Who is Qualified to Minister Who?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

As a minister and pastor I find myself ministering to those who have experienced things in their lives that I have never encountered. They live through x, y, and z daily while I have no clue what it is to live in that way.

But God sees fit for our paths to cross, He'll pour out of me and they walk away healed and delivered.

I gave this some thought because of some things I've heard from behind the pulpit and even on TV. And that is, how can "you" effectively minister to me the x, y, and z when you've never experienced or been through x, y, and z?

Let's look at Jesus our elder brother and perfect example.

Jesus was never a fornicator, but was able to minister to the woman at the well.

Jesus was never blind, but opened blinded eyes.

Jesus was never possessed by a demon, but was able to cast out devils.

Jesus never had leprosy, but healed the leprous.

So you have to ask, how was Jesus able to minister to people who were so unlike himself? The scriptures teach that he was tempted as we are but without sin. He was very much acquainted with our sorrows and griefs...yet without sin. And he was still able to heal and deliver.

Jesus said he came to do the will of his father. He had no agenda other than the one his father laid out for him. He worked the works of him who sent him.

If Jesus who knew no sin was able to minister to the sinner, surely I can minister to the drunk even though I've never been drunk.


Because I'm not ministering out of myself.

As ministers we have to realize it's not about us.

We're not supposed to minister out of ourselves in the first place. Flesh will fail you every time.

We must depend on something much greater than ourselves. We must solely depend on Holy Spirit to do what needs to be done. The spirit of God knows all things and it's Holy Spirit who should be in operation when we minister. It's the word of the Lord speaking to that person through us. It's the Spirit discerning the hearts of men and tells you exactly what needs to be done for that person to receive what God has for them.

When we depend on ourselves, when we depend on our education, when we depend on anything or anyone else but the Spirit of God to minister we dismiss the possibility for the miraculous. We fore go true deliverance and repentance when we do it ourselves.

So who is qualified to minister to who?

The minister who is devoted and dependent on God, who is led and operates by the Spirit of God is qualified to get the job done. Holy Spirit is very effective regardless of a man's past.

So be encouraged man and woman of God. When God sends people so unlike yourself for you to minister too...take heart...it's the Spirit of God who will minister through you and bring about God's desired results. You don't have to do anything but remain yielded to the Spirit and that should be comforting!

God Bless!


They Come with the Building

Friday, September 19, 2008

Who are the they you ask?

The cons.

The homeless.

The mentally ill.

The abused.

After you've had your last service in your home or hotel and you're in your building you can expect these souls to show up at your church's doorstep.

The Cons
Some of the stories are so over the top you know immediately that there's not a shred of truth to what they're saying. But they will press you hard for your cash and say whatever they need too to get you to part with it. We found more times than not drug use was at the root of these elaborate stories.

We encountered one woman who claimed to have run from an abusive situation with her children from another state. We never saw the children. They were always with someone else which we found odd since she was new to the city. We called the shelter where she was supposedly moved to by police escort just to validate her story. Someone at the shelter confirmed her story but it still didn't sit right. We used a bit of wisdom and only parted with some household items and a few groceries. She came a few times and again never with the kids and then we never heard from her again. We tried to followup but to no avail.

The lesson here is to use wisdom. Validate and confirm stories if you can and follow the Holy Spirit's leading. I know some churches and pastors never give out cash. Having a stash of gift cards for gas, groceries, fast food restaurants, etc. may be a far better option.

The Homeless and the Mentally Ill
At our first Hallelujah Night celebration, I'll never forget the lady who was told by the maintenance crew to stay in the bushes in front of the church for the night since she had no where to go. Apparently she had just gotten off a Greyhound bus and was trying to find family here in Houston. Her mental health wasn't stable and after the service we started calling around to different shelters to see if they could take her in.

That's when I learned the important lesson of keeping a list of nearby shelters handy. That day I also discovered that all the shelters in the area had a 5 p.m. check in time and if you weren't in by then you were forced to sleep on the street. So we paid for her to stay in a nearby motel for the night, bought her a meal and for that she was extremely grateful.

After that experience we introduced ourselves to assistance ministries and shelters in the area. We also mapped out all the motels within a five-mile radius of the church too. We didn't have the capacity to take these people in and needed to know where to direct them when they showed up at our doorstep.

The Abused
This is a very real issue in the church today. Women who are battered by their husbands, boyfriends will call on you for help. You'll need to direct them to a safe place. And know that even if you lead them to a safe place, sometimes they go back to their abusers or they enter new relationships with the same type of man. Sometimes they do the hard work of looking inward and allow Holy Spirit to change them and heal them.

In all these instances it's important to show the love of Christ and exercise wisdom and discernment.

I highly suggest you compile your own list of motels, homeless shelters and women shelters when you do finally crossover into your own building. Because the hurting in your community come with the building.

Be blessed,

Pastor Lisa


Pastor as Manager

Sunday, September 14, 2008

In the beginning stages of ministry you're most likely to have a core group of believers who get along well. But the day will come when the ministry will grow and personality conflicts will arise and you'll discover that your calling to pastor is also a call to manage. For instance, how do you deal with those who are highly opinionated and very vocal with their opinions? How do you protect the sheep from their vocal opinions and still nuture the call of God in this person? Believe it or not we all come with our issues and we all fall into certain personality characteristics and yet God still calls us.

In addition to being a pastor my husband works a traditional 9-to-5. He is a supervisor at a very large corporation and has had the benefit of management training through the company. This training has served the ministry well. Because part of his training included understanding personality traits, managing people of various traits and getting them to work together for the overall goal of getting the job done.

How do you do this you ask?


Pastor Chuck Smith said that wisdom is the implementation of knowledge. So knowledge gained through life experiences, Holy Spirit's teaching and even corporate training properly implemented is wisdom in action.

The first thing my husband told me was not to take any of it personally. You work for God Inc. if you will and represent your CEO. And like God told Samuel when the Children of Israel clamored for a king, it's not you they've rejected but me. You'll be able to think and respond clearly to any situation if you don't take any of it personally. The minute you do, your feelings get in the way, you start to make assumptions and you can't make a wise decision or hear Holy Spirit speak for that fact. Do not take any of it personally. This can be hard to do but it is possible and required if you want to effectively manage and lead the group God has given you. It is definitely a goal to aspire to.

While we don't believe or support zodiac signs there are personality traits that have been researched, categorized and written about to help those in management positions. These group studies help you understand just who you're working with and how to interact with them and most important how to get them to work together.

There's a personality trait called "The Sniper." This person waits for the right opportunity to unload a criticism, judgement in order to do the most damage. You never hear from them otherwise, but out of the blue they come with this one shot that's intended to kill! But no weapon formed against us prospers right? So knowing that you're not to take it personally, you know that this is the persons Modus Operandi, you can draw on your knowledge and respond in wisdom. Especially if "The Sniper" holds any leadership positions within the ministry.

Understanding personalities and how to work within them in order to get people to work together to support the vision of the house and advance the Kingdom is key for God Inc. managers (i.e. pastors).

There are many personality trait articles you can reference online. They're all pretty consistent and will benefit you as a pastor. Recognize these traits, learn the best ways to work with people who possess these traits and allow Holy Spirit to display wisdom through you in the most difficult or troublesome situations.

The person who successfully pastors understands those whom he leads and knows how to get God's best out of them.


You can preach and teach the house down...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

And some people will choose to walk away.

God can give you a word for them that will change their very lives and they won't listen.

They won't put the word in action.

The pull of the world, the pull of old lovers, the pull of the old lifestyle is great and they succumb.

We have had people tell us that they knew for a fact that God had sent them to our ministry. That in Zion is where their deliverance and spiritual growth lied. This is what they told us. They sought us out and pledged their dedication and commitment. They stay for a few Sundays, start to miss a few, and then they're MIA.

As much as I want these precious souls to walk out their faith, to trust God with their lives, to depend and lean on the Word of God, I can't do it for them. And I tell them so. We are all responsible for working out our own souls salvation.

But it hurts sometimes. You preach, you teach, you pray, you labor, you're their biggest cheerleader and they walk away. They willingly decide to go back to their old lives. I hurt and not because I feel I've wasted time or energy. I grieve because I know this grieves the heart of the Father. I hurt because I know that they've rejected God not me. You see great potential, great giftings and callings being wasted and neglected. You see the enemy further tightening his grips and you want to set them free. But they are not looking to be free. They willingly go back. They willingly embrace this dance with the devil. They choose not to fight. They believe the lie that living for God is too hard and they are incapable of doing so.

You want to shake them and yell at them that they can do this but that might be viewed as assault and land you in jail. So you're left to pray for those saints out on the lam.

One day they may return and as the word declares more than likely with seven other devils that will need to be cast out. Be prepared. Love 'em unconditionally. Pour into them what God gives you. This time they may very well stay long enough to become totally rooted and grounded in their faith.

So even though you preach the house down, you teach with all clarity some folk will opt out. They'll look at God's offer on the table and say, "No thank you." Some will reject the call.

Keep preaching, keep teaching and keep praying.

Because someone will hear the word and it will be life for them. The word you preach will be light turned on in their darkness. Keep sowing man and woman of God.

Be blessed,

Pastor Lisa


My favorite resources

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

When we first started out in ministry we were on a very tight budget and had to find some resourceful ways to get things done. I've also included a few of my absolute must-haves! So without further adieu ... here we go!

1. http://www.usedpews.com/ - You can find used church pews, church chairs by region on this site. All priced for the small budget.

2. http://www.craigslist.org/ - This was my favorite place to shop when we first started. Find your city and start browsing. We bought our sound equipment from a seller on Craigslist. The seller had acquired all the sound system from the Compaq center here in Houston before its conversion into a mega church! We bought our Hammond organ from Craigslist at a incredible price! Our organ even comes with a bit of history and we have a picture of the original owner!

3. http://www.ebay.com/ - We purchased our communion ware and hymnals from eBay from a local Houston seller! We've even bought cassocks and our wooden podium from eBay.

4. Uniflex - The customer service is unrivaled! They are a Texas church chair manufacturer and I can't say enough good things about this company. If you're going to pay in excess of $30/chair buy from someone who offers impeccable service!

5. http://www.freecycle.org/ - The saying one man's trash is another man's treasure is lived out on this site. You join the community nearest you or your church. When someone is giving away something you can use, you send the poster a request. We used Freecycle for our children and outreach ministry. We received lots of construction paper, wrapping paper absolutely free.

Then there are a few resources I've grown to rely on in ministry. They are featured in the Amazon.com ad to your right.

1. Inspired by the Bible - Audio version of the Bible in mp3 format. Great for the commute for the working pastor.

2. Breaking Intimidation - This book ought to be required reading for all those starting out in ministry. Pastor Elgin and I HIGHLY recommend this book! Add it to your library today!

3. Roget's Bible Thesaurus - We've found this tool to be indispensable! Search the scriptures by theme! Wonderful aid for preparing your messages!


Pastor Lisa


The Deep and Wonderful

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Coming to a new church plant near you.

If you haven't experienced the deep and wonderful yet...be patient you will.

Pastor Elgin and I were having dinner with another couple in ministry and we discussed this phenomenon. The deep and wonderful come to "help" you with your small fledgling upstart of a ministry. They know more than you do and you should be overwhelmed with gratitude that they have come to bail you out. They want the pulpit, they want access to the sheep and they can't wait to get the microphone.

Our pastor friend said one such person approached them and stated that they had come to help him in ministry. Our friend responded...I'm not looking for help. My wife and I are doing just fine...what we need are committed and faithful people to submit and support the vision of this house. That was enough to send the deep and wonderful packing.

As we were beginning in ministry God spoke to watch out for those who offer "help." He spoke that their real purpose was to change the spirit of what was Zion and we would be in great error if we allowed that to happen.

I spoke with another pastor and they told me that "prophet so-and-so" came to their church and wanted the pulpit. Wanted to be ordained immediately. My pastor friend said that was nice but what they needed was to go through new members class first and foremost. Well prophet so-and-so wasn't about to have that. They went to the church down the street and tore it up. The church ended up splitting behind prophet so-and-so's foolishness.

And apparently small new church plants aren't the only targets for the deep and wonderful. You've got to read the experience first hand of good friend Pastor Deanna. She and her husband pastor the Northside Assembly of God Church in Florida. And their ministry is well-established and flourishing! It was absolutely hilarious. You can read about her encounter here.

So as you begin in ministry, know that it's only a matter of time before the deep and wonderful show up offering their help. Show them the love of Christ, hold on tight to your microphone and keep preaching the Gospel. Your ministry may be small right now but you're in no way desperate. God's word will be fulfilled and you don't need or want a contrary spirit/vision loose in the ministry.

Be not weary in well doing; for in due season you will reap if you faint not.

No matter how attractive their help seems; wait God out to fulfill His word.

Be blessed today,

Pastor Lisa


Character and Integrity Matter

Friday, August 29, 2008

As you start off in ministry know that your character and integrity matter.

What we see now in the body is a lack of these attributes of those in ministry positions.

But character and integrity count - especially now.

If I could encourage any new pastor, minister, evangelist it would be to remain focused on the One who called you; not the calling itself. Where character and integrity come into question is when something else has taken priority; when your vision shifts. And it's so easy to do. You get wrapped up in finding a building, furnishing the facility, maintaining the facility, evangelizing, reaching out to members and the list goes on and on. To stay in that place of preoccupation can lead you down a path you never intended.

Staying madly in love with Jesus will be the key to maintaining your character and integrity. Your love for Him won't let you willingly dishonor Him, the position you hold, your spouse and family and those you lead.

When it becomes our church, our members, our plans we surely set ourselves up to an attack on our character and integrity. All of a sudden there are shades of gray where there were none before. The power you walk in can be intoxicating and many have fallen thinking that they controlled the power. Not so.

Character and integrity says what you do in private counts.

Character and integrity says how you live outside the church counts.

Character and integrity says how you handle your personal business counts.

Character and integrity says how you treat your spouse counts.

Character and integrity says how you interact with your children counts.

Eyes firmly attached to the Promise Keeper and not so much the promise will keep you when your character and integrity even your faith are challenged.

Be blessed everyone,

Pastor Lisa


Please and Thank You Required

Thursday, August 28, 2008

As a leader these should not be foreign words you use to those who help support the vision.

Armor bearers aren't personal servants, errand boys/girls and even if these precious people do go beyond the call of duty and minister in this way; please and thank you ought to be uttered frequently and sincerely.

Want to keep your support staff? Show them appreciation for all they do. One sure way to keep a revolving door in your ministry is to not show appreciation to those work closely with you in supporting the vision. They don't have to do what they do. There are hundreds of other ministries where they could serve.

Ungratefulness and the attitude that that's what they're supposed to do will surely have you surrounded by people who don't have your back 100 percent and that will reflect in the way they serve.

Want to build a support staff that will fight for the vision? Show them the appreciation they deserve.


When Good People Leave

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It happens to every pastor.

The abrupt departure of good key people from your ministry. Some people you're happy to see go (I'm just being real here) but others leave and it hurts.

A close pastor friend counseled me that people will leave...let them go. When bitter people leave definitely let them go and don't grant them an exit interview. This usually turns into a trash you and the church session which you're not called to endure. Wise words.

A young couple joined our ministry right after we started and left just after our first church anniversary. I was wounded. I felt betrayed! God hadn't told us that there stay was going to be short. We thought these would be pillars in the ministry. And at first I responded like most hurt folk...I cut her off. She left our church! And this is such a common response in the body and it's really sad because it shouldn't be this way.

After a year, she and I reestablished our relationship. We've gone out to lunch, we pray for one another, we encourage one another and even though the relationship is different it's one I'm glad to have.

One Sunday while I was ministering she walked through the door with another young lady! She told me after service that Holy Spirit spoke to her and said she had to be in Zion with the young lady. This was of the utmost importance. So they came and the word was in an in season word for the young lady who came. She has committed to come back.

Now had I still been full of myself and tripping, yesterday would have never happened. She would not have felt comfortable stepping foot in our ministry if the relationship was still strained.
We have to allow Holy Spirit to heal us when good folk leave and come to grips with the fact that people are redirected. When we first started in ministry God said you have no people. Those I put in your care are mine. Well that will keep your perspective straight. And if He redirects people, allows them to leave we have to be OK with what God allows. And know that the Father sees and knows and is not going to leave you without help to support the vision.

So when good people leave your ministry...and they will...allow Holy Spirit to heal the hurt and disappointment. As much power resides in you try to live peaceable with all men. Try and keep the relationship even though it will obviously be different. You never know if they'll come back and bring someone to your ministry for you to care for.


How Not To Do It

"Don't lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your good example." - 1 Peter 5:3 NLT

Are you called to be a leader in the home, the workplace or the church? Do you aspire to leadership? If so, you need to know thisabout the current generation: they are unwilling to submit to (or even follow for that matter) those who practice the old "top down" style of leadership that says, "I'm in charge, and the sooner you figure that out the better." You cannot demand leadership; you must earn it every day. How? By being a servant!

By putting others first and yourself last, you model the very truth Jesus taught and practiced. None of us have been called to be at the top of the pyramid. That position belongs to Christ. The New Testament model for leadership is an inverted pyramid with you at the bottom, supporting the others, holding them up, bringing out the best in them, laying aside your own comfort and desires to serve those you're called to lead so that the job can get done with efficiency. This means gently correcting mistakes and tying up loose ends while people learn. It also calls for breaking a sweat and getting dirt under your fingernails.

A.W. Tozer wrote: "A true and safe leader is likely to be one who has no desire to lead, but is forced into a position of leadership by the inward pressure of the Holy Spirit, and the press of the external situation. A person who is ambitious to lead is disqualified as a leader. The true leader will have no desire to lord it over God's heritage, but will be humble, gentle, self-sacrificing and altogether as ready to follow as to lead, when the Spirit makes it clear that a wiser and more talented man than himself has appeared."

Reposted by permission from http://www.jathministries.com/.


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