I realize that pastors today have a great deal on their plate. Their ministry tends to be highly demanding and underappreciated. They not only need to stay fresh in prayer and the Word, but they must counsel, perform wedding ceremonies, conduct funeral services, lead staff planning meetings, and business meetings, answer emails, phone calls, attend community functions and so much more. They must do all this while shepherding a people that according to one 82 year old Pentecostal minister are, “five times more dysfunctional than they were a generation ago”. For these reasons I highly honor every God-fearing pastor in the land.
I don’t have the grace to pastor; at least not now. I’ve had to stay willing for many years, but I dare not step into that ministry without the equipment. I humorously refer to my 18 month internship as a pastor when it always felt like I was taking a bath with my socks on. It just didn’t feel right. God would have to change my temperament for me to pastor. He would have to give me a shepherd’s heart. I love people, and I will spend hours ministering and praying for the neediest of them, but I will be the first to tell you that I do not have a pastor’s heart. My burden is for revival in the Church and for real disciples, and it is from this grace and perspective that I speak and write.
No one ministry gift has it all, and the Church cannot operate effectively on any one gift. So if I was a pastor I would definitely exercise due diligence in exposing the people to all the equipping gifts (Eph. 4:11), and surround myself with local people who have strengths I do not have.
If I was a pastor I’d enlist a full time evangelist who would equip the saints and lead them out to be a radically visible witness in our city. I would gain permission from the city to publicly read scripture through a PA system in the center of town or city square where the majority of the public gather. I’d make sure that our evangelist was highly trained and skillful in wisdom to present the gospel and equip others to do the same. He would learn to heal the sick and cast out devils and boldly preach on the streets of our city. I’d encourage him to minister to the poor and needy and cultivate a great compassion for them. On occasion I would bring in other highly specialized evangelists that would add to the zeal, power, and wisdom of our teams.
Secondly, I would rally a small group of prayerful saints led by a seasoned one that would make constant supplication and intercession for our city and the things that are close to the heart of God. They would be my most trusted group and the power engine of the church. I would pray with them often myself and submit important inquiries and heart-felt burdens to them as God leads.
I would team my pray-ers up with the evangelists and soul winners in the church and help cultivate a love for the lost in them. I would make sure they were trained in the art of travail and giving birth to souls and the mighty power of God. I would have corporate prayer meetings where all the saints could come together and pray, but I’d make sure those smaller groups were meeting on a regular basis and supplying effectual power for the workings of God.
Thirdly, I would open up our gatherings and meetings to fresh testimonies from those being used by the Lord to win the lost and heal the sick. I’d also have new converts testify of their salvation and deliverance.
Finally, I would make the baptism of the Holy Ghost an absolute priority for all new converts and all born again Christians who had not yet received this glorious Pentecostal experience.
Here’s what John G. Lake said about the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
“I believe that the first essential in a real Holy Ghost church and a real Holy Ghost work is to begin to surround the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the reverence due an experience so sacred and so terribly costly.”
Perhaps I should’ve listed this one first. Not only would I make it a priority, but I would place great emphasis on the person and the entire work of the Holy Spirit. He would always be our featured guest of honor and be treated with the highest degree of reverence. We would endeavor to always welcome Him to have complete liberty, manifest His sacred gifts, and reign in our gatherings. Even our business and planning meetings would be yielded to His leading and His gifts. All our meetings would follow the pattern and admonition of the New Testament and be conducted “decently and in order”. We would have liberty with limitations. We would have proper protocol and defer to those appointed to lead and interpret our gatherings.
I would do my best to encourage the saints to earnestly desire the gifts of the Holy Spirit and have an exaggerated expectancy for their manifestations and workings in our midst. Above all, any manifestations of the Spirit and living life as a community of believers must be done in the way of love, for without the love of God ruling in our midst we would become as a sounding brass or clanging symbol (1 Cor. 13:1).
In this day and hour I will help any pastor who has this kind of heart. As a messenger of the Lord, I will give everything to a man who has this spirit and expect nothing in return except the testimony of changed lives, a revived church, and souls won to the Lord.