church life, purpose

Revelation of a Dream

In a dream last night, I was conducting a home based Bible Study group. I got up to greet someone and left my notebook and Bible in the hands of one of the attendees and when I returned, she was teaching the class. She taught it using my notes but out of her own experience with the Lord and it was blessed. When she finished, many of the people there gathered around her testifying of how the word had blessed them. I waited until everyone left and she and I had a chance to talk. I commended her on a job well done and told her that I was now leaving the study in her care because she received the impartation to carry them on and I was released to go elsewhere.
I was returning to my office and a crowd rushed past me. People were running into ‘office’ cubicles like a stampede and I saw them changing their names to reflect the names on the wall. This one woman in particular ran ahead of me into my cubicle and changed my name to hers. By the time I arrived there, she had moved her things in and mine out. I looked around in confusion for a minute and then I heard someone calling me. The call was on the outside of the office and I had to walk a distance to find the person’s voice but the woman who had ‘stolen’ my office looked at me in astonishment because she expected a fight from me over my space and when I didn’t, when I moved on, she look bewildered.
Here is what the Lord is saying, as an apostle, we are called to pioneer the people of God into new realms of revelation of the word that they can grab a hold of them and teach them fluently for themselves. Aquilla and Priscilla, husband and wife apostolic team, taught Apollos a more perfect way in the scriptures. After sitting under their teachings, he was then graced to teach the word on his own. Your reward as a teacher is when your student can teach what you have taught them without having to be corrected. You are released from that assignment to teach it yourself and you are now freed to move on and start anew. Nowadays, many are too insecure to let someone else take the wheel or they have a problem with letting go but the mature apostle realizes when a grace has been received and they can move on to where the next place is.

The other thing is this – The Lord is revealing that there are some who will do anything to stand in your place that they are taking ‘shortcuts’ to do so. The problem with that is this, by the time they finally catch up with you, it will be time for you to move on. It reminds me of the dog that chases his tail; running in certain circles may give you miles but it won’t give you distance. David tried a shortcut to move the glory of God to Jerusalem and someone died as a result. If you want the Lord to bless your work in ministry, start by actually working in ministry first.

church life, purpose, spiritual symbolism, word of wisdom

Tag!! You’re Not IT!

As a kid, I remember we played a game called, Duck, Duck, Goose. In this game, the children would sit Indian style in a circle and the ‘point’ person would run around the outside of the circle yelling, “Duck, Duck, Goose!” The person who was selected as the ‘goose’ would jump up as the next ‘point’ person and repeat the process.
It was a fun game that entertained us for hours as children but when we see this ‘game’ infiltrate the church, we need to ‘tag’ it and remove it from our midst. How does this game work in the church? Well, you have one ‘set person’ who stands over a crowd of unsuspecting people who randomly assigns titles in the Body of Christ. “Prophet, Apostle, Pastor, Teacher, Evangelist!” “Tag, I see a calling on your life!” Then the ‘selected person’ jumps up, assumes the ‘tag’ and goes about their own circle repeating the process.
Duck, Duck, Goose worked fine on the playground but it has no place in the Church of Jesus Christ. Remain in your ‘seat’ until someone FILLED with the Spirit of God who has the gift, unction, and grace to raise you up in that ‘set place’ and has the watch for your soul CONFIRMS what the Lord has already impregnated within you. This is not a game folks. You don’t get special prizes and balloons in Heaven for commissioning the most apostles and prophets. In fact, it’s the soul winners crown that we all should attain unto and you don’t get that from being in church 24/7, hosting a million conferences, and printing the most fabulous flyers. You get that from hitting the streets and roaming the hedges and highways. Heaven doesn’t rejoice over another apostle, Heaven rejoices when souls are delivered from the snares of satan.
church life, Prophecy, purpose, relationships, Spiritual Warfare

Nehemiah – The Apostle Before His Time

Nehemiah represented the building anointing of the apostle in his time. Tobias and Sanballat are still at work today trying with everything they can to distract and destroy the work of the Lord with foolishness and nonsense. Every apostle who is unsure of their call needs to study that book. Nehemiah built as Ezra the prophet prophesied. Even in the OT, you see the apostle/prophet foundation for building. He did the work and those WHOSE HEARTS THE LORD TOUCHED worked alongside him. He didn’t manipulate them, he didn’t prophesy to them, and he didn’t control them. God gave his building partners the heart and mind to work and to give to his work because He was reBUILDING THE TEMPLE. Not his, but the Lord’s. It was all to God’s glory.

When we learn to chase the word instead of chasing the glory, the glory cloud will actually surround us because there is enough water in our river bellies to attract God’s presence. Nowadays, folk are hung on up on an experience and left off from studying the Holy scriptures and the rivers …run…..dry…..

church life, word of wisdom

Integrity in Leadership is a MUST!

Buckle up because we are going for bumpy ride…..

Many of ‘us’ were pimps and hustlers in the world before the Lord saved us. This is why we can recognize it when we see it in the church. Game recognizes game so when someone brings something ‘familiar’ in your atmosphere, you know what time it really is beyond what they try to tell you. I am going to be as discreet as I can because I don’t want anyone to get offended BEFORE you finish this message because there is a lot of this going on in the Body of Christ and it’s time to pin the tail on the donkey.

When you are guest speaker in someone’s church, that is who you are, a guest. You are not the pastor, overseer, Bishop, or whatever is the flavor of the day. You were brought in by the church to bring a word of edification, exhortation, or whatever. the spiritual need is. Your role as a guest is to deliver the word, receive your offering for your labor in the word, and go back to your respective place. You don’t build a congregation off of the backs of someone else’s labor in ministry. You don’t call the members of the guest church, you don’t inbox them for favors for your ministry, and you don’t undermine your host pastors. Not only is that distasteful and disrespectful, it clearly shows that you lack integrity as a guest speaker.

Here is where the root of the problem is. Apostles never build on another man’s foundation. They don’t build networks of spiritual sons and daughters by pulling the naive ones away with sugary laced prophecy and using them to enlarge their ‘gate’. That is not fruit of apostolic ministry. Apostles are pioneers, trench diggers who build with their own tools. Apostles are tent makers. In other words, they build their own houses with their own hands, not using the hands of someone else and claiming credit as their own.

Integrity is lacking in a lot of leaders these days as they go about wiping their mouths as if no one can notice that they are fleecing the sheep. Game recognizes game. A hustler knows a fellow hustler. If you need your bills paid, get a job but don’t hustle the church. If you need spiritual sons and daughters, be a spiritual parent and the Lord will send them to you. You don’t have to chase what belongs to you. As I shared in class last night, Elijah never chased Elisha and Jesus never chased His apostles so where does this ‘call me and check in with me’ mess comes from? I have never ever had to chase anyone who was truly called to be my son or daughter in the faith. I never had to co-sign anyone’s mess to get them to join my ‘harem’ and I never fraternize with folk who run down their former leader. I never spoke at anyone’s church as a guest speaker and held private meetings with their people. I never asked them for money, to join my ministry, or to even buy my book. That is NOT integrity in ministry as a leader, that is what a church hustler does.

For these reasons, among many more, there are many who will never again darken the pulpit of the church the Lord gave me and my husband the oversight of because we have found them to be hustlers. And it is my sincerest prayer, that millions of leaders around the globe begin opening their eyes to who they allow to speak into the lives of their people. As a leader, I am just as responsible for allowing a person to fleece my sheep as if I had done it myself. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Stand up and be counted as as shepherd after God’s own heart and quit running your game.

church life, purpose

Sirs, We Would Need All of Jesus…

You will know when we are in a corporate lukewarm season when you have to preach Jesus to the church. It’s a sad day when you have to convince people of the God whom they claim to serve. There was a time when witnessing took place outside the four walls, but in this hour, we see the need to witness Christ behind the four walls. We have preached everything else but Jesus trying to help people get through their problems and have left Jesus out of the equation. We have made them shout, scream, and run around the church in circles but they have not been delivered. The results of these types of messages are staggeringly despairing. Sirs, we need to see Jesus. Bring Jesus back to the church and not just a ‘little more Jesus’ but the CHURCH needs all of Him.
church life, Leadership

Pride – Public Enemy #1

Pride is the most dangerous weapon of Satan, and worst of all the Adamic “echoes from Eden” that we deal with when “putting off the old man”, as Paul admonished us in Ephesians 4:22-24: “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Those who are young in the Lord are most susceptible this snare of the devil: “not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6).

But even those who are spiritually mature sons of God are still open to the temptations of pride. Jesus was just confirmed as that mature son that was well-pleasing to the Father when Satan came to look for pride in His life. The famous Temptation of Jesus found in Matthew 4:1-14 shows that Satan’s arsenal of most powerful weapons included the “sin of pride.” When the enemy came to Jesus, he didn’t know that Jesus was not the same as all men in Adam – he didn’t understand the Mystery of the Incarnation. So he proceeded to probe (tempt) Jesus for those things that result most commonly in our downfall, including Fleshly Appetite, Foolishness and Pride. He saved the most powerful temptation for last when he probed Jesus for any pride that may have been in his heart: “I’ll make you famous if you just worship me” (my paraphrase). Jesus responded with humility to the temptation to pride, saying, “I am a servant of God, I humble myself to Him only” (my paraphrase). Satan left to regroup for another attack, bewildered and mystified by Jesus’ ability to withstand him in spiritual warfare using the Sword of the Spirit.

Satan wants to take out our spiritual sons as well, and he will come to them with the powerful weapon of pride. If they are susceptible to the illusion of their greatness that he attempts to plant in their minds, they will do down and be mired in shame.

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

“When prides comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.” (Proverbs11:2)

Pride will cause a person to walk away from the three most important things God wants for us:

Number One is CHARACTER. In order to walk in pride, we have to walk away from humility; it is a choice that one makes to refuse to “humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.” Humility is the greatest characteristic of a true spiritual leader, apostle, or spiritual father. Paul always identified himself “first” as a servant (humble) of God before stating his ministry gift (Titus 1:1). Humility is a proper estimation of self while pride is an over estimation of self. Jesus, as a servant, had “lowliness of mind” while pride is manifested as “high-mindedness.”

Number Two is COVERING. When pride has taken over, a person will walk away from their spiritual covering, thinking they “know better” than those God has appointed to guide them (Hebrews 13:17). When a person is in pride, they view their spiritual leadership as a “lid” and not a “covering” that gives them protection through accountability. They feel no more need to be accountable, and trust only their own thinking and reasoning, not realizing that they are now open to severe demonic assault by “being uncovered.”

Number Three is CALLING. When pride has run its course it usually result

s in an unfulfilled destiny, a calling that is not fully realized, and satan has done his job by stopping a God-intended purpose from coming to fruition. All ministry leaders have witnessed these sad casualties of battle, and have grieved deeply for their loss.

It is a hard thing to recover from a fall into pride; not many make it back to their Character, Covering and Calling. With God all things are possible, and that is why Paul instructed Timothy on how to serve those who need to recover from the “snare of the devil” (2 Timothy 2:24-26). In this Restoration of Apostolic Ministry we must be ever conscious of the enemy’s plans to take people out with pride. We must walk in the deepest humility as God’s Servants.
© 2014 Dr. John Polis

church life, Leadership, word of wisdom

Who is God Promoting for Leadership and Who Isn’t?

Note: These days the name ‘preacher’ does not carry with it the integrity that the true meaning requires. Because we are in the last days, scoffers have made a mockery of ministry and have successfuly confused the people as to who God has called and who God has not. The Word of God tells us to inspect the fruit that we can tell the workings of a person beyond what they proclaim. The discerning of spirits must be stronger among us than never before that we are not deceived. – Delisa Lindsey

Scripture is replete with examples of how leaders rise and fall. One of the reasons why I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God is because it so honestly and accurately portrays the plight of human beings regarding their reasons for success and failure. It adequately portrays the dark side of the saints of old and is not like the common biographies of great people in history that are more hagiographic in nature than historic (that is, they don’t reveal the failures of the person).
From what I have observed many, if not most, leaders do not end well. The following reasons have to do with long-lasting success or failure. Some may experience both for a short period of time but not end up that way in the long term.

The following are 11 reasons why leaders are promoted by God for lifelong effectiveness:

I. They are promoted by God to be used by God to complete a particular assignment

God promotes who He chooses (Psalm 75:6-7). There is no other explanation. There are some folks that we know who are very effective and very godly leaders who are not very well known. Then, there are well known leaders who are not very effective or godly. It is a divine mystery to why God gives some people more of a public platform than others. Like Paul said, no person should boast or brag as if they themselves have elevated themselves; everything we have received has come from God. Thus we should not be jealous of others or become worried about the amount of influence we have (Proverbs 3:5-7; 1 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 10:12-18).

II. They have learned to live a life of brokenness and dependence on God instead of living a life based on their own strength and giftedness

I have been in full-time ministry for almost 30 years, and one thing I have found is that the true people of God who have a track record of long-time success all have one thing in common: they have allowed the Lord to break their strong wills and soften their stubborn hearts. Like Jacob of old, they walk with a limp (Genesis 32:24-31). Anyone who has allowed God to deal with them will walk with a limp. I don’t trust any leader who doesn’t walk with a limp!

III. They have learned from the lessons of the past

All of us will go through great challenges in our lives. The book of Proverbs tells us that a person who accepts correction is wise (10:8) but a fool refuses correction (15:5). In the arena of life, not only will wise people like our parents or pastors attempt to correct us, but the situations of life are also orchestrated by God so that we are conformed to His image (Romans 8:28-30). The wise person learns from both people and life experience and doesn’t repeat serious mistakes.

IV. They have learned from the lessons of what others have experienced

Effective leaders do a lot of reading of other successful leaders, and do a lot of listening when in the company of wise, great leaders. We have to do more listening than speaking and make time to fellowship with great minds by reading the books of those we want to emulate.

V. They get adequate counsel

Proverbs teaches us that before we go to war we need an abundance of counsel. To be effective you must learn to hire staff based on your weaknesses, while concentrating on your areas of expertise and strength. The smartest people in the world are those who know and have access to the smartest people they can possibly surround themselves with.

VI. They have adequate coaching and mentoring in specific areas of need

I have an inner circle of people and receive coaching in numerous areas of my life. I don’t have the time to read every available book or get every available degree, so I constantly receive coaching and mentoring from others with more expertise than me in areas like administration, finances, law, nutrition, health, emotional well-being, marriage and relationships, etc. If I didn’t have people who constantly coached me then I would be a disaster and would greatly limit my leadership ceiling!

VII. They are accountable to others

If you desire long-lasting success then you must have accountability regarding your finances, marriage, personal relationships, how you do ministry, strategic planning, and the like. Because all of us have a dark side, we need to have open relationships with people God has assigned to us and give permission to speak correction into our lives.

VIII. They live a balanced life that includes emotional and physical health

Jesus was both human and divine. Many of us forget that we must take care of our emotional and physical health, not just run on spiritual fumes and anointing! We are called to love our neighbor even as we love ourselves. If we do not care for ourselves we will burn out and not be able to be a blessing to others! We need to set physical and emotional boundaries that limit our activities and what we say yes to, so that we will remain a blessing to our families and have time to minister to the Lord for self-renewal.

IX. They know how to read, interpret, and discern the hearts of other key people around them

This is not something that can be taught. Great leaders have an intangible, intuitive ability to read other people accurately. They usually know who to trust and who to partner with. Often, they can tell when God is connecting them to someone instantly, even without meeting that person before!

X. They have a heart after God more than a desire for promotion and ministry

For long-lasting success we need to come to a place where we truly desire to seek God and know God more than making Him known! Only then can God trust us.

XI. They have prudence in the governance of their ministry

A person once told me that he heard Billy Graham met with his team many years ago and decided on certain core things they would always follow for the success of their ministry:

a. Excellence in administration (vision without administration is only a pipe dream!)

b. Never be alone with a woman who you are not married to.

c. Never exaggerate: they vowed to call their ministry what it really was. If there were 50 people in a meeting then they would say publicly that there were 50 people at the meeting; don’t say there were 150 people, etc.

d. Have financial scrutiny and integrity. Hiring outside independent auditors as if they were IRS agents checking the ministry’s books is something every leader should do on an annual basis.

Reasons for the fall of leaders:

I. They live out of their natural giftedness and spiritual anointing but do not build on character and integrity.

First Corinthians teaches that the Corinthian Church lacked no gift (1:7) yet they were also carnal, acting like mere babes in Christ (3:1-4). It is no accident that, after the great chapter describing the manifestations of the Spirit (12), the next chapter is fully devoted to love (13). Paul says that if we have faith that can move mountains but have not love we are nothing! Matthew 7:21-23 tells us that we can do miracles and still miss the Kingdom of Heaven! We need to focus on living a life in which the love of God is fully integrated into our character and habit patterns. This is the only way we can build a long-lasting foundation.

II. They have not learned how to process pain

Because leaders are targets and often experience betrayal they need to learn to give adequate time to process the pain they feel when someone leaves their church or organization. If we do not fully process and face our pain then these unresolved issues will spill over and cause anger, resentment, sarcasm, and bitterness that seep into our lives, cause great dysfunction, and cut off the ability for ministry longevity. We have to learn to grieve, mourn, and process pain until we fully face it and fully forgive before we move on to the next phase of our lives and relationships.

III. They are emotionally immature in certain areas of their lives

Any area of our lives in which we were traumatized–even as a young child–will cause us to stop growing emotionally until we actually face the trauma and allow the Lord to release us from it and heal our hearts. Often this means we also have to forgive folks, whether they are still alive or dead.

IV. They are quick to form an opinion and judge others

V. They are not aware of their dark side and so live in self-deception

We purposely allow areas of discomfort to be rationalized away or pushed aside so we can paint our own picture of ourselves, our worth, and our ministries. Often, the reality of who we think we are does not line up with who God made us to be. Exhibition A is watching the tryouts for American Idol. Some people have no skill in singing and yet they are convinced, based on years of dreaming certain things, that they will one day become a superstar. Simon Cowell of American Idol may be rude and blunt but at least he gives people a shot of reality!

VI. They live for the future and are never living in the present

Many leaders live miserable lives because they are always yearning for something more. Unfortunately, they are never really living in the present but only in past regrets, and the future. Thus they never stop to enjoy and appreciate the people around them, instead taking advantage of them so they can reach their illustrious “future.” I am sick and tired of some of the prophecies that come forth about some glorious future that may or may not come to pass in our lifetime. I think we also need prophecies getting us to appreciate what God and who God has put in our lives today so we can begin to maximize our gifts and release our great potential. If we don’t appreciate what God is doing in the present He can’t trust us with a more glorious future (1 Thes. 5:16, 18)!

VII. They use people instead of loving people

Many are the leaders who view the people around them merely as objects to serve in the church–to tithe or to be some kind of blessing to bring them and their organization to the next level. God is looking for leaders who will celebrate and not exploit the people He has entrusted to them!

VIII. They have a heart for ministry more than a heart for God

Those who only seek God or study the Bible to preach a message are truly missing it. I have found that when I seek God just to delight in Him, He pours amazing messages into me for the church and gives me all the strategy I need to go to the next level. God chose King David because he was a man after God’s heart!

IX. They do not receive correction or coaching from others

I have been with leaders who did not want to hear any negative things about their life or ministry. Hence, they never grew and often failed and left their positions in Christ. We need each other not only for moral support but even so we can effectively hear from God as a hermeneutical community.  Those who can learn from the community of people God has surrounded them with will grow the fastest. This is one of the things I admire so much about Bill Hybels. He radically changed the way he did church based on an honest church survey that he calls “REVEAL.” If he wasn’t open to hearing from God from his community then he would still be attempting to employ unsuccessful strategies to make disciples in his local church today.

X. They seek and need the approval of men more than the approval of God

Many who are involved in ministry have never dealt with the need for approval from a father who abandoned them. Thus they are ministering more out of a need for respect and affirmation than to please God. Consequently, they will live without limits and say yes to numerous ministry endeavors that God didn’t lead them to do. They will also push their churches to fund projects more because they desire a monument that points to the success in their lives than being motivated to expand the Kingdom of God. These leaders often burn out and have terrible family relationships because, ultimately, they are “driven”  personal need more then being led by the Spirit of Christ. – Joseph Mattera

church life, prophetic instruction, relationships, word of wisdom

Govern Your Responses

When we hear disheartening news of our neighbor, do we respond with love or with judgment? Many times it is hard for even the unsaved to approach the saved because they fear being judged. Yes, he that is spiritual judges all things but that word judge means to examine, discern, and comprehend through the eyes of God. If people are afraid to come to you for counsel, advice, or wisdom in an area of their life, it may be because they need someone to listen to their soul cry and offer them counsel that is Godly, loving, wholesome, and life giving without shredding them to pieces in the process. They are not looking to be slaughtered. Show others the same mercy you would want someone to show to you. Being strong in the Word does not mean you have to become a drill sergeant. Remember this, with lovingkindness has He drawn us. May we learn to reciprocate the same.

church life, spiritual symbolism

Discerning Wolves, Sheep, and Horses in a Church or Organization, by Joseph Mattera

The Bible uses certain animals as metaphors to depict certain kinds of people in the kingdom. Pastors and senior leaders of organizations need to discern at least three kinds of people in their organizations to effectively lead.
Although most people may have a mixture of all three traits at times in their lives, it is very possible that either the negative or positive traits of a person can suck them fully into either the dark side or the light of the Kingdom of God. It is inevitable that every growing organization and/or church will attract all three of these kinds of people simultaneously.
Following are some of the main characteristics of wolves, sheep, and horses as based on my observations during almost 30 years of ministry in the church and marketplace.
Wolves say yes outwardly to spiritual authority but say no in their hearts
Wolves attempt to fool the shepherds among them by outwardly being agreeable to the vision, ministry, and responsibilities of the organization but inwardly they have no intention of fully obeying spiritual authority. In the beginning they will either do the absolute minimum of what is required—or maybe even excel—but it is merely for them to position themselves into a place of trust among the leadership so they can leverage more influence and fulfill their fleshly schemes.
Wolves have their own vision
Senior leaders make mistakes when they think that division in their ranks only comes from gossip or slander. There is more division in churches and organizations than most leaders realize because its covert operation is not based on slander but on hidden agendas. Any person who perpetuates their own vision within the overarching vision of a church or organization is in fact a divisive person and a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Wolves are not ministerially accountable and walk in the dark
Any person or secondary leader that doesn’t allow their overseer to see what kind of work they are doing, gets annoyed when asked for reports, or shuns honest open relationships and accountability, or obstructs usual communication systems, is potentially a wolf in the making.

Wolves are not authentic because they attempt to look like sheep

People who are not authentic to themselves are candidates for turning on others at any given time. If you are not true to yourself and to who God made you, then you will not be true to other people. Wolves wear sheep’s clothing because they attempt to fit into the overall scheme and structure of an organization or church. That is to say, they fit right into all of the cultural norms of their surrounding.
For example, if they are in a church they will regularly attend church services and leadership meetings, pay their tithes, perform ministry tasks, and attempt to outwardly excel in spiritual disciplines more than anyone else. Most pastors are preaching every Sunday to a percentage of people who are wolves since they have no discernment, or because their church is too large for them to smoke the wolves out. Given time, a wolf will attempt to position themselves in some way for more influence so, generally speaking, a senior leader will eventually find out who these people are.
Wolves position themselves to be close to those in power
As stated in the previous point, wolves crave proximity to power. They will attempt to garner favor with the senior leader by acts of service, sacrifice, financial giving, and by flattering the leaders among them that are the most susceptible to false praise. For example, if the senior leader is not accessible enough, wolves will work to attach themselves to secondary leaders they perceive have influence with the senior leader. They do this to curry favor with the secondary leader to slowly build another infrastructure loyal to a subversive agenda instead of to the senior leader and the vision of the organization.
Wolves desire the perks of the organization without paying the price for the organization
I have learned that those who really have a sincere heart will function in any capacity without a title or position, as long as they are properly stewarding their gifts. Since wolves don’t want to pay the price over the long term, they position themselves to receive accolades, prestige, and a platform as quickly as possible—even over those who have paid the price for the organization for many years.
Senior leaders have to be wary of those who constantly crave position, titles and authority without proving themselves over the long haul.
Wolves camouflage their motives and actions with spirituality
These people are not open and broken regarding their personal flaws. Rather they attempt to put up a veneer of super spirituality to fool others to the point that even the senior leader is not really spiritual in comparison to them. Their criticisms are not outwardly slanderous but involve subtleties and innuendos that involve second guessing senior leadership decisions, implying the church isn’t spiritual enough, or that the senior leader doesn’t really hear from God and doesn’t really pray much, etc. Basically, a wolf is trying to do anything that can successfully instill seeds of doubt about the senior leader in the minds of the people around them.
Wolves use and abuse people to accomplish their own agenda
Although wolves come off as if they love everyone around them, they are only using these people to gain influence and power. As soon as they have what they want from these naïve people they eat them, spit them out, and move on to the next person who can deliver them the platform they desire.
Wolves can’t be led but must be driven away by shepherds
Some senior leaders attempt to rehabilitate every person that comes into their church or organization. This is a huge mistake! A wolf will always be a wolf, a sheep always a sheep, and a horse always a horse, no matter how much you fast and pray for them. Once a person is identified as a wolf a shepherd should confer with other leaders for confirmation of this fact, then monitor this person closely and not allow them any harmful leverage in the church.
In most cases, senior leader can’t just throw the wolf out. If the senior leader does this then innocent people that have already been influenced by the wolf will get hurt as well. The senior leader has to wait until the wolf reveals their true motives by “giving them enough rope to hang themselves.” When it is manifest they can be driven out!
Wolves attempt to destroy the shepherd as a way to consume the sheep
By and large, wolves are in competition with the senior leader of an organization they are a part of, instead of serving as their promoter and protector. The reason for this is because the shepherd (senior leader) has what they crave: the most influence in the organization. Because of this, wolves will do everything in their power to tear down the shepherd so that the sheep are vulnerable to their wishes.
Wolves are not sons but bloodsuckers of the house
Years ago, after a very difficult time in our church, the Lord spoke through a member of our church who said that God was going to give me “sons and daughters who would never betray me.” Since that time I have built the leadership of our church with sons and daughters of the house, not with those merely desiring a position for their gifting to be displayed. This strategy has served our church well the past 20 years. I encourage all pastors to build key leadership with these criteria.
Wolves are those who are not grateful for what the senior leader does or what the organization has to offer. Instead, they are always complaining about their needs not being met. No matter how many times you aid a wolf they will always crave more fresh meat to eat and blood to drink!
Sheep outwardly and inwardly attempt to follow their spiritual authority
Sheep are those who both say yes outwardly and inwardly (in their hearts) to those directives from those in spiritual authority over them. Sheep make up most of the congregation and will always gravitate towards a leader who is a legitimate shepherd that watches out for the best interests of the flock.
Sheep reflect the vision of the shepherd
True sheep move in the general direction of the flock and reflect the vision of the shepherd and the organization. They don’t care much about position, or leadership. What they care about most is that their needs are met and that the organization has stability, especially in the midst of the storms of life.
Sheep desire to be accountable as long as they feel a place of safety
Sheep will open up both their hearts and their wallets for the sake of a place of safety for them and their families. They want to be honest and open about their needs and hurts, and greatly desire mature people they can trust that will listen to their cries for help and guide them towards the path of life.
Sheep run when they sense instability in a church or organization
Sheep understand that while they are in pasture they will experience inclement weather so they don’t blame the shepherd for the storms of life or the attacks of the enemy on the organization. But one thing they will not tolerate: they will flee and run to another fold if they think the shepherd lacks integrity or is not a strong enough leader to continue to offer stability for the flock in the midst of the storm.
Sheep depend on shepherds to feed them and lead them
Sheep will graze where they are fed. Sometimes when sheep leave a church or organization and go to another it is because they are hungry and need green grass to be nourished. If the grass (preaching of the word) is stale or if the shepherd is not leading them besides still waters or helping them feel refreshed in their souls they will eventually go where this is offered so they do not die of malnutrition. No matter how many responsibilities a senior leader has, he or she must always make sure the first order of business is to continually offer fresh green grass (fresh, relevant rhema words from God) and pure water to the flock so they don’t die of malnutrition or flee to other shepherds who will take care of them.

Sheep are vulnerable to wolves that prey on them at night

Sheep cannot defend themselves, don’t have much discernment, and may even wander off at night right into a pack of wolves. This is why a shepherd must continually identify where the wolves are and keep them away from the sheep. Sheep must also be closely connected to others in small group settings so they receive the proper oversight and care.
Sheep love and flock around true shepherds
Sheep can always tell who a true shepherd is. One of the things I tell people who feel called to be pastors is that one of the proofs you are really called to be a pastor is if the sheep start gravitating towards you for comfort, nourishment, and advice. If a person doesn’t attract sheep then, no matter how many years they had in seminary or how many prophecies they had spoken over their lives, they are not yet ready to serve as a pastor.
Horses are multipliers with unique leadership abilities in a church or organization
Horses often are used as a metaphor for something stately and powerful. Probably less than five percent of people in any organization fit into this category. These folks are creative, and multiply and develop other leaders, ministries, and programs. They are not the kind of people that like to be micromanaged. Like horses they need to have space to run and harness their energy.
Horses will say yes to spiritual authority once they understand the concept and buy into the agenda
Horses are the kind of people that will be reluctant to get involved in something unless they fully understand the concepts involved. The reason for this is because they wisely manage their time and don’t get involved in initiatives not suited to their gifting and mission.
Senior leaders need to recognize these kinds of leaders so they will not mistake their reticence for insubordination.
Horses will be transparent and personally accountable to those who train and release them to their potential
Horses are the kind of leaders that will gravitate towards those who bring them to the next level. If senior leaders recognize a horse among them they should prioritize pouring time into them. Horses will usually hold themselves accountable and be transparent to a senior leader investing in them that has already developed a bond of trust with them.

Horses will reflect the vision if the visionary invests in them

Horses will gladly perpetuate vision if they know the senior leader is creating capacity for them to grow in the organization and is willing to invest time nurturing them.
Horses will possess the vision if the visionary utilizes them to help fulfill it
Often, sheep have ownership of an organization to the extent they are getting their needs met. On the other hand, once horses are loyal, they will exhibit a spirit of proprietorship. They are the kind of folks designed for battle and will be loyal and excel in their responsibilities—at  times, even unto their own death!
Horses will carry the vision to the next level if the visionary rides upon their gifting and harnesses their ability
Horses, more than any other people in an organization, can carry numerous people on their backs while riding at light speed and promoting vision. To get an understanding of the growth capacity of a church or an organization, a senior leader merely needs to calculate the number of horses they employ on staff and as volunteers. Horses are the only ones in the organization with the innate potential to multiply other leaders and create ministry. Wise senior leaders will allow these (proven and tested) unique leaders to run swiftly and not be slowed down by over management and insecurity (on the part of the senior leader).
Loyal horses will outpace and scare off the wolves
Since horses have an amazing combination of speed and strength, they are the most capable in an organization to be released for battle in times of war. Wolves are intimidated by strong, loyal horses and will not mess with them and those in proximity to them.
Horses were born to race and will be bored with a slow pace
Horses, like apostolic leaders, are used to moving, seeing, and working at light speed. (Sort of like in the movie The Matrix, when even bullets were moving slow compared to the speed that Keanu Reeves’ character moved.) Horses see so far ahead with concomitant speed that sometimes they assume everyone else is moving at the same pace.
Because of this, they can easily become bored. The senior leader must continually challenge horses by giving them the next big thing to conquer as soon as they see a horse has mastered and established their particular assignment. Pastoral senior leaders cannot adequately oversee people such as these in the long-term; only accomplished apostolic leaders can stay ahead of horses in movement, strategy, and vision.

Horses crave accomplishment and significance, not titles or positions

Horses are driven by accomplishment, not empty titles and positions. They don’t need to be in the spotlight. They are usually alpha males (or alpha females) with a high “D” personality that is obsessed with solving problems, creating movement, and bringing transformation and an improved quality of life to people, places, and things.
When people are vying for positions and titles it is a good sign they are not horses but either confused sheep or wolves in the making.
Horses are potential successors to the visionary

Horses are the only folks with the potential to take an already established apostolic organization to the next level of vision and destiny. Senior leaders who are transitioning out of their organization often make the mistake of choosing an administrator instead of a horse. This is why apostolic movements usually settle for the status quo and concentrate on self-preservation in the second generation of their existence.
If you want an efficient organization choose an administrator to lead it. But if you desire an effective organization choose a proven, loyal horse with energy to create the movement necessary to expand the already established horizons for years to come. – Joseph Mattera

church life

Sit Down and Eat!

In both instances of Jesus feeding the multitudes we find that both crowds were instructed to be seated first. In other words, as you are being fed the Word of God, the Bread of Life, your spirit needs to be stilled. You need to be attentive, focused, and ready to receive. Do you want to know why many are in church yet can’t grow, can’t receive anything from the Word, and can’t go through their test for that week? It’s because their spirits are not disciplined. They can’t focus.

As a former educator, we instructed our students to read for at least 45 minutes each evening. Most time they could choose any type of literature they wanted to just as long as they read. Why did we assign that type of homework? Because we were teaching the students how to build stamina. Why does a child need stamina in reading? To increases their chances of doing well on end of year standardized testings. They test well because their brains have been trained over the course of 6 months or so to steadily read for extended amounts of time. They don’t get sleepy, bored, or wander off into la-la land. Now what does this have to do with Jesus and the fishes and loaves?

The people had to understand that in order to receive from the Lord they had to be still. (Be still and know that I am God.) They had to be in a designated place. Your seat is your present assignment. It is where you are. It is your place. Too many are fighting with themselves trying to find out who they are and where they are in God that they are not focused on hearing from the God who can make that determination for them. Still your spirit so that you can hear. Leave the worries and concerns about bills, family, and health on your prayer altar so that when the Word is going forth, you can hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying. Too many folk in church are tuned out, minds all over the place, and then wonder why they can’t hear God. I will tell you why? You are not seated in His presence. Take a seat. Sit down.