I watch TED videos. I love the informative dimension of the platform. So one day someone gave me this TED video by Chimamanda ,Adichie. It was an intelligent presentation of the view of the world on Africa. One statement sparked a thought in me though, she said, and I most likely will be paraphrasing now, that “STORIES MATTER. MANY STORIES MATTER. YOU CAN’T CLAIM TO DEFINE A PEOPLE BY JUST ONE NARRATIVE”
I have found out that the same is true for God and Ministry. I have pastored for a little while now (from 2002 in Architects for Christ, Jolly Christian Centre, Christ Love Fellowship, Deep Waters Christian Centre and now Citizens of Light Church). I’m still young in ministry, true, but I have related with many young ministers and their confusion moves me greatly because I also was once as confused. It’s what has birthed DEAR STARTER that I now write. You see, God is not a concept. He’s a person. The truth about the theory of persons is that they are multi-sided in singularity of existence.
Now to the crux of this write up. God did not leave the writing of the Old Testament to Moses and his singular interpretation of his experience with God. God did not leave the writing of the bible to David and his singular interpretation of his experience with God alone, neither did God leave the writing of the bible to Jeremiah and his singular interpretation of his experience with God alone. The Old Testament alone contains a plethora of people and their experiences with God. EVERY ONE OF THEM BRINGING US A UNIQUE SIDE OF HIM. To one person he introduced himself as JEHOVAH JIREH. To another he introduced himself as JEHOVAH ROHI. To another as JEHOVAH RAPHA.
Now to the Synoptic gospels, they are a narrative of the birth, life, death and ascension of Jesus. Even then, God did not give that privilege to a single individual to interpret all of that. Four people, listen please FOUR PEOPLE wrote them. WHY? Simply because God deemed it fit that the opinion of four should be canonized. The law of witnessing in the word of God states that OUT OF THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES A TRUTH IS ESTABLISHED. What this means is that, if it was just for WITNESSING PURPOSES then we shouldn’t have more than just TWO OR THREE write ups on that. I believe we have such abundance of evidence for witnessing purposes and to introduce us to the many sides of His activities on earth. Yet the author of the book of John concludes that a whole lot of things where skipped from this Synoptic accounts.
This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.
Now to the New Testament, beginning from after the death of Jesus, God didn’t leave the writing to Paul alone. Listen please, Apostle Paul did not write the New Testament. God could have allowed him with the abundant of revelation he received from the Spirit of God. GOD WOULDN’T AND GOD DIDN’T. And I will like to say this please, THE EPISTLES OF PAUL ARE IN NO WISE SUPERIOR TO ANY OTHER EPISTLES. Any other stance apart from this STOP to make the entire BIBLE the final authority over every area of life. Please don’t do this. You may think it’s good now and it makes you sound doctrinal and studious but you are destroying the authority and undermining the power of other scriptures and reducing them to wise sayings of James; motivational books of John and the good book of Peter.
TEACHERS OF GODS WORD HAVE TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO PRESENT THIS TO THE PEOPLE. THE OTHER EPISTLES ARE NOT AN ADDENDUM, THEY ARE NOT POST SCRIPTS. IF THE REVELATIONS OF PAUL SUFFICES FOR THE NEW TESTAMENT, GOD WOULD HAVE PERMITTED IT. HE DIDN’T FOR A REASON AND IT’S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS A TEACHER TO RESPECT THAT.
Now to MINISTRY, dear young STARTER, please Sir and Ma, there is danger also in the single story of ministry. God has placed in his body several Gifts, awesome men of God. The problem is many of us have not learnt how to relate with these mentors and fathers correctly. You see, every apostle projects their message as though it’s the most important message in the body and it’s expected and appreciated. The ability to put many scriptures together is good but it’s not what validates ministry. It’s just a style of presentation in teaching. The ability of someone else to also quote Greek and Hebrew is not what validates ministry; it is rather a way of presentation. The ability of another to take one scripture and also dissect it till we all scream isn’t also what validates ministry; it is as well a way of presentation.
The primary MESSAGE OF EVERY TEACHER SHOULD BE CHRIST AND THE PRIMARY MINISTRY OF EVERY MINISTER SHOULD BE THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION. This now doesn’t mean every message in Church should be about the birth of Christ, the anointing of Christ, the 4th dimension of the Christ, the glory of the Christ, the power of the Christ, the rabbinic dimension of the Christ, the second death of the Christ, the final descent of the Christ… NO SIR, NO MA! This also doesn’t mean that since our primary ministry is RECONCILIATION then every form of ministry should be evangelistic. NO SIR, NO MA. In addition to THE PRIMARY MESSAGE OF CHRIST which we must stress, really. We may have as secondary message in any of the following areas:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
So there could be a Pastor bringing good news to the poor. What is the good news to the poor? PROSPERITY as a secondary message. There could be a Pastor bringing healing to the broken hearted. What is healing to the broken hearted? COMPASSION AND EMOTIONAL HEALING. Thank God for people like TD JAKES in this area. I hardly listen to him but I respect and celebrate his ministry. I listen more to “word of faith” circles, I have read everything E.W KENYON HAS WRITTEN, SAME FOR ALL THE AVAILABLE BOOKS OF PAPA HAGIN, I listen to KEITH MOORE, KEITH BUTLER, MARK HANKINS, SCOTT WEB, THE COPELANDS, TONY COOKE, JERRY SAVELLE, ANDREW WORMACK, KC PRICE and CHARLES CAPPS. Now, that you don’t teach like any of these GREAT FATHERS does not mean you don’t have a respectable ministry. Folks, please this is critical to know, THAT IT’S DIFFERENT DOESN’T MEAN ITS SUPERIOR. You may not teach like us but you are not inferior for as long as your message is consistent all through scriptures.
Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are not doing ministry because you are not quoting scriptures like so and so, or because you are bringing expository dimensions from Greek and Hebrew text or that people are not jumping on their chairs because of your ability to reveal coded messages in one single verse for four hours.
Embrace your call, study the word. Be contextual but also feel free to be revelational. Don’t let anyone bind you, for as long as the truth is not lost in the process. Please know this that your revelation is as sound as your understanding of context but don’t be bound by it. The word is not just doctrinal, it’s also revelational. It doesn’t just show us the covenant, it also shows us the prophetic.
Get people grounded in the word but also meet the needs of people. Don’t be caught in your over admiration of someone till you lose your ministry. If you don’t accept yourself, no one else will and you can’t be impactful. Respect mentors, listen to them but don’t lose the essence of God’s call on your own life. REFUSE THE TRAP OF THE SINGLE STORY.
Welcome to FREEDOM