Last week the Holy Spirit impressed on me so strongly to issue a rallying call to my fellow pastors and leaders. Over the past couple of years I have travelled to different churches, different nations and different gatherings of Christians and leaders and there is one thing that really concerns me in the church in our country. I am not really concerned over the state of Christians in the UK, but I am very concerned over the state of the church leaders in the UK.
As I go to different churches I meet many Christians longing to walk in the power of God, encounter Gods glory, move in signs and wonders and live out the fulness of their salvation. And yet this same desire is not in the hearts of their leaders. As I go to different churches the hardest people to pray for are nearly always the elders and pastors who it seems are too afraid of damaging their reputation rather than be truely open to recieve a fresh touch from God. As leaders we should be the most hungry, thirsty and desperate people in the church when it comes to the things of the Spirit and the Kingdom.
I was dismayed recently at a recent prayer meeting for pastors to see only a handful turn up. And we wonder why our people won’t pray, when it is not a priority in our own lives and ministries?! The ones that were there were mainly older saints, and it worried me that hardly any of my own generation had taken the time out to be there.
As I look at the lives of great biblical leaders: Moses (who cried “show me your glory”), David (who said “I long to dwell in your tent forever”), Paul (who said “I want to know Christ”) and Jesus (who constantly dismissed the crowds to spend time in the Fathers presence) I feel that todays generation is so far removed from that. I meet so few pastors who are truely hungry for Gods glory and power to revealed in their ministries.
How on earth do we expect the church in the UK to be revived unless it’s leaders start to pray, fast, and seek God with all their might?!
On Tuesday I had the pleasure of meeting with about 12 pastors of various dominations who spent two hours solid just crying out to God for His Kingdom to come in our region. Sadly meetings like this are rare. I have had the pleasure of meeting men of God who spend hours in prayer and days at a time fasting, but again these are so few.
As leaders we can get so good at our jobs that it becomes easy to lead a worship time, preach a sermon or put on a meeting or event. And yet in todays world we are constantly asked to minister to people who need an encounter with the living God! How can I help a woman dying of cancer, a man addicted to heroin or a teenager contemplating suicide?! It’s in moments like these that our credentials, our experience and our talents go out the window. No AOG ministers badge has ever healed anyone of cancer! We need the anointing! It’s the anointing that breaks the yoke, it’s the anointing that sets the captives free and changes lives. And that anointing only comes from the presence. It only comes from the secret place.
The more I look at the life of Jesus and the power and authority He carried the more I realise that there is more! The more I get on my knees and say “Jesus I need You”. The more I feel the desire to pursue a divine encounter.
One church I ministered in recently had not a ministry time in recent memory! The pastor of the church was happy preaching a sermon and sending the people home (after they had had a nice cup of coffee). People don’t need coffee – they need Jesus! They need the life of God! If we are not prepared to open our altars at every meeting and give people a chance to get healed, get set free and get re-filled we are nothing more than spiritual con men – promising much, but delivering nothing. The reason most of us don’t lay hands on our people is because deep inside we know we have nothing to give. Because we have not spent that time in the secret place.
Our problem is we get so busy. But we need to block out our diarys and spent at least a day a week, praying, studying, worshipping, soaking in Gods presence. It’s only then that we can stand up in our pulpits with the rhema word of God and say with confidence “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me”. We can so easily love the work, the buzz of serving God, that we fall out of love with the Lord Himself. As pastors we must be on fire for Jesus! Not for serving, but for Him! We must spend hours with the Lord if we hope to minister His glory to those who come to our churches so desperate for a miracle!
Leonard Ravenhill says these challenging words: “No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters.”
I have met so many pastors in recent days who when I ask them how things are, respond by saying things like “not very good really…you know it’s hard these days…it’s tough everywhere isn’t it?” I even met one leader recently who admitted that the spiritual climate in our nation “will never change”. And we wonder why we are in a mess! Come on leaders! It’s time to rise up! With God on our side we can’t fail! We are part of a Kingdom that can not be shaken! It’s time to rise up with Gods power and authority and anointing and realise that we are serving a God of the impossible who has chosen us and equiped us and infilled us with His Spirit. It’s time to get hold of Gods Word and promises and really start to believe them! It’s time to get on our knees and cry out for a fresh visitation of Gods glory in our lives and ministries. If God can change us, He will change the church. If He can change the church, He will change the nation!
If you are a pastor or leader, I encourage to hear this word from God and act on it today. If you are a church member then please pray for your pastor and church oversight. As for me, I acknowledge I have a long way to go before I meet the standards God has put within me, but God doesn’t want us to be condemned, just motivated to believe Him for greater things!
A couple of years ago I was challenged by an older man of God to spend hours in Gods presence before I ministered. I had never heard of this before. I thought you just prepared a sermon, had a quick prayer and then went out and did your thing. This man showed me that to minister the glory I had to spend time in that glory. Sometimes things crop up and Gods grace covers me, but wherever possible I have tried to follow that mans advice and spend the day I am ministering with the Lord. It was a revelation that changed me forever and has resulted in people being healed, saved and lives truely changed. I can’t believe I used to think I could do it without Him! And yet I constantly hear that cry to go deeper.
I pray afresh today that God would forgive me of my apathy, forgive me of my business, forgive me of loving the work more than loving His presence and that once again God would “set me on fire and that people would come and watch me burn!” (John Wesley