3 important things, that will help (young) Christians who want to serve God
I was privileged to graduate from a powerful Holy Spirit-driven leadership school called Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, which values the presence of God above principles (this is seen not just in fancy slogans but in how people there live their lives). Anything can happen at anytime. Students don´t experience powerful miracles just on an annual missions trip, but on a weekly basis on the streets (if they don´t just sit around and go to school - which is also an option).
In my extensive travels over the last years, where miracles, signs, wonders and salvations were regular occurences, I got asked a lot, especially from young people who desire to be in ministry, if they also should go to BSSM, or simply others see it as their possible springboard to achieve the successful completion of their dreams. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. In fact I personally believe that Bill Johnson and Bethel Church have helped to shape an entire generation.
I heard from a reliable source that an extremely low percentage of bible school graduates end up doing missions/or itinerate ministry full-time. In my nation, I believe I´m the first and only so far BSSM graduate who leads a ministry where a big focus is traveling.
The reason I say that is because there is a great misunderstanding that bible schools catapult people automatically into ministry. Proven fact is that many (not all) people go to a school like BSSM, because that's their dream - and again - there is nothing wrong with that. Having dreams is very important but I've discovered that a lot of people get back frustrated from revival-circles because at home they don’t have the opportunities they wish they had. Maybe they got sometime a prophetic word, that they are "apostles", and for whatever reason not a lot is happening. The truth is, most of my friends from Bethel, who either went back or are still there - are not in pulpit ministry. Some either help or serve at their local church, pastor or have a secular job or do both.
The goal is to be happy and content with who you are in Christ, and doing whatever God calls you to do by faith. I wish I can help you with that post.
Another reason why I write all this is, because young people sometimes have this idea that being in ministry is living the ultimate dream and the easiest thing to do. That borders on ridiculousness, and while a part of me wishes that almost every Christian I meet would preach the gospel (because preaching the gospel is the most important thing to do) - and that I do truly love what I do, it is also important to see that you are missing out on some benefits, like having a well-paid job for instance. It is all about perspective, whether you are called to the pulpit or not. People who minister on a pulpits are not more special than those who don´t. On the other hand, if you don´t end up on a platform don´t be jealous of those who do - rather pray for ministers of the Gospel. They have to pay a huge price and are at the forefront of what God wants to do.
I would like to give you 3 points, that I believe will help you in pursuing your divine destiny and are very important to understand:
1. Major on your lifestyle.
At this stage, I wanna tell you: It's not about you. We are called to be disciples of the person of Jesus Christ. So the first thing that will help you, is to pursue a life that brings honor to His name.
If you develop a strong prayer life and spend adiquate time in the Word of God, you won´t be shaken that easily.
Jesus said, "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:6). If Jesus said that, than we better listen to that advice. I know we can always approach God, but you have to major on that quiet spot.
A great man of God once said, "Prayer is like learning to swim. You struggle and go down until you are finally up and can swim." If we are honest and don't try to make everything sound good, the truth is that it might be very stretching for you, to get a couple hours alone with God. That will change over time. It should be the source of life, of which all ministry flows. Allow true prayer and The Word to be a real part of your life. I love manifestations of the power of God and I see them in almost all of my meetings. But what this (young) generation who hungers for the supernatural needs perhaps more than anything else is a real understanding from the Word of God about the anointing of God. TL Osborn said, "Seeing and feeling is part of the natural man. Faith and obedience is part of the supernatural man." When God anoints someone, He primarily "makes" a messenger, who is supposed to grip hearers through THE WORD OF GOD and set them free through THE POWER OF GOD. That anointing increases, as we sometimes have to push through hard situations, overcome difficulties, and continue to walk in love, no matter what. Encounters become messages.
Recently I was at a cafe with a Pastor in Austria, and afterwards I told someone at a table nearby that Jesus loves him, and if I could pray for him. Afterwards the Pastor said to me "Philipp, you see I had many great-name preachers that I brought to this nations, but that's what I never once saw them do, ministering like this outside of a setting". I knew what he meant and the truth is it can be much easier to only preach at a church, that's why there is sometimes such a lack of God's presence because the human nature tends to rely naturally on "good things" that man can do (like structure, programs..), although the slogans stay the same. Almost everybody wants revival, some just want it a little bit more.
I thought about this afterwards and realized: The truth is that this is the core of who I am. As my friend Ben Fitzgerald once said to me, “The leaders of the early church didn’t just do leadership training – they preached the gospel all the time.”
I build my ministry on my lifestyle, or you can say I'm in full-time ministry because I wanna be under the realm of the anointing not just when I'm at a church. I try to preach the gospel every single day - because I am a Christian (a Christian is someone who believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ). Sometimes I don't and I don't feel guilty about it, because guilt is not what drives me in the first place (although a little bit of guilt sometimes doesn't hurt either, We just wanna be easy on ourselves for the most part). I just don't want them to go to hell. But that's not the only reason. I am responsible for keeping the life of God flowing out of me. Faith is not just something that you do at home - through your daily declarations and all that - This can be helpful if you also make up your mind to be a doer of the Word (James 1:22). You have to expose yourself to impossible situations. As Bill Johnson puts it, "Holy Spirit is not in us like a lake, but as a river - and He wants out."
It's amazing how your life will be transformed if you start to live like that.
Not only will that help you to avoid possible disappointments, but if you live a strong prayer life and pursue a supernatural lifestyle as a believer (which is still one of the biggest needs today - you are needed!), you will be always at the center of what God wants to do - THROUGH YOU!
I have been sharing the gospel on the streets since I decided to follow Jesus. There are many benefits to this:
- You are obeying a clear command of Jesus and He will reward it.
- People hear the gospel, or get even saved and healed.
- It sets you free more and more from a basic fear that lies within our human nature - to fear what people might think of you.
- It teaches you to rely on Holy Spirit, and makes Him so much more real to you - because you have to trust Him.
- It makes your life an adventure and exciting.
You might ask yourself, "Well what does this have to do with what you talked about earlier?" Well, when you live out this type of Christian life, you will be less frustrated about what you don´t get to do. First, we need to be able to find joy in "small", before we can do other things. Also, if God calls you to have more influence and preach and so forth, it also makes more sense when you actually LIVE IT. The days of the games that we call Christianity are over, some realize this sooner, some later.
Also, you have to check yourself in that area: If you are not really on fire for God but decide to go to a bible school, chances are that you go back to the norm after completing the school - meaning no fire.
2. Pursue the personal will of God for your life.
There is a difference between the general will of God, and the personal will of God.
The general will of God is Matthew 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
The personal will of God is finding out, which role you play in that context. Let me encourage you, it´s ok not to know that right from the beginning. That´s why it is important just to start doing SOMETHING, because quickly you will be able to observe the guidance of the Lord. Part of that, of course, can be a bible school or seminary.
A bible school or seminary does not equal a God-given platform.
Nobody ever graduated from a bible school and received a certificate with an itinerary for the next year.
While I do give Bethel a lot of Credit for creating a place for me to grow so much, I do believe it was just one part of the bigger picture.
If you are happy and content with who you are in Christ, you will not be disappointed if things don´t go the way you want them to do.
My advice would be this; if you look for a great bible school:
1. See it as a safe place where you truly can get to know God. If that´s what moves you, then there are perhaps a lot of great options. The 3 I believe I would encourage the most are BSSM and all RHEMA bible schools and Christ for the Nations Institute (CFNI - not Cfan), or any other that emphasize both the Word and the Spirit (and missions). Personally, I heard God clearly speak to me to go to Bethel. I was not intending to go to bible school at all (I used to believe that people who don't do anything go to a bible school or seminary). Allow God to lead you, which is all part of finding that personal will of God for your life.
2. When you come back, serve your church, and be faithful with the opportunities presented to you. Don't get jealous of others who have greater opportunites.
3. Major on prayer, faithfulness and obedience. You have to develop what God has given you through stewardship, etc. and God will open more doors.
4. If you know that God spoke to you, don't let anyone hold you back - not even good friends.
5. Develop a lifestyle of seeking Him first, study on a consistent basis and don't listen to people who get pleasure out of teaching weird or unusual doctrine.
3. Be a good son (or daughter).
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
It´s amazing how quickly the thought can slip in that we are something special. In one way we are, because God fully affirms us, because He loves us and He created us. But there is a danger of allowing our accomplishments (which are not really ours anyways - we will be responsible for what we do with the gifts God gave to us), to be the ground of our confidence. Jesus´ finished work always has to be ground of our confidence. The bibel says that the righteous are as bold as a lion, if you stay conscious of Jesus you will manifest sonship here on this earth.
One of the side-effects of walking in sonship is that sons draw the favor of God like a magnet. There was literally a time in my life where I was recognized by older man of God wherever I went. I´m not saying I always walked perfectly as a son, in fact I missed it a number of times. But it if we develope core-values like that, they will help us.
That includes to have regular conversations with mentors or spiritual fathers. Some people don´t have mentors in their lives, because they think a mentor can only be a famous preacher. No, they sit in churches, they just have to be identified and they also have to identify their sons. My mentor always asked me "What is God doing in your life?"
That was a very important question for me. We have to know what God is currently doing in our lives, that keeps us from deception and also gives us a clear lense to see God at work.
God doesn´t expect you to be perfect, but He does expect you to be humble.
Religion often wants to slow people down in the name of humility. They still believe that pride is the guy who preaches in the open air - because of course he only does it to be seen, and humility is the guy who sits in the back row of the church - just because he is here and plays along the rules - which is great and important - (but some sacrifice what God wants to do at the expense of being a dumb sheep which is not God's will either), and of course the longer you are a Christian, the more mature you are because age equals wisdom. Those are wrong mindsets, and part of the reason - why a handful of fishermen turned the world upside down - and we do not.
King David said,
I understand more than the aged, because I keep Your precepts [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying them]. (Psalm 119:100)
On the other hand, let's be honest - the human nature tends to be prideful. That's why we need to look inward daily, and be authentic and open in our relationship with Christ. Some feel comfortable with telling people about Jesus, but they can´t make time to get up in the morning and seek God. Boldness needs discipline, otherwise it's just sloppy pride.
Humility at the core is a heart that is set to obey God. That's it. This should keep us busy for a while and a lot of other things will fall into place. Often people are being held back because then they don't ever start thinking "I can do it too". God begins to move, when we go. That's the point where the anointing begins to flow and you will be filled with life and excitement. It has nothing to do with your feelings, but with your faith. Through the Word of God our faith becomes strong, which is a vital part of our daily lives.
God bless you
Philipp J. Schmerold