This semester has been another outstanding term at Purpose Institute. I especially enjoy the Friday night leadership courses because they give us the opportunity to learn from the experiences of pastors and teachers who have seen both failure and success. These failures and triumphs will help us going forward and save time by not repeating the practices tested to be unfruitful. We have gleaned important information from four distinct men of God and were assigned two books to read and quote for this assignment. I will summarize my notes and thoughts into cohesive writing and how these lessons will help me and those around me in the future.
The first speaker started this term with a reminder of our “Great Commission.” As an avid home Bible study teacher, his experience and notes are a valuable resource. Two pieces of advice were to talk less and ask more questions. These suggestions will help make your student comfortable and build a relationship. Relationship building will far exceed playing the numbers game when nurturing disciples who will stay in the church. Our goal is good soil. We cannot mindlessly scatter seeds and expect a harvest. Nurture, care, cultivate, and protect the new convert so that the Word of God can produce in their lives.
There is a sense of urgency needed in reaching those around us. “Without a sense of urgency, people won’t give that extra effort that is often essential. They won’t make needed sacrifices. Instead, they cling to the status quo and resist initiatives from above.” (Kotter, Ch. 1, 6:09) The Second Coming of Jesus Christ necessitates our proactive attempts to reconcile amid great expectation. No man knows the day or the hour, but the signs of the times and the pulse of the ministry call for focus and determination not seen since church founders eagerly anticipated seeing Jesus again. We will need to push past our comfort zone to establish this urgency and develop strategies that will impact the world in its current state. “If top management consists only of cautious managers, no one will push the urgency rate sufficiently high, and a major transformation will never succeed.” (Kotter, Ch. 3, 21:13)
Fulfilling our commission with urgency takes great faith, especially when it seems as though prayers go unanswered. The second speaker shared his testimony of surgeries and his hurting body while ministering to countless souls. His insight taught us that we inherit the promises of God through faith and patience. Sometimes, waiting on promises or answers is a matter of looking inward to see where our current self is standing according to the things of God. God instructed Abraham to leave his family and country and go where God told him to go. He obeyed God and left everything but brought his nephew with him in direct conflict with his instructions. God can heal us when we release the concealed things in our lives. Looking back on the training sessions’ order, I wish this had been the first lesson. When we are whole, we are then more efficient for the Kingdom. The commission does not say to get healed first, it says to go, but we tend to be less distracted when our house is in order.
Relating to getting our house in order, our entire movement began with a thought from Charles F. Parham, “we could not be buried by baptism in the name of the Father, and in the name of the Holy Ghost, because it stood for nothing, as they never died, and were never resurrected.” (Clanton, p.15) The structure of salvation, beginning with a tremendous outpouring of the Spirit, was called into question as that Spirit brought all things into remembrance. Mild and sometimes not-so-mild disagreements led to separate organizations. L. R. Ooton said, “There is no greater need among the Spirit-filled children of God today than the unity of the Spirit.” (Clanton, p.140) The number of mergers and attempted combining of organizations point to the Spirit-led need for unity. When we are all on the same page, nothing can stop us. Howard A. Goss declared, “Our prayer is that we shall continue to work for the unity of all good clean brethren, but we are especially interested in working for greater peace and harmony among ourselves.” (Clanton, p.155) One of the most remarkable statements of unity I found is in the mantra of the Home Missions Division, “every city, town, and village deserve a truth-proclaiming church, and that metropolitan areas need many churches.” (Clanton, p.217) If we could share in this line of reasoning, even if it meant sharing or blurring borders and boundary lines, we could see more significant impacts for the Kingdom and less distaste and disdain for organized religion.
The third speaker brought a lesson on the anointing. The yoke is destroyed because of the anointing, which may catalyze unity and revival in our communities. This Brother quoted Lee Stoneking in saying that the anointing is the favor of God gained through consecration. One of the most effective ways to gain anointing is in prayer. Prayer depletes you of pride. We are limited only by our commitment to prayer and seeking the anointing. In the Bible, Saul was anointed with a small vile of oil, while David was anointed with an entire horn of oil (possibly 4 quarts). He has witnessed the most miracles during times of worship. He also noted that each service has a “key” to that service; therefore, pray and worship in each service because you may be the key to a breakthrough in someone’s life.
Our final speaker came to Florida to speak on empowerment regarding your ministry under church leadership. He remarked, “Leaders have ideas but need details, while managers have details but need ideas.” Knowing our leadership: their vision, style, and expectations can go a long way in reaching goals and setting new ones. Managing different areas or ministries helps ease the burden of church leadership and enables them to devote time to prayer and ministering the Word. He also declared guidelines for helpers. Managers should delegate tasks to develop experience while setting clear expectations. Helpers must be given adequate time to complete tasks but must meet a deadline. Necessary good, constructive feedback is needed to help teach and direct your helpers to success. Also, ensure your helpers have the resources to complete their assignments. Sharing the vision and strategy of leadership will encourage growth in three ways: “It clarifies the general direction of change, it motivates people to take action in the right direction, and it helps to coordinate the actions of different people in a fast and efficient way.” (Kotter, Ch. 5, 3:20)
This visiting pastor shared ways to qualify empowerment within your church culture. Empowerment is about being a part of a team. When choosing helpers, we must look to those who thrive in the correct culture, see how they care for people, and take notice of their work ethic. When dedicated saints face new approaches, they may resist, even when those changes benefit them. In light of new methods or inventions, flexibility can bring effective and efficient mobilization of the Good News in our ever-changing world. Those wanting to meet Kingdom needs must adapt in some areas or circumstances. “The biggest impediment to creating change in a group is culture. Culture changes only after you have successfully alerted people’s actions after the new behavior produces some group benefit for a period of time and after people see the connection between the new actions and the performance improvement.” (Kotter, Ch. 10, 25:28) Most willing helpers will follow leadership despite their reservations. When the vision is fully enacted and embraced, it becomes a part of that culture and continues as if it had been there from the start.
In conclusion, I have been cautious about using the terms “I believe” and “I feel” lately. However, when I see passion and desire as brought by these men, coupled with world events and the Spirit beaconing out to us and those around us, I believe that our best days as the church is before us. In my spirit, I feel an urgency to share the Gospel and reach family and friends with the salvation doctrine. These lessons are timely and ordered perfectly. Go! Even if you haven’t received your promise, you may find your healing in ministering to others. Obedience is in the details! Seek anointing through prayer. Worship, though you may not feel like it. We have been given power from on high, but empowerment is given to those who are trusted by leadership. God authorizes leadership to oversee the flock and enact change as necessary. Empowered individuals submit to changes in marching orders as good soldiers, even if the benefits are not visible. These instructors have imparted wisdom through their testimonies and experiences. I am genuinely grateful to have been a part of it, and I am still in awe that Jesus rearranged my work schedule to attend every session. I believe the next term of classes will build upon these lessons and bring more insight into end-time Kingdom needs!