“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting … ” (Eph. 4:11).
For the body of Christ to mature properly and fully and to receive maximum edification they need to be exposed to the five ministries God has set in the body of Christ – the apostle, the prophet, the evangelist, the pastor, and teacher. The body of Christ also needs exposure to different types of meetings – teaching and training meetings, evangelistic meetings, prayer meetings, believers meetings (where all participate according to the leading of the Spirit – 1 Cor. 14:26), healing meetings, etc.
The Sunday morning worship and teaching experience is simply not enough.
Many years ago it was common for a ministry to conduct week long meetings in a church. Longer ago early pioneers would go to a church and minister for several weeks at a time. Due to the busy-ness and pressures of our modern day culture this is not so common any more.
Today people can access ministries and meetings online and be fed and stirred in their faith that way. But do most Christians really do this? And for those who do, doesn’t it still fall short of the scriptural admonition of not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together? And are we not missing something from the great decrease in face to face meetings that were more common in days of old?
“For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established — that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” (Rom 1:11-12)
“For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?” (1 Thes. 3:10-11)
Paul desired to minister face to face to these precious saints so he could impart some spiritual gift to them and establish them and perfect what was lacking in their faith. As traveling ministers we are always looking for ways to make adjustments in our fast changing culture in ministering to people without compromising our integrity, and the Word and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Part of the answer is in ministering to people online through blog posts, social networks, YouTube videos, podcasts, and webcasts, etc. We are doing some of that already through blog posts such as these, and may be increasing our efforts along this line, but there is no substitute for face to face meetings.
I will say it again, for a full equipping and a maximum edification to take place in the saints there has to be a full exposure to the five ministries that the Lord has set in the Church (Eph. 4:11), and the manifestations of the Spirit that accompany such (1 Cor. 12:7-11). A majority of the Church has gradually departed from this standard. The pastor-teacher is prominent in local church ministry, but the apostle, prophet, and evangelist not nearly as much any more. And the mighty manifestations of the Holy Spirit have faded from many of our modern churches.
Do we really understand that certain impartations of the Spirit of God can linger and effectually work in a person for months and cause a permanent transformation in them? Do we esteem the gathering of the saints to this measure and degree?
Of course, we esteem the pastoral ministry and without it we are all out of order, but on the other hand, sometimes they are the most likely candidates to block or hinder what the Lord may want to do in a particular city or region, and even in their own church due to a personal agenda that may not be of the Lord at all.
In interfacing with local churches and pastors for many years there can be restrictions put on by systems of men and cultures that exist in the church today. It has been so for many years. That statement alone is the reason many ministers will choose to host neutral meetings in a city, rather than be confined to the restrictions put on by one local church.
On the other hand, pastors have a reason to be cautious when working with outside ministries because they’ve been taken advantage of by some. For example, one evangelist came into a medium size local church I minister at regularly, hyped up the people, and took up his own offering and walked away with tens of thousands of dollars. This pastor friend of mine told me he will never have that minister back again.
Other men have an eccentric ministry with doctrinal tangents and questionable ethics that make pastors very uncomfortable in cooperating and promoting such ministries that come into their area.
The bottom line is for each church and ministry to follow God’s plan for them individually and to operate in the highest form of ministry ethics, honor, and integrity.
HOLY GHOST FORUMS
This brings me to another purpose in writing this piece. Because the flow and focus of our ministry is changing the Lord is directing us to be more open in conducting neutral meetings where not only the Word is preached but the ministry of the Holy Spirit can be carried out in full measure.
One of the formats that meets the need for face to face ministry from the fivefold ministry gifts in a short span of time while combining both diversity and liberty is our Holy Ghost Forums. These forums are schools of the Spirit where instruction, teaching, and demonstration is given according to 1 Cor. 14:26 through a team of seasoned ministers.
Imagine a forum like this in your city where the body of Christ is invited and local pastors and ministers are our special guests. Imagine a place where the Holy Spirit has free reign and there is training by precept and example of how to move with the Holy Spirit in demonstration and power.
What other setting is there where in a two or three day period the body of Christ in a local area could be ministered to at a higher level by a small team of ministers all at once? This is true team ministry done decently and in order where one has a psalm, another has a teaching, another has a tongue, a revelation, and an interpretation. I’ve always had a conviction that team ministry would be a restored dynamic of these last days just before Jesus returns.
In the New Testament we see team ministry. After all, Jesus ministered with His disciples and sent them out by two’s to minister as well. Paul ministered with Barnabas and then Silas. Barnabas ministered with Judas. Paul seemed to always travel with a team of others. After Philip preached a mighty revival in Samaria, Peter and John came down to help the multitudes receive the Holy Spirit.
Mark my words. This ministry team dynamic of fivefold ministers will cause the level of power and anointing to increase, and it will diffuse the attention from being on one man or ministry all the time. We have not yet seen the measure of effectiveness and anointing that team ministry can produce.
During a recent time of prayer the Spirit of God spoke to my wife and I about the unwrapping of Christ’s ministry gifts for greater glory. Then we read this in Billye Brim’s new book on prayer. “You have never yet seen the operation of Christ’s ministry gifts (Eph. 4:11), or what you call the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:1-11), as they were designed to operate. But before Jesus comes, you shall see the fullness of the operation of these gifts as they were designed to function. They will adorn the Church to walk in glory.” I not only see this happening individually but in team dynamics as well.
The great apostle to Africa, John G. Lake, speaks of the great blessing, diversity, and power of ministering with others in a tag team sort of way.
If you are a pastor and would like to host one of these forums in your church, or you are a businessman or layman who has a burden to bring a greater expression of the Holy Spirit into your city, and you have the ability to secure a venue for these forums and bring the body of Christ together, please contact us for details. I believe we’ve really found something in this forum format that will aid in expressing the ministry of the Holy Ghost in a fuller way.
May the great Holy Ghost have His way in the full expression of His gifts and ministries in this hour.