“Let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel” (1 Cor. 14:12b).
In I Corinthians 14 Paul is bringing correction, decency, and order to the church gatherings. The people were zealous for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but they were not excelling. Many today are zealous for the ministry and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but they are not excelling in the way God wants them to. God is not the author of confusion but of peace.
Here are some keys to excelling in your ministry and times of assembling, especially in the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
1. Cultivate an atmosphere of great praise and joy.
There are pockets of demons that congregrate in certain areas of the country. Evil spirits promote different elements of darkness such as poverty, perversion, sexual promiscuity, oppression, witchcraft, murder, etc. If we’re not careful these spirits will infiltrate the local church. In addition to exercising our faith and authority in the Word, high praise and joy in the Holy Ghost greatly aid in keeping these spirits out of the church and an area.
High praise and the joy of the Lord break strongholds and help open up new realms in the Spirit. High praise and worship yields a greater place for the gifts of the Holy Spirit to manifest, and the opposite is also true. The manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit also produce high praise and worship.
For example, one pastor ministered in healing for 3 straight weeks in their local meetings, and great praise erupted. Recently the Lord gave us several words of knowledge and people were healed right at the beginning of a meeting. It caused jubilant praise to break out among the people, and it increased everyone’s faith and expectation.
Many churches have gotten into a rut with programmed praise. Most full gospel churches no longer sing in the Spirit. Inspired psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are a lost art, too.
Formality kills the liberty of the Spirit, and predictability kills faith. Things of the Spirit such as praise and worship can become things in the Spirit if you’ll move in faith and inspired spontaneity.
2. Put an emphasis on brevity and simplicity.
Scholars have said that the New Testament was written in street Greek, and not flowery speech, especially the gospels. Jesus was simple. Resurrection is one of the few long words in His dialect that He used. Most of the words that Jesus used were shorter, simpler words like bread, water, life light etc.
Most preachers use eloquent speech and fancy sounding words, and frankly we are too long-winded (I’m guilty myself). Most services are cluttered with the unnecessary. It’s one thing when the Spirit of God falls, because then time takes on a different meaning, but to be lengthy on purpose, will backfire and decrease the anointing. Things will weigh heavy on people’s ears and create a dullness and passivity in them.
When you keep things simple and crisp the anointing will increase, and it will stay and stick to the people. It will keep them fresh and wanting more instead of wishing the meeting was over and the preacher would shut up. Again, all this changes when there is an outpouring of the Spirit.
And another thing, you don’t need to sing seven songs and have built up emotion to have the manifestation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Keep things simple when it comes to the gifts, too.
3. Always give place and space to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Praise and worship the Lord. Preach and teach the Word. Pray. Receive the offering. But always keep the Spirit in it and yield to Him. He may want to do something, reveal something, or say something at any point in the service.
One pastor friend of mine received a word of knowledge for healing during a baby dedication. He saw in a vision someone’s left eye that was almost blind being healed. He spoke it out and a lady was totally healed and began to weep. During a baby dedication! Give place to the Holy Spirit.
We must have variety in our services and in the gifts and operations of the Spirit. Please get my new book where we emphasize these things (Passing On The Move Of God To The Next Generation). I wrote it especially to help ministers.
4. Give tongues and interpretation a prominent place in the service.
Tongues and interpretation should be in more frequent manifestation than any of the other gifts. Why? Because those are the two gifts Jesus left for the New Testament Church. All the other seven gifts operated in the Old Testament except these two. Tongues with interpretation have been called the signature gifts and crown jewels of the glorious Church and are distinct to this dispensation of grace. Once again, we also deal with this truth in our new book.
5. Don’t put pressure on yourself to perform.
Operating out of a performance mode opens things up to sensuality and even familiar spirits. Don’t fall into the trap of hyping people up. Let the Spirit and the power of God hype them up. Be patient and wait on the Lord for the release of His quickening and anointing.
6. Focus on the spiritual growth of the people and not numerical growth.
God will not favor you more just because you pastor a big church or conduct big meetings. And do not think less of yourself if you have a numerically smaller church or conduct smaller meetings. As traveling ministers we have ministered to big crowds and smaller groups in homes. Our preparation and motivation remains the same in both scenarios.
Excellence is not when the building or the house is full of people, but when the people are full of God. Be faithful to the people God gives you. Your reward will be determined by your obedience and not size.
Pastors and ministers, these last two blogs can save you a thousand troubles if you will heed these simple keys to spiritual excellence. You will become a golden and honorable vessel.
May His grace be multiplied in your life as you flow with the Lord’s counsel.