- "When you dishonored our contract and booked those flights that cost me to upgrade and even carry my product, I knew then that I should cancel. But you begged and talked about how it would let the people down. But had I known that there would be 15 people there and you would stiff me for the money initially, I would have stayed home."
This email would not have come if it were not for a check that I WROTE, for $1,500. Unfortunately the check initially bounced but was recovered and PAID IN FULL within 7 days from discovery of the problem. Yes, I know, you say "he need some of that Prosperity gospel now"...No Thank you, we're good.
Thank God that, my obligation was fulfilled, but not in the manner I would have liked from the beginning. In the interim, however, before the check was replaced with a guaranteed instrument of payment, the aforementioned comment was made by the MINISTER that thought he had suffered a financial loss. Let me restate, I'm the first to say, BOUNCING A CHECK IS WRONG AND UNACCEPTABLE...That without question is a truth that I must tell even if on myself. We must pay closer attention to details and numbers of our checkbooks. I stand in line FIRST for that.
The part that I question however, was the minister's motivations as revealed in this slither of his diatribe to me. First, there are 4 elements in this statement. 1- He (the minister) lost an opportunity to SELL ministry material because of the flight which wasn't up to his standards. (ie: if he wanted to transport more "stuff" HE would have had to pay for it-which he obviously refused to do) 2- He had no feeling for the people (Saints) who were expecting his appearance 3- He didn't expect the crowd was going to be large enough for his satisfaction (actually only about 75-110 people showed not the 15 he exaggeratedly stated) but took a gamble, I suppose, and showed up anyway, and 4-He knew he wasn't going to make as much money as he wanted to make and possibly not even get his $1,500 appearance fee.
Can Anyone Tell Me What's Wrong With That Picture?
If you said, "Where is God?" or "Where is the consideration for the people of God?" I say the same thing. There is no mention of God, his people, delivery of HIS council or salvation of souls. There's no mention of service and true servitude to the people of God or the Kingdom of God. It's all been reduced to MONEY, CROWDS, and SALES.
Yes, what you are reading is real. Bottom line is that this minister was paid. However, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that modern ministry has miserably failed. People seemingly have become a commodity, a resource, another book or tape sale and their money another offering to be received. Now, don't get it twisted, we know that "it costs money to buy land" and finances are necessary to carry on the work of the Lord, but what about when venues are chosen for profitability, churches are viewed for sellability and areas of the country are looked at as "markets" and potential "distribution outlets"?
This was the first part of my answer to this character:
- "You only do large churches? Are you like Paula and TD? You only want to be around them that are profitable or have cash? Now they have criticized you saying that you are only out for cash...I have chosen to not believe such up until now, but phrases like this make me question, what does the size of the church or money flow have to do with the ministry?...I see, you're not SENT...you just WENT! You go for the MONEY huh??? See that's another fundamental difference between me and you, I'll go for a handfull of people that need the word...I've done it before and I'll do it again...You want a guarantee...what is it, you forgot how to trust God and do the real work of the ministry??? Did you ever know it? Have you ever done a hospital visit on a evangelical trip? Have you ever shown compassion for God's people, other than them offering you money??? WOW! This is revealing."
Yes this is revealing. It is revealing when individuals who "we think" are about souls prove that souls are a minimal consideration of what they do. You see some ministries graduate to a certain level that they no longer preach at certain size churches. Some get so popular that they only go places where they can make a certain return on their ministry investment dollar. This is sad but true. This is a total devaluation of souls and needs of the people. When souls are valued however, that is the true peace of the Real Christian minister.
Personal Example 1
For instance, I could personally share how a certain pastor asked me to come to their church on an occasion and didn't have money, but needed some help. They took an offering but I asked that they defer and send me something later. The most important part was that the people were blessed. They sent me a sizable offering about a month later. We thanked God and kept blessing one another. Thank God that church grew and built a brand new edifice about 5 years ago.Guess who has an open door anytime to speak to the people of God and deliver HIS council?
What Ever Happened To Real Ministry?
What happened to true Kingdom building? I know, we've stopped doing that because our money could get funny...In Kingdom building we could possibly suffer loss. Yet it is only kingdom building that blesses the people of God and stands between them and the fires of hell. Kingdom building isn't comfortable at times, profitable at times, and is yet essential and necessary to the ongoing work of Christ
As stated and To BE SURE this minister was paid all that he was due financially. Thank god that the door was open to speak beyond that to the real issues at heart. I also added the following comments in response to his assertions:
- "...This displays no feeling or concern for god's people. The church is not your bank account."...
- "...I've traveled for over 20 years and NEVER have I ran into anyone quite like you. You have totally lost sight of the people...You only have insight into YOU...That's tragic..."
There is much more that this gentleman said that was very shocking and revealing, but that is aside from the point, and I won't deal with that at this time. But my heart was stirred to question:
What is a REAL minister willing to do to serve God and HIS people?
Mt. 20:25-28 ~ "25- But Jesus called unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26-But it shall not be so amongst you: but whomsoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27-And whosoever will be chief among you let him be your servant; 28- Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
Abraham In Sodom
We are all aware of Abraham attempting to rescue his nephew Lot and Lot's family from Sodom. In Genesis 18:22-33 we see the story of Abraham bartering with God for the salvation of the city. Abraham simply could have advised Lot to move from the beginning, but there was more to the story because Abraham wanted his environment and the people of God to be blessed. Abraham also knew that God valued souls. In verse 22 Abraham starts by asking God to spare the city for 50 righteous. Out of humility and servitude Abraham goes on an unusual mission to save the city by further bartering with God and decreasing the numbers incrementally. He goes from 50 righteous (v.22) to 45 (v.28) to 40 (v.29) to 30 (v.30) to 20 (v.31) and finally to 10 (v.32). God responds in the latter part of v.32 saying that "...I will not destroy it for ten's sake."
Even though 10 couldn't be found, God agreed to deliver the city with and for a small amount of righteous individuals. the point is that Abraham (being a type of Jesus) placed himself in the way of God's wrath for just 10 people. This story is evidence that god loves souls. Yet in spite of God's love for souls, these 21st century ministers refuse to serve because of the potential is that there will only be "15" persons at the event, and that they will not make enough money or sell enough product...WHAT IS THAT?
Personal Example 2
Last winter, there was a particular sub zero degree Sunday. We were preparing for morning service as usual. Thank God mostly our entire church was able to attend and we were blessed. One of the members, who has a mother that attends another church, told me that her mother had called her and said that their pastor had told them that there wasn't going to be any services for their church that Sunday because the Pastor didn't feel that there were enough members to warrant the inconvenience of turning on the heat.
What Happens When Souls Are Valued?
When souls are valued, love and reaching them rules the day and the love of God is displayed and people will change not out of fear, but out of appreciation. That's the goal.
Personal Experience 3
On the other side of these tragic stories and experiences I've shared, a few years ago, we had a man of God that came to our church. He paid his own way to get there, and what he received from the Saints at that time he probably just did break even. This man however was blessed and blessed the people of God in a great way.
I don't know about you, but that's what I look for in a minister...one who may not be flashy, or have all the "bells" and "whistles" that attract crowds, but one that has quality of spirit, a biblical message, is sent by God and SERVES the people of God with and through humility. That's MINISTRY. Selling a tape or book IS NOT ministry. Swaying a crowd to heights of emotion IS NOT ministry. Demanding money is certainly NOT ministry.
TV/ Media Age, Personalities & Expectations
We seemingly have become so duped by television and media and what it brings into our homes that many of us have forgotten that every ministry that has media ability is not necessarily ordained by God. Every ministry will not be a TV ministry and neither does every ministry deserve to be on TV or media.
The prosperity message, that has been the greatest disappointment of the current recessionary period, has taken on even the best media ministries claiming to be church restorationists. As I noted in 2 of my initial blogs Saints vs Celebrities Pt. 1 and Saints vs Celebrities Pt. 2 "Stars" and "Celebrities" do what they do and the bottom line is that getting paid is top priority. To those type of ministries, it really doesn't matter where Jesus is because they can't perceive him and they second guess his leading because they are unfamiliar with the leading of the Lord.
Celebrities have appeal and sell plenty of "snake oil" to attract the masses, but where is the authentication of the spirit? I'll tell you where, it's in humility and serving the people of God. The REAL POWER has never left TRUE SERVICE and Love for the People of God and his church.
I guess the temptation is to look at how easily profits can be gained with a "gimmick" But the church is being called back to REAL ministry. Real Ministry is done in the trenches, in the hospitals, in the ghettos, in the gutter with them that are hurting. Real ministry feeds, clothes, shelters, and assists their communities...Real ministry, suffers loss, spends gas, runs up miles on the car...but NOT without reward:
Heb. 6:10 ~ "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints and do minister."
I know what I will do for a soul and to bless a soul. I have done it before and will do it again. Maybe that's why, the people of god that serve this ministry in return are at such peace spiritually. Maybe that's why The Saints look forward to good, biblically centered messages and apply those things to their lives. One thing is for sure, I can't take the credit for it...All I can do is continue to serve faithfully.