There is a season and an appointed time for everything.
If you are going to thrive in anything be it in your pursuit of purpose, ministry or any work that you do, you need to value obedience to God. The root of living in obedience to God is genuine love towards God. You cannot be obedient to God unless you love God, remember in scripture Jesus says “if you love me, you will obey my command.”
Unfortunately, many of us love our works and ministries more than we love God. Many love their callings more than they love the one who called them. I want you to think about this; do you remember a time when God gave you a message to preach but you didn’t preach it, because you were not sure how people will take it? Do you remember a time God may be asked you to call a specific person or visit them and encourage them or minister to them, but you were too tired or busy to do so? I have several examples of being in such situations, and all those are indicative of how we often waver between what people think and what God instructs or how we feel about a thing and what God would have told us to do.
Something that I believe is important to reflect on, as we are talking about obedience is to reflect on our reactions when God instructs us to do something that we regard as different. For example, if God can tell you to stop doing your work, business or ministry today will you do it? Or if He asks you to do your work of ministry differently, I mean, like a complete shift in focus and style, will you do it? Will you leave your congregation and do what He wants you to do? Will you go to a new city or use a new platform or focus only on a specific group of people if God told you to do it?
For many, that’s tough because we are afraid of doing new things. We are afraid of trusting God especially when it involves new things, new experiences and new directions. FEAR is an enemy of obedience. Many of us are afraid of how we will survive, or whether or not what God is telling us will work.
Another thing that inconveniences us, which is an enemy of obedience, is pride. Many people are not doing ministry in obedience because of pride – We forget that “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.”
Now I say all that to say – I believe God, in this season, spanning from the end of 2021 going forward, is calling each one of us to a new command and a new strategic direction of ministry and assignments. As you read this, I want you to be open-minded and open-hearted, because I see the proud hearing Him and continuing to do what their hearts want. The humble, however, will heed the call and do what God wants.
At New Gates, we believe God calls us to minister, influence and change the world in unique ways. There is no blanket strategy to ministry but God calls us to minister uniquely according to
- the gifts that He gives us
- the prevailing conditions around our world and,
- the resources He avails to us.
Those three differentiate us depending on who you are, where you are based and what you are set to do. I once shared and taught about new expressions of church, and now, I believe, is the season when we are starting to see these new expressions of church and ministries established. Many people have been thinking about them, trying them out and very soon, we will see these ministry expressions sprouting.
If you are going to start a church, or expand to several branches in this season, here is my advice to you – Be obedient to what God wants you to do, even if it looks, sounds and feels different from what you know the church to be all about. Be obedient – even if it means it is different from the usual.
If you are going to start or expand your church/ ministry in this season, talk to God, and in your conversations with God have clarity of the WHY. The more you have clarity of the WHY you will start to have confidence in WHAT you have to do and you will start to see freedom in HOW you can do it.
Traditionalism has always killed freedom for new expressions of ministry to sprout out. Traditionalism, ladies and gentlemen is a bondage that comes when people are obsessed with the WHAT AND HOW more than the WHY.
Very soon you are going to start seeing new expressions of church and ministry and some of you might not even realize that those entities will be God-ordained, genuine churches or ministries, because they look different from your understanding or different from your preference of church/ ministry.
If you are going to use a template or a specific model of planting a church or expanding in branches, be careful not to use what only worked yesterday. Why? Well, because what worked yesterday is not guaranteed to work tomorrow. What worked yesterday might look like it will work today, and it can work to some extent but the big question is will it work tomorrow?
If you are a pioneer, let me tell you today, the future of the church is not going to be traditional, but new expressions. Unique and diverse expressions of ministry. Allow yourself to be flexible and open-minded because God is doing a new thing.
God is pouring new wine and I pray to God that you will not remain an old wineskin and miss being a vessel of His move in this season. God has called all of us to build an ark in this season, especially you, the visionary, the lead pastor, the pioneer – God has called you to build an ark, to prepare people for tomorrow. That ark is a legacy, not your legacy but a legacy for the Kingdom – that ark is not for you; it is for the Lord’s purpose. You might not know how to explain it right now, but all you have to do is be obedient and just do it.
The future of ministry requires leaders who are growing in intimacy with God, leaders who are obedient to God and leaders who are not afraid to do a new thing.
Don’t be afraid to do something unique – Jesus preached to the woman at the well, a Samaritan woman and after ministering to her, there was a revival in Samaria! Ministering to a woman such as a woman at the well was unheard of, it was a new expression of ministry which brought out a revival.
May God bless you as you continue to serve Him and His Kingdom. May His grace and peace be multiplied upon you and your families. May Holy Spirit help you to live a life of moral excellence and help you to escape the prevailing corruptions of the world.
Article by Berven Hlumelo
Head of Transformation at New Gates