SEEDS OF CONTEMPLATION for PENTECOSTAL PASTORS
Joseph S. Girdler
District Superintendent, KYAG
August 26, 2008
*Some people have said, “I’d rather have wild fire, than no fire.” … Or, would we?
*What do you do when someone gives a message in tongues and there’s no interpretation?
- Music worshipfully, and wait reverently, give a word of exhortation to the congregation, read scripture, encourage others to use their gifts…
- Recently, I was in one of our services when this occurred and the pastor waited momentarily, then warmly to edify his congregation, he encouraged the music to continue but told the people to be confident to share their gift as the Lord were to give them the interpretation as they moved further in the service.
*What now? During the testimony time, as I walked around with the microphone hoping to allow people to encourage one another in the Lord…he/she reached up and took the “mic” from me and … ?
- I found the wandering Mic to be a great tool for many reasons. I learned to hold the mic tightly and not release it… As people reach for it, and feel the tug/tension of your grip to the mic, you can smile at them while they’re talking, and they get the picture...”you’re not releasing the mic”…
- This allows you to stay in control...
- If the testimony being given takes a wrong path, goes south fast, etc… pull the mic away immediately and do not be afraid to politely, at first, just say “well, this is for another time…thank you…” and move on…
- If they don’t stop…shut them down… you’ll have a bigger problem on your hands if you don’t offer Godly control. “Let all things be done decently, and in order.”
*What if there’s the third message in tongues, or fourth…and now, you’re nervous?
- Read scripture, and explain the service has had all the messages in tongues the scripture would admonish; move on…
*What if a stranger comes in and takes control? Gives a message in tongues, prophetic word, streamers that hit your deacons in the head, etc.?
- If it’s all okay? . . . Then I’d go with it…at the moment, remembering there’s a beautiful congregation there who need not be brought into confusion. Then after the service, I’d go to the stranger and get to know them…immediately…making sure they know what’s expected…etc.
- If it’s not okay? ...then, I’d shut it down… play music over it and move on…if need be… correct the word from the pulpit; don’t allow a bigger issue/problem to take root.
*What about “catchers”? … This one always stirs the feathers…
- To be honest with you, if you’re having a service where people are falling, in this litigious society, my opinion is you need (for protection of the church) someone carefully assisting in that process.
- It’s not about questioning that the people will get hurt; we know if they fall in the Spirit, God is not going to hurt them. I carried that opinion for many years resisting and absolutely not wanting ‘catchers’ in our services because I figured, if they needed a catcher, it wasn’t faith and wasn’t of God…
- But, you don’t know what the people themselves might do… Once, I had a man, who while being prayed for by another person in our church at the altars, fell in a service; a faithful member, I had known fairly well. He broke a rib. I apologized, transparently saying “that what had occurred was not of God, and I as pastor should have been more in control.”…He rebuked me for not having faith; and his entire family left the church…
- And, in today’s society, people sue…often.
*What about demonic manifestations? How do I handle that in a public service?
- Discreetly; have a side room for private and more detailed ministry
- Have trained altar workers
- With power and anointing of the Holy Spirit
- Only Spirit-filled believers should work in this ministry
- Some possible admonitions and scriptural counsel/teaching from pastor at the pulpit for the congregants will be helpful in allowing Christ-followers, seekers, & observers, alike, a better understanding of what they are experiencing/witnessing…
*What if someone stands up in the audience and makes an angry scene, approaches the platform or some other usurping action?
- If you have trained deacons/workers, have them immediately go to them and escort them out of the bldg, with you saying little to nothing ignoring their tyrant and move on in the service.
- Use the Word to admonish, teach, calm, lead, explain, and pray as needed…
- Keep the people/audience focused on Jesus, worshipping Him,
- Have pre-trained planned guards/officers/police officers (if there are any in the congregation) handle the situation
- File charges if necessary
- Do not allow them to bring confusion and disrupt God’s house
*What if a guest preaches something doctrinally challenged?
- Immediately, correct the mistake by teaching/sharing the Word
- Try not to embarrass the person, but directly take charge; the authority is the pastor’s mantle to “lead” the sheep in the right direction. Avoidance is a style of leadership; not a good one.
- Learn a lesson: that’s why we use credentialed & approved Assemblies of God pulpit fill
- Do not invite them back and tell them why
What if prayeraltar workers are praying with members of the opposite sex, rubbing shoulders, tightly front holdinghugging… very inappropriate…?
- Train them
- When men are praying with females, it is wisdom to have a female prayer partner join you, pastors, having the female prayer partner place her hands on the woman being prayed for, and you, as pastor, placing your hands over the prayer partners, so you are not even touching the woman’s body…i.e.….heart problems, lower back…legs…etc… This is absolutely practical and it’s important.
- Walk up behind them and politely, prayerfully, place your hands on top of theirs causing them to “stop” rubbing, or whatever
- Move the altar workers to members of the same sex
*What if the exact same person, day after day, week after week, month after month constantly gives the message in tongues, and/or the interpretations…and/or gives the exact same “word”… etc….and people are getting frustrated/confused…even me?
- Are there others in the audience with the gifts? If so, then speak to the person privately encouraging them to allow others to be used in their gifts…for at least a season…
- Tell them…to stop; it’s causing confusion in the camp…and remember, confusion is not of the Lord. If the pastor is confused…then change the direction of service; you “are” the spiritual authority in that church. God will not bring you confusion. The enemy will. If you’re not prepared for something, physically or spiritually…then don’t go there…
- If you do that…be prepared for them to be frustrated; but, if they’re mature in the faith, they’ll understand and follow their pastor’s authority and wisdom
*What if someone known to be used in the gifts…has a questionable lifestyle/testimony/witness?
- Tell them to not use the gifts in your church until their life is in order
*What if people get mad and say they’re going to leave?
- Yes, and, so?
*What if we are haunted by the enemy and in danger/distressingly burdened?
- Prayer and fasting,
- Prayer warriors around you,
- and stay with people – don’t be alone; the enemy can cause you to feel your burdens are more overwhelming when you’re alone …
*What if no-one is being baptized in the Holy Spirit>?
- Are you preaching it?
- Are you giving altar calls for it?
- If not on Sunday AM’s, do you have another system in place for people to grow in their Pentecostal doctrine and faith, experientially?
*What does Water Baptismal have to do with Pentecostalism?
- Far too many of our churches have forsaken regular water baptism services and opportunities. It has given way to an American Church who have not followed the Lord’s commands in the basics… How can they then be mature enough to pursue the deeper waters?
*A lot of our congregation are from non-Pentecostal backgrounds, and may not even know it’s a Pentecostal church on most days? They might not be connected or even care about “Assemblies of God” or whatever… How do I help them know we’re / they’re Pentecostal?
- Put an AG logo or name on your sign, bulletins, promotional (even if it’s in small print; it matters. Do it.) Pastors/Church leaders have a responsibility to shepherd the flock, build the bridges, and teach-preach the full-gospel.
- Please remember the Assemblies of God are not the “only” church, and do not speak in arrogance of what God has done through and in this Movement in the past. We humbly pray God’s touch for our Church and our future! ...and for God’s touch for all Churches in our communities preaching Christ, as Lord and Savior.
- As Pastor, use your gifts publicly, as you pray, as you pray for people at the altars, etc. Set the examples.
- Inform/train your Church to be connected/networked informing them respectfully, that you’re an Assemblies of God church – the largest Pentecostal church on the globe…
- Preach Pentecostal messages and give altar calls accordingly
- Did you know…?... in the last decade…church growth in America proved a steady decline across all boards…except for…strong Evangelical churches and …the Assemblies of God & Pentecostals; the only churches with growth.
- Did you know…? ... Those anthropologist missionaries proclaim there are now 100,000,000 (100M) believers in China…and 90% are Pentecostal.
- Did you know…? ... That main-line believers, Methodists, Baptists, etc. are receiving the Baptism in the Holy Ghost at alarming rates!
- And, totally related…and one of the greatest things a minister can do…is…live a life of integrity.
- Be Blessed and Favored in Him.
- OPEN FOR QUESTIONS IF TIME ALLOWS…