Here are some questioning, prophetic and practical challenges to you and to me. Hopefully Biblical too!
Think about what is said, test it against the Bible and make up your own mind. Part Two.
Doing things you don’t want to do for the Kingdom
We run an outreach event. On recounting one of the endless criticisms from church members about its musical genres not being suitable for a Christian event (hip hop, punk and many more styles that many non-Christian young people actually listen to), one of our incredibly wise 16 yr-olds recently said something very profound: ‘Don’t they (the people complaining) realise that worship means sometimes doing things you don’t want to for the sake of the Kingdom?’ This lad hates both hip hop, punk and the hard rock we use – but he’s there, supporting, praying, desperate for God to move.
Youth workers, young people, church leaders, church members – did you hear that? Inject that into your spiritual blood stream. We need to balance relevancy with doing things we don’t want to do for the sake of the Gospel. Just like Paul.
The Anglican Church discussions, July 2004
A BBC report (quoting a Church of England Dean) stated that the church needed to be more exploratory in terms of aligning itself with modern thinking, and to continually question the church’s teaching.
Hmm.. While Biblical and Godly counsel and evaluation is essential, I’m not sure this is what a lot of the Anglican church is doing. The church is withering away and it’s got nothing much to do with exploring and staying in touch with modern thought. It’s got everything to do with not being Biblical, re-interpreting and not believing absolute essentials – like the Resurrection. I am passionate about the church becoming more relevant and using all kinds of ways to reach people for God (I use media, web, hip hop culture, rap music) but what’s the point of being relevant if the Gospel we present has been made irrelevant by human ‘wisdom’ re-interpreting Biblical truths? You may get people in the seats but no-one’s life will be changed. It’s like watching a game of football without the teams being there.
Why do certain churches insist on people only using the King James Bible?
What’s all that about? Are we trying to confuse people by using a Bible where 300 words are no longer used in the English language and 100 rarely used. The KJV was initially designed so that the Bible could be made accessible in everyday English – back in the 1600s. Maybe people have lost sight of this! The KJV has become a religious idol for many, rather than the living word of God. Where people have grown up with it or where it is best or useful, fine. But don’t tell people it’s the only ‘true’ version!
There are also exaggerated claims made about the sole authenticity of the KJV over other versions. Read John 14.27 – ‘But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.’ Jesus is here affirming truth to his Word – and he wasn’t just talking about one language version of the Bible.
In some cultures Bible translation is very difficult. For example, someone who worked for Wycliffe Bible Translators told me there is no comparative language in Papua New Guinea so you can’t say – this is better than that. There are many other examples in various cultures.
In addition, we have to update our language used in the Bible (not change what the Bible says) in order to reach people today. Mention ‘salvation’ – ‘redemption’ and many other words – let alone have a nice Christian poster with a clever Christian phrase on – and many people have no idea what’s been talked about. We must identify with culture but not sink into it and use God’s Word to help culture rise up.
An example is funny chat-up lines on. One of them is for a bloke talking to a lady – ‘excuse me but I think you’ve got one of my ribs.’ Very funny. But if we use that to a non Christian they will odds on have no idea what we’re talking about.. ‘no, that’s my rib, you’ve got your own ribs, paws off freak..’
The maddest sites I’ve seen have very legalistic, strict and restrictive views on the Bible. Many of their arguments do have basis in the Bible but their interpretation is very restricting of Jesus speaking to his church today through the Holy Spirit. Most of their arguments are flawed and illogical. At the same time they do have occasional points worth considering.
Finally, the excellent www.christiananswers.net provides a page explaining words from the KJV, there are 328 explanations! Nuff said!
Youth churches. A good idea?
So they become ‘grown-up’ churches in time? So what? Are you trying to limit God to fit your own convenient and neat theology? So youth churches only address one certain ‘culture’. So what? Many churches are white middle class, many churches just have old people or old-fashioned people. They are certain specific cultures and I don’t see people shouting for them to be shut down. What about the success of the Iranian church in Birmingham or the black churches in London or the Chinese house groups and Alpha Courses in Exeter. Are they valid? Too right they are! Unity means diversity not uniformity. It may not be perfect, but find me a perfect church. Sometimes we must sacrifice what we think is perfect in order to reach people. Put it this way – would you rather have a youth church and reach young people – or not have a youth church and fail to reach young people. I know it’s not that simple but think about it.
For too long people have talked about not doing things quoting reasons like ‘it isn’t church’ or ‘it gives a false idea of what church is’. What is church meant to look like anyway? If it’s the church we often have then that’s not the greatest example! Meanwhile churches are closing down and being converted to pubs and our nation is full of violence (click here) with young people drinking to escape pain in their lives and yet we still refuse to change, act, or even think.
Personally I am of the view that while certain things may not be ideal, if they work and reach people with the Gospel, I’m all for it. There are already many ‘culture-specific’ churches and I see God’s hand on them. (I could show how Crossover in Tampa grew to 400+ from a youth ministry of 4 as the ‘adult church’ stagnated and died). They may not be perfect, but neither is an all-age, all-inclusive model of church. Let’s not simply regurgitate those things which haven’t worked within our churches for years. As ever, the Gospel is the same, the way of presenting it must change.
We can have a very correct theology (that may well be strictly Biblically accurate), yet prevent young people / people being reached – we see it all the time. Let’s do all things to reach people, as Paul says. There are too many young people not being reached in our nation. Maybe this kind of thing will help, or be the very thing that’s needed. At least let’s consider it – and other creative, cutting edge, practical ways of ministry and being church.
Often our churches alienate young people (and others), as they seek to assimilate people into a churchy culture – often a culture or a way of doing things that hasn’t worked for years, yet people ‘in church’ still feel it is somehow right. This, despite many churches languishing or static, or bordering on the average as they try to satisfy everyone – or try to alienate as few as possible. Jesus is so relevant, yet we run the risk of making Jesus seem irrelevant, distant, religious, even too fluffy. And that ain’t true, word!
Should young people have to ‘learn’ to be ‘part’ of the church (as if somehow they’re not!) What if the church itself is not cutting it spiritually or Biblically? What if the young people are spiritually advancing faster than the main church body? What if they don’t feel able to grow, or learn, or bring their friends? Why do the young people always have to change and not the rest of the church body? What if a youth church model (whatever it may look like, or other culture-specific churches) could reach other young (or older) people that current models would never reach? So a youth church or other culture-specific churches will grow older or change? No problem – all churches grow older and change.
I see the picture of unity in 1 Corinthians 12 as one where we are all connected to the body (Christ), yet we are not all attached to each other – the eye is attached to the body, as is the foot, but they are not attached to each other. (We are corporately ‘the church’ in our town or city, but we don’t all meet together or do things the same way). Try to always squish people into a one size fit all mentality and it can and does cause problems, and can restrict God working.
I’m not advocating youth church. I want whatever God wills. But I would encourage all of us to think differently, creatively, ask how people ‘out there’ think (often very differently to how our churches do). Basically, I don’t want to simply clone the existing church model (whatever that means!) brick for brick, but want to move in step with what the Spirit is saying now. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. But let’s not leave the baby in the bathwater going stale (poor baby!)
As Derek Prince used to say, “When the Apostle Paul visited a city there was nearly always an uproar. I want to see more uproar..!”
The whole ‘Christian’ industry
Is it there to benefit Christians or what? How come in the West we have the most resources and yet many of the weakest churches? Some Christian projects were set up solely to make money. Is this right? Are we too comfy writing books, web sites, CDs to sell to other Christians? Have we lost focus? Do we sell for the sake of selling and making money? Or because God has called us to? Are we selling out to the world? Some business practice even in the Christian music industry and others is questionable. Many Christian magazines and record labels are owned by secular companies. Not necessarily a problem but the values of the secular record companies and owners are bound to impact on the Christian part without strong leadership. As someone has said, ‘the church in the world is good – the world in the church ain’t.’
Why do so many Christians walk away from churches?
What’s going on? Is it the fault of the people walking away or have many of our churches become confused, dinosaurs, irrelevant, archaic, too caught up in themselves, like little twee comfy clubs..? I think so. What about you? Where’s the life, the power? Are we too laid back as people pass us by with deep hurts and needs? How can we make the change? There are 1000s of people mainly in their 20s and 30s who are Christians but who struggle desperately with church. Are we living with legacies of yesteryear or being Biblical?
Who are we reaching?
I co-presented a Christian radio station recently. I was asked not to play so much ‘hard rock’ (it was POD and Creed). Unbelievable. Are we trying to relate to the world, bring Jesus or what? I love rap music, hip-hop culture. Rap and R&B are the biggest selling music in the world. Skating music is big. Nu-metal is big. Punk is big. Millions go clubbing each weekend to dance music and aren’t even up by the time most Sunday morning services start. Pop music is huge!
If we simply reflect the general Christian music tastes (and I include young people especially), we are in danger of not communicating with most young people musically. Let me explain:
The British Phonographic Industry, show that in 2002, pop, dance, rock, hip hop and r&b accounted for 98% of UK music single sales. Rap music sales in 2003-04 have increased massively. The US Top 10 has 9/10 songs r&b, rap.
If we can label the music that most (not all) Christians and young people like (reflected by gigs, music sales, top 10s in Wesley Owen, online contemporary radio shows etc. we find that the majority (I’d guesstimate 75-80%) of music played can be categorized as ‘rock’ mostly soft rock worship stuff. Fine.
But it means that the majority of Christians, including Christian young people, are not listening to the kinds of music that most (young) people in society are listening to. It’s true, do your own research. So when planning events for example and asking Christian young people what to do, we need to exercise caution. We do an outreach event using hip hop and punk and we often hear feedback that Christian young people don’t like it. That probably means we’re using the right kinds of music!!
Musically irrelevant styles in church
Why do we sing styles of music in our churches that we and most others don’t ever listen to in everyday life? Why don’t we use styles of music in our churches that we listen to in our lives? Can we simply expect people to sing churchy style songs or do we need more varied, vibrant styles of music? Why is it that often secular music is better and more creative? We should be the most creative people. God is so creative, innovative, yet so often we’re not.
And don’t tell me we can’t use certain kinds of music or instruments. Look at Psalm 150 among many others – praise God with trumpets, harps, lyres, tambourines, singing, dancing, stringed instruments, flutes, loud cymbals, crash cymbals. Sounds pretty varied to me! God created music. Nor is it true that because something isn’t in the Bible that God doesn’t use it.
We sing songs and praise to the Ancient of Days
But musically our phrase is as ancient as those days
I amazed some cats only see things one way
While the world dies and passes by they do things endlessly
Forcin cats to hear their music, new jacks can’t refuse it
Prescribing ways of worship, this is power that’s abusive
They layin down rules like a broody naggin wife
Singin styles in church I don’t listen to in life
See in my eyes true worship is comin from my heart
Don’t matter what the instrument, organ, mic or harp
Gotta get right with Christ in spirit and in truth
Like in John 4.24 if y’all need Biblical proof
Let’s use every inch and re-claim musical ground that Satan has corrupted because for too long Christians have opted out. This started back in the 60s when Christians were told that you couldn’t be a Christian and be in the music, cinema, art world. Yeah right.
Jesus summarised the 10 Commandments in 2 – Love God and Love your neighbour. Jesus set up a new covenant by his death on the Cross and resurrection. Problem in the church is that we then create new rules and boxes, like what music styles we should use.
See some people don’t like the fact that Christian musicians sometimes choose not to sing Christian songs but concentrate on being a musician who’s a Christian. They accuse them of selling out. How stupid! If you are a teacher, are you a Christian teacher or a teacher who is a Christian? Same with any profession. For example if your job is a plumber, how can you been a Christian plumber? No, you’re a plumber who is a Christian. With music you can be a Christian musician or a musician who’s a Christian. Both are equally valid!
Are youth workers doing youth work because they can’t cope with church?
Are you holding back young people in your church because you have problems or don’t like the ‘main church’ stuff? Why do you do youth work? Love GOD? Love young people? Want to support, disciple and grow them in their lives?
Are too many youth works simply about catering for Christian young people?
Are youth works too limited and lacking in vision? Do you provide programmes or discipleship? Is it events or people? Are you looking at developing young people? Are you aiming at their all-round needs? Or is it just Christian stuff? Have you lost sight of evangelism?
When I worked at a church they didn’t like some of what I did as I had a 50-50 split working with church young people and local teenagers. Hmm.. What about your church? There’s a massive need to disciple Christian young people, but not at the expense of reaching out. However, we do need to think about how we reach out to non Christians and make sure we resource and support it effectively. Otherwise our efforts will not pay off as they should. Our actions should be inspired by and with prayer too!
Have you lost sight of your first love for Jesus?
Have you been so busy you’ve lost your passion for Jesus? Do you need a break away? Have you been repressed by your church or other youth workers? Is it time to make a change? Throw off the shackles? Ask God for fearlessness and boldness? Do you need to make a change in direction? Do you need to stand up to the vision repressors? How?
Are you too busy?
Putting youth work ahead of family and friends? Is your marriage and family more important than the youth work? Yes! Are you spending too much time with other young people and not your own kids or family? Change! Or else!
Where do you find your value?
Is it in who GOD made you or is it in your youth work? You’re not invaluable you know. You aren’t indispensable. Are you using youth work as a vehicle because of your inability to relate to other adults? Your priority has got to be God, God, God..
Is youth work Biblical anyway? (Take a peak at Samuel, Jesus and the children, 2 Timothy 4.12 and more) P.S. Yes! Remember, just because some things aren’t in the Bible doesn’t make them wrong. God speaks afresh by his Spirit daily. Question is – are these things Biblical and in line with the Bible?
Interpreting the Bible correctly
Do we re-interpret the Bible in line with modern thinking – or do we interpret modern day thinking in line with The Bible? I believe the Bible is timeless, eternal and modern thinking is temporary and wack (1 Corinthians 3.19). What do you think? Why do you think many parts of the church are in such a mess!
Tradition versus (Biblical based, Spirit inspired) change. Discuss!!
‘The church is too often a club when it should be an expeditionary force’. Discuss.
How do we get back the power of God in our ministries and churches?
In August 2003 a large part of the USA and Canada had a massive power cut. We need power for our daily living increasingly. The same is true spiritually. If we do not have power, we cannot function. What does this mean in practice for you and your youth work, your church?
What is evangelism?
Someone who attends a very traditional Anglican church recently told me that they were the true evangelicals and not the churches who describe themselves as being ‘evangelical.’ Yet their church has almost no people in, uses a book with old language written in the 1600s, sees no people converted to Christianity, has no contact with the local community and does no outreach social or spiritual. Who will go into a church like that? God can work in all situations – but people can help!
Too many churches are in danger of doing nothing more than serve Christians. What does the Bible say about the church and spreading the Gospel? All things to reach all people was Paul’s motto (within reason anyway!)
However, don’t think evangelicals have all the answers! Many evangelical events are of a very certain style only and do little to meet the needs of types of many young people and adults, both Christian and not. Are some evangelical events self-serving?
How do we work with others in different churches who don’t think as we do? Are we limiting the work of God because we don’t work with these guys? Have they got things to say that we need to hear?
What would your church or youth work strapline / slogan be?
A recent study done by 2 advertising agencies suggested the church must promote its good points. What are the good points of the church? If you had to promote the church of Jesus (not necessarily your own church, but try that too!), what would you say? What are the positives? What would your strapline / slogan be?
There are usually less blokes in church than women. Is church too ‘female’ oriented?
I think it is. A lady doing detached work at Spring Harvest told me she thought it was. What do you think? We sing some pretty soppy songs, do lots of discussing, listening and thinking. We often do little practical action. Many churches don’t use modern technology or more dramatic ways of doing the Gospel. Many churches have low energy levels. What can you do to encourage more men into your churches, more lads into the youth work (if it’s a problem)
Some suggestions – Building work, BBQs, more active stuff in church, songs that are less about ‘love’ and more about ‘action’, use of modern technology, having Godly male role models, more men in leadership, playing golf or other sports, men’s prayer meets etc. I’m not saying all these things are men-only things but think about it. With lads – have more action, more lively stuff, more aggressive music like rap or nu-metal, punk etc.
I know of a few youth work and church ministries where there is a male leader surrounded by mainly women. You have to question where the other men have gone. I realise sometimes that men have abdicated their responsibility but over time, I can understand why in many cases.. Sometimes, it is because dominant women take over and control ministries – often putting down the views of men and patronising them. I’ve seen it too often and I’ve seen the damage it can cause so we all need to be careful to work together.
Empowering or discipling young people?
Empowering young people. Fantastic. We’ve based our youth work on this for years. However, empowering isn’t enough. Discipleship is where it’s at. This is a much bigger word. It means helping, encouraging, empowering, training, supporting, disciplining and so on. If your youth work is based on empowering not discipling then it’s time to make the change. For example, if a young person says something that’s Biblically incorrect we have to challenge them. We don’t just say, ‘that’s fair enough mate’ cos that isn’t discipling them. Discipling means training, giving opportunity, feeding back and growing together with the young people to develop them.
Empowering youth workers not just young people?
There has been much talk recently about youth workers empowering young people into roles. Fine. We do that too. But is the role of a youth worker simply to empower young people? No. Let’s look at Jesus. He released his disciples (note the word, ‘disciples’) and trained them. He also did ministry himself, and not just with the disciples. No, the role of the youth worker is to disciple and to do, leading by example in the power of God’s Spirit.
I was once accused of getting on stage to big myself up (people do tend to criticise when they don’t understand or agree). It wasn’t true. Glory to God is my aim. But if you are good at something and God has gifted you, then go for it. Stand on stage, do music, be successful. Jesus says let your light shine, shine from the top of a hill! To deny God’s giftings in you is a sin. Far better to reach people for Jesus and be criticised by Christians than not reach people!
Do you encourage people? Young people, parents, leaders, people? Why not. What a great ministry. One word once sustained me from a lady who never realised the power of what she’d said. I try so hard to encourage people. This means uplifting them, letting them know you appreciate them, thanking them, writing them, emailing, sending cards. I recently sent some cards and some marshmallows to some of our young people. We’ve done loads of stuff like this. But what about randomly writing to leaders or Christian websites to encourage them (and I’m not just on about this site). What about encouraging people by returning calls, emails, listening, showing concern, being reliable too. C’mon y’all.
Unity in diversity – or unity in conformity – or unity in uniformity?
‘Huh?’ you say. What is Biblical unity? It is found in 1 Corinthians 12. It speaks of a body having many parts but all the parts working together – for God’s fame. Too many times in youth work and churches unity comes as uniformity or even worse conformity. It’s Biblically wrong and a form of control, often but not exclusively, afflicting more charismatic or very strict churches.
Do you as a youth worker encourage unity in diversity? This means accepting different people and different ideas, accepting that God works in different people in various ways. Then bringing it all together and giving guidance. That’s true leadership and truly acting as the body of Christ. Be very careful of people, churches and organisations who don’t like diversity. Either pray for them or get out, blessing them but saying you feel God’s call in another way.
Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 12. This talks about the body of Christ working together in unity. However we see that the example used is of a human body. Yet think. Not all the body parts are attached to each other. Your arm isn’t attached to your eye, your leg isn’t attached to your head. Yet all are attached to the body. As Dr Jeremy Begbie (Principal of Ridley Hall Bible College) points out, the church should be like a piano, a harmony, a group of people working together to trigger off other harmonic notes to work together to produce a sweet sounding and smelling God harmony. We’re all different and God calls us to contribute uniquely.
Revival, Transformations, Prayer and Worship
My heart burns for God to move in revival (that means God transforming your own life first! Are you ready?!) and then in power across our nation and world.
Yes, God has one church. God has moved in incredible power through unified prayer – see the Transformations video from your local Christian bookshop if you haven’t.
Once again though, we must not limit God into our neat theology (or simply copy for the sake of copying). Is God’s sovereign work dependent on our doing? No. Does unified prayer help. Yes! But there have been many revivals through history, often not through unified city-wide prayer. Of course God will use this kind of unity of his people to move but don’t think this is the only way. What about Smith-Wigglesworth who sometimes would ‘punch’ demons out of people and see them healed!
RT Kendall (quoting the Apostle Paul) says very clearly that in season and out of season we must preach the Word. Smith-Wigglesworth spoke a prophecy that when the Word and Spirit come together, God will move. Isaiah says that we must first humble ourselves before God. It’s complex but there is no formula for revival! (Remember that revival starts first with you and me, then in the church, so it’s often the church that needs reviving!) I believe the world is in the state it is in because the church has failed in too many areas too often and has stepped back.
With men like Wesley and Even Roberts (and the Welsh Revival) we see this kind of preaching of the Word in action. In 1904 Evan Roberts preached and in just over a year, there were an estimated 100,000 new believers in Wales. The major rallies by Billy Graham in the past were evangelistic Spirit-filled words, not unified prayer and worship meetings, Transformations style, as valid and great as these are.
We can do our part but God is God – he shows favour and mercy where he wills – not where we will. Let’s not get caught up in ‘trends’ but seek God. We must also be open to how God wants to work in our youth work, church, area, at the moment. Would you be happy if revival came to a church you didn’t really respect? (RT Kendall’s challenge, not mine) It’s a challenge, right?
There are so many ways God can and wants to reach people. I call these ‘God-access points’. Let’s start seeking God for these access points in our cities, villages, nations, and in the lives of people we come into contact with.
Media-type churches (and other church types)
We do an outreach event which is media and urban music based generally. Some people don’t support this saying church isn’t like this and therefore it gives a false impression of what church is. Huh?? Surely every kind of outreach is not like church. Many of the one-off worship events aren’t like most churches either, nor are events like Soul Survivor etc. Does it mean we shouldn’t go? Of course not. This is an attitude that needs shaking from the church body.
My other challenge to you here is – if there aren’t churches like this – then why not? Through God’s creativity and anointing, we’ve run a weekly Sunday night youth service which is media-based and highly creative – since January 1997. If there aren’t urban, funky, media churches – then why not? With God, all things are possible and we are all called into different ministries. We need all kinds of churches, all Biblically based, working together for God. That is unity. Not controlled or forced unity.
Many people who want to limit church to unified places with all kinds of people are missing out. Many churches have different services but are still one body. We are reaching a messy, messed up, individualistic world so we need to offer church to different groups on different levels. Where we don’t offer different kinds of ministry we are in danger of missing people. That danger has become realised in too many churches in too many places. No wonder the church is in retreat in some places.
Doing ‘ministry’ (at events)
There are many events that are very similar. They go like this.. Christian speaker invited to speak to Christians (of one sort or another), worship band plays, people sing, someone leads us into the presence of God, speaker speaks, ministry time begins, we’re told the Spirit is here or will be here. People have ministry, accompanied by different signs like people going down in the Spirit. Great stuff.
But. Many people feel uncomfortable with this kind of ministry and it’s not the only way. I know of some churches who have walked out of ministry times feeling very uneasy. I understand. People are different and respond to God in different ways. God will speak to people, challenge and develop them in many ways, not just via this particular style of ‘ministry’. Not that this style is wrong, it just works for a limited amount of people.
It’s unhelpful to tell people who don’t like this that they are ‘resisting the Spirit’ or some Christian spiritual gobbledygook. It’s a greater challenge to face and address the issue. God may work in people’s lives in small groups, at home, at work etc. I know of someone convicted to give their life to Jesus though watching the Vicar of Dibley! In fact, we run the risk of telling God how he should operate and alienating the many for whom the prescribed or controlled (dare I say even contrived) styles don’t work.
I see great evidence of the Spirit at work in the life of Moses and Joseph to name but two, through being in the wilderness. Others in the Bible had ‘ministry’ through persecution, obedience, disobedience or through God’s blessing. There are many ways which Jesus demonstrated his ministry. I know of people who really feel God’s presence in their room, listening to music – or in many other ways. I was filled with the Holy Spirit chatting to a mate in a cafe and suddenly God released real words of wisdom in me. We looked at each other and said, ‘wow, where did that come from!’
For many people, God will work but we won’t see it straight away. We should not just expect great physical manifestations as evidence that God has worked (although this does happen!) No, if you go to an event and fly round the room like a parrot but it doesn’t change your life then it wasn’t from God. The evidence is in the fruit of a life.
It would be wrong to fit ‘ministry’ into any evangelical or charismatic traditions. I once heard of a lady who told someone, ‘I long for the day when you go down in the Spirit.’ Huh?! This was like saying, ‘THE way to fully receive God’s power is to go down in the Spirit.’ But hang on. God ministers to us as individuals from different backgrounds, traditions, races, times, different personalities – in different ways. We are on very dangerous ground if we prescribe one way as being the way. I once heard another person say, ‘the young people aren’t quite there yet, I mean they aren’t all with their hands in the air or going down in the Spirit.’ I think it was a joke but some people do think this way. But people may go down in the spirit at home when praying, they may not go down in the spirit at all, some people worship quietly, silently, some shout!
We must also bring balance to our ministry, along with Godly wisdom. I once heard a prophet speak and what he said was excellent. Suddenly, as if someone had plugged him into the electrical mains, he started running around and prophesying only blessings to people. He reached me, shoved his hand on my head and started giving me all the spiritual gifts in the Bible! It affected me pretty badly to be honest. Nothing he said about me was accurate, nothing was asked for, everything was hyped and I felt very uncomfortable about it. Lesson – ministry is a sensitive issue – don’t rush it or force it. Don’t ‘do’ ministry without the person involved’s permission. You may well end up doing more damage than good. I also fed this back via the organiser to the prophet involved. He needed to know too.
What is Worship?
Ho hum, more questions here.. What is worship? I’ve been told it’s music, it’s prayer events, it’s this and that. All true but very narrow. Worship is our hearts before God, it’s holiness, it’s praise, it’s obedience, it’s shouting or singing thanks and praise to God (in whatever way) and so much more.. just read The Bible!!
It would be helpful if we stopped going to ‘prayer and worship’ events as they can signal that this is the only real place where we can pray and worship and undermines what worship really is. You see, for some, standing in a room with loads of others singing ‘worship’ songs is amazing. For others, less so. We should call these events ‘music and prayer’ events as this is more true. And remember that many of these ‘worship events’ are very similar in many ways. Doesn’t exactly leave room for those with different styles and ways of ‘worship’.
All our life is or should be worship. When I write and speak, produce video, write hip-hop – it’s all worship, as valid as any ‘worship event’. When I eat, it’s worship. I try to cultivate an attitude of thanks, worship, obedience, praise, prayer and fear of God. It’s the same for all of God’s people. It’s the same for you. It’s Biblical. Isn’t it? Want to find a true worshipper? Read Job 1.20-22. Our worship must be our life for God 24/7. By slotting the word ‘worship’ into events can we mistakenly find ourselves confining ‘worship’ to an event.
What is your ministry? Don’t think that it depends on other people supporting or agreeing with you. A good guide is testing your calling against the Bible and Biblical principles. If it’s in line with that, it may be all you need. Friends can advise, as can churches and leaders. But many Christian ministries have gone ahead with no support or attacks from churches and other Christians. But we’ve just got to be submitted, obedient, open, ready, and raring to go for Jesus.