These two generals of the faith taught me so much. One was not to be enamored with ministry titles (Apostle, Prophet, Bishop, etc.). Hagin refused host pastors to introduce him with a title. He insisted on Brother Hagin only. The same with Brother Sumrall. With all due respect to those who have earned their titles or bear the fruit of them, here’s the danger that most are not even aware of.
When you’re introduced with a title you will automatically shift into a performance mode to live up to the title. Your message and ministry is spoiled even before you start. I understand that often people will call you by a title out of respect. Just don’t let it get to your head.
I was a missionary in West Africa for years, and this is one of the primary hindrances and strongholds in the minds of African ministers. Of course, it’s not limited to Africa only, but here and other nations as well; however, the Lord showed me that it is a major idol in Africa. Many will say that it is a culture of honor, but when it breeds pride and vessels of dishonor, it grieves the Lord, who made Himself of no reputation, humbled Himself, and took on the form of a bond servant (Phil. 2:7-8). Do we even know what that means?
We are in a time of great heart searchings, examinations, humility and repentance. And it must start with ministers. The members of the largest church in the world in Seoul, South Korea, pastored by David Yong Kee Cho, were asked what they appreciate most about their pastor. They said it was his humility and that when he misses it with God he stands up before the congregation and repents and asks their forgiveness. How refreshing is that? And when was the last time you witnessed this with any leader?
Many leaders/ministers are like spiritual orphans, standing in their pulpits and instructing others in spiritual things, while they themselves are lacking in spirituality. They are hiding behind a cloak of anonymity, where their real character is kept hidden and unknown to the public. Many are like actors, with dual personalities, using the stage of ministry for a coverup. Even sadder is that their spouses are compelled to cover up their failures at home and their real character issues while feeling trapped in a world that forces them to put up a front for the ones they minister to. What a prison that must be.
MY PERSONAL TESTIMONY
I was an orphan, so I know of what I speak. In 2002, the Lord opened my spiritual eyes and delivered me after an extended time of prayer and fasting. In an inward vision, I was looking up through a glass ceiling at all the things I wanted in ministry — power, anointing, favor, significance, influence, etc., but the Lord directed me to the floor and my foundation. He spoke to me at length about my character, saying such things as:
“The reason I have not opened the doors you’ve wanted me to open for you in ministry is because if I did, you would have ceased to be a man after My own heart.”
I broke down and wept when I realized He was keeping me from greater ministry opportunities, power, and influence because of His love and protection for me. He also said this:
“Take away ‘ministry’ over the last 17 years, and what do you have? Your character has not been sufficiently dealt the death blows that it will take to properly develop it to where I can impart to you the mind of Christ. You need more mortification to receive the mind of Christ.”
When I heard this, I realized He was requiring crucifixion and death to what I perceived I wanted and for me to return to Him as my first love.
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev. 2:4).
(My testimony and personal transformation are detailed in my book The Journal of My Journey to His Holiness).
My dear brothers, leaders in the body of Christ, and ministers of the Lord, we are nothing without Him and must realize that nothing is hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account (Heb. 4:13). We will give account for the souls God has entrusted to us (Heb. 13:7). We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Learn to walk there now in this life. “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him (2 Cor 5:8-9).”
“Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, I persuade you, because we are well known to God, and to people’s consciences (2 Cor. 10-11).” We can fool people, but we can’t fool God. I honestly believe that one of the great keys of the coming revival and awakening is genuine repentance and humility among leaders. Let it begin with me and you.
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