In my fifty years of ministry, I have found very few ministers that I would truly trust. I have found most ministers are not much different than a good car salesman, of who you never really know what you are going to get. Through the centuries, believers in Jesus Christ have been made to think they should trust those in leadership only to be deceived and lead in ways that do not resemble the truths that Jesus and the Holy Spirit teach. The Apostle Paul spent much time in his letters warning people to not be deceived by persuasive words of men (Colossians 2:4-8) or pulled away from the truth because many would come perverting the gospel (Galatians 1:6-10). For more than a millennium, church denominations have controlled and punished those who would not become subject to their specific teachings, of which were made from the traditions of men and not revelations from the Lord, God. Paul asked the Galatians, "Have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" Wars, persecutions, unwarranted executions, imprisonments, and conquering nations have been the misuses of leaders hiding under the name of Jesus Christ, just to carry out their deception that this is what God wants to be done.
Ministers have and still are misusing their positions in the five-fold ministry (Ephesians 4:11) to carry out their agenda, establishing themselves with prestige and honor in the sight of those they minister to. It is not the role of a minister to establish themselves in some high-holy position that requires or demands believers in Jesus Christ to be subject to them. Ministers are not to be people of position for the sake of lording or ruling, but people of service, love, and respect. Jesus told His apostles they would not rule over each other like the Gentiles (Matthew 20:25; Mark 10:42; 1Peter 5:3) but if you want to be a minister to the Lord, you will be a servant to the people, helping to them to come to the knowledge and truths of being a follower of Jesus Christ. This is by a willing heart, not controlling people with fear and intimidation. Priest, Popes, Cardinals, Pastors, Evangelists, Prophets, and Preachers have all misused their positions in the Body of Christ to carry out their agendas, building up great amounts of wealth and power that were never to be a part of the kingdom of God upon the earth.
Why is this? Why must the Body of Christ always be left with hopeless leadership and so few people who will truly do the right things right, when we have the Holy Spirit to lead us in all truth? Is it that hard to follow the Holy Spirit and do the things He shows us to do?
In all my fifty years of ministry, most of the ministries I have seen or were exposed to did ministry in ways I knew were not according to what our Lord, Jesus Christ would want. Denominations lead their people with administration procedures that are just procedures, not commands or revelations from the Lord. This could be due to many of these denominations do not believe you can hear from God or have a personal relationship with the Lord where someone could talk with Him. Most ministries I worked with in my first thirty years, taught that the twelve apostles of Jesus were the only ones to talk with Jesus after his resurrection and that all the revelation that God wants us to have is in the bible. God is still giving people revelation today, and that revelation agrees with the word of God. If you have an ear to hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
How can any of this change? People will be evil and evil seems to always prevail over good in life!
So where is our hope?
1Corinthians 15:19 says, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."
Our hope is in Jesus Christ, and we must start by doing things God's way!
Ministry must be done God's Way
Ministers must put away their practices that are traditions of men or doing things the way it has always been done, and learn the ways of God. They must hold to the truths of the Bible and depend upon the Holy Spirit to guide them in these truths. Where denominations and ministries have practiced things that lead to lording over people or gathering large amounts of wealth for personal gain, ministers must stand against these things and not allow them to take place in their churches and personal lives. We should never allow denominations to control our teaching and our practices as churches. We should develop our church organizations according to the revelations we receive from the Lord and the Bible. Then we let the Holy Spirit guide us in ways to carry out God's will for His church in our ministries. We should be servants to the people God gives us responsibilities over, remembering that the Lord has a specific agenda for this individual group of people. Ministers are His tool to convey His agenda and lead them to hear God's voice and the Holy Spirit, so they can become what the Lord has created them for. Too often, ministers are afraid if the people start hearing God, they will not need them any longer. The truth is every ministry needs its ministers because this is how God continues to convey His revelation to the people of that ministry.
In Leviticus 10:1-3 we have the record of Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron the High Priest, misusing the information they had just been given from the Lord, to establish their way of ministering instead of doing ministry the way God command. In Chapter 9 God established Aaron and his sons as the priest of the nation of Israel, to minister before the Lord and present offerings for the people. After they were sanctified before the nation by doing specific ordinances, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people showing them that this was God's way for the priests to carry out their ministries under the covenant of Moses. In Chapter 10 Aaron's two elder sons chose to do their ministry by using fire that was not sanctified, and the two sons were consumed by the profane fire and died.
Some might think this was a drastic measure for just making some fire for worshiping the Lord. God is very serious about ministry and He is very specific about how he wants ministers to carry out ministry. The first thing God requires of ministers is that they are found faithful to do things the way He commands for them to be done. Under the covenant of Moses, ministers received death for not paying attention to details. When these two sons built their fire and did not use the sanctified fire, it was considered profane in the eyes of the Lord. God wanted fire sanctified his way and He intended on the priest to follow His command. There were many such commands in for the priests under the Law of Moses and not following them could mean death for the ones to disobeyed God's details.
Under the new covenant of Jesus Christ, ministers still need to pay attention to the ways God wants to carry out ministry. Many of these ways are not so noted in the scriptures but are received by revelation through the Holy Spirit. Not following God's commands today does not always cause ministers to receive physical death, though it could, however spiritual death for the ministry is a likely outcome. God will simply withdraw the Holy Spirit from them (Revelation 2:5). There will be no guidance in truth and no protection of the Lord Himself. This spiritual death can be dangerous and leaves people open to the desires of the devil or even the punishment from the Lord (Revelation 2:23-24). This is why many churches today have fellowship together but their churches are dead. Nothing is going on to progress in truth and spirit, and the Holy Spirit does not feel welcome in their worship or services.
We must learn to do the right things right! The right things according to the Word of God and the move of the Holy Spirit. If we are going to find out what the right things are we must depend upon the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth. Then as we have confidence in the guidance of the Holy Spirit we can do things, knowing what we are doing will change the hearts of men and change the standard of life for all people. Christians overthrew the Roman Empire by doing these very things.
Ministers must Learn to have Integrity
Some people look at integrity as being your reputation, while others consider integrity as being something that does not matter because no one is that honest anymore. The problem is God does intend for all Christians to walk in integrity because it is part of His character. When we are saved we have Jesus living and abiding in us and now we are to start living according to the character of Jesus Christ. Integrity is part of the character of our Lord.
The Bible says, "The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him." (Proverbs 20:7).
Some definitions of integrity are:
Being true and honest
Keeping your promises
Paying what you owe
Keeping the laws
Standing on good values without compromise
Refusing to be bought, sold, or bribed.
My definition of integrity is perfecting rightness; your dependability to do things right.
When ministers let the character of the Lord come out of them, their ministry will begin to take on a character of integrity. Truth and rightness will become what people see as their ministries start helping people experience the good things that the ministry can do for communities. Churches will become something people can trust again, and individuals will start hearing from the Lord through these ministries of integrity.
Most ministries spend more time trying to build up money than trying to build up the people of their communities. Pastors become managers of the business of raising money instead of showing people how a life in Christ will change your life in such a way you can overcome the many things that disable you each day. Instead of teaching people how to have integrity, many ministers use all of their energy to build a ministry that can take care of them and their families. This is not what ministry is about.
Ministers must go back to work.
The more exposure I get to ministries around the world the more I see ministers losing standards of integrity by following the traditions of men when it comes to supporting their families and personal welfare. There is a dangerous tradition that once a person surrenders to the call of the ministry of Jesus Christ, they should quit their job and only work as a minister. This tradition is being taught throughout the Middle East, Asia, and large parts of Africa. Most people entering into ministry will stop working their secular jobs and start depending upon the churches to care for them because they are now in the fulltime ministry. This tradition has led people to believe Jesus will care for their every need because they have committed themselves to Jesus Christ. I am sure this tradition was founded upon the examples where Jesus sent out the seventy disciples and told them to go with only the clothes they were wearing (Matthew 10:10; Mark 6:8-9; Luke 10:4). Jesus did tell them to go and depend upon each house that opened up to them and to dust off their feet to those who do not care for them. This was an isolated purpose that was used to make the nation of Israel aware of the ministry of Jesus Christ. Once they returned from their journey they were never sent out that way again. People will use these three examples as a foundation for dusting off their feet to those who do not support them in ministry, yet there are no other examples given by Jesus Christ to have the attitude of dusting off your feet to those who reject you. The Great Commission, given to us in Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-18; and Luke 24:46-47, never included what to take nor did it come with instructions to go unto the world and depend upon others to care for you as the limited commission was for the seventy disciples.
If you are called into the ministry you are still obligated to care for yourself and our family. The Apostle Paul instructed Timothy if anyone does not provide for his own and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever (1Timothy 5:8). There are no stronger words than saying a person has denied the faith if they fail to provide for their household. Paul reminded the Thessalonians that his missionary team did not burden them with caring for their needs and that all on his team worked with their hands to care for their personal needs while they ministered among them (2Thessalonians 3:7-10). He said they did this that they might make themselves an example of how you should follow us (2Thess 3:9).
There are only two reasons anyone should not work to provide for their family when they are ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ: the ministry they have is capable of carrying for their needs or the Lord has told them to not work.
If the ministry can provide enough to care for a minister's family on a level much like what everyone else has, this should be enough for the minister to not need another job for additional income. Ministers should learn to be satisfied with the incomes they receive from their ministries and allow the vision of the ministry to grow their income as the ministry expands. If this is not enough to provide for a living, the ministering family should seek other sources of income until the ministry can make the necessary provisions.
If God has told a person not to work, they should not work on anything but what they were instructed to do. The Lord will supply every need if a minister will have faith to follow the Lord's command. This is not an easy way to live even knowing it is what the Lord wants. You should never use this way of life to make people believe you have strong faith because you do not work. You can go hungry and your family will suffer for your selfish pride. It is not your responsibility to make people become the blessings of the Lord for your family, this is the Lord's doing. A minister that is told not to work should do it quietly with humility gentleness. Making a lot of noise over the fact that you do not have an income takes away from the integrity of your ministry. The Lord will move upon people and organizations to care for you and you never have to say a thing, if He expects you to not work and build the ministry. Otherwise, you should work in addition to the ministry so that your family can be provided for.
You have to do things God's way, even if it means to work on a secular job and minister at the same time.
Ministry is not Just About Money
God has been instructing me and giving me revelations on how to build Bless Ministries USA for twenty-five years, giving me deeper insights into the ways this monumental worldwide ministry can be launched with very little money. He has shown us specific things we are to share and help our partners in ministry to understand. The greatest thing the Lord has pressed upon us is to help ministry around the world to understand is good ministry is not based upon how much money you have but how much desire to reach out and show the love of God by being the love of God to those you are ministering to. Most people measure ministry as being the things they are doing to fill the needs of the people. These are necessary things but ministry should first teach the gospel then help people understand how to live as believers. Compassion causes us to reach out and feed the hungry, care for the sick and build up our communities. You really can't separate these things from true ministry, but we must understand until we are sharing the gospel and showing people how to live as believers, we miss our first responsibility. Ministries around the world tend to do this backward. They expect God to give them money first so they can show compassion and do the good works of ministry. God is trying to get ministers to understand the root that continues to cause their need, so they can overcome the problem and the need will go away. The problem is not that God has not given them money through the ministry, the problem ministers face is they will not provide for themselves until ministry is large enough to make the provision.
You take a man fishing that does not know how to fish, so his family will have food for that day. The problem is the next day the need for food returns. If you teach this same man how to fish by himself, he will always have fish to feed his family as long as the fish supply is there to find. Then teach the man more ways to find fish and help him to understand the need to teach his family what he has learned. This man will do away with the problem that his family is hungry. Some of the things the Lord has been teaching me for the past twenty-five years are things that will help ministry around the world develop ways to sustain the ministry and care for those ministers and their families that are suffering because of the poverty they live in.
Ministry is not just about the money, but the ministry needs money. Ministry is sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ as you show the love of God to those of your community. Once the community starts responding to the gospel and your love for them, then you need money to help fill the needs people are facing in life. Money cares for the need, not the ministry. Ministry is propelled by the heart and our love for God and people. Needs are filled with wisdom and finances to build what you have learned in ministry. This is why I have said for years, “If you are not good at building a ministry without money, you will be lousy at building ministry with money." Ministers can become irresponsible with the money the Lord has given them to build the ministries if they were not able to build ministry without money from the beginning. This is why I stress so much for ministers to work with what they have and build the ministry. God will add to their little, and bring it to much. This builds integrity in the minister and the ministry. People will trust those who minister with a desire to help build the character of people through Christ instead of the fake that comes from ministers that work only for what they can get from the ministry. We minister to help the inward needs of people, putting the kingdom of God first (Matthew 6:33), then our personal needs will be met by the ministry we have built with integrity. This may take many years to accomplish, but when the ministry finally reaches a level strong enough to supply its demands, all the provisions for the pastor and ministers will be there to care for them and their families that work in that ministry.
Another thing the Lord has pressed upon me to help ministries understand is the problem that ministers around the world believe they should stop working to supply for their personal needs when they answer the call to ministry. This has become a great epidemic with believers worldwide. Because Jesus first sent his disciples with only what they had on them, most ministers have this evil concept that they should give up their jobs and start ministering the gospel. What most do not realize is these men were willing to live with nothing to preach the gospel, which most ministers are not willing to do. I know most are not willing to live with nothing because I am reminded by them all the time how hard it is to live in their poverty. If a minister is not willing to live in poverty while ministering the gospel, they must do something about it and not require ministry to provide for them. I have been a minister of the gospel for fifty years and I have only had enough to supply for my family full-time for eight years. The rest of the time my wife and I have had to work on secular jobs to supply for our needs. The Apostle Paul and his missionary team faced this same problem and he solved it by working secular trades while ministering as missionaries (Acts 18:3; 20:33-35). This same problem existed in Paul’s day, that ministers thought they should not work and let the ministry care for their needs. Paul stressed to the believers in Thessalonica that if they would not work, they should not eat. Paul and his missionary team did work with their hands to provide their personal need while they continued ministering the gospel to them (2Thessalonians 3:6-10).
What to do when the communities are so poor?
Poverty has been a longstanding problem for many of the nations of the world. When a community or nation has most of its people living in poverty, it is very difficult to find work that will sustain a family. For this reason, people mustn't use the ministry for an answer to provide for their families. If communities are poor they have nothing to give as offerings to the ministries reaching out to them. All the poorest communities can do is ask for help, not offer help.
Communities can change from poor to being self-sustaining when ministries preach with integrity. Doing the right things right by first showing how we are changed in Christ, will set examples that can filter into the local communities. When pastors and ministers are doing things that help to sustain themselves, the community will take notice.
Ministers of Integrity are examples for those who believe.
We have the Word of God to show us God's ways (Psalm 119:105).
We the Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth (John 16:13).
We hear the voice of God as He speaks to us and gives us revelation (John 8:47; 10:27).
We have the favor of God that goes before us who walk in faith (Psalm 5:12).
We have the results of this lifestyle sustaining us as we experience the blessings of God (Hebrews 11:6).
Because of their need, ministers should start growing vegetables from the land that is around the buildings they live in or they meet in as a church. These vegetables should be used to help the ministering families and the church families as the pastor teaches all the people how to grow and harvest the vegetables. They keep some for the families working to grow the food; they put some aside to sell to have money for the ministry and needs of the people; they let some of the vegetables grow into seeds for growing more vegetables. The pastor and church reach out to the orphans in their community, providing for them with places to live. They teach the orphans how to grow the vegetables and, they too, enjoy the benefits of growing their food. If some of the church members start raising livestock for food, milk, and eggs, this too can be used to help people provide for their food supply. Now the church members, the orphans, and ministers can live by growing and raising their own food. The sales of the excesses bring money into the work of the church and those families helping with the work. The result is a change in the way people are living in their community that once suffered from poverty.
This might not be large changes at first, but if a minister will have the courage to step out and lead by example: growing his food first; then local communities will start to see they can care for themselves. You do not have to wait for someone to come in with money and provide food or clothing. Ministers can start making a difference immediately by simply growing their own food any way they can. This might require you to use strips of land alongside the building, pots, and containers, or even old tires. Old tires are usually laying around in most communities. By gathering these tires up, it helps to clean up the community and if you stack them two tires high around the building, you can put soil in the tires and plant seeds in them. The tires keep the soil from washing away while the vegetables grow.
These are just a few ideas that can change a community if the people will be willing to do the work.
As the community improves through the work of ministry, the ministry can start to sustain the ministers. Everyone in the community will take notice that these changes help and they will begin to have hope that something can be done, without the help of other outside assistance. This will build up a community to have integrity and the ministry will maintain integrity.
If the senior ministers in ministry will then step out and use the hope being built up in their community as an opportunity to train people, they can open a bible college to educate the community and ministers on a higher level. Using good courses and experienced ministers the bible college can be used to train people in ministry with integrity. Using the techniques we provide through Manthano School of Ministries, a ministry can develop the skills of their people so that all these ideas are manifested into reality for their community.
Growth comes to a community by people having the courage to become educated and then activating the things they have learned into actual practices. If you will use the things shared in this study, you can truly make a difference in your community through your ministry. Ministers and churches must start building a ministry that has integrity, honesty, and hope for the people they minister to. Let the Holy Spirit help you build these things in your ministry as you step out and start doing something. If you need more guidance or have other questions concerning these things, please contact us by using the contact tab in the main menu.
We desire that you become self-sustained in your ministry so that you can show other ministries how to do the same. God bless you as you continue to grow and see the hand of the Lord moving in your ministry.