godly counsel.

All in all, we are called first to the person of Jesus (Matthew 4:19 "Come, follow me") and then that calling is confirmed through relationships He has afforded in our life. When all of these elements come together, you'll know the voice of God is speaking clearly in this particular area of your life. There will be a deep settled conviction of the Lord's voice in your ear. His voice will remain in your ear over a sustained period of time moving you closer and closer to His eternal purpose.

Is God calling you? Don't wait for someone else to answer. Be available. Be involved. Like Isaiah said in Isaiah 6:8 "Here am I, Lord. Send me." You'll be glad you plugged in and heeded the call of God.

The question is not whether you're called, for you are. The question is "where am I called to?" The answer may be to serve Jesus right where you are already.

Identifying your calling based upon your gifts.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 4Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.

  • Diversities of Gifts - Holy Spirit
  • Differences of Administrations - Jesus
  • Diversities of Operations - God

Diversity of Gifts - Gifts of the Spirit (nine listed here)

  • 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 8For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

Differences of Administrations - Directed by Jesus for the purpose of guiding the church - (five-fold ministry gifts)

  • Ephesians 4:11-12 11And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
  1. The Apostle - the EAR (Hearing) He hears the Word of the Lord for the church. (Provides both hearing and balance)
  2. The Prophet - the EYE (Seeing) He is the instrument of vision in seeing the plan of God for the church. (Gives divine revelation, foretells future events, provides vision)
  3. The Evangelist - the NOSE (Smelling) He is the instrument of action and movement in reaching out and going to the lost. (Messenger of good, has an emotional appeal, diligent in the Word, provides both smell and breath.)
  4. The Pastor - the HAND and FOOT (Touching) He discerns what is right and wrong and guides the church with wisdom. (Shepherd of the local church, discerns false ministers, lays down his life for the sheep, provides feeling.)
  5. The Teacher - the MOUTH (Tasting) This gift is usually coupled with that of the Pastor. He takes the food of the Word, chews it, and makes it digestible for the rest of the body of Christ.)

Diversities of Operations - God equips His body to serve and help others.

  • Romans 12:7-8 7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness.
  • Serving - involves the grace to oversee a work, to set it in order, and to make sure it is done correctly. The Levites are Old Testament examples that typify this ministry. Although they were not the priests at the altar, they were to assist the priests in bringing order in the house of God. Basically, they were responsible for three areas in the house of God: 1) Order and maintenance; 2) Offerings and finances; 3) Praise and worship
  • Encouraging - Barnabas exemplified this gift, as he was always lifting the weak.
  • Giving - this gift involves faith to channel finances into the Kingdom of God. Joanna and Susanna are New Testament believers who exercised this ministry gift (Luke 8:3)
  • Leading - this is the ability to inspire others to consistency in areas of service by your own example of diligence.
  • Showing mercy - this gift is used to show compassion with cheerfulness for the needy, the sick, the poor, and the destitute.
  • There are more...I've only mentioned a few here.

Moving into your Gifts and Calling

1. Accept who you are

  • Romans 11:29 29For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
  • What you are in God is what you are.
  • Each of us will appear before the Judgement seat of Christ to receive judgment for what we've done with our gifts and calling.
  • This inot a judgment of salvation to determine our eternal destiny, but a judgment of works based on what we did with the gifts and calling on our lives.
  • It is our responsibility to be good stewards of the gifts God has bestowed on us.

2. Present your body

  • Romans 12:1 1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
  • What have you presented to God for Him to use?
  • As you present yourself to the Lord, He will take and use what is given to Him.
  • When the disciples brought the five loaves and two fishes to Jesus, He multipled them to feed the multitude.
  • He uses only what is presented and sacrificed to Him.

3. Renew your mind

  • Romans 12:2 2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
  • Having your mind renewd will move you into your ministry and cause you to know what God's perfect will is for your life.

4. Have a realistic appraisal of yourself

  • Romans 12:3 3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Once you accept the calling of God in your life, you can never lay it down or hand it back to God and say "I'm done." Nor can you give it back to God and say, "I don't believe I'm called anymore." The Scipture is clear that "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." (Romans 11:29)

God doesn't make mistakes. If He called you and you answered the call - then He'll hold you accountable for that calling in the courts of Heaven. His record is sure and His Word is "yea and amen!" When you say "yes" you bind yourself to the eternal purpose of God and are never released from your calling.

Assignments may change but the calling of God does not. The fulfillment of our calling is not contingent on our feelings or circumstances. Our calling and election is "sure" in God's eyes. To say that you were never called, especially after you accepted the call, that call was verified and confirmed by the body of the Christ and the evidence of that call bears fruit - is to insult the integrity of God and to make Him out to be a liar. This is not only dangerous but it puts one in spiritual jeopardy.

Friends, when God calls us He expects us to finish our course with excellence and move to the next level of His eternal purpose. We are never released from our "vow." The same can be said of a marriage. Once you make your vow, you are held to that vow until "death do we part."

The reason we make a vow in front of God, our future spouse, a minister and a room full of witnesses is so that when we feel like walking away from that vow, those people are there to remind us of the vow we took. We need this kind of pressure in our lives. Without it, we are a loose cannon and a train wreck.

From the time we answer the call of God in our life, we no longer have the "reigns" nor do we sit in the drivers seat. To push God out of that place is to take an alternate route to our destiny. To tell God you want the wheel is to say to God "Your plan isn't acceptable to me anymore. I want to do this my way." Friend, we can even convince ourselves that we're in "the will of God." However, the great leveler called "time" will reveal otherwise.

Anytime we become our own counsel and refuse to accept counsel from our spiritual fathers and leaders, we are headed for trouble. Solomon was wise when he said "wisdom is in a multitude of counselors."

I've learned over the years, that the calling of God in my life is relational to the people He has placed over me. I seldom make decisions without the voices of wisdom speaking clearly in my life confirming the impressions of my heart and spirit. Especially major decisions that involved my ministry, family and children.

It only takes one bad decision in your life to teach you to never to do that again. It behooves us to listen and receive instruction. Solomon in all of his wisdom declared:

  • Proverbs 15:32 32He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
  • Proverbs 13:18 18Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.

Friends, continue to walk in your calling. Sure, you're going to be tempted to quit. Especially, when your feelings lie to you and circumstances are tough. However, hold on, don't give up, press through it and you'll come through like GOLD tried by fire. Everyone will benefit from your persistance and the pay off will be "out of this world!"

God has a MASTER PLAN!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Why is God Hiding Me?

Isaiah 49:2 And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;

Have you ever felt like your life or ministry was on hold? It seems that everyone around you is being promoted and you're not. You turn on Christian TV and view the trendy, modern and culturally "up and coming" ministries and say to yourself, "They're doing it...why can't I?" "Here I am, stuck doing the same thing over and over." "Why do I feel like my life is in 'pause mode' instead of 'play mode'?" "Why do I feel like God has put me in hiding?"

Friend, serving the Lord in any ministry capacity requires patience and endurance. If you have answered the call of God, then there will be a specific season in your life that God will "hide" you. When He does, realize that it's for your perfection (maturing) and development. God ultimately knows, that the "hiding" He allows now will produce a greater anointing later.

I liken this to the process of wine making. One stage of the wine making process is when the wine is placed in an earthen vessel in a dark place similar to that of a cellar or a basement. It has to learn to settle and be still in order for the fermenting process to be completed. Another way of looking at it is, if the wine continues to be stirred-up the the fermenting process will be delayed.

Isaiah declared that the Lord hath "Hidden him in His quiver." Understanding the quiver experience can be a challenge especially when you feel the pressure of other people trying to get you to make a flesh move rather than a spirit-led shift.

You may ask, "But what if I feel I've already taken the necessary steps of preparation to be elevated to leadership promotion?"

You may have successfully overcome painful experiences or have even learned valuable life lessons in how to respond correctly to your calling, your preparation, your hiding under God's hand and even the polishing of your personality and now you're asking "Why the waiting period now?"

As a servant-leader, this is the time you learn patience. This is tough and rough to hear. However, not only is God stretching you, He is using this experience to sand off your rough edges and get you to the place of 100%!

The "quiver experience" is more internal than external. This is almost always the hardest test for any leader, but it is necessary to learn the timing of God.

I like what Paul said in Galatians 4:4 "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law."

Jesus was sent forth "in the fullness of time." He came to earth at the perfect moment in history. This arrow, Jesus, had been waiting for the right time in which He would be made known to the world.

Consider David...he was anointed and destined to be the next King of Israel. He was just a teenager when the prophet Samuel anointed him, but he did not take the throne of Judah until he was thirty. David had to wait in the quiver for an estimated ten to thirteen years. In fact, he was thirty seven before he reigned over Judah and the entire nation of Israel.

Several times, David could have killed Saul to gain the throne by natural means, but the Lord gave him the grace to know that He would open the throne to David in His own time.

David chose to wait for God’s timing, not man’s or his own.

You have a special season set aside by God in which you must hide in the quiver. Your ministry will only be revealed at His appointed time. Temptation and pressure will come to every "called" man or woman of God to run ahead of God's timing. However, God's sons must take great care to avoid tampering with the perfect timing of the Lord.

There is no set age for the release of an associate, assistant, or leader in training. There is no set pattern to follow for the "release into ministry." The time and manner of release is different for every leader. This is why you can't compare yourself to other people, especially those you see on TV. Wait patiently for the timing of the Lord, for He is the only perfect "marksmen."

If you are a Joshua, then serve your Moses.
If you are a David, then serve your Saul.
If you are an Elisha, then serve your Elijah.

Serve like it's the last thing on earth God wants you to do. What you make happen for someone else, God will make happen for you. In fact, it will open the door for future ministry.

Luke 16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

I also view the "quiver experience" as a time when God straightens us out. In other words, whatever is lacking in our life, whether it's a disobedient spirit, laziness or an unwillingness to be spiritually fathered or mothered, He chastens us in that area until we make the necessary corrections.

If corrections are not made, this delays our future ministry potential and we are left in the quiver longer. The quiver experience is initiated by God, but the length of time we're there can be shortened once we settle it in our hearts that we're going to allow the Lord to shape us during this process.

Decide today that even if God hides you in His quiver, you'll remain faithful, fruitful and full of zeal during the process. Give 100% to the Lord's work, His leaders and your assignment.

You may have served someone or somewhere faithfully for the past ten years - but if you drop the ball at the end of the game, by losing steam or floundering in your purpose, that's what people will remember.

My advice...stay the course, run with fervency, keep the faith, make necessary internal corrections, improve your serve, adjust your attitude, honor God in your lifestyle, serve and honor your leaders as a true son and daughter, walk in humility and refuse to get out of God's timing.

Grace and peace to you!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Trying Times Are Not The Time To Quit Trying

At some point in your life, you will feel the effects of depression and want to give up or quit. With emotions high, you’ll say “I’m leaving this job, this church, or this family, and they’re going to miss me! They’ll wish they had treated me better!”

We’ve all said things like this: “Why continue? It seems the more I try, the worse things get. No one is helping me, I feel like I’m just spinning my wheels and nothing’s getting accomplished. With all this stress, I wonder if it’s worth it.”

Friends, I’ve been there. There are times when you need another Word from the Lord to sustain you through this “slump.” You are not the only leader who’s thought about giving up. Consider the following:

Moses – He is handpicked by God and experiences countless miracles as evidence of his calling. And yet he declares in Numbers 11:15 And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand, if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.

Joshua – Moses’ protege, who is also handpicked by God to take Israel across the Jordan river into the Promised Land. However, in Joshua 7:7 he says And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord GOD, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? would to God we had been content, and dwelt on the other side Jordan!

He felt like quitting! Thankfully, he got over it.

Elijah – One of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament whose anointing was characterized by fire, wasn’t afraid to confront the Idolatry of his day. Yet, in 1 Kings 19:4 he said, But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

Job – What a man of patience and faith! He had a great beginning and a great ending, but his in-between was tumultuous. Even he wished he had not been born, became suicidal and extremely depressed for a period of time. Job 3:3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived

Jonah – He desired for God to kill him. He was depressed and had no desire to rejoice with the new converts in Nineveh.

Paul is no different!

In Acts 18 he is continuing his second missionary journey and arrives in Corinth at an all time low in his life. He says in 1 Corinthians 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.

Paul was fatigued, lonely and tired. Paul had given himself to the ministry and at times felt unappreciated by the people he was serving. (2 Corinthians 12:15)

At this point on this trip alone, he’s been beaten and jailed at Philippi, persecuted at Thessalonica and Berea, ridiculed in Athens and now he hast to face SIN CITY – Corinth. At a low point, a crossroads in his ministry, he is considering quitting.

BUT GOD! Then God speaks to him and in essences says “trying times are not the time to quit trying!”

Acts 18:11 declares that not only did he NOT quit…he continued another year and a half at Corinth. God told him in verses 9 and 10 “it’s too soon to quit!”

I receive phone calls routinely from friends, associates and spiritual sons who are considering quitting the ministry. I do my best to help them spiritually while being empathetic to their emotional distress. It seems at times that pastors, ministers and leaders are dropping off like flies. Honestly, that’s a tough pill for me to swallow to hear someone say they want to “quit the ministry.”

It’s kind of like the story I heard recently about a guy who attends our church who had invited a co-worker to attend. The co-worker enjoyed the church and attended for several weeks until their unbelieving spouse discouraged them from coming anymore. When asked about their lack of attendance, the co-worker said “church should only last for one hour.” Our member said to them, “How dare God ask you to attend service for more than an hour.” “Who does God think He is to expect so much out of us?”

Friends, who are we to “quit” the ministry when God has given us so much! He’s the reason I’m breathing right now. I have air in my lungs at this moment because of Him. Who am I to say to God “Sorry, I don’t feel called anymore. I would rather do my own thing. I’m taking the reins of my life back. I gave you a try God, but things didn’t go like I thought they would or should, so that’s just how it’s going to be God. Hope You understand?”

Notice how God intervenes in Paul’s circumstance.

1. God sends him the promise of His presence.

Acts 18:10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.
  • Jesus has promised never to leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)
  • He is Emmanuel – God with us.
  • Even in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) Jesus promises never to leave us.
  • No matter what happens, He is with us.
  • When friends come and go, He is with us.
  • He is closer than a brother!
  • In the valley, He is with us.
  • When defeat comes, He is with us.
  • When discouragement comes, He is with us.
  • When sickness comes, He is with us.
  • When financial reverse comes, He is with us.
  • When heartaches come, He is with us.
  • When family problems come, He is with us.

Did you hear the story about the little boy who came home from school very sad? He told his mom that his best friend Billy, who had been absent for three days, came back to school today and told his friends that his dad had died. He said Billy was so upset that he put his head down on his desk and cried. His mom asked him, “What did you do?” He said, “I didn’t know what to do, so I just laid my head on my desk and cried too.”

Isn’t that just like Jesus? He too is touched by the feelings of our infirmities! He cried at the news of Lazarus’ death. Even though He was going to raise him from the dead, His heart was still broke in the meantime. That’s the great thing about God – He walks through the valley with us.

2. God sends him the promise of His protection

Acts 18:10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.

  • God didn’t say that He wouldn’t experience adversity, just that he would not be harmed.
  • They might have killed the Apostle Paul, but not until he was able to say, “I have finished my course.”
  • The claimed to have killed Jesus, but not before He said, “it is finished!”
  • God has a purpose for your life!
  • That purpose is greater than your career choice!
  • If you choose to, you can live it out, fearlessly…though there will be persecution, trials and hardships.
  • Until your work is done, God is not finished with you.
  • The devil may harm you, but he can’t hurt you!
  • There are no accidents with God.
  • He and He alone will call you home when the time is right.
  • Nothing can happen without the Lord’s permission.

It’s too soon to quit!

  • Ahead of us, He’s our guide.

  • Behind us, He’s our guard.

  • Under us, are His everlasting arms.

  • Above us, if we’ll look up, He’s ever present with us in all of His glory!

3. God sends him the promise of His potential

Acts 18:10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.

  • How could God say that? There were no more than a handful of Christians there.
  • Yet God speaks with the voice of potential!
  • God saw the people of the city as what they would be…not what they presently were.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 what they would become is stated by Paul: 9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

God saw them for what they would become!

God is saying the same thing to you and to our church – “I have much people in this city!”

When you walk down the street or shop at the mall, look at the people you pass and ask “is this who God is speaking about?” “If so, what can I do to bring it to pass?”

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Married to a Minister

When married couples enter into ministry, particularly pastoral ministry, there are not only practical lessons that must be learned but also spiritual principles that must be followed. Answering the call of God is a serious matter. Paul reminds us in Romans 11:29 that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Serving in ministry is a great privilege! At times, you’ll doubt that privilege, especially when pressures come and responsibilities mount.

However, even with the pressures, demands, loneliness, stress and endless responsibilities, serving in God’s Kingdom is still the most rewarding calling I know of. Having your heart “fixed” and your mind “made up” will carry you through the difficult times. God never intends to withdraw His gifts or calling once they’re given. He doesn’t change His mind about those He gives His grace or He sends His call.

When you grasp this, then you realize that no matter how discouraged you get, you can’t quit. Regardless of how either spouse feels, once you’ve committed to the call – there is no turning back. This is important to know, especially in marriage. You’ve often heard it said, “behind every successful man, there is a good wife.” That’s true in ministry too. Every successful minister, who’s married, must have a good spouse that is ready to remind them of their calling and be readily available to offer support especially when doubts about ministry surface.

Spouses of ministers have an incredible ministry call! Your role is to “pastor” the pastor. You’ll have to encourage him, build his confidence and learn how to deal with the negative in a positive way, because that’s what matters.

With the increase of ministry demand and ministry growth, new challenges will arise that will cause you to have to encourage yourself in the Lord. When David’s wives were kidnapped at Ziklag, the Bible says he “encouraged himself in the Lord.” (1 Samuel 30:6) In the absence of his wife, he had to do what she would have done for him. The Bible teaches us that “two are better than one.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10) If a minister does not have the full support of his spouse than greater are his chances to “fall” out of ministry and miss his destiny.

Support is essential especially when people say things that hurt you. You’ll be criticized, ostracized, envied, hated without cause and even attacked by bold people. Not to mention the mistakes you’ll make on your own. But if you and your spouse are committed to the call – you’ll weather it. The problem comes when you both become discouraged at the same time. This is where I’ve seen ministers and their families fall apart. When both are down, neither of you can lift each other up and that’s when you must cling to the principle of learning how to encourage each other in the Lord.

If your husband is a minister, it your duty and responsibility to be his biggest fan, friend and supporter! More than likely, you may be the one who either keeps him in the ministry or causes him to leave the ministry. Your attitude is so important! There are many men who are not in the ministry today because they had a wife who didn’t encourage them when they needed it and who didn’t remind them of their calling and responsibility to God.

You’ll have to pull out all the stops if you’re going to be married to a minister. Like it or not, you’ll live in a “glass house” and it won’t always be glamorous or fun. But you must learn to make the best of every circumstance. If you wallow in self-pity because you feel lonely, taken advantage of, treated unfairly or even unjustly criticized you’ll cave in to the enemies strategy. You must realize that if you weren’t doing anything credible for God, the enemy wouldn’t be trying to defeat you.

A minister’s wife also has the responsibility of the children. Your first responsibility is to your husband, and your second responsibility is to your children. Your third responsibility is to the ministry God has given you as your husband’s helpmeet in the ministry. Careful planning will help you navigate through your role as a wife, mother, and a co-laborer in the ministry.

If your husband is called – then you are called, because you and your husband are one. If you don’t sense that calling to the ministry, talk to the Lord about it, and He will make it real to you. But you need to have the call established in your heart to carry you through times of pressure.

Both Beverly and I grew up in a pastor’s home. The calling for either of us wasn’t hard to grasp or understand. Beverly has made multiple sacrifices throughout our marriage to ensure our success. Even when she may not have been as comfortable with the transitions we’ve made in ministry, whether it was evangelistic or pastoral, she learned how important it was for her to carry the calling with me. Without her flexibility and willingness to adapt, discouragement would have easily settled in my heart.

Being in the ministry with your husband doesn’t mean you take over his duties. You may not have a “pulpit” ministry to preach, but you will be called to complement one another – not compete with each other. You don’t take over your husband’s responsibilities in the ministry, but you do get involved and help him in the ministry. I have personally witnessed ministries in which the woman did not participate in any of the functions of the ministry and chose to be a “silent partner.” Guess what happened? The couple grew apart.

If the wife doesn’t get involved, there is a part of her that is unfulfilled. Her husband will get all the attention, and she will feel left out. This can not only cause discord but they will end up with nothing to talk about. When the kids are young, a husband and wife can talk about the kids. But eventually a day will come when the children will be gone and she’ll find herself married to a “stranger.”

When a man is in the ministry, that is his whole life. Often that will be all he wants to talk about. And if his wife doesn’t participate in the ministry with him, it leaves room for the devil to come in. For instance, let’s say another woman in the church does assume some type of leadership role. Then the pastor, as the head of that church, has something in common with that woman. Since he has the responsibility of the church, at times he’ll discuss things with her. Do you see how this can give place to the devil in your marriage? Thoughts will enter into the wife’s mind and she’ll begin to imagine the worst, with the help of the devil.

That’s why it’s so important that minister’s wives be the one your husband is conferring to concerning church matters. Then together you can plan projects or implement changes. Regardless of whether or not you feel you’re “qualified to lead” or not, it would behoove you to begin leading.

The devil never goes off duty. I’ve seen him destroy marriages of people who have been in the ministry for over 25 years!

One of the reasons I do not counsel women alone is because the Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 and Ephesians 4:27 to shun the very appearance of evil and to give no place to the devil! If I have to visit a woman in the hospital, Beverly goes with me. She enters the hospital room first and makes sure that the woman we’re visiting is presentable. There are even occasions, that she’ll have to pray without me especially if the lady we’re visiting doesn’t feel presentable and would rather I not see her like that.

In marriage and in ministry, there is a right and a wrong time for a woman to speak. It is important that you choose the right time to speak or voice your opinion. Never embarrass your husband in front of others. This is so important. For instance, don't contradict your husband in public. If you work in the church office, your husband is always right! When other people are present, your husband is always right! When the two of you are alone, you can give him your opinion, but never contradict him in public.

I try to share a little bit about everything with Beverly. I don’t want her to be surprised or caught off guard when she is approached by people who want her counsel and assume she already knows about their situation. This keeps her in the loop and prepared to answer questions that come from “out of the blue.”

In your marriage, strive to build a relationship with your husband. Be his best friend. Marriage is never easy, just as the ministry is never easy. Both of you will have to build both your marriage and your ministry! You need to learn how to communicate with each other. In the ministry, there may be times when your friendship with your husband is the only friendship you have.

Learn to fight for your husband’s ministry. Solomon describes a virtuous woman in Proverbs 31:10-31.

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

  • To find a woman who willing to give up all self to serve the Lord first, and then her husband is very rare.

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

  • What God is saying is that the husband can trust in her decisions and knows that he can depend on her for support.
  • It is hard for a man to have such a responsibility for a family.
  • A wife’s support is a necessity.
  • I believe that " he shall have no need for spoil" means that his wife makes him complete.
  • There was no need for outside influence, be it financial needs, sexual needs, emotional needs, or physical needs.
  • Besides having God as deity the wife helps to make the man feel complete.
  • Believe it or not women but God did not give you your husband so that you can make him who you think he should be.
  • God gave you your husband so you could pray for, hold up, strengthen and uplift this man, while God was tearing down, uprooting and creating him into the man of God that he was called to be.
  • It is vital that woman are on their knees in prayer doing warfare for their Husbands so that they can be the leader that God has called them to be.

12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

  • A wife's responsibility is to be a spiritual support for your husband.
  • If you are not seeking God's will for your husband, doing warfare for your husband, than you are doing evil towards your mate.
  • A wife’s responsibility is not making the decisions, but it is praying for your husband that he makes the right decisions.
  • A wife and Mother's job never ends.
  • It is twenty four hours a day seven days a week.
  • So be instant in season and out of season.
  • Never let the devil steal your victory or your family.
  • You are the strength and foundation that God will stand on to lift your Husband and your children up into the Heavenlies to fulfill the call of God in their lives.

Ladies, pray for your husband. Men don’t always talk. They don’t talk about the secret struggles that they are going through. Stand in the gap for your husband! Battle for him…not with him. Lift his hands and keep him encouraged.

Every minister’s wife feels discouraged, confused and isolated at one point or another. Depression is very common. Minister’s wives aren’t perfect, and some do not conform to ridiculous expectations, to be a preacher, piano player or a gourmet chef.

Minister’s wives must know who they are and what their priorities are – not mold themselves into what other people want them to be just to please people. Your number one goal is to please God.