10 Reasons You Need to Grow Your Church in 2016

The grace people in the UK (indeed many people in the UK) are still too small minded, looking at maintaining house groups and sustaining groups of 20 people.  I am not against small groups – we all started small, and I still regularly preach to crowds of people under 10 as we are starting new churches and new ministries.  But you must grow.  We all must grow.  We have to grow.

“It’s not about numbers” is the cry of the person who is mediocre, doesn’t dream and doesn’t think big.  It is about numbers, because each number is a person who is being impacted and changed by the message of the complete work.

To inspire you to believe for growth this year, here are 10 reasons your church should go:

  1. The Harvest Field is the WHOLE WORLD – EVERY NATION!
    1. Jesus told us to go into ALL THE WORLD.
    2. If your church isn’t in ALL THE WORLD, there is space to grow.  There are people to reach.
    3. If Jesus is dreaming of reaching the world, why would you dream for something less?
  2. There are not enough labourers
    1. There are a lot of talkers, a lot of people who have been to Bible College, a lot of people who have played a guitar, a lot of people who can preach a message on grace.  There are not a lot of labourers.
    2. The harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few!
    3. There are plenty of people to get to your church.  PLENTY!
  3. Most pastors are thinking too small
    1. Your end goal is not being able to get a full time salary.  That is far too small a goal.  Your end goal is not being able to get enough money from ministry to get a Bentley!  That is far too small a goal.  Your end goal is not to fill whatever hall you are in – that is too small a goal.
  4. The devil wants your church to stay small
    1. The less people in your church, the more people he can deceive and manipulate.
    2. Stop siding with the devil.  Small is not beautiful, it is letting the devil run wild in your area.
  5. A bigger church creates vision and expectation
    1. It’s amazing when a lot of people get together to worship.  It creates an atmosphere of expectation.  It creates excitement.  That changes lives.
  6. A bigger church can do more evangelism!
    1. You can do more – you can have more meetings, more outreach, more connections.   It’s like a snowball the more you outreach, the more you can outreach!
  7. A bigger church has more money!
    1. Money is important – if a church has a godly pastor, then more money is a great thing.  Obviously, if the church has a greedy pastor, more money in the church means more for him!
    2. Money in the hand of godly pastors is used to change the world.  It’s used to feed the hungry, preach the gospel, change lives, bring godly teachers who bring life to people
  8. A bigger church means more helpers
    1. Have you noticed only some people in your church actually help out?  It’s true for any church, don’t get upset with it.  But as you grow, the percentage of labourers might not change, but the number will grow!  The more labourers the more you can do.
  9. A bigger church can be more specialized
    1. You can run meetings for specialized reasons that only some people go to.  You can run a single’s ministry, a ministry to the over 60s, a minister to the poor, a ministry that is for the teens.  Any ministry that only ministers to a specialized group needs a large church, that’s just maths.
  10. A bigger church means more connections
    1. That means someone in your church needs a job, there is a much higher chance that someone in the church needs an employee.
    2. It means that people can meet in your church and fall in love and get married in the church.
    3. It means that you can build good friendships with people who are like you.
    4. It means there are more people coming by who have ministries and that means you can plant more churches and start more ministries.

You need to grow this year.  Let’s do this thing!

Merry Christmas!

This Sunday has been awesome.  Great carol service in Dagenham, someone got saved and people got healed, and I know I haven’t heard all the testimonies yet.  It was a really awesome service, and loads of people have benefited from the message.

Then  a swift drive to Guildford to enjoy the Christmas party of our first daughter church, just wonderful to watch what is happening there.

I am going off line until Christmas.  I am going to enjoy my family and have a great time with them.  No blogging or posting until after next Sunday.  I will email the church and let them know what is happening next week, but that is all.

The truth is, and I am sharing this to help leaders, that I am currently with a major sleep deficit and I need rest.  My legs are sore from constantly working out (I will lose the rest of my weight) and my mind is sore from constantly dreaming big.  So it’s time to rest.  Rest is vitally important no matter what you are or what you are doing.  If God rested from creating the universe, then it is important you rest from activity too.  Rest from strife, from conflict.  Get outside and walk in the forest.  Spend time with the precious people who enjoy your company.

I will return next week, rested and on fire.  Get ready!

Until then, enjoy Christmas!

Who To Promote?

I’ve deliberately written this post to senior and lead pastors of churches, because one of the things that really messes up church growth is promoting the wrong people.  It’s also true in businesses as well – promoting the wrong people will destroy your business, and promoting the right people will propel it forward.  So if you are a business leader, you can convert these principles.  But I have deliberately penned it for pastors today.

One of the key things you need to do as the church grows is delegate your tasks and promote leaders – generally we call the key assistants “assistant pastors”.  You plant a church you need to eventually appoint a regional, branch or campus pastor.  Your church grows you need assistant pastors in the mother church.

Now if you delegate you empower people, and that’s awesome and that’s God’s will, but if they misuse their empowerment that will affect your church.  If you are a senior leader, use this check-list to avoid promoting the wrong people.  If you are a campus pastor or assistant pastor, use this list to check your own heart.

  • Don’t promote people who constantly say “I told you so”.  You are the leader, you are taking risks – that’s part of leadership.  Some of the things you do will go wrong.  But you don’t need a reverse-cheerleader telling you things have gone wrong.  Anyone who is happy that things have gone wrong is a bad assistant.  Replace!
  • Don’t promote the people who don’t respect your wisdom.  The people who are thinking “I would be a better head if I only had the chance” are not remembering that you built the building and you pay their salary with what you built.  They do not want to help you, they want to help themselves.
  • Be very wary of people who are unwilling to look subordinate.  They want to look like you.  If you have a new car, they want one.  If you go and preach overseas, they want to.  They don’t understand that there is a difference.  He doesn’t like being an assistant, because he doesn’t really honour the lead pastor!
  • Be careful of people who cannot wait to take your place.  They eager to preach, they want you to travel so they can take your office for the week and make decisions it’s not their business to make.
  • Beware of people who see your flaws more than they see your good qualities.  Generally they will think the services are too long and you cannot preach!  He will know who you have offended and have a great catalogue of all the times you messed up.  But they have no such catalogue of your good times!
  • Beware of assistants who obsess over how wonderful other ministers and churches are, but don’t have a good word to say about you!
  • Beware of assistants who listen to a lot of preaching of other preachers but don’t ever listen to your preaching!  The fact they think they have nothing to learn from you is a red danger sign!
  • Bad associates are the ones who always think things should be done in a different way.  They have far better ways of doing admin, of preaching, of handling people and pastoring people.
  • Look out for the associates and assistants in your network who people go to with their complaints.  Complaint magnets will lead to trouble.  I would never let people come to me with complaints about my staff, so I don’t expect they let people come to them with complaints about me.
  • Never promote the people who don’t clap, laugh and say “Amen!” when you are preaching.  The people who look like cabbages and never take notes.  Don’t give them leadership positions!
  • Never promote the people who don’t clap, laugh and lift their hands during worship.
  • Never promote to leadership people who are behind the atmosphere.  If the atmosphere in the church is cheering and dancing, and they can’t break out a smile; if everyone is raising both hands and they are barely lifting one.  They are not leaders!  They are unimpressed with the Spirit of God – that is a danger sign!
  • Never promote people who are not happy for you to be promoted.  If you get given money or opportunities and they think “well I do all the donkey work around here” then that is not going to help the church!
  • Never promote people who disagree with you in public.  If a leader disagrees with you in public, get rid.
  • Never promote people who think honouring you is indulgent.  That is what Judas felt about Jesus, and you know how that ended up.
  • Never promote people who don’t know whether they should be in your church.  They are always changing their minds, they want to know if they are in God’s will, they are asking about where the church is going next all the time.  Where as other people in the church are receiving your preaching and getting their lives transformed, they are sitting there wondering whether to quit or not.

The Danger of Jealousy and Selfish Ambition in Ministry

It’s a bit of a long winded title this evening, but I can’t think of a pithy way of saying this: a lot of pastors are jealous of other pastors.  They struggle with jealous and envy towards other pastors they perceive to be more successful than themselves.  Then other pastors struggle because people that they want to befriend are jealous of them and will not befriend them.

I know that it is a strange way for those of us called into ministry to act, but it happens and it has happened for a long time.  As far back as the times of King David it happened.

It happened as they were coming, when David returned from killing the Philistine, that the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy and with musical instruments. The women sang as they played, and said, “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”Then Saul became very angry, for this saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, but to me they have ascribed thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?”  (1 Samuel 18.6-8)

David had raw passion, faith, a confidence in the Lord and it got great results.  Saul had a position of leadership but had grown hard to the things of God through the ministry – it happens today too!

When Saul first met David he told him he was just a boy.  Then Saul offered his armour to David.  Not out of love or mercy, certainly not out of any conviction that David might actually defeat Goliath.  So why did Saul do it?

I think it was to patronize David, to make him look stupid.  To put a young teenager in the armour of a man head and shoulders taller than your average man is going to make him look more stupid than Mickey Mouse in the Sorceror’s Apprentice or a toddler wearing daddy’s slippers.  Ambitious, jealous leaders don’t try and raise up the young men and women of faith in their care, they try and embarrass them and condemn them.

There is David wearing armour ridiculously too big for him, Saul and his courtesans laughing their heads off, teasing the young man for his faith and drive.  David would be walking around like Robocop, taking a minute or two to turn his head and move in the heavy armour.

Saul wasn’t trying to help David – we know his character well enough to know that.  He was trying to make him look stupid and kill his faith.

Jealousy makes you do that.  Envy makes you attack what you need to help you.  When the courage of another exposes that you are a coward, you want to snuff out that light of courage and keep the world in the dark about your fear.

There is a lot of deep truth in this encounter between God’s anointed and the ex-anointed.  But what is obvious and surface is important too: older ministers are threatened by younger ministers, the passionate threaten the passive, the courageous threaten the cowards, the dreamers threaten the daydreamers.

And it hasn’t changed.  Today in the church there are leaders who are not secure in their position, who have lost their passion and they are threatened by the Davids.  Their passion makes them embarrassed, their confidence makes them uneasy, their willingness to go kick Goliath where it hurts makes them feel old and ashamed.

I have seen jealousy kill people the same way it killed Saul.  As soon as David’s song was louder than Saul’s, Saul wanted to kill the young man.

Jealousy will stop you from hearing from heaven.  Jealousy will stop you enjoying your ministry.

So, today I want to give you a couple of practical lessons.  Things that I needed to know and wish you had taught me but I learned the hard way and now I am teaching you!

Firstly, don’t ever let the jealous talk you out of killing your Goliath.  This isn’t a battle to go for, it’s a battle to ignore.  Don’t waste your time fighting Saul, move on and kill Goliath.  Don’t waste your time arguing with other ministers.  Get on and change the world.  Don’t waste your time trying on the armour and being the source of their jokes.  Get on and change the world.  Don’t waste your time trying to prove yourself to people whose day is over.  Get on and change the world.  Stop wasting time to get these people on side.  Go and change the world.

You might be the one trying to change the world and you have already encountered Saul.  Some jealous person attacking your dream, throwing you in a pit, bullying you because they know you might one day exceed them or show them up.  Don’t be tempted to live for them and try and prove yourself to them – don’t do it – go and change the world!

Don’t lower yourself to their level to stop them being jealous of you.  I’ve been a school teacher for a number of years, and I saw many children stoop intellectually to avoid being bullied by the jealous.  I’ve seen people do drugs or lose their virginity and suddenly want everyone to do the same and make the same mistakes.  People without passion for God and character want you to lose yours.  Don’t give up on your big dreams because of the jealous!

Instead find people who dream big like you and want to change the world like you.  That’s what I have done, I have given up on pastors who want me to dream like them, who want me to dot my i’s and cross my t’s before stepping out and obeying God and who want me to box in God and His plan the same way they do.  I am surrounding myself with the fellowship of the improbable dreamers, the imagineers of the impossible and the hopers of far-flung hopes.  Get around people like that!

Don’t lower yourself to be the same, raise yourself to be different.  Don’t try and fit in, you were designed to stand out!

If people are jealous of your success, keep doing what you are doing.  If people are jealous of your talent, get trained and get more talented.  If people are jealous of your church, love and build your church.  If people are jealous of how much you love the Lord, tell them the truth: I will become more undignified than this.

Dream big, dream out loud, and don’t let the small voices stop your big dreams.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work (And What to Do About It!)

NEW-YEARS-RESOLUTIONS-calendar

New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work!

I am preparing for Sunday this morning, writing a church bulletin, reviewing my sermon, making sure people are in place to do what needs to be done.  And I thought this preview from this Sunday morning’s message might really help some people:

You see, New Year’s Resolutions don’t work.  You know it and I know it.  Yet year after year we make the same resolutions, the same promises, deep down knowing that by mid-January we will have broken them in spades, and extinguish even that glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe this year will be different.  We have to get off that roller-coaster folks, it’s not good for you!

The problem is this: most people live their life on the basis of will-power.    You will see it in the next few weeks across the country.  Those of you who go to the gym, suddenly your gym is crowded.  Don’t worry by February they will be empty again.  Some people will come back to church in January telling me “I will be here forever now, pastor”, “I will never miss church again”, “I will be on time for every service”.  By February they will be back to their 1 week in 3 or 4, turning up nonchalantly at the end of the worship wondering why nothing is working in their life.

So we know these resolutions do not work.  So what do we do?  We stop making resolutions, and we instead set GOALS.  This New Year’s Eve we are not making resolutions for 2016, we are setting goals.

Now let’s reason together – let’s use our brains and grasp how and why this works.  A resolution is a resolve to do A, B, or C, and not do X, Y, and Z.  It is based on willpower.  Willpower is your ability to muster strength from your soul – your thinking, the information you have and your feelings.  The problem is your soul is not redeemed yet – you know it and I know it – and it has feelings, whims and wild ideas.

Let’s talk about dieting.  The most common New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight.  Now you all know how to lose weight – some ways are better than others, but you all know that stuffing your face with doughnuts is bad, and eating your greens is good.  It’s not an information problem.  So you make a resolution: you resolve to stop eating cake.

So day 1 you fight the temptation to eat badly all day, and all day you think about what?  Cake!  The house is still full of goodies from Christmas.  There is still Christmas Pudding in the house.  It’s not so bad the fight, you are stuffed full from Christmas and the belt is already tighter, so you manage day one.  You eat the good stuff.

Day 2 is just day 1 again, but harder.  Your resolve causes you to focus on the forbidden.  Remember the Bible teaches the strength of sin in the law.  In other words, people don’t want to do wrong until we start telling them not to.  No one walks around touching the walls, but if you put up a sign that says “Wet Paint, Don’t Touch” there is something in us that wants to touch.  The same is true for ourselves: if we set a law to ourselves – I will not eat cake.  Then something inside you rises up and wants to do it.  When you think “Do not eat cake”, you are thinking about cake.  It’s that simple.  You are setting yourself up to fail because you are programming your brain badly.

Day 4 you have a tough day.  The kids really need to be back at school, and parenting is tough, you are tired, going stir crazy, you have started back at work and it’s hard catching up and getting in the swing again.  And all day  you are telling yourself “Do not eat cake” – you have cake on your mind!  You are starving, so you eat the Christmas pudding.  Just a little.  And a little more.  And some cream.  And some more pudding.

And now less than one hundred hours after you made your resolution, you are lying on the sofa, stuffed full of pudding – but you are also full of regret, recrimination and shame!  Your resolve is gone, so your resolution is over.

I think if you want to make some money you should open a gym called Resolutions.  It is a gym the first two weeks of January, and then it become a pub for the rest of the year.  We all know this is how things play out, but each year we play the same gain.

What can we do?  How can we make choices that have longevity?  By not making them resolutions and not making them from our willpower.

Instead, make choices on the basis of priorities.  And you get your priorities right by setting goals.  If you are on resolution mode, you are only thinking about the “don’t” all the time.  You are being negative and are attracting failure.  Thinking “I must not eat cake, I must not eat cake” only attracts cake into your life and will inevitably end up with you eating cake.  But if you are on GOAL MODE – we step away from all those negative thoughts and we look at what the GOAL IS.

So if you want to lose weight – don’t make a resolution.  Don’t resolve to do anything!  Set a GOAL instead.  Tell yourself I am going to weigh X stone and Y pounds, or better still get yourself a size goal – I will fit into these trousers, that dress.

Now take the goal and put it on your dream wall.  What does Habukkuk tell us: write the vision down and make it plain.  I would (and have done) buy the trousers.  I started this year with a 48″ waist, and now it is a 40″ waist.  I assure you there are 38″ trousers (and 36″ and 34″) in the house.  I will do it!

Now meditate on the goal.  Reflect on the goal.  Imagine the end result. Dream it, imagine it, visualise it.  This is what the Bible calls “hope”.  Now here is the good news – you are not even thinking about cake, you are focussing on the goal.

Your goal sets your priorities.  The more you focus on the goal, the more your priorities naturally shift.  You stop caring about the cake (the cigarette, the ex-girlfriend who is not good for you, the spending too much on shoes, the whatever) and you start caring about the goal.  What you meditate on is where you will end up.  As a man thinks in his heart, so he is (Proverbs 23.7, made famous by Napolean Hill, but penned by Solomon!).  You have to let the goals lead, not the resolutions.  The resolutions will lead you back into trouble, the goals will lead you forward to victory.  Your resolve will fail.  WE ARE NOT THAT GOOD TO BE RESOLUTE – we have to take our mind off that and PUT IT ON THE GOAL.

WE ARE NOT LOOKING TO BE A FLASH IN THE PAN – WE ARE LOOKING AT A LONG TERM SUCCESS, as individuals and as a church!  SO, MAKE GOALS NOT RESOLUTIONS!

With a resolution, when you fail, it’s all over.  But with a goal, it’s awesome, a long range goal supersedes short term failures.  The goal enables you to get back up again and keep walking forward.

Accusation 04:Dealing with It

Ok, so accusations are powerful.  They hurt, they cause trouble, they can de-rail your entire ministry.  So what do you as a leader and pastor do about them?

  1. Pray!
    1. Praying for someone to experience the blessings of Christ is the exact opposite to accusing.  Pray for who?  Those who persecute you!
    2. Pray for all the people who accuse you, not that their teeth will be smashed in their mouth but that they will experience God’s richest blessings.
    3. It’s the counter-spirit to accusations, it’s the spirit of Christ!
  2. Bring it to the Light!
    1. Accusers like to work in the dark.  They are sneaky, spreading gossip and lies.  They work backward and sideways.
    2. So bring it to the light.  Go to the person “I heard you say I am not this, not that, that I do this”.  Bring it to the light, it soon stops it!
  3. Preach!
    1. That’s right – get in the pulpit and explain to people how evil accusing is.  Deal with the accusations from the pulpit – in the light.
    2. If they accuse you of not fasting on the right days, preach on new wineskins.
    3. If they accuse you being just a carpenter, teach on where a prophet is accepted.
    4. If they accuse you of eating with sinners, teach them what the mission of the church should be!

Accusation 03: The Kinds of Accusations

What are the different ways in which the devil uses people to accuse you.  Some are blindingly obvious – like a direct allegation, others are a lot more subtle and you may not even realize that they are an accusation.

Here are seven ways in which the devil manipulates people to accuse you:

  1. A Direct Allegation
    1. This is the kind of accusation we all recognize as accusation.  Someone makes a statement against you: you are arrogant, you are rude, you are a gambler
  2. A Criticism
    1. Criticism is basically expressing your opinion about someone’s work or abilities or qualities.  It is a statement expressing disapproval, and is generally a form of accusation.
    2. Don’t go around looking for bad qualities to point out.  It is accusing.  You are working for the devil.
    3. Pray for people, don’t accuse them!
  3. Grumbling
    1. Grumbling is not making a direct allegation, but making undertones that everyone else will hear.  It is a form of accusation.  It is the devil’s work.
    2. No wonder Scripture says “Do everything without grumbling!”
  4. Accusation by Absence
    1. The absence of certain people is a message.  By boycotting a meeting, you send a louder message than if you actually come in person!
  5. Sarcasm
    1. Sarcasm is using the words that are the opposite of what you mean, to be unpleasant to someone.
    2. With sarcasm, you can make “please” and “thank you” sound like “I hate you!”
    3. It can easily become a form of accusation to someone.
  6. Insinuation
    1. An insinuation is an indirect allegation.  It is still accusing.  In fact often it can be more powerful than a direct allegation.
  7. Gaslighting
    1. Gaslighting is when you re-tell a story but you put everything in a different light.  You highlight some things and you ignore other things, and tell a different story.
    2. That’s what they did to Jesus, they re-told his stories to make him look like someone who wants to destroy the temple.
    3. Be very careful around people who re-tell events to make things dark.

Accusation 02: The devil’s staff

In our last post, we discussed the fact that the devil is the accuser of the brethren and his plan is to accuse you through people close to you.  We analysed what accusations are like and why they happen.

Now I want to look at the kind of people who might accuse you.  Satan would rather talk to you one-to-one but you are too smart to listen to him tell you that you are rubbish and useless.  He needs megaphones on the planet – people who voice his accusations out loud.  Accusations work, and satan relies on them, and he is the master of finding the right kind of people to accuse and attack you and distract you from kingdom work.

Now listen to me – never become the devil’s staff.  Never become satan’s employee.  Never accept the job offer from Lucifer!  That is not the way God does things – through accusations.  He never moves or leads through accusing.  He is never behind accusing!

As soon as you accuse someone, you have let satan have a rest and you are his employee on planet earth.  You are literally doing the work of the devil!

Michael, the archangel, dare not accuse satan – but you happily accuse your wife, your husband, your friends, your elders and your pastor.  Can the evil in your wife be compared to satan?  Then why accuse.  Pray, love, forgive, care!

Accusing never changes anyone.  It just kills relationships.  Don’t do the work of accusing people.  It’s not your job, it’s the devils.  There is no Biblical ministry of criticism, finger-pointing, and running people down!

So what kind of people accept job offers from the devil?  These are the seven people most likely to accept a job offer from the devil.

  1. Bitter People
    1. We all suffer in life – we all go through pain.  But some people let that hurt and pain define them, they stop trusting people, they become cynical, they become accusers of everyone.
    2. Bitter people are the hardest to lead and the quickest to become accusers.  That is why you must always resist the root of bitterness.
  2. Jealous People
    1. People who are insecure in their positions and role in life are aggressive.  They attack anyone near them like a rabid dog.
    2. Jealous pastors attack all their staff.  Jealous husbands and wives attack each other and accuse their spouses of being interested in other people.  Jealous church members will accuse the pastor.  Jealous bosses spy on their workers because they are deep down accusing them of planning their downfall.
    3. The Pharisees were jealous of Jesus due to his popularity.  That lead to their becoming his accusers.
  3. Small Minded People
    1. People who cannot see your vision accuse you.  People whose tiny minds cannot embrace the vastness of your plans will accuse you.
    2. The man who only had one talent buried his talent.  He had no idea how big his master’s vision for multiplication was, and accused his master of being harsh.
    3. I have seen many people like this: they accuse you of being harsh because they don’t know the destination.  These people tend to be critical of all who are around them.  The fear in their small minds expresses itself in accusing.
  4. Ungrateful People
    1. It is a tiny step between ingratitude and accusing.
    2. If you don’t realize what you owe someone, then you will end up accusing them.
    3. The Israelites accused Moses of trying to murder them.  They had no idea how much they owed him for leading them out of Egypt.
    4. Accusers are ungrateful people.  They don’t realize how good God is to them.  They pick up stones to hurl at the man who healed them.
  5. People With Something to Hide
    1. Many times people defend their sinful behaviour with a good offensive on someone else.
    2. They strike first on you, they have a lot to hide.
    3. Ahab accused Elijah of bringing trouble to Israel, when it was Ahab’s lack of backbone that caused all of Israel’s problems
  6. Backstabbers
    1. When someone stabs you in the back or does something disloyal to you, they often need to justify themselves for their bad action.
    2. If a person in leadership in a church starts a new church across the road, to justify their behaviour they often accuse the pastor of the old church.
    3. Disloyal people are the elite troopers of accusing.  They are satan’s dream team!
  7. Evil people
    1. To quote Alfred in the Batman movies, some people just want to see the world burn.
    2. When someone accuses you of something bizarre, their mind has to have conceived that bizarre thing.  You have to consider why – maybe it is something they have done!
    3. Remember it was Judas who accused Jesus of not caring for the poor.
    4. People who can always accuse quickly and spot evil all the time – they are evil people.

Accusation 01: Why the devil accuses

The devil is called the accuser of the brethren.  That sums him up perfectly, always accusing.  And if he can’t do it directly, he will inspire other people to accuse you.  I have been accused with the best of them, but recently I have been asking this question: why does the devil accuse?  Why do that?  What is the point?

The point is that accusation paralyses the kingdom.  It makes ministers give up, lay down, quit, fall apart, lose focus and play into the accuser’s hands.  The more you listen to the accuser, the more control he can exert in your life.  All of us are vulnerable to guilt and fear, and accusations take both those emotions and use them to stop us fulfilling our destiny!

The devil accuses basically because it works.  But it doesn’t have to work – we can overcome the accuser.  We can walk above accusation, but to do that we have to grasp how it works:

  1. Accusations destroy healthy relationships
    1. An accusation is like poison to a good relationship.  Great healthy divine relationships can be destroyed by accusations.  Things will never be the same if an accusation is embraced by someone.
    2. If you accuse someone in your church of fancying another person in the church, I guarantee their relationship will never be the same again.  That is the power of accusation!
    3. Everything that is pure is looked at in the light of the accusation and it looks muddy and murky.
  2. The power of an accusation is that it is the polar opposite of God’s plan and view
    1. Satan’s plan is to get someone to accuse you of the opposite of what you are.  Some of the most generous, large-hearted people I know are accused regularly of being money obsessed.  People who would never steal are accused of being thieves.  You would think that if you accuse someone of something they would never do – the polar opposite of their character – it wouldn’t work, but it does, it really does.
    2. Moses was accused of being proud and he was the most humble man on the planet.
    3. Jesus was accused of being the destroyer of God’s house!  Come on now!
  3. Satan’s plan is to get those closest to you to accuse you
    1. If you are a pastor, satan would rather a church goer to your church would accuse you than someone who doesn’t go.
    2. He would rather have a deacon or elder accuse you than a church goer
    3. He would rather have an associate accuse you than a deacon or elder.
    4. He would rather have your wife accuse you than an associate.
    5. Jesus was accused by Judas, his close friend.
    6. Be aware, if you are placed in a position of honour by someone, satan’s plan is to try and con you into being their accuser and his mouthpiece on the planet
  4. Accusations don’t kill your ministry – your reaction to them might!
    1. If you just keep doing what God told you to do, and are Spirit-led not accuser led then you will be fine, no matter what they say about you!
    2. If you listen to the accusers and it intimidates you or it gets under your skin and you react like Moses and smash the rock you should be talking to, then you will fail to enter your promised land!
  5. Accusers are mad!
    1. Luke 6 says that the Pharisees watch Jesus to find a time to accuse him because they were filled with madness (read verses 7 through to 11).
    2. Accusers get so full of hatred and rage and fear that they go mental.  Their behaviour is literally that of a crazy person.
    3. You have to keep your heart pure – when you are accusing people, the devil is absolutely using you to rip people apart and you will be subject to the rage and hate eventually.   To the point of madness!
    4. Jesus’ accusers ended up coming at him with swords and staffs and nailed him to a cross.  That is not normal behaviour for priests.  Accusing drove them to it!
  6. Your accuser loves religion and quotes that have nothing to do with the Word of God
    1. They will accuse you because a certain psychologist says you are cult-like or a certain scholar claims you are wrong.  They won’t use the Bible because it is the truth!
    2.  There are women accusing their husbands and all men quoting feminists and secular worldly scholars.  All their statements sound reasonable but are not Biblical.
    3. Do not let the accuser in, even if he dresses up as respectable scholarly wisdom!
  7. When your accuser is shown to be wrong, it won’t stop him.  He will just make up more stuff!
    1. The process is like this: the accuser makes a false accusation, it obviously is false, people see it to be false, and the accuser then gets desperate and makes even more bizarre accusations
    2. When they accuse Jesus of hating the temple, there is no proof, so the soldiers blindfold him and punch him in the face telling him to prophecy who hit him.  That’s how desperate they were to prove he was a false prophet!
    3. Your accusers will say some crazy things!
  8. Anyone who ties themselves to you inherits your accusers too
    1. Accusations will very soon cover those who are associated to you!
    2. If you don’t want to be accused of what a pastor is accused of, don’t become his associate!
    3. Don’t expect to join the team and be the guy who isn’t accused!  It won’t happen.  You are not greater than Jesus!
    4. The more the accusations come to you, the closer you are to the leader.  If you are accused of destroying the temple, you are close to Christ indeed!
    5. Peter was accused of being Christ’s guy!  He couldn’t handle it, sometimes people can’t handle being accused of being in your gang.  Perhaps you wouldn’t last a day being accused the way your pastor is.  Have a little respect – you don’t know what someone is going through to get the Word to you.
  9. Some accusations can change your whole life direction if you let them
    1. There are some accusations which push your buttons.  Satan will try and find out what those buttons are and press them!
    2. Accusations can make the best of leaders change course if they are not careful.
    3. I have seen pastors stop receiving funds and challenging their congregation to give because they are scared of being accused of loving money.  I have seen pastors stop ministering life to certain people because of accusations of favouritism or even adultery.
  10. Accusation is a spiritual attack – it’s not about what you are being accused of, it’s to stop you doing God’s will!
    1. You get accused and you change behaviour, guess what – new accusations will come.
    2. People want to make you feel shame.  The devil is behind that.  Don’t listen and let it drive you, be Spirit-led.
    3. Satan wants to stop you advancing the kingdom!
    4. Nothing you do will change the accuser, they are the ones with the problem, not you.  So don’t change for an accuser.

Accusations are there because the devil wants to degrade you.  He wants to disgrace you.  He wants you to miss the mark and drive you to hating the accusers.

The Power-Destroying Danger of Familiarity

There is only one place where we find Jesus cannot do miracles, and that is his home town.  Why?  Because the people were over familiar with him – they saw him as the carpenter’s boy, not as the son of God.

One of the things that will outright stop the flow of the power of God in your life is being too familiar with the people God is using to minister life to you and equip you to minister.

Now I don’t believe there is anything wrong with being familiar with people who are pastors and evangelists.  I love spending time with my people and all good pastors do too.  The travelling speakers who fly in and fly out and don’t linger around people – I just ain’t interested in them at all.

Familiarity is not being familiar – familiarity is knowing someone so well that you lose your admiration and respect for them.  You become presumptuous around them and stop respecting them.  This familiarity is what made Michal barren, and it still makes Christians barren today.

No matter how great the gift from God is, the power on the person is always destroyed by familiarity.  Jesus was the greatest healing minister who had ever preached in Nazareth, but their familiarity caused them to see only a few little miracles (Mark 6.5-6).  They knew his mum and dad, they knew him as a child – their familiarity and lack of respect and honour lost them their miracle night.

Your family may suffer from familiarity – how can you be the great healer when you are a this-and-that.  Wives, like Michal, can be unimpressed with their husbands at the exact moment everyone else is impressed with them.  They will say “Well, I know what you are really like”, “I am not like your lackeys in the church/ office/ factory”, “if only people knew what you are really like”.  I have seen ministers go through this.  The wife is probably right, but their familiarity will cause them to be barren.

Close friends also suffer from familiarity – familiarity created Judas.  Familiarity causes people to cross lines they should not cross!  It makes people say things they should never say.

When Michal spoke against David, she became a critic of the king.  David had just built a tabernacle but she wasn’t impressed.  God said David was a man after his own heart, but she hated him.  Can you imagine being annoyed when God is pleased?  Familiarity will bring you there.

It takes discipline and care not to become familiar, and if you are a leader, it takes discipline and care not to let people become familiar.  Remember – familiarity is being so familiar with someone it causes you to lose your respect.  Remember – familiarity is what causes you to lose your access to the power of God that should be setting you free and equipping you to walk in your dreams.

Here are some tell-tale signs that familiarity is happening:

  • Sitting at the back of the church
    • If you are too familiar with the pastor, his preaching won’t set you on fire anymore!  When a pastor goes across the world, people travel to hear him, but those who are called to be in his church skip church, won’t bother crossing the road to get there, and then sit at the back nonchalantly.
  • Not buying or getting hold of product
    • Someone who listens to a lot of someone preach online or on CD becomes familiar.  Be careful if that then stops!  If you have stopped getting hold of your pastor and listening to him online, you may be becoming too familiar!
  • Not reading your pastors’s books
  • Discussing the background of your pastor
    • Every man of God is a man.  That needs to be said!  He doesn’t have a perfect life, he has a family, he has an imperfect marriage, imperfect children, and has the same challenges you do.  You can pick any aspect of any leader’s life and then become so familiar you destroy the power of God from coming into your life.  It’s that simple and that true!  Be careful!
  • Fault-finding and magnifying
    • When a visiting speaker flies in to town, we don’t think of their faults.  We never ask if they are in debt, we never ask if their lifestyle is extravagant, we never think if they are impatient or what they are like at home.  We just receive.
    • When you are thinking like this, you have stepped into familiarity.  Try removing the log from your eye before removing the speck from anyone else’s!
  • Rating our leaders
    • I know we live in a democracy, our job is to rate and select our leaders.  But Jesus didn’t start the democracy of God, He started the kingdom of God.  You don’t assess the messages, you let them assess you.  You don’t rank the guest speakers you gladly receive from all of them.
    • We once had a lady who missed a meeting because she didn’t like the guest speaker.  She said “Of course I am not going to come for him!”  She was over-familiar with the speaker, and over-familiar with me, not trusting my choices to get good speakers in.  In fact the message that night would have really helped her, but she wasn’t there to get the help.  She did not stay long at the church!  She allowed familiarity to stop her receiving.  Recently, she was unwell and she met my wife, who tried to help her receive her healing, but she just shook her head and said “I’ve done all that”.  She had nothing but familiarity and she sadly left sick without her miracle.
  • Failing to appreciate your pastor
    • It is very easy to take your pastor for granted.  We neglect those we are familiar with.  The biggest deception we get into is we honour guest speakers above our pastors!  The pastor is the one who is there sent from God to build you, and they were the gate that opened to bring the guest speaker to you!
    • It is the pastor who labours over you with love.  We are not trying to get a big offering for the pastor and give him a great life – we are trying to help you honour the gifts God has given you because honour brings life

Now you see the signs of familiarity, make the choices to get it out of your life.  Change the way you think, give big to your pastors, turn up at church on time and sit at the front.  You will suddenly get so much more life out of the church, it will be like a new church!