Continuing from where we left off last time on the issue of Spiritual gift theme. As you will have remembered the arguments are that spiritually, the international church has misapplied the gifts distribution. Samuel went to Jessie’s house to appoint a king over Israel, but he went ahead of God and was looking on the outward appearance of the sons of Jessie. Each of the ones Samuel chose, was rejected by God because, he was not the one God wanted. Man does not see like God sees. When God told him the difference between man and God in leadership choice, Samuel realised it was God who choose. Like Samuel, the church ignores the Holy Spirit role in gifts distribution, and continue to appoint whomever they feel is fit and proper for office. This is so because the church has fallen, biblical ignorance and spiritual blindness so is wondering around like in a drunken stupor. Even more she is wounded, limping along like a wounded pet. She prays often, but no healing comes, no deliverance, she is ineffective! So she wished and hoped, waiting that change will come eventually. She is aware that we are struggling, and if God should arrive now, she is in trouble as many will be lost. However, change will not come until the right steps are taken to give the Holy Spirt its rightful place and opt for the gifted in areas of the church. People with spiritual vision are praying and hoping for redemption, and freedom from self-propelled men now in charge of the modern church.
The modern church is not at the apostles’ spiritual high level and operating below par at a mere 10 percent standards. At this rate she probably will not recover for the next two to three generations. This so because biblical precepts, on church administration and leadership gifts has been trampled under feet. It is operating under the rule of men, decisions taken by church administrators, based on feelings and vested interest, without biblical consultation, and standards. So because people are operating outside their gifts, or because basic gift identity and leadership training is lacking. Present church leadership does not affect events, which are hallmarks of a good leader. But instead responds only when serious situation develops, and not immediate but several months down the line. By which time it is either too late, and comes after a split. This purely for lack of vision and the spiritually gifted in charge. The Jamaican saying, “a we run things, things no run we”, is not their motto. Many will attend leadership or pastoral seminars, their weaknesses open up and laid bare before them even to the point of embarrassment, but will return to their home churches and continue the same way as before.
Without vision the people perish! This most sacred, powerful and important institution is being govern by headstrong men, those who are in the wrong gift position, and lacks training in leadership and church administration. The weakness has been blatantly obvious in the worldwide body, but many churches has taken and are taking steps to stop the slide and remedy the situation. Limited progress is visible in Europe and on the continent of Africa, Jamaica and the Caribbean where their boards has called a moratorium on leadership appointments until training is pursued. They are beginning to train the new ministers for office, which has been done for centuries in north and South America, and growth is taken place. However, it too is relative but at least something is happening. Once more even this approach seems imperfect, because very little actual steps are being taken to identify and chose the gifted. Very few conduct a test to identify the gifts among the applicants before training is pursued. If one does not have the gift, even training and appointing will achieve limited success.
The church is in the docks, under indictment for rejecting and undermining the Holy Spirit role in selecting the order of church administration and leadership. Jesus Christ is the prosecuting attorney, His blood becomes the proclamation voice for justice. God the righteous judge and head of the international church court of justice, is presiding. There is no defence! The verdict is issued – the church is declared Guilty of all the charges levelled against her. Guilty of abusing and ignoring the spirits role in gifts distribution and office appointment. Guilty of misapplication and the mismanagement of the church administrative process. But there is a note of caution and advice. The church can change and will change, but not with the present generation of leaders. It has been said, that the most important generation, is the next, and not the present one. The reasons why we have to set systems in order, leave good examples for them to follow. Or the next generation will look back and curse us for not doing the right things.
This abuse is blatant everywhere, but in North America, the Baptist movement is just a case in point. Although the movement have many colleges, universities and institution of learning that prepares and train its leaders for office, it has a tendency to place training before being gift tested. So the system is open to abuse, because anybody who show an interest and may be doing it for the wrong reasons, can be trained without the spirits influence. There is also a segment where many people who are appointed to senior offices, bishops, pastors, etc. are done on the basis of their singing abilities, or have been international known gospel artist. Then there are the others who have become reverend, not because they have been spiritually gifted and trained, has never taken a divinity or theological course, but on the basis that they are talented singers. Unfortunately this trend has spread far beyond the borders of north America but has captivated the interests of many churches internationally, as one just have to be a great singer, to be appointed to a leadership role. As soon as you can hold a note, you are elevated and placed in church governance roles. Are they gifted or are they talented singers and where is the Holy Spirit in these appointments? God help us because singing is not in the gift list Paul identified and listed in (Rom.12, 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4)? So singing ability should not be the basis on which church leaderships are appointed.
The modern church, has rebelled against the Holy Spirit, and is being run by self-propelled, money grabbing, wealth accumulation, ego driven, power hungry despots that leads only to ruin. They have no desire to uplift or advance the church, but for the sound of their own voices, and their personal and self-interest. They preach the get rich gospel, live in big mansions, get about in chauffer driven cars and private jets, forgetting Christ humble status, He said, “fox have holes, birds has nest, but the Son of man has no place to lay His head” (Lk. 9: 58). In the modern church it is money and power that grants influence over many things. Paul’s response, to the present situation would be, “shall I praise you in this? I praise you not! Because you by your personal interest and blinded ambitions has turned God’s church into a den of thieves”.
Cosmetic changes can be seen in many places, but Europe is a problem that either cannot or will not be solved, though training institutions are being set up, this is only a beginning. When the weakness is identified, some think you have personal vendetta, which is miles from the truth. It is definitely about the organisational systems, and the British establishment is reluctant to change and therefore out in the cold. It lacks the vision to take the necessary steps for church development and growth. Digging in its heels, dragging its feet and would appear reluctant to make changes, so out of touch. We come this far and it is too late to change, is their motto. Could this mean that we are in denial? That the present leadership is lacking biblical knowledge, and understanding? Failing to see, is blind to the biblical process of gift identity and leadership training? It’s everyone’s guess and one have no alternative but to conclude that they reject the biblical standards having lost direction as salt lost savour. Could it be that only a few has taken a gift test, and know what their spiritual gifts are, but unwilling to advance their training? That they will recognise they do not belong in a socially rewarding role and not a spiritual one, so are too scared to take a test? Or because just one or at the most two of the leadership recognise that they have the proper leadership gifts for the position they hold? That they lacks appropriate training, and too ashamed to admit it? Maybe because they will lose their public image and therefore loose face? Could this be a lack of knowledge and understanding or could it be a pride thing for many or all of them? Remember, pride goes before a fall. It is clear they still are allowing themselves to be dictated to by a minority of older folks, some even in pastoral roles, probably on the board, who still are claiming, ‘Church of God, or even Christian leaders don’t train, or go to college’ because? ‘The Holy Ghost train them’. This statement is nothing short of lack of biblical knowledge and spiritual vision. With only one of the members of the executive leadership has any theological training, and zero has any training in church leadership and administration, it lacks bite, authority and effectiveness. The lack of skilled, competent and erudite management can be seen in some of its most recent decisions, and smells foul play. It’s almost resemblance to Satan taking up a seat or is standing up like a man in the office of power in the church in England, dictating the pace and blocking progress. Only Satan benefits when there are no adequately biblically trained leadership and gifted people with management skills in church governance to bring about change and carry the organisation forward. They cannot see that without training, even understanding that if this was the way the Holy Spirit operate, they would not be so lacking in capability. Yet, they have so much spirit, ‘Hallelujah’ (not a bad thing) shouting being the high mark of their spiritual capability, but cannot see the obvious failures. How then did we the international church get the Holy Spirit gifts so wrong?
Christ spent 3 ½ years teaching and training his disciples and when they were trained He sent them out two by two, this is biblical. The modern church in appointing men to the office and then train them, may also be doing it backward. Much like putting plaster over a weeping wound, because the damage is already half done. Shutting the gate after the horse has bolted is a waste of time. It should be gift identity first then training. Less than half the British church leadership has gone through spiritual gift testing, or leadership training, and possibly will not pass the gifts test for the office they hold! If the leadership is brave enough to call for a gift test today and to see who qualify to hold the office they are given? If they pass the test, then see who have taken a training course? How can any leader be in a role and not be able to develop training material to train those whose souls they are watching over? Read again the gifts list of 1 Corinthian 12, and examine carefully why the gifts are given. It is for the unity of the church, the education and equipping of the workers, the body of Christ. If the leaders have no gift, no training how do they train others?
I have travelled extensively and whenever folks from other fields ask where I am from and I told them, their heads bow, they farrow their brows, they drop their heads and look down with disappointment. They have little apart from the doctrine to commend the British church for. They will say that the message is sound but it lacks the trained people to carry or proclaim it. On an airplane across the Atlantic a man told me, ‘you need to train your leaders!’ Why would so many people know about us but not attending our congregations? They are not oblivious to the weaknesses that pervades the leadership! However, over the years whenever I mention this, I am rebuked for critiquing the leadership. If anyone, advise that the entire British leadership resign and they make a new start, you will be side-lined and ignored, even shunned as one who means the church no good. Yet examine for yourselves, who do you think mean the church well, the men who shut their eyes to the blatant weaknesses, age old problems that needed to be rectified, and claiming that all is well? Or is it the man who identify and point out the weaknesses, and try to give biblical advice so they are corrected? When the prophets of Israel points out failings, i.e. Jeremiah, was he not beaten, and shunned, even labelled as the troubler of Israel? Many leaders in Europe that you will speak to, will admit that they see the problem. They will talk about in private, but are too spineless to speak to the broader leadership. Because the one who break ranks, the one who aired it publicly will be classed as a troubler of the church. However, we must think that God wants the church to change, where the Holy Spirit choose the leaders, where the church is ready to accommodate new comers, gifted and trained people who can see it revive and to help it grow.
The modern church still in 2018 needs reformation of its systems and functions, but who will reorganise and bell the cat? We still believe that it is church boards, organisation or institutions of learning (Colleges/Universities), appoints people to positions in the church. That task is solely the Holy Spirit (Rom 12; 1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4). The church has a duty to identify the gifted, train and appoint, but it is so packed with cronyism that God has to intervene, to change things. The modern church is under indictment! Many of us knew of the Great Reformation, even know some of the reformers names. But must be forgiven if we think that the reformation ended when they died. The Reformation, specifically referred to as the Protestant Reformation, was a schism in Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther and continued by John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, and other early Protestant Reformers in 16th-century Europe. One might ask why reformation matters, and whether it matters to us this side of modernity. Because it happened approximately 500 years ago, why does anything that old be relevant today! Because this is the age of science and technology where we have knowledge that far surpasses anything in the past, let alone 500 years ago. It is as good as prehistoric! And because it concerned religious creed, and we live in a secular age, surely it is not necessary. Of course, many people still believe in God, but no-one actually thinks that religion is important any more. Yes it may have relevance for us in our personal and private lives, but there is no influence at the level of government or decision-making. Surely what a German monk kicked off in the church 500 years ago cannot possibly be of any significance today.
The fact that The Reformation is old and faith cannot be denied and yet I want to show you now that it is incredibly relevant to us today. Indeed, without this Reformation our modern societies would look extremely different in 2018, and we would certainly not have the freedom and the prosperity that we enjoy. More importantly, without the Reformation, we would still be under a dark and oppressive regime that uses the fear of death and judgment to persuade people into conformity, rather than having free access to a gospel message that sets the individual free from those fears for time and eternity.
Yes reformation is needed too in the British leadership. Just two board members need to stand up, break ranks, and call for reformation. Say enough of this kind of behaviour, and call for an end to unbiblical practices. Shout and let their voices heard across the country, even call a solemn assembly like the prophet Joel, change would come. If they, ask the church to put out a moratorium on leadership appointment and ask the Americans for help in setting up a system. Then do the obvious, gift test the potential leaders, and train them. For at the moment anyone can start a group, and because they set it up, they want to be the leader, and church obliged. So, stating unequivocally, that no new appoint will be made to leadership, until a workable framework is established. Where the spiritually gifted are identified, and the necessary training sought, given or acquired before appointment to office. If “a week is a long time in politics” really when political storm in threatening, and trouble is on the horizon. Think about, ten, twenty, thirty years, that is a long time to try and affect change anywhere let alone in a spiritual organisation. Here only small probably insignificant voices are expressing concerns. We are in the minority, and sometimes it feels like we are alone crying, in the wilderness and shouting for vicissitudes in the British establishment. At the risk of being ostracized, having one’s head spiritually detached, the people must rise up to the challenge. Ask every church leader you know in Britain, to write his ‘gift identity and training’ goal down and give it pride of place on the bookshelf of their lives, where it can be seen often. Or place it on our bedside table where we can see it before we go to bed at night or as we awake in the morning to face the new day. So that we never again, forget!
This is not a goal for now, but for the rest of, our natural lives. It must be, in all good conscience and God given ability, which we will all commit to a gift test in the world church. Some of us has done it already and know where they stand and may not need to do it again, but need training to develop. Others who haven’t should, just to see and determine what our gifts are. Then enter into training to develop our ability, and continue training throughout the life of our ministry. That is the only way that we will know where God wants us. If it turns out you were in the right role all along, after the test, that’s a feather in your cap. Having the gift identified is only the first step though, we need training to effectively administer in the role. What it then means is that we need a preparation regime, so we are fully equipped to effectively function in the office we are appointed to. Further and in addition, make a personal commitment to take a course in theology or divinity, knowledge and wisdom is key. Remember this, not everybody will see or even appreciate your goals. People who lacks spiritual vision and who are unable to seek educational development becomes an enemy. They are Satan’s implants designed to hold back and restrict the performance and growth of the church. They will put obstacles in your way to upset you, put you off, to change your mind, tell you it is not necessary, even tell you, you can’t do it. Some days you will even get sick of seeing your goal list, especially if you have not taken a first step to achieve it. Other days you will be reminded that either you are doing great or maybe you need to pick up the pace a little.
As labourers in God’s vineyard, ask God what is our purpose and find it putting God first, ahead of all other plans or goals. Ask Him to help us identify our gift/s, and what is the training that we need to function effectively and perform it? As since we at one time or another, by watching others perform, come to love or desire a certain gift ministry, but that does not mean that’s where God wants us! God create the blue print, and effected it through the gift of His Son, so He knows where everyone fits in the body of Christ Gifts are none given willy nilly, like office for rent apply within, when I run our you run in, kind of a operation. Without the right foundation a building topple, a block laid out of line will heap of problems for a building inspector. God wrote the blueprint for the church, and is its inspector therefore, is not disorganised, nor did He leave it for church leaders to place people that they think fits an opening. People mostly are drawn to the more demonstrable, i.e. preaching, pastoral, teaching etc. the more in your face gifts role, and even if they don’t qualify, they pursue it. Many when they cannot get a leadership role, will split from their present church and starts something just because they wants to be a leader. Many ‘wannabies’, people starts churches because they want to handle the money, church ownership can be a lucrative business depending on the city you are in. Some even use Paul’s split from Barnabas as a reason to justify their actions. But does God gave sanctions or justification to schisms?
Ministry partners, Britain is currently the un reluctant link for change and reformation in the Church of God family worldwide. Every other country or nation of believers has moved or is moving towards a gifted and trained leadership. Change will not come with the present leadership, because most of us are without the necessary gift for leadership and follow up training regime. However, there is hope for the future, maybe the next or a few generation down the line, but with a new set of leaders, it will happen. I know I will not be around to see it, and many of you reading this may not be around either! Nevertheless, I hope that you make your plans to achieve your goal beginning in 2018, if you are not gift identified and already trained. Or make 2018 the year when you determine that you will start out on the road to get gift tested, get trained and achieve your biblically appointed Holy Spirit influenced goals.
Love, Joy, Peace in Jesus,