Unity – The Clairon Call

417457_10151051139758349_543927233_nThe mandate for unity and harmony in the body of Christ intensifies more today than ever before. It should be the mandate of leaders on the front line to focus on magnifying the charge for a counter-reformation of holiness and doctrinal soundness in the church for clarity and harmony. We all claim to have the same Holy Spirit but seldom agree on doctrine, fellowship, worship, or qualified leadership. Teaching diversity is not easy when so many of us are judging the book by its cover and not by its’ contents. The problem is we can’t all agree on how to interpret the foundation because we keep looking at 1st century examples through 21st century interpretations.

Since the quest for returning to foundational Christianity has been a distant memory throughout the ages, a cry for the true church of Jesus Christ is a dream instead of a reality. The Western church especially, is bathing in its’ own self success statements to build empires and have forgotten its’ mission call to spread the Gospel into the world, not market the Gospel in its own created spheres of influence.

The question is – “Can we overcome the prejudice and bitterness and misunderstandings that divide us?” Yes, we can. With God, all things are possible, and we know that unity is God’s will for His body. The real question is not, can we? The real question is, will we? That must be answered by each of us as leaders. What is your answer?

So while the level of spiritual warfare has changed to spread demonic activity in our churches through entertainment instead of true worship; and while corruption, deception, and selfishness pollute our worship week after week; what can be done to initiate change and restore the fire back in the church of Jesus Christ today?

Here are some suggested steps.

1. REDEDICATED LEADERS – Every great revival has been initiated by someone acting on their burden for holiness and walking against the grain, isolating       themselves for the infilling of The Holy Spirit without measure. Creating a flame of passion for God, not just a touch from God. Let’s strip the image of a preacher and embrace the character of a servant-leader. Let’s abandon the need for recognition and embrace the yoke of compassion and strength to speak a “BOLD” word from the LORD.

2. REFOCUS ON PURPOSE INSTEAD OF PERSONALITIES – Let’s face it! We all have our opinions on who is or who is not qualified to be in charge or lead some movement. But at the end of the day, none of us have a “Divine” opinion. We need to stop worrying about what leaders call themselves and focus on the message they bring. That’s the judgment call. Is the message not just controversial, but is it transformational? Jesus did not fit the persona of any known leaders of his day, but he led a counter-religious movement that turned the world upside down. We can unite on the message, even if we can’t perceive the messenger is who we would chose.

3. REDICATION OF THE LORD’S HOUSE OF WORSHIP – Simply a reorientation of our vision and mission statements to reflect who we are and what our real purpose is. People will follow what you feed them. The sanctuary is not any pastor’s personal family business; nor your personal retirement program; nor your inheritage to leave. It is The Lord’s safe haven for the people of God. Contaminated use will lessen the power and weaken the structure.

Finally, I don’t want this “IAB Unity Day” to become another “Dog and Pony Show.” We need to drop our pride and commit to a sacrifice of “Praise and Purpose.” The pattern is that true intercession comes from strong leadership and true power from unity in purpose and not in competition. The authority of the words of Christ is resting on the credibility of genuine representatives of the Gospel today, not cheap imitators of fashion and fame.

 

 

New Ministry Perpective

970696_10152865955620247_406600575_nThis morning I was catching up on some of my emails and ran across a long apology letter from a ministry that had solicited a date for me to minister next year at a major conference. To my surprise I had received an earlier email I hadn’t opened yet from the same ministry requesting a credit report and a criminal back ground check to qualify me to be considered.

As it turned out the email was sent in error by a staffer for potential employees of the ministry’s daycare staff. But it made me think, it is obvious that the day is coming, with so many scandals in ministry today, that this might possibly be a real requirement for speakers, as well as, pastoral candidates.

Ministry is becoming big time business and those providing it are yielding huge profits if their gifting is productive. Notice I said productive, not effective. Most of what many churches want today is someone who can draw crowds and raise offerings. What many speakers expect is a substantial payday for services rendered. Evangelism is an archaic term and is replaced by marketing strategies and entertainment hype about expectations of harvest and production. I wonder sometimes how we all got here.

The emphasis started out with the message being the most important agenda, especially if it was a fresh word from the Lord. The messenger was merely the agent of communication for some important issue. In the final analysis not many remembered the messenger, but the impact of the message carried the weight. Somehow, we have mistaken ministry for entertainment and worship for fun and games. Now this dilemma is not new nor creative. Some of these church games is what led up to the 15th century Reformation in Europe and the 19th century Holy Spirit explosion in America.

However, the real issue today is that as leaders in the Church, what mandate do we have as vessels to purify our messages with holy lifestyles? Becoming both a mouthpiece and an example. What responsibility does the church have to provide sound teaching and not merely entertaining orators? Protecting the sheep, instead of robbing the pews. How can we find a happy medium between costs for presentation and expectations for financial gain? There must be a balance somewhere.

I share all of this not to poke fun but to call attention to the lack of credibility and responsibility on both sides of the fence. I receive roughly 200-300 request a year for appointments, but only take around 30 a year. Why? Because I need time for family, rest, study, prayer, and reflection. I also have a business for my personal expenses which leaves me free for real ministry.

Part of our mandate as leaders in the church should be accountably. Becoming submissive to a particular governing influence should keep one balanced and disciplined for correction and caution. Also recapturing the impact of worship is a key to moving in the right direction. Turning the focus from self-glory to giving God all the glory through Jesus Christ, our Lord.