We have two more days of the first of two annual visits of Dennis Cramer the prophet. He has been coming to my neck of the woods now for 13 or 14 years. He is a personal friend to me and my family as well as a loyal worker for the Network of Churches and ministries that I founded almost 30 years ago. (www.denniscramer.com / www.lifebuildersnetwork.org)
Yesterday he ministered to 60 leaders from around our Network. Those attending also included some leaders from several other networks. He taught on the Church today as compared to the Church of the book of Acts. And brought it right home to the heart by discussing the changes we need to make in our leadership style and in our churches to bring them up to biblical standards.
His main point was that the Charismatic or Spirit-filled Church needs to return to her roots. We were born in power (Azusa Street) and the gifts flowed as the power began to work. It is time to return to those roots and expect God’s power to manifest and move in each and every assembly of our respective churches. It is time to function in the gifts as leaders. It is time to teach on the gifts and then train, equip and release our people to flow in the gifts.
Will this be somewhat messy as the saints practice and learn “on the job”? Yes! But nothing that the Holy Spirit cannot gently handle. The problem is not in the messyness – it is in the settleness of the leaders. We are concerned about the mess that we will have to work with. We are concerned that some people may leave and take their tithe with them. We are concerned about what others may think if things really do break lose and the gifts and power manifestations begin to appear in our services. We are concerned about what people might think of us as the leader of such a church. If only you realized how seldom they do think of you. The problem in our “branch” of the church today is not with the people – it is with the leaders. We have settled. We have camped. We have become CEOs of small, medium and large-sized corporations. We are no longer pioneers. Vance Havner once said – “It is a terrible shame to have been born again in the fires of revival and now find ourselves living in the ashes”.
It is time for leaders to stand up and be just that, leaders! It is time to close the door to your study and become reacquainted with the Holy Spirit and resensitize yourself to His presence and His power. It is time to become filled to overflowing with His power and presence and have a daily encounter with the Spirit of God. Then, to step out of the study and simply obey what the Holy Spirit is saying.
Long post – but I need to say several other things.
Pastors and leaders – get away from your office. When did the “pastor’s study” become the “pastor’s office”? 15 years ago I purposely created a second room for myself and designated it a study. It has a desk, laptop, comfotable reading chair, coffee pot, etc. just like an office – but without a phone. Paperwork is kept in the office and only my Bibles and note pad are allowed in the study. It is lined with shelves loaded with books, CDs and DVDs that I use in my studies and research. I spend from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. in this room without even thinking of the office that is 6 feet away. I study, pray, write, read… then I go and shower and shave and ‘report for work’ at the office around 11:00 a.m.. This still allows more than an 8 hour “work day”.
Let me suggest that by 2:00 p.m. pastors should be gone from the office and be out in the coffee shops talking with their people and witnessing to or sharing with those that are not saved. Listen pastor: this is what you signed up for – to be with God and with God’s people. You didn’t sign up to be a paper pusher for the organization known as the church. You were called and ordained to be a leader and an important part of the organism called the Body of Christ.
Then, in the evening, a time of direct ministry to the Body – meetings (cut out as many as possible), services, and outreach where you can preach and teach, equip and release the people of God to do what they are called to do – minister.
Just a thought or two that arose in my heart after listening to a prophet of the living God call us all back to the task at hand – to be involved as Jesus builds His Church. He stepped on a lot of toes, shot a few sacred cows, and set a few truths in order as he brought the Word of the Lord to the leaders and helped to repair the foundations.
It is always profitable to our Network to bring in the prophet of God. Although, at times, painful.