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Your local church is the most important gift God has given you outside of the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is the body of Jesus Christ on earth and God is building the church right now and fitting you into it. You can either work with this process or work against it, but until you find the right place in your local church, you will never flow in your destiny.
Obviously, the basics are go to church and be there: get involved in a small group and make some friends and serve. My friend Duane Sheriff says Christians will never grow unless they do three things: 1. attend local church consistently, 2. join a small group, 3. serve in the church. I believe that very much so.
But let’s step beyond that. Here are 5 ways you can find your place and walk in step with your local church:
- Grasp the Vision of the House
- For example, our vision is for a church “Full of the Word, Full of the Spirit, Full of the Nations, Filled With Love”. If you don’t like 50 minute sermons, filling you up with God’s Word and priming you for victory and life, you probably won’t fit in at Tree of Life. If you hate the gifts of the Spirit, you won’t like us. If you want to be in a church that is just your nationality, you won’t fit in here. And if you are not prepared to be part of a small group and get to know some people – you will miss out.
- People often want to change our church – preach less, stop the gifts of the Spirit, I want the church to be more black, less black; can we have a mid-week service and a weekly prayer night. No – we are keeping to the heavenly vision.
- If you want to fit into your church, learn to flow with their vision.
- Grasp the Culture of the House
- Our culture is the Word – what is the Scripture. We reject things you cannot find in the Bible no matter which big name speaker is on God TV saying it. Many people can’t deal with that, they are media driven not Spirit led. That’s not healthy.
- What is the culture of your church? We have a culture of life long learning, a culture of a balance between inspiration and challenge. Culture matters.
- Follow the Standards of the House
- We expect our people to be faithful – to their spouses, to each other, to the church. We expect honesty and integrity from our leaders. That won’t change.
- Find out the teachings of the House
- We teach the complete work of Christ. That’s central to us. We teach spirit, soul and body. If you don’t accept these teachings, it won’t work. You need to learn what your church is teaching and grasp it.
- Follow the emphasis of the House
- Right now we are emphasising great overflow. We always emphasise health and prosperity. We always emphasise the Word of God.
- Don’t march to your own band, march with the house – it will be better for you!
It’s so important you catch what is going on in your local church. It’s how you will develop.
How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? (John 5.44)
I believe that looking for the honour of man is the greatest influence on people today that takes them away from the leading of the Spirit of God. The honour of man is having other people admire you and respect you. It’s nice when it happens, but it should never be our motivation as Christians.
It’s amazing but people will buy a car to get other people to honour them, they will marry someone because someone who isn’t in the marriage will respect them, they choose a church on the basis of what others think, they choose a house on what others think, they eat food that impresses others! It’s amazing, but true!
And it can be the most tragic force in the universe.
- I have seen people turn down the heavenly calling to be a pastor because it does not bring honour to them with their family, the friends, people around.
- I have seen other people turn down the church that God is calling them to pastor, to build, to grow – and take a church that has more honour of man.
- I have seen people marry the wrong person because the community approves – oh, it’s so nice that person married a doctor. Yet they never ask the Holy Spirit to lead them, and problems come around!
- I have seen preachers change their message and change their vision to impress and get honour from those around them, rather than preach the truth in love.
- I have seen people hold back from using the gifts of the Spirit in case they lose the honour of people
- I have seen people not enter full time ministry because they want the respect and admiration of men
- I have seen people get into terrible debt to buy things to impress others!
- I have seen minister’s afraid of talking about money and raising money to change the world because they do not want to lose the respect of people
And they love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called men, Rabbi (Matt. 23.6-7)
I have seen it – pastors clamouring to sit in the best seats, make sure they are in the right row. I have heard ministers tell me that their biggest problem in some meetings is the seating arrangement of the leaders not the lost. Here is an idea – have a stage without seats. Problem solved.
We have to learn to be Spirit led. Equally, we have to learn not to be led by the praise of men.
10. A great idea is to employ people from your local church. You are boosting the church, showing loyalty and love, and helping the church in a practical way. You are also (hopefully) getting an employee who knows Jesus and who wants to work in a Christ-honouring way and who shares your worldview.
9. Never be afraid to fire anyone who is not performing adequately. Even if they are from the same local church as you!
8. Employ as few people as you can. The less work people do the more disgruntled they become. Better to have no employee than a disgruntled employee.
7. Employ people to do multiple task. If I was employing an assistant pastor today, I would make them lecture at the Bible School, do school’s work, do admin, and so on and so forth. If you type everything into a computer, do you need a full-time secretary? Can they have a second role as well.
6. Use machines rather than people if you can. Machines don’t get tired, they don’t get in moods, they don’t need to be paid overtime, they don’t have maternity leave, they don’t resign with eighteen seconds notice.
5. Ensure they all know who is boss. Develop a bit of knowledge in everything. You don’t need to be a lawyer, but get enough knowledge to know what the lawyer is doing. You don’t need to be a marketing expert, but get enough knowledge to know what the marketing guy is doing.
4. Put Everything in Writing. Discussions are not a suitable basis for dealing with employees (even if they are in the same local church!)
3. Train your employees. Education is the basis of successful employment.
2. Supervise your employees. Have meetings with them, visit them, set targets and monitor them, and make it all serious.
1. Be generous. Be kind to your staff, make sure they know you genuinely care for them. If you don’t have a good salary to offer, people will work for more love and less money. Re-assure the people you work with.
Pioneers take responsibility.
Politicians blame the previous government/ leaders/ people/ cat/ whoever they can blame.
Pioneers see what needs to be done
Politicians see what is expedient to do
Pioneers raise people up to higher levels
Politicians reduce people to statistics and opinion polls.
Politicians follow the opinion of the masses
Pioneers create and add to the wealth
Politicians take from the wealth
Pioneers bring life
Politicians stifle life
Politicians muddle through
Pioneers take risks, looking at the goal
Politicians miss the goal, terrified by the risks
Which are you, and which are you following?