What a week it has been in British politics. The nation has voted in a referendum to exit the European Union. The Prime Minister has resigned. The leader of the opposition has lost his Shadow Cabinet and faces a vote of no confidence. Never has a week been so packed with political news and changes.
There has been a lot of anger from a lot of people about a lot of things. Some people are calling for a second referendum, presumably calling for a third or fourth if things do not go their way. Some people are name calling, feeling sick, feeling scared, and so on and so forth. It has genuinely shocked me the vitriol on both sides in the last few days. It amazes me that many people do not seem to be able to disagree without being disagreeable.
Now I am no politician, I am a pastor. My job isn’t to sort out the financial systems and the democratic systems of this nation or any nation. My job is to help people get born again, filled with the Spirit and renew their minds. My job is to build a community that is full of the Word, full of the Spirit, full of the nations and filled with love.
And although politics is important, and I believe Christians should be involved in politics both at the local level and national level. I believe that good government can make it much easier to preach the gospel and build healthy churches.
But that is just a means to an end. Let’s look at the referendum through the eyes of faith and the eyes of grace:
- No one got born again or filled with the Spirit based on the moment of referendum. It didn’t increase the numbers of people in heaven or decrease the numbers of people in hell. It hasn’t done anything for the kingdom of God one way or another. So in terms of eternity, it is simply not that important.
- Our joy is not found in a political vote. Not now and not ever. Our joy is found in the presence of the Lord (Psalm 16.11). This referendum is nothing to lose your joy over. No one voted Jesus off the throne, no one voted a single verse out of your Bible, no one voted some power away from God. No one voted any insecurity into your future.
- The only thing that can stop you from enjoying your health and wealth that is provided through the redemptive work of Christ, from enjoying your success and destiny is this: broken focus. Do not take your eyes of the cross. Don’t stop praising God and rejoicing in God – don’t stop realizing God is your source.
- Realize the media is dishonest. Every time I have been in the media, the media have lied. I spoke to a police officer who has just retired, he told me in 30+ years of service, the media never got one story right about a case. Never. Not once. So when you read that British people were googling “what is the EU” or that the pound is going to be worth the same as Zimbabwean dollars, you do not have to believe it. In fact, this is a good time to stop reading the papers to be honest!
This is our year of great overflow. Nothing the politicians have said or done can change that. Jesus Christ is building His church. Nothing that the nations are doing can change that.
Now for leaders, you need to let your people know this. Don’t be partisan here – there are people in your churches who voted in for good reasons and people who voted out for good reasons. Your ministry must embrace and make both feel welcome and secure.
5. Always always always be yourself. I love that Christopher Alam hasn’t changed at all – he has a huge ministry, preached last Sunday night to 40,000 people (yes you read that right) and yet is easily the most low-maintenance preacher I know. He would sleep in any hotel, never has a rider, and is so willing to fit in with our plans and purposes it is a joy to host him. He has never forgot where he came from, and never forgot the grace that has brought him forward.
4. Don’t put up with nonsense. Christopher Alam gets on with what God has told him to do. His ministry is filled with loyal people and is remarkably free from drama. He has cut nonsense out of his life. I was describing a situation I am dealing with in the church and asked for wisdom and he said “if it is not fruitful pull it up and kill it Ben, you are too busy to waste your time on unfruitful things”. Sage advice indeed!
3. The need for balance. I don’t know anyone who preaches with more grace than Christopher Alam – you don’t see hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands of people born again, healed and baptized in the Holy Spirit if you don’t know and preach grace. But he also preaches on integrity, and tithing, and the gifts of the Spirit, and the return of Jesus. That is a balanced ministry that builds healthy people.
2. A love for the local church. I don’t know many evangelists who work so closely with local churches and do all they can to ensure the people saved find a good local church. I don’t know many ministries in the UK at their conferences that help people find good local churches, to see it done in Africa so well is glorious!
1. The need to be Spirit led, not culture led. Christopher Alam has resisted so much of the Americanisation of the gospel message. What he brings is not wrapped in any cultural paper, but is a beautiful picture of the gospel. That has cost him because people fail to recognize truth when it goes above and beyond their cultural insights. But he brings the truth and it is powerful, plain and clear.
I had a prophetic word shortly before I started the Tree of Life family of churches, which basically said that one of the hardest jobs I will ever have in my future is to stop people trying to sew their cotton patches into your silk dream. That word has certainly proved to be true!
You see when you have a dream, a vision, a way forward to help people and change the world, there will always be people who want to attach themselves to it, but at the cost of the purity of the dream.
- There are people who want the benefits of what you are building, who are not interested in your vision and way of doing things.
- There are people who have never done what you have done but they want to be your adviser, and if you don’t listen to their they claim you never listen to anyone.
- There will be people who want to change the culture because what you are doing moves them out of their comfort zone, so they want to change the culture to one they are comfortable with.
- There are people who want their voice to be heard, they think they have come to your church to speak not to listen.
- There are people who are never happy because they are unhappy with themselves, so rather than change themselves, they want to change their environment and that includes you
- There are people who want to take short cuts and don’t like the fact you will not compromise.
It is not just enough to build a healthy church culture, you must as a leader protect it. You must fight for what you believe in and fight to be who you are corporately. You have to reject any idea that will compromise your culture.
The cultural battle lines in the church may surprise you. The main one is generally found in the worship – what songs are sung, how they are sung, the lyrics. John Wesley said that he didn’t care who preached in a Methodist church as long as they sung the songs he and his brother wrote. That might be a little hyperbole, but it is a vital part of the church. Children’s and youth ministry is another battle ground, where people will want to do things their way.
In the next few weeks, I will show you how to keep that culture and make it work no matter who attacks it. Just being aware you have to fight – that is a great start!
Sorry for the borrowed title, but I love the way Andrew Wommack teaches on this topic. In fact I think it is one of the most important teachings you can ever get.
Other people express it differently. Bob Proctor says You were born rich, Jim Richards says you are hardwired for success, Terri Savelle says everything you need to walk in your dreams is already inside you.
So this revelation is spread far and wide with different titles. But my favourite is still the way Andrew sees it and says it: you’ve already got it.
Everything you need for life and godliness you already have. It is in your spirit and you need to believing to release it, but the truth is you need to believe to access it. Believe it is inside you and it will flow out.
You have forgiveness, abundance, healing in you. Now let it out! There is no doubt you are already rhe possessor,…,it’s yours, all yours.