By James Holland
When I say leadership and ministry I am talking about both. Whatever level of ministry you are involved in or may be feeling a calling into, it is vital to know:
- Individual must recognize there is a calling there.
- You will grow through teaching, prayer, direction, mentoring, and those God will put into your life to help you. You have to develop that ministry or leadership quality within you.
It won’t happen automatically, it has to be developed. It’s like a seed that has been planted. For that seed to germinate and to grow, it has to be watered, cared for, and then the end result happens.
Mark 10:45 – “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.”
If you want to develop the ministry within you, you have to understand that if leadership and ministry could be summed up in one word; it would be “service.”
If you always have to have recognition, if you always have to be encouraged constantly to keep going and do a good job, you probably are not going to do well in ministry and leadership. Always have to have the center stage, the limelight, and all these things; you probably won’t do well in real ministry and leadership, because ministry and leadership is service.
One man has said, “You know you have a servant’s heart by how you respond when somebody treats you like a servant.”
We have far too many within our ranks in this hour that want titles and positions, but won’t commit themselves to what’s involved in real ministry or being a real leader. Leaders do not just react when something happens, that’s not leadership that’s reaction. Real leaders have a vision; they are planning ahead of those of whom they are leading and they cause things to happen and sometimes prevent things from happening before they happen.
As a leader and a minister we know that we are the servants of those who we’re trying to lead and minister to. This idea is not promoted much in Christianity anymore, but that’s what the Bible teaches.
Jesus didn’t self-serve Himself. He came to serve others. His life, His ministry, everything He did was as a servant and a servitude to others. For those of us who want to become preachers and leaders, we must become servants. Because of this, we must be sensitive to the needs of others. If you’re self-centered, always trying to figure out how it’s going to benefit you, you won’t make a good minister or leader.
We must be sensitive to the Spirit of God, we must have the vision that God wants us to have, the right mindset and the attitudes conducive to apostolic revival and growth. Our generation is starving to death. It’s time that we hear the calling of God and step up and answer that call. Godly leadership is of the utmost importance in our society. There is a revival happening in America right now. We are now seeing our last window of opportunity for outreach and revival before the coming of Christ. People that do not know God are looking for real Christians. Those in the Christian community are looking for real saints and real leaders. Leaders that know how to do the right things under pressure, leaders that are real leaders that hear from God. These leaders have the mind of God, purpose of God, and the vision of God at heart and are doing what the Bible teaches: ministering to others. For the spiritual warfare that is being waged today, the church must have dedicated leaders, it can’t be any of this, I am going to do my thing and then I am out of here.
The church has seen too much of this in all areas of leadership. God is calling the church to a higher level of commitment. We don’t have a choice anymore, if we’re going to affect our world, if we’re going to take our cities, if we’re going to grow and do what God wants us to do; we’re going to have to do it God’s way.
Everything we do or do not do has an impact on those around us. We must understand that we are living among so called Christians, so called apostolics today who are melted down but not molded, convicted but not committed. As we position ourselves or the spirit of God to move in us and through us, we must offer our total being, our lips to teach, our ears to hear revelation, our hands to minister, our wills placed in His hands for molding, our talents to speak for Him, our lives to reproduce His life in us. It’s not your ministry, program, or your plan, it is God’s plan. We see in scriptures, Old and New Testament alike, that before God can do anything with anybody, He must have an empty vessel. When the Prophet told the widow to send her sons into the city and gather up any vessels available, they brought them to the house and they were all empty vessels. We think the more ability, talent, and charisma we have, the more excited God gets about us being available. God cannot use us until we empty ourselves of ourselves, get filled with Him and His will and purpose and then under His directions those abilities that we have can be anointed and used of God. God cannot fill a person who is full of himself.
We need to stay away from the personal pronouns of me, mine, and my opinion. It needs to be thus saith the Lord and this is what the word says, and this is what God would have us do. This is the climate that we live in today. We’re positioning ourselves for the last outpouring of the move of God. God’s potential with us is far greater than anything that we could ask Him to do. He will not send you where He will not go. Our ability depends on our response to God’s ability. We cannot do the work of ministry, the effective work of teaching and leadership without the ability and the anointing of God. We need the 5-fold ministry. We need to understand that men and women that feel a call to ministry and leadership and especially men need to know that they do not necessarily have to be pastors and evangelist. The Bible shows us different levels of ministry in the apostolic church that added to the body of Christ and that helped the will of God to be done. We need to know this today.
How do we develop this ministry within us?
- We have to understand that it’s God’s ministry and not ours. The gift is God.
He gives it to us. It’s never ours, nor my ministry, it’s never my church, and it’s never my class.
When people think like this, they become territorial. Territorial spirits are not of God they are of Satan. When people have this attitude, they become territorial. The gifts and the anointing we have are never totally ours, they are God’s. Paul made reference to this by saying, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels.” The treasure is salvation and the gifts of ministering and teaching. Paul directs the church that if we will take care of the treasure, then God will take care of the vessel.
It is God’s gift working in us, we don’t have the right to lay personal claim to it, it is only energized by God’s power, anointing and His will. When you and I find the purpose of God in our lives, and then we can have our will become one with God’s will.
This is where the great anointing will come upon us to minister or to be the leader that God wants us to be.
The most frustrated man in the world is a man without a dream that has never become a reality. The poorest person in the world is the person that has never had a dream. Every leader needs to be prepared to function in that capacity. Preparation is vital. It can not be thrown together on the spur of the moment to get it done. You have to prepare and spend time in prayer. How it must grieve the heart of God when leadership, teachers, youth leaders, under preachers, evangelist, and pastors just haphazardly throw things together, step up, throw it all out and hope it works.
Not realizing that we are dealing with the eternal destiny of men and women. We are the only link they have to the spiritual realm and to God. We must have an understanding and capacity to fulfill and function in the position that God’s wants us to operate in.
Proper Preparation Is the Only Assurance Of a Leader Functioning Effectively For God!
Many greatly desire to be effective but far fewer are willing to pay the price of being made ready for the task.
We live in a no deposit no return society and that spirit and that attitude seems to permeate the mind and the spirit of many in the kingdom of God from the pew to the leadership. I’ll just walk in, praise God and say all the right things and we’ll have a good move of God, everything will be great and I’ll go on about my business.
There’s a little more involved than that. What we call a move of God sometimes sickens the mind and spirit of God. What we call a good service sometimes, is nothing more than a shallow, getting together, shouting a few hallelujahs and amen’s, and telling each other how well we’re doing. Then we bash the world we’re supposed to be ministering to.
Preparation Is Vital
We must be prepared. Paul instructed Timothy to study the word, so you can rightly divide the word of truth, so that you may have an answer for the hope that is with in you. My desire is to be effective. Desire is developed in time spent in His presence, the word, and in growing and expanding our ability for God to be able to use us. Many are good teachers and preachers.
Yet they are not effective because they do not spend enough time in God’s presence.
In the presence of God comes the anointing to break the yoke of bondage.
To become a good leader and minister, you have to spend time in God’s presence.
You have to be a follower. You can not be a leader until first you have followed someone. The disciples followed Jesus and then they received the Holy Ghost and the full revelation of the New Testament gospel. Then they became apostles. They were empowered and anointed at a greater level. They were now teachers and leaders instead of just followers. There are many in the body of Christ that have rebellious, un-teachable, and haughty spirits, as well as, prideful attitudes. They won’t follow anybody, but they want to be leaders. It can not happen. Before you can lead, you have to learn how to follow. People that try to be leaders that have never been good followers, will not develop good followers, either, because whatever is in our spirit is what we’re going to produce in other people. It is vital that we understand this. To be effective we must spend time in God’s presence. There is a price to pay. We have to be obedient and submissive to the authority that God has placed in our lives.
Many will come under the authority of a local church, but in their spirit they will not submit to that authority. This is where the downfall comes. Many come under the authority because they don’t want to be exposed for their real spirit and their real attitudes. If we’re challenging everything that those in authority have to say, then we are not under submission to that authority. God is going to send His anointing, direction, and guidance through the authority of those who are leading us.
If we are not in submission to that authority, we stop the process of God. When we submit the anointing of God can flow from those who are in authority into our lives as well. Anointing flows from the head down and not from the feet up!
There’s no such thing as a one man show, it’s going to take a team effort. Jesus was always in the team business, that’s why He called 12 disciples. Whether you are an aspiring teacher or minister as you are ministering to the multitudes, you will have to find someone to pour yourself into and that’s who you’re going to minister to and make disciples out of. Jesus ministered to the multitudes but He poured Himself into 12 men. That’s what leadership and ministry is all about. There are many converts but few disciples. The Greek word for preparation in the New Testament is to make one suitable, to be ready, adaptable or to be trained. You must have personal discipline in your life. That is the first priority.
You have to be able to say no to yourself and to things that come at you. You have to be able to keep your priorities straight and to be faithful. God demands faithfulness of people. If you are a fake and a put on, those people you stand in front of will be able to see right through that and it won’t take them long. They will not receive what you have to say. They will not have any respect for you. You can not demand respect, you must earn respect. We earn respect when we are faithful in our commitment to God and our service to God at whatever level we are at currently. A leader’s relationship with God is built upon Godly character and a depth in God’s word as well as a prayer life. Character must be developed, it’s not automatic. It is the seed of one’s moral being. The Holy Ghost can not put character in you. The Holy Ghost gives you what you need to develop character in yourself. The spirit of God will quicken your spirit through your study of the word so that you understand the principle of God’s word so you can develop Godly character. Character is displayed in the action of an individual under pressure. It’s not how well you perform when everyone agrees with you, when everyone is shouting and praising God. It’s how you react and respond when you’re under pressure. As we develop the ministry and leadership with in us, we must also develop character.
Titus 1:9 “Hold fast to the faithful word of God.”
Never be willing to compromise truth. Understand how to properly execute and use truth. Truth is not given to destroy but to set free and to bring light to a dark situation. Using truth to destroy others makes us become arrogant and self-righteous. This is not the will of God for us as saints, leaders, or ministers. We need to know the truth, and how to use the truth properly. We should not be double tongued. God does not need people to talk one way with one group and another way with another group. If you are under the authority of a pastor and he has spoken concerning a certain matter you need to submit to that authority whether you agree or not. If someone comes to you and asks your opinion about something, you need to say I don’t have an opinion, the pastor has already spoken and I am in agreement with him.
We can not afford to be double tongued or double minded if we are going to be involved in leadership and ministry.
Things we must ask ourselves to be good leaders:
Do I stay in close communion with God?
Do I accept the Bible as the Word of God?
Do I apply the Bible to my life or do I just try to get everyone else to do that?
Do I love God’s people?
Do I willingly submit to spiritual authority?
Do I love the sinner and the backslider?
Do I have a mature attitude in pressure situations?
Do I control my anger?
Do I forgive someone who deliberately ignores me?
Do I allow other peoples opinions or do I have to argue for my point of view?
Do I finish the project I began?
Do I put others before myself?
Do I freely admit when I am wrong?
Do I keep my promises and complete my commitments?
Do I accept and live in peace with the things I cannot change?
We must constantly ask ourselves these questions.
We want to be the leaders who looses and redeems the prisoner.
Psalms 116:16 makes reference to this: as a leader, you are one of God’s main instruments to deliver the spiritual prisoner. You must be equipped with the keys to the kingdom of God to open the doors of the people in bondage through the power of the Holy Spirit. Part of understanding how to minister to people is being able to discern why people are in prisons. Where are people at, what is their problem? You must be sensitive to the spirit of God and have a love and concern for people. God may be trying to deal with the person in bondage and trying to change some areas of his life. Is the person in prison because he has disobeyed what he was instructed to do? Joseph was in prison as part of the training, mentoring, molding, and shaping that God had to do in his life to make him the man that God knew he could be.
Samson was in prison because he had disobeyed what he had been instructed by the word of God to do. In ministering to people, you must be able to find out why they are where they are and why they are in the situation they are in. When we figure this out, we will know how to properly minister to them and set them free.
The Word of God has the power to set free!!
God wants us to develop the ministry with in us. God released Joseph from prison and exalted him to a high position in Egypt. But Samson’s disobedience meant his destruction. In Joseph’s case, God acted as the scriptural deliverer who looses the prisoner from the devil’s prison house of pride, anger, unbelief and disobedience.
To develop the ministry with in you, you must have a plan of action or a vision!
You must see it happen. Either you are endeavoring to bring people into the kingdom of God or working to stabilize those who are already in the kingdom to help them develop into full maturity. You will face the time test. The time test helps us find our particular position in the kingdom.
Habakkuk 2:3 “Though it tarries, wait on it.”
Having the vision of God is the source of patience. It gives us God’s true and proper inspiration. God impresses many things upon our mind, but He doesn’t always give us a time frame of when it will happen. If God doesn’t put a time frame on it, neither should you and I. We should be faithful in season and out. If we serve God faithfully, and do these things faithfully, we should see these things come to pass as God desires.
Moses endured, because he had a vision from God. He endured as seeing Him who was invisible according to Hebrews 11:27. To prove that you have a vision, you should be reaching out for more than you have already grasped. You must be careful not to live in the past, but build from the past. We must have an ongoing relationship with God. Everything that God wants to do for us is in a time frame called NOW!
What He’s done in the past declares His faithfulness. What He’s doing today declares is revelation. Truth is what God is; revelation is what God is doing currently in our lives and in the church. “Be not weary in well doing, for you shall reap in due season if you faint not.” Our reach must exceed our grasp. We never reach a point where we can sit back and say I’ve done it. We’re always constantly reaching beyond where we are and that is God’s desire and His will. God, through His spirit is always trying to push and lead us a little further and sometimes through pressures, situations, and circumstances. We must always be reaching beyond where we are. If we have nothing more than that which we have already experienced, then we have lost out vision. A vision is always in front of you. Even though you don’t have it yet, you are pursuing it and going for it.
Beware of spiritual relaxation. The vision must be transferred from your heart, to the heart of those you are trying to lead. That’s what leadership is about. Leadership is not about walking into someplace with a nametag on saying, “I’m in charge. I’ve been here longer than you.
This is the way some people look at leadership, though. We must pass the test the motivation test as well. This helps determine why you want to see something happen. During this time, we want to avoid frustrations. We need to forget past failures and past mistakes, and focus on the victories that are happening right now. Minimize your weaknesses. Capitalize your strengths. Do what you can and let God make up the difference. Do not get discouraged. Don’t let others destroy your visions and your goals. Remember we are here to lead and serve people. There is a problem with people who wrestle with being faithful in coming to church and call themselves leaders. This is a major problem.
Until this is mastered, they will not make good leaders or ministers. Many congregations are weak, shallow, frail, and in many cases an embarrassment to the truth of God’s word and to the apostolic message, because of a lack of faithfulness. Remember the will of God is for us to develop proper ministry and leadership in our lives. This is the only thing that God will bless. As a leader and a servant, people will abuse you and use you, yet you can’t get bitter, hateful, or resentful. You have to keep a right spirit. You must be people conscious at all times. You are a leader or minister every waking moment of you lives. This is not something you can pick up or take off when you feel like it. It’s what you are.
Well done is always better than well said!!
There are 3 attitudes of the heart that are essential for ministry:
- You must have a passion for God’s word – Neither the church, pastor, or teacher can make you spiritual, they can help direct you and put things before you that can help you develop spiritually. Becoming spiritual is our responsibility.
There is a difference between a spiritual experience and being spiritual. You can have a spiritual experience without becoming spiritual. Satan had a spiritual experience. He walked in heaven, communed with God, and directed the singing and choir of the heavenly host. He had some spiritual experiences. When it came to being spiritual he made a grave mistake, rose up in pride and rebellion and it caused him to be cast away from the presence of God. Just because you’ve had some spiritual experiences, does not make you spiritual. Living for God daily makes you spiritual. You must have a good diet of the word of God.
- Spend time in the presence of God. Humility in the spirit produces an anointing in your life. Develop a prayer life. Just because you are anointed to do certain things does not mean that God puts His approval upon every act of your life. Samson was anointed to be a deliverer, but God never approved of his adulterous lifestyle, his selfishness, his shallowness, his illogical thinking, his foolishness.
With the right environment almost anybody can get anointed, but this does not mean that God has stamped his approval on our entire life.
- We want an abiding anointing. We want that mantel of anointing to be on us every waking moment in our lives. This comes from having a passion for the Word of God.
The Leader Who Looses and Redeems the Prisoner
Psalms 116:16 “O Lord, truly thou hast loosed my bonds.”
A Christian leader is one of God’s main instruments to deliver the spiritual prisoner. God delivers through the church. We are a soul saving station, a spiritual hospital, light in darkness, salt to the earth, the power that breaks the forces of darkness and we are here to reach the lost and dying, to penetrate the darkness with the light of God’s power and word.
We must be equipped with the keys to the kingdom to open the doors of people’s bondage through the power of the Holy Ghost. We must have anointing, power, victory, and time with God to be an effective leader or minister. We must realize that every one can be saved and delivered. God has called us to loose the bonds, to set at liberty those who are in prison, and bring them out of darkness into the light.
In this hour we have to get back to Bible basics in order to have apostolic leadership. Our world is waiting on you and me right now.
The article “The Power of Leadership” written by James Holland was excerpted from Developing the Ministry within You, 2005. It may be used for study and research purposes only.