Tag Archives: Ministry

There’s Still Power In Grassroots Ministry

Grassroots or small ministry has become a dirty word amongst the people. These days, everybody wants to start at the top. Even those that are on the bottom have aspirations that are beyond their meager beginnings. It seems as if they haven’t even asked God if they’re where they’re supposed to be before telling God where they want to go. Nobody wants to plant anymore. We all want to go straight to harvest season.

Nobody wants to be that “little church on the corner” anymore, but little church principles are sorely needed these days. We need to reconnect with that sense of community that we once had as the church. It’s not that everybody knew your business, but there were some people that were concerned about your business, meaning that they cared about what you were going through.

These days, we seem to be isolated both inside and outside of the church. People want to be elevated these days, not so that they can be of greater service to the body, but so that they can be isolated from the body. Believe it or not, the higher you go within the body, the more you should be seen by the body, and not just on the screen, but on the scene. Jesus did His ministry amongst the people, not apart from them.

At the end of 2018, God arrested my attention once again concerning my little corner of the ministry world. I was wrapping up my 12th book and things were going well in my radio ministry. God told me to stay focused. It’s not that I wasn’t or that I was looking to go somewhere that He hadn’t ordered, but it seems as if God was making a preemptive strike on my conscience. He reminded me that He had me exactly where He wanted me in this little corner of the world. Keep writing. Keep delivering The Word across the airwaves. Keep preaching when called upon. Keep teaching when called upon. He reminded me that this is what’s need. A grassroots approach. Don’t turn to the left or right, and by all means, don’t look to see what others are doing. Do what you’ve been called to do.

I’ve taught in places where there were close to 100 people. I’ve preached before 300 people as well. I know, that may not seem like much to some, but I’m not here to exaggerate numbers. I’m on the radio each week in 6 states, potentially speaking to over 1 million people. I even have a podcast. However, some of my best days as a preacher/teacher have come in rooms where there were less than 10 people. There’s something about seeing the impact of the Word of God on people’s faces up close and personal that brings joy to my soul.

Many have perverted their God-given gifts because they’d rather be on a flyer than in the will of God. We can’t allow our ambitions to get in the way of His mission! Our call is to be more attracted to The Light than we are to the spotlight. Even if you’re on the flyer, why are you on the flyer? What are you bringing? We should never look to be the main attraction on God’s program. It should be our desire to be intentional servants.

The church has become more theatrical than therapeutic. It is the job of an entertainer to find out what people want and like and bring it to the stage, screen, or studio. It is the job of the church to identify what the people need and bring it to their attention, whether they like it or not. The fact is, pleasing in His sight isn’t always pleasing to our ears, but we must surrender anyway.

One of the things I find puzzling in ministry is that many of us know what’s not right, and yet, we continue to do it and encourage it. Even in our large spaces, we see the deficiencies in our people, and we continue to make them weaker. A challenging word isn’t just a word that challenges the faith of the believer as they pray for material increase. A challenging word is a word that echoes 1 Peter 1:16 which tells us to be holy because the God we serve is holy.

In my 2016 book “Are We Still Making Disciples”, I no doubt ruffled some feathers when I suggested that we care more about promoting our events and even ourselves than we do about making disciples, which is the primary function of the church. I made it clear then, and I’ll repeat myself here, I have nothing against promoting the church and having a marketing plan. However, I do have something against promoting us above the church.

Whether it be preacher, evangelist, praise team, singing group, or whatever, nothing should take precedence over Jesus. I stated that anything that happened in the church should be looking to do 3 things: Glorify God, get someone saved, and keep someone connected to God. The question was asked, if people leave your event, will they witness about Jesus or the event itself?

It was John The Baptist who said in the Gospel of John 3:30 that Christ must increase, but he himself must decrease. He wasn’t saying that so that he could end his ministry. He was saying that so that the focus of his ministry could have its proper preeminence. “Church” is still popularity driven, but evangelism is still very much a grassroots effort and souls will always be converted one by one, even if a group of people all get baptized on the same day. Even as 3000 were saved in Acts 2:41, we can’t lose sight of the fact that 3000 individual choices were made, and those 3000 were all there as a result of some grassroots efforts on the part of the Disciples.

The challenge for the church is that we recognize when we have become more popular than Christ and shift the focus. The moment they’re drawn by our name instead of the name of Jesus, we must shift the focus. Come off the flyer if you must or do away with it all together, but make sure that Jesus has preeminence. This may shrink the crowds, and dare I say, force us to be more grassroots in our approach to be sure that we’re drawing the right crowds for the right cause, but being set apart and peculiar doesn’t often lend itself to large crowds anyway.

It was the late singer John Lennon who famously said in 1966 that his band The Beatles were “bigger than Jesus”. People were outraged at such a statement and begin to ban The Beatles music in various places. However, the point Lennon was making went over their heads. He wasn’t suggesting that it was the goal of the band to be bigger than Jesus. He was pointing out the absurdity that they were probably more important to some Christians than their Savior.

The church is still facing this crisis because we’ve made some of the things that we do in our churches “bigger than Jesus”. Many won’t even attend a church function if it doesn’t seem like there’s a possibility that it will be standing room only. Worse yet, some ministry leaders won’t put on an event unless they believe they can draw a certain number of people or get certain people on program. I submit to you that if we sometimes do it small, we’ll find out who’s really coming for the right reason. You’ll find out who’ll come out for an event versus who’ll come out for an encounter!

We’ve rebelled against being small, but effective. In an effort to be seen by man, we’re missing the people that we’ve been commissioned to serve. Grassroots isn’t a dirty word. Small group Bible study isn’t an exercise in futility. We must always remember the basics. Believe it or not, God still has a heart for the remnant. He has yet to despise small beginnings. If you start small, but you start in His name, He’ll still do great things within your ministry. That little church on the corner still has power and she should never abandon her call.

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The Pew Needs To Read Too

There’s always been a great struggle in the church to get the congregation to read more often. There’s a need for them to open their Bibles more often than just Sunday morning when the Pastor gives his text. The desire is that the pew not only quotes Bible verses, but also studies their Bibles. Yes, we all need to study The Word. But what about supplemental reading that could be beneficial to the congregation? Not just a book full of motivational quotes and inspirational sayings, but books of Christian substance that can draw the believer into a closer relationship with God, and closer to the true call of Christians: Make Disciples!

Something that we as preachers often fall into is building our own libraries, but neglecting to help the pew build theirs. It is vastly important that preachers be well read because there is a lot of great scholarly writing available to us that wasn’t available to preachers in years past. However, what we must remember in our search for higher learning is that we can’t forget about the people we serve and the fact that they need something to read that isn’t necessarily as thorough as what we’re called to read, but just as important to their discipleship and their development.

What we as preachers are often doing when we’re reading is trying to sharpen our skills so that we may rightly divide The Word in a way that the congregation can receive from us. We’re trying to polish our sermons so that there may be some understanding on Sunday mornings. But there is a time where the pew will need more than sermon notes. They’ll need more than our three points and a close. The pew needs to read too.

When I began using my gift of writing exclusively for ministry, I thought my books would be popular amongst my preached brethren, but I soon found that such wasn’t the case. God revealed to me why that is. It wasn’t about any jealousy or animosity or anything like that, because there are some in the ministry that have purchased much of my work. It was about the fact that God didn’t call me to write to other preachers. He called me to help the pew. What I write is redundant to a knowledgeable preacher. It doesn’t appeal to them. However, the pew responds in a much different way. The pew receives it in a way that preachers wouldn’t necessarily. And that was God’s plan.

The fact remains that no matter how much the preachers learn from all of their reading and studying, at some point, the pew is going to have to do some reading and studying of their own if the dots are ever going to be connected. Not just their Bibles, but also some other well-written material to help them to make sense of what their pastors are teaching and preaching. Pastors can’t be insecure about this because the truth of the matter is, if they’ve had any type of advanced schooling, there was some supplemental material that aided in their understanding as well.

What was good for pastors and preachers (additional material) is no doubt good for the pew they’re charged with serving. The connection between the preacher and the pew is often missed because all aren’t committed to study. Additional training is always desired, but there must also be an effort on the part of the congregation to assist in their own growth. Pastors should always have some suggested reading for the pew. Something that may be remedial to them could be monumental in the growth of their congregation. The material is out there. The church as a whole must stop being resistant to it. Otherwise, false and sugarcoated doctrines creep in. The fact remains that if the church is really gonna grow as God intended, all of the study can’t be on the pastor’s shoulders alone. The pew needs to read too.

Alone in a crowded room: In ministry, some are around you, but not necessarily with you

Photo Apr 13, 6 23 36 PMListen, let me start by saying, you won’t have it all. You won’t always have the support you need. You won’t always have people that see the vision as you do. That may not be your desire, but that is the divine plan, because nothing happens outside of God. However, if you remember who you’re working for, you’ll have a better chance at maintaining your focus, especially when it’s just you and God.

There’s a statement that I posted on social media last week and it was reiterated on my weekly radio broadcast. I said: “Sometimes God will get you alone just so that you can see that you were getting lost in the crowd”. The point I was trying to make was there are times when we feel as if we need to be around everybody in order to be somebody. We get so caught up in being positioned that we fail to be in position, and being in position is being where God placed us, not necessarily where we think we can generate the most buzz or get the most exposure. The deeper I go into ministry, the clearer this message gets for me.

Such is the case with ministry at times. Sometimes we’re more concerned with being on the scene, creating a scene, or just being seen, than we are with the actual call to ministry. Something else I stated on that broadcast is this: “The call has always been greater than the called”. That means that what I’m called by God to do will always be more important than I am, more essential than what I have to offer, and bigger than I am.

However, even as God has called many of us to something bigger and something greater, the actual work we’re called to do may be more focused and concentrated. We may not be called to minister to the masses, but we may be called to pour into one mind that will minister to the masses. We may not be called to be on the grand stage, but we may be called to set the stage for what’s to come. Jesus Himself said that we would do greater works than He did (John 14:12). That doesn’t make us greater than Christ, but Christ set the stage that we could and should perform on.

Where this gets difficult is when we inject our own ambitions into the equation. Where we lose focus is when we decide what our ministry should look like, instead of following the directives of God. Where we wind up wasting energy is when we decide where we want to have the most impact, as opposed to allowing God to build the audience for our gift.

When this happens, we can find ourselves around people that care little to nothing about what we have to offer. We can end up trying to position ourselves so that our gifts can be noticed and utilized, but to the purposes we have in our own heads. We try to make ourselves available to people that, quite honestly, see us as a threat to what they’re doing (even though we’re all supposedly on the same team). We believe that we’ve come to a place of sharing, encouragement, and brainstorming, when in fact, we can find ourselves in places of resentment because we’re viewed as peculiar (even though that’s what God called us to be).

Where we can find ourselves alone in our ministry is when we’re really and truly about The Kingdom, but we’re mixing with people that are about the opportunity. It’s easy to go to a place with “What can we do for them” on your heart, but the agenda of the room is “What can you do for me”. At some point, you look up and realize that you’re in a crowded room, but you’re all by yourself.

You may find it difficult to find support in rooms like this because often times, true ministry is not at the heart of the room. However, what you can’t do is fall into a state of discouragement or start having a pity party for yourself. Don’t confuse people not actively supporting you with their not wanting or appreciating your gifts. Some people aren’t supportive because they’re trying to figure out from a distance how you do what you do, and how to incorporate it into what they do.

The reality is some people are just like the people in the lottery line. They wanna sow as little as possible, but get the windfall of your talent. I know it’s tough to swallow because of the path that you’ve been chosen to walk. I know it’s hard to understand how we can be so anointed, and yet, so opportunistic, but this isn’t the time to lose faith or hope. This is the time to remember your role model. This is the time to remember Jesus!

Jesus did not have a quid pro quo ministry. It wasn’t do for me and I’ll do for you. We are saved by grace. It’s free. Sure, we ought to run for Jesus because of what He did for us, but faith is all that’s required. And yet, there are some rooms you can’t be in if you don’t have anything to offer but you. There are some circles you’re not allowed in without a title or status. There are some places where you can buy your way in, but can never serve your way in. Some rooms are just more monetary than missionary. And yet, you must go forward in your call anyway. You must persist for The Kingdom.

So, how do we carry on when it seems as if we have to carry the load alone? Understand that we can never claim to truly know the hearts of men, but discernment is still available to us. We may not know their hearts, but we should know our own. We should know what it is that God has placed deep inside of us. Rest assured, the easiest way to lose your faith is to lose sight of your who and your why.

The most important thing for us to remember about our gifts and our talents is they were never just for us. God equipped us to serve others. When we remember what we’re called to be, the rooms we desire to be in will change significantly. We’ll find ourselves in places where there’s no fanfare, no pretense, and no ego or arrogance. We’ll find ourselves in places where there’s a need. That’s why we can’t give up. Because someone is counting on us to follow through!

Galatians 6:9 (NKJV) tells us: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart”.

There’s a space between sowing season and due season that can test even the most faithful of God’s servants. I have to believe that those words in that text were written by the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, because God knew we would get tired. He knew that the road would be rough at some times, and lonely at others. Yes, it is a word of encouragement, but it’s also a word of warning: There will be times when you want to quit!

But I want to encourage someone that’s on the verge of quitting to stop that line of thinking. Trust me, your work is not in vain. What you’re doing isn’t for nothing. God has never made an empty promise to His servants or anyone else for that matter. The harvest is coming. You can still do ministry exactly as God planned it, even if you have to do it alone. I’m a witness that God will bring you back into focus after you’ve exhausted all of your efforts (be sure to examine that last sentence). I’m a witness that God has a special and unique ministry for all of us. Some involve crowds, and some involve a lot of small efforts that yield major results.

I’m a firm believer that God is still moving in the remnant and small groups. What that means is you don’t need everybody to be somebody. Your voice doesn’t have to be in everybody’s ears, just the ears of your God-intended audience. Your gift doesn’t have to be appreciated by everyone, it just needs to help the person or people that it was designed to help. You can walk in your assigned ministry, in a crowded room, or in a room by yourself. You are peculiar for a reason. You were never meant to be like everyone else. Be what you’re called to be. Even if it’s just you and God working. He’s more than a crowded room against you.

Battling a Cain spirit: Our DNA is still a threat to unity in ministry

In my book An Understanding with God, I referenced the fact that we come from a damaged DNA in Adam. David outlines this in Psalm 51:5 when He says we were born in sin and shapen in iniquity. This stresses the fact that sin is a part of our makeup, and if not for the Spirit guiding us, we’re all susceptible. After all, the man that wrote the Psalm wrote it after taking another man’s wife, getting her pregnant, and having that man killed to cover up his sin. And he was a man after God’s own heart.

What this reminds me of is the fact that even God’s chosen can be a mess at times. I myself have behaved outside of my calling, and as long as I’m alive, there’s a good chance I’ll do it again. Thank God for grace, but how do we manage our ministry when it seems that those of a similar vocation in God seem to be at odds with us?

The first thing we need to remember is that DNA. It caused one man in Cain to kill his own brother. He did it simply because his gift wasn’t honored in the same way as Abel’s. This still happens today. We don’t know how to honor one another’s gifts at times, so we try and kill one another. We do this, and when God questions us, we act as if we have no idea what happened.

Understand that ministry can be a wonderful thing. It can be filled with camaraderie, love, fellowship, support, and encouragement. However, it can also be filled with jealousy, backbiting, sabotage, and quite honestly, hate. Depending on who you are, that can either discourage you or motivate you.

What must be remembered is that we’re all on the same team (unless, like Cain, we’re not). We do this for The Kingdom and not for ourselves. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to be. There is no competition, except against the devil because we are trying to defeat him and win the souls of mankind.

If we want to manage our ministries, we have to manage our emotions. We weren’t called to do everything, be everything, boss everybody, or even reach everybody. God has a lane for all of us. We need to find that lane and stay in it until God gives the order to shift. And, as I stated on broadcast last week, when He calls for a shift, you may be shifting alone and away from some people that you thought you’d be working with forever.

The best thing that we can do is to manage our own ministry without trying to manage the ministry of others. We all have a call that we’re responsible for. And truth be told, we wouldn’t be that impressed with God if we were all carbon copies. We have similar vocations, but different administrations. Applaud when you can and should. Pray when you feel you can’t. Because sin lieth at the door. I know we all feel like we’re Abel. But just remember, there’s a little bit of Cain in your DNA as well.

Your Faith Must Match Your Vision 

God is showing some people some amazing visions these days, myself included. There are businesses that He wants to birth, ministries that He wants to bring to fruition, and dreams that He wants to fulfill. The only thing that can stop us is a lack of faith, not a lack of resources. 

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that it is impossible to please God without faith. That tells me that impossible is where our dreams die. Impossible is what will cause us to lose when we’re born to win. Impossible is a disappointment to God. Impossible shouldn’t be in our Spiritual nature because it’s not in God’s. 

Scripture also tells us that faith the size of a grain of a mustard seed can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). Therefore, if your vision is larger than a mountain, you must increase your faith even more. At the bare minimum, we should all have mustard seed faith. Just imagine what a little boost can do for you. 

Scripture also reminds us that with God, nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37). Therefore, we must remove that word from our vocabulary. The struggle that we have with the gap between our vision and our faith is we’re often in moments of discomfort when the vision comes.  

God shows you the business plan when you’re broke with a mountain of bills. God shows you the plan for the ministry when people are still questioning your call and your ability. God shows you the better career when you’re barely holding on to a job that you hate, but you need for your survival! Yes, God will show you the best of life when it seems that you’re at your worst points. That’s not a time to shrink in your faith. That’s when you must grow! 

I encourage those that may be reading this to see God more clearly than you see your circumstances. You could have all the money in the world, but if you lack faith, you’ll be scared to invest it in your dreams. So see the vision more clearly than you see your lack of income and/or opportunity. God will never lead you to it without a plan to feed you through it. Trust Him more than you fear failure. He’s committed to you. Increase your faith. See the vision clearly. Watch God work!

Get Ready For Your Elevation!

There comes a moment when God wants some alone time with His children. Away from where we think we should be, and certainly away from where we used to roam and from what we used to be. Maybe He called you out of a bad relationship. Maybe He called you out of physical or spiritual bondage. Maybe He called you off of an unfulfilling job or out of a church where you could no longer produce. Or maybe, just maybe, He called you away from who you’ve been, so that He can bring you to be what He wants you to be.

It’s during this time of isolation that God will shape you and mold you into what He wants you to be and what you need to be for the next level of your journey. It’s during these moments when God will cause you to re-evaluate your life and whether or not you’re effectively operating in your purpose.

It’s during these times that even those around you may seem as if they’re “funny acting”, they have no time for you, or they’re kicking you out of their circle. But 2 Corinthians 6:17 says “Come out from among them and be ye separate, says The Lord”. So, know that they’re not kicking you out, they’re kicking you up! God has a new you waiting at the next level!

Know that your isolation is preparation for your elevation. Enjoy your alone time with God. Don’t despair when your phone calls go unanswered. Don’t worry when the enemy attacks you for leaving your former place. Be not dismayed when you had more company in bondage than you have when your chains fall off. Get ready, child of God. It’s time for your elevation!

(Like that “Isolation for Elevation” t-shirt Rev. Jackson is wearing? Click here to order yours in support of the “Your Life with Purpose” radio broadcast!)

Rejecting God: We ignore much more than we miss

Did you really miss your blessing or did you just ignore it when it came? I’m a writer by nature and by profession, so I’m a stickler for words. It’s popular for us to say things to people like “You missed your blessing” when they seem to have bypassed God’s provisions. But I want to challenge that thinking, because upon further inspection, I find that we don’t miss God with anywhere near the regularity that we actually reject Him.

It’s really very simple to me. As an example, if you miss a bus, you either weren’t there when the bus showed up or you arrived as it was pulling away and you couldn’t catch it. However, to reject a bus means that you were standing there when it arrived, you knew that it would take you where you wanted to go, but for whatever reason, you refused to get on. 

Maybe it was too crowded. Maybe you didn’t like the style of the bus because it was an older model and not a brand new bus. Maybe you didn’t like the driver. Whatever your reason for not getting on, there’s no doubt about it, the bus came. You just rejected it and now it will take you longer to get to your destination.

The truth is God is always placing blessings right in front of us. The lie is that we somehow know better than God. Often, the blessing doesn’t look like we want it to look or it doesn’t come when we expected it or from where we expected it. We fail to see that God designs the blessing to fit its purpose, not necessarily to be pleasing to our eyes or our other human sensibilities. Can He design such a gift that’s pleasing to us? Of course He can. But we’ll often only see it that way when we use our vision as opposed to our sight.

The point here is this: To suggest that you missed something from God is to suggest that God’s timing is somehow off. Now, you may be saying, “Wait Rev, if I say I missed it, how am I blaming God?” Well, let me hit you with another Christian catchphrase: “He may not come when you want Him, but He’s always on time.” That says to me that if you’re early, God will be there. If you’re running late, God will be there. You can’t miss what God has for you, but you sure can reject it trying to do things according to your own understanding. 

Even if your aim is off, God’s aim is true. And even though we may miss out on some things, we won’t miss it in its entirety. But you wanna know what else is awesome about God? Even when you reject Him, He’s so full of grace, that He’ll bring that blessing back around and give you another chance at it. However, I must warn you. You don’t wanna keep ignoring God. You may find yourself stuck with your plan instead of His, and that’s a mess you don’t want. My suggestion to you? When the bus comes, don’t outsmart yourself. Your best bet is to just get on.