HE GAVE GIFTS UNTO MEN (published 1992)
by Kenneth E. Hagin
Every minister ought to be accountable to someone because the Bible says, "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself (Rom. 14:7). Actually, there isn't any such thing as an independent work or an independent minister. We are all dependent on one another because we are all members of the same body (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12). We need one another.
If a minister calls himself an "independent" minister, at the very least from a spiritual standpoint he ought to be answerable to the home church he came out of. Or if he belongs to a ministerial fellowship, he needs to be answerable to them.
The pastor is the spiritual head of the local church; therefore, the traveling minister is accountable to that pastor while he is ministering in that particular church. And then it is also true that the pastor ought to be accountable to someone. First of all, of course, in matters of ministerial ethics and integrity, a pastor is accountable to the congregation he oversees.
But ministers, including pastors, should belong to some kind of fellowship, where they can receive input into their lives and ministries and operate with some kind of accountability. Ministerial fellowships should help ministers, not seek to control them, but to be a blessing to them.
So if a minister is a member of an organization, he should be accountable to that organization. If a minister calls himself an "independent" minister and doesn't belong to some kind of a ministerial fellowship, at the least he needs to be accountable to the home church he came out of. The Bible says, ". . . in multitude of counsellors there is safety" (Prov. 24:6).
Actually, in the Acts of the Apostles, when a question arose about doctrine, the disciples went back to their home church, which was the church at Jerusalem (see Acts 15).
[THERE REALLY IS NO SPECIFIC “HOME” CHURCH PER SE TODAY FOR GOD’S PEOPLE AND MINISTERS, WHO ARE SO SCATTERED AROUND THE NATION AND WORLD. I TRY TO READ MANY CHRISTIAN BOOKS FROM HERE AND THERE, WILLING TO SEE IF THERE IS ANYTHING I NEED TO CORRECT ME, AND ALSO JUST GOOD FROM A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON WHATEVER SUBJECT. AND OF COURSE WHEN WITH GOD’S PEOPLE REALIZING IRON SHARPENS IRON IN OUR SPIRITUAL TALKS - Keith Hunt]
Every pastor needs a pastor and a home church from which he himself can periodically receive ministry. In other words, we all need one another. Ministers need to hear the preaching and teaching of God's Word, too, just as their congregations do. And sometimes ministers need to be corrected spiritually, just as their congregations need to be corrected spiritually……
Yes, we ought to be for unity in the Body of Christ, whether we are members of the same local congregation or not because the Body of Christ is one. We can get into trouble by not walking in love toward fellow members of the Body of Christ.
But on the other hand, Paul himself said, ". . . mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" (Rom. 16:17). Paul said to mark those who are causing trouble, division, and strife in the Body of Christ and not to have anything to do with them.
Actually, in some cases that is walking in love. If you didn't mark them and hold them accountable for their sin or doctrinal error, they might never be led to repentance and could do a great deal of damage to the Body of Christ. You have to ask yourself, What would love do? In some cases, the greatest demonstration of love is to expose doctrinal error and protect other members of the Body of Christ from extreme teaching.
When your little children played with matches, the first time you probably reprimanded them and told them about the danger of fire. If you caught them playing with matches again, you probably gave them a swat and told them to stop it. But if you caught them playing with matches the third time, you probably gave them a good spanking so they would remember it.
Were you acting in love? Of course you were. You may have saved their lives because they could have caught the house on fire. It's the same way in the Body of Christ. Yes, you want to act in love, but there is another side of love too. Jesus was a Man of love and power when He walked upon this earth, yet in righteous indignation, He drove the money changers out of the temple (John 2:13-17).
[SO YES THERE IS A BALANCE IN CORRECTING FALSE ERRORS OR DOCTRINE, WHEN PRESENTED BY ANYONE, IN THE MINISTRY OR NOT. OF COURSE HOW EXACTLY DONE WOULD DEPEND ON THE SEVERITY OF THE ERROR OR FALSE DOCTRINE, AND THE ATTITUDE FROM THE PERSON WHO IS GIVING IT OUT. I REMEMBER VERY WELL BEING INVITED TO SPEAK AT ANOTHER MINISTER’S CONGREGATION. HE SAID TO ME A WEEK BEFORE I WAS TO VISIT, “YOU CAN SPEAK FREELY, IF IT IS NOT WHAT I’VE BEEN TEACHING I WILL POLITELY TELL MY CONGREGATION, THAT ON A CERTAIN POINT WE DISAGREE FOR NOW UNTIL FURTHER STUDY.” I THOUGHT, “NOW THAT IS SOME TRULY FINE ATTITUDE THAT WE SHOULD ALL HAVE.” I RESPECTED THAT MINISTER SO MUCH FROM HIS COMMENT, I MADE SURE I BROUGHT SOMETHING BASIC TO OUR THEOLOGY, BUT IN A DIFFERENT AND UNIQUE WAY, WHICH I HAD SEEN DONE BY ANOTHER MINISTER SOME TIME BACK. IT WAS ONE OF THOSE INTERACTIVE SHORT SERMONS - Keith Hunt]
The local church is like a family, you will have some of the same problems in a church that you have in family. Children need to be disciplined, and sometimes church members need to be disciplined or corrected.
But the same thing is true concerning pastors and ministers. Sometimes ministers experience problems — moral, financial, and even doctrinal problems — just as other people can have various problems. Sometimes they need discipline and correction. And we need to help them when we can.
Years ago I asked a leader of a certain denomination, "When ministers miss it and fail, why isn't it handled biblically? The Bible says in Galatians 6:1, “. . . if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”
Why aren’t ministers restored like the Bible instructs?"
He said, "Brother Hagin, I believe many men who stumble and sin could be restored. If folks want to repent and do right, they ought to be helped. Of course, if they won't listen and won't take biblical counsel, a ministerial association wouldn't have any choice; they would have to revoke their credentials."
I was concerned about this, because I knew that some ministers who failed and made a mistake could have been restored. Some of them never did get back in the ministry because when they missed it, their denomination publicized it, and their reputations were ruined.
Then when everyone knew about their problem, these ministers were told,
"Now go prove yourself!" But after their downfall was publicized, no one would fellowship with them! And pastors wouldn't allow them to preach in their churches, so the majority of them never got back into the ministry.
Why don't we restore and recover ministers who have made a mistake? Of course, if they don't want to be recovered and don't want to live uprightly before God, that's a different thing entirely. But I'm talking about ministers who want to repent and do what's right.
In Galatians 6:1, the Bible says, "consider yourself, lest you also be tempted." After all, in the same circumstances, some of us might not have done as well as some of them did. But we are so quick to criticize and judge others.
I was concerned about this, so I went to the Lord in prayer about it. I said, "Lord, Your Word says, '. . . if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness. . . .' I said, "Lord, it doesn't say to destroy ministers who miss it by broadcasting their problem; it says to restore them. Why don't we restore them?"
The Lord answered and said, "Your answer is in that verse."
I didn't see what He was talking about. I said to Him again, "Lord, why don't we restore ministers who stumble and fall?"
He said, "Your answer is in that verse. Read it again."
I read it again, but I still didn't see it. I asked the Lord the third time, and again He said, "Your answer is in that verse. Read it again."
I said, "Well, if it is, I can't see it."
Then again I read, "... ye which are SPIRITUAL" ——I saw it! The Bible is saying, "If there are any spiritual people among you, they would restore those who have fallen — not judge, criticize, or destroy them."
I said to the Lord, "Oh! I got my answer."
One denomination deals with restoring fallen ministers in a way I feel is most scriptural. For example, years ago one of their ministers got into moral difficulty with one of the women in the church. He was married and so was the woman. They both repented and wanted to walk right before the Lord.
The supervisor of the district came to counsel the minister and told him, "It would be good for you to change churches. We are not going to publicize this to anyone because you've repented and straightened it all out among yourselves. We are going to restore you, but it would be good for you to move to another state, and we will give you an opportunity to prove yourself."
So after a time of restoration, they gave the minister another church to pastor in another state, and they didn't publicize that he had fallen. But they told the supervisor in that other state about the minister's problem, so he could be of help to this minister. They practiced this scripture and restored the man, and they put him in a situation where he could prove himself.
However, this particular minister did the same thing again; he had an affair with a woman in that church too. The district supervisor went to him the second time and gave him a period of time to restore himself spiritually and make restitution.
But this time he told the minister, "We will give you one more chance. But if you get into any moral difficulty the third time, we won't restore you to the pastorate again. You will be immediately dismissed, and you can never renew your papers with us."
The Body of Christ shouldn't publicize everything that happens within its ranks. Things like this shouldn't be brought out in the public. Those of us in the Church should have enough spirituality to deal with these things privately within the confines of the Church.
When something happens in your family, do you go out and broadcast it? No. In the same way, the Church is a family. We ought to have enough sense to know how to deal with some of these problems in the Church and help people so their lives can be restored, not ruined, and they can learn how to be a blessing to the Body of Christ.
I know one minister who was used mightily of God years ago. He got into moral trouble, and the superintendent of that denomination told me, "This man's wife admitted to me that she was to blame for it. She admitted she had never been a wife to him, and it caused her husband to stumble. But she repented, and their marriage was restored."
That man's ministry was also restored, and he had a fruitful ministry. You see, we ought to save people if we can. The Body of Christ should be in the saving business — restoring folks — not destroying them. You understand it's a different thing entirely if people don't want to repent and do what is right. If they want to keep on doing wrong, they will need to be dealt with scripturally.
We do see accountability in the New Testament (1 Cor. 5:5). And following the New Testament pattern, those disciples who went out from the Jerusalem church were accountable to that church (Acts 15:1-23)…….
[I HAVE ALLOWED YOU TO READ THIS WHOLE SECTION BEFORE I COMMENTED. IT HAS A NICE HUMBLE RING TO IT. A LOT OF IT MAKES GOOD HUMAN SENSE. IT IS FILLED WITH MERCY AND KINDNESS. AND THERE MAYBE SOME SITUATIONS WHERE THE SIN OF A MINISTER IS NOT A MORALLY HUGE ONE, AND MANYBE ONLY A FEW KNOW ABOUT IT. I CAN AGREE IN THOSE SITUATIONS A WARNING BRINGING FORTH REPENTANCE, CAN BE USED IN RELATIVE QUIETNESS TO THE MAJORITY, AND THE MINISTER CAN BE GIVEN RESTORATION AND SO GO ON TO BE USED IN THE WORK OF THE LORD. BUT, WHAT WAS MISSED, WAS TWO OTHER PASSAGES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT ON THIS MATTER. HERE IS A VERY IMPORTANT BIBLE STUDY KEY FOR FULL TRUTH ON ANY SUBJECT. YOU HAVE TO NOT LET EMOTIONS OR TUNNEL VISION, LEAD YOU ASTRAY IN FINDING ALL VERSES ON A BIBLE SUBJECT.
THE TWO MISSED VERSES ARE GALATIANS 2 AND 1 TIMOTHY 5: 19, 20.
IN GALATIANS TWO WE HAVE A SIN BY AN APOSTLE (PETER) IN FRONT OF A CHURCH CONGREGATION, A SIN THAT ALSO MADE BARNABAS FALL INTO THE SIN. YOU CAN READ IT IN A MODERN TRANSLATION; BUT NOTICE WHAT PAUL HAD TO DO!
HE HAD IT SEEMS NO CHOICE IN THIS CASE BUT TO BRING THE SIN OF PETER OUT IN THE OPEN (FOR THE SIN WAS DONE IN THE OPEN) BEFORE ALL!
PETER OBVIOUSLY REPENTED (BARNABAS AND OTHERS ALSO), FOR PETER CONTINUED ON AS AN APOSTLE IN HIS MINISTRY FOR THE LORD, EVEN TO BEING A MATYR ALONG WIOTH PAUL, AT ROME.
SO WE SEE FROM THIS THAT OPEN SIN, MAY HAVE TO BE HANDLED IN AN OPEN MANNER. OBVIOUSLY THE HOLY SPIRIT LED PAUL TO HANDLE THIS OPEN SIN IN AN OPEN MANNER.
NOW 1 TIMOTHY 5:19, 20 - PRETTY STRAIGHT FORWARD: “AND AGAINST AN ELDER RECEIVE NOT AN ACCUSATION, BUT BEFORE TWO OR THREE WITNESSES. THEM THAT SIN REBUKE BEFORE ALL, THAT OTHERS ALSO MAY FEAR.”
SO THERE ARE TIMES, WHEN IT IS RIGHT AND NECESSARY TO DEAL WITH ELDERS THAT SIN , IN AN OPEN WAY. AND THE ONE EXAMPLE ALREADY GIVEN IN GALATIANS TWO, OPEN SIN OPEN REBUKE.
IT ALL TAKES WISDOM IN KNOWING WHEN AND HOW, IN DEALING WITH THE SIN OF ELDERS. BUT FOR SURE IT ALL NEEDS DOING IN LOVE AND HUMILITY WITH PRAYER THAT IT BRINGS FORTH REPENTANCE, FOR WE MUST ALL REMEMBER IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, WE ALL STILL SIN AT TIMES. PAUL SURE KNEW IT, JUST SEE WHAT HE WROTE ABOUT HIMSELF (AND ALL OF US) IN ROMANS 7 - Keith Hunt]
Every minister needs to be financially accountable to someone. For example, at RHEMA, we have a board of advisors who are successful businessmen. They advise us on natural affairs; we seek their advice on business matters. Ministers should not think they are above taking advice, especially when they can consult someone with expertise in an area.
We are accountable to our board of advisors in the business affairs of RHEMA. In fact, they are the ones who set our salaries. Then they give us the authority to set the salaries for our employees.
Once a year, we have an all-day business meeting, and these businessmen examine our financial reports. All of our books are also audited, of course, by a professional firm. But we are also accountable in business matters to this board of advisors as well. That is scriptural because the Bible says, ".. . Provide things honest in the sight of all men" (Rom. 12:17).
A smaller church or ministry may operate differently, but every minister should be accountable in some way for the handling of church funds if he is to be in line with Scripture.
You see, that's the natural side of the ministry. But that board of advisors doesn't have anything to do with the spiritual oversight of running the church or the ministry. They only advise us in business matters. The pastor has the spiritual oversight of the church. And there is no higher authority in the local body than the pastoral office.
However, even in spiritual things, if a pastor needs advice, he ought to have enough sense to go to those who are of sound biblical reputation like Paul did and get their advice, lest he run his spiritual race in vain (Gal. 2:2).
[IF AT ALL POSSIBLE THERE SHOULD BE MORE THAN ONE ELDER IN EACH CONGREGATION, THEY ARE THEN SUBJECT TO EACH OTHER - Keith Hunt]
Ministerial Ethics and Etiquette
One of the first things to keep in mind about ministerial ethics is to simply practice the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Ministers of the gospel always need to keep in mind that they are children of their Heavenly Father, who is a God of love. The love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost (Rom. 5:5). But even ministers have to allow their hearts to dominate them in dealing with people and others in the ministry.
If ministers walk in love toward fellow ministers and fellow Christians, then they are walking in the light of the Word of God. A minister can fulfill the plan, will, and purpose of God for his life as long as he walks in the light of God's Word and will.
Walking in love toward fellow ministers includes practicing ministerial etiquette. Pastors and traveling ministers need to realize they are laborers together in the Lord's harvest — not laborers apart……
I sometimes think that every teacher, prophet, and evangelist on the field ought to pastor at least two or three years. They would learn invaluable lessons in dealing with people by pastoring. They would also not be so likely to come into a church with the unbiblical teachings and actions some of them preach and demonstrate.
Then, too, I sometimes think every pastor would benefit from being on the field for two or three years. Then he would learn how to treat traveling ministers when they come to his church.
[I WAS BLESSED WITH BEING A PASTOR FOR ABOUT 7 YEARS, THEN A TRAVELLING MINISTER FOR MANY MORE YEARS IN CANADA AND THE USA— NOT PLANNED BY MUSELF AT ALL, JUST WHAT I GUESS THE LORD HAD IN MIND FOR ME; NOW LOOKING BACK OVER THOSE MANY YEARS, IT WAS A BLESSING FOR SURE - Keith Hunt]
But when a traveling minister does come into a pastor's church, he needs to realize that he is a guest in that church; he can't just come in and take over and do whatever fee wants to.
Going into another man's church and trying to take over and do things his own way is like going into another man's home and trying to take over. A person wouldn't think of doing that in the natural, so why would he try to do that in the spiritual realm in a local church?
You see, I don't have the authority to come into your house and say, "I don't like this bedroom suite. I'm going to throw it out! And I don't like this dining room table either. I'm going to chop it up for firewood."
The same principle holds true in the house of God. I don't have any right to come into the house of God — into another man's church — and try to take over and do things my way. The pastor is the one in authority in the local church.
[INDEED SO, A TRAVELLING MINISTER IS NOT SETTING DOWN ROOTS, SO PREACHING AND TEACHING IN A CONGREGATION AS A TRAVELLING MINISTER, SHOULD BE TAKEN WITH GREAT HUMILITY, AND SHOULD BRING INSPIRATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT TO LISTENERS, CERTAINLY NO STRIFE OF ANY KIND. IF YOU BRING STRIFE TO A CONGREGATION IN YOUR MOVEMENTS, YOU HAVE REALLY DISQUALIFIED YOURSELF FROM THE TRUE MINISTRY OF THE LORD JESUS. I HAVE ENTERED SOME CONGREGATIONS WHERE STRIFE ALREADY EXISTED, AND I’VE ALWAYS TRIED MY VERY BEST TO HEAL THE STRIFE, WITH LOVE AND KINDNESS, AND HUMILITY - Keith Hunt]
A pastor wrote me one time, telling me about his church. He had about two hundred people in his congregation. Another minister decided that he was an apostle, so he came to the pastor and said, "I'm an apostle now. God showed me that your church is one of my churches, and that I am to oversee it. Since I am an apostle, I can come in anytime I want to and take your pulpit over and preach as I see fit."
That's not only unethical; that's not scriptural!
[OH INDEED THAT IS UNSCRIPTURAL AND JUST PLAIN HUMAN EGO, VANITY, A BUNCH OF GOOPI-GOO THEOLOGY FROM PLANET PLUTO - Keith Hunt]
I would send a scoundrel like that down the road in an attitude of love! Could I do that in love? Let me ask you this: Did Jesus act in love when he took a whip and drove the money changers out of the temple (John 2:14-17)? He said to them, ". . . It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves" (Luke 19:46). Of course it was. Jesus was a Man of love.
Some of these so-called apostles try to take over a pastor's church so they can take up an offering for themselves. Anyone who does that is a robber and a thief anyway. After all, they didn't start the church; the pastor is the one who labored in the ministry for that local body. He may have even started the work. He shouldn't allow anyone to come in and take over his church.
[AGAIN A LOCAL CHURCH HAVING PASTORS - PLURAL - WOULD PREVENT THAT FROM EVER HAPPENING, ONE MAN TRYING TO TAKE RULERSHIP OVER EVERYONE - Keith Hunt]
I'm for pastors! I believe in the local church. Pastors shouldn't pay any attention to people who don't believe in the local church and aren't committed to a local body themselves, or who come in and try to take over their churches.
[AMEN TO THAT! Keith Hunt]
….. Too many people today are putting pastors down and trying to run roughshod over them. I read a transcript about what a certain so-called apostle taught. When this fellow got through talking about pastors, he had belittled the pastoral office to such a degree that you would have thought a pastor was worse than a old polecat!
But that's not what the Bible says. The Bible says, "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a GOOD work" (1 Tim. 3:1). The Bible says the office of a bishop or pastor is a good work.
This (A) so-called apostle taught that because the word "pastor" is only found one time in the New Testament, (and that is technically correct in the King James translation), therefore, it must not be a very important office.
But that so-called apostle didn't do his homework, because the pastoral office is referred to again and again in Scripture. As I've said, it is found in the words — bishop, overseer, pastor, shepherd, and elder. These all indicate the same office — the pastoral office. Actually, "elder" also signifies those called to the fivefold ministry. Every ordained minister is an elder.
But beware of those folks who leave a trail behind them of churches they have divided and split and where they've caused strife and dissension…..
Another area where traveling ministers need to have wisdom and ministerial etiquette is in knowing what is appropriate to deal with publicly and what areas of ministry should be handled privately.
In all my years of ministry, I have very seldom dealt with people's personal problems publicly. Some of these fellows who are going around revealing private matters, dealing with people's personal problems publicly, are out of order. And they need to be set in order by the pastor of the local congregation……
[RIGHT ON THE BULL’S EYE - Keith Hunt]
I've endeavored to minister discreetly so as to avoid bringing embarrassment to the person.
[AMEN TO THAT! Keith Hunt]
When I preach in another man's church, I get the pastor's permission before I deal with any sensitive issues involving individual members of his congregation. I don't have any business ministering privately or personally to another fellow's sheep about delicate issues without his permission. Any fellow who does that is a scoundrel……
[I USUALLY SAY, “YOU SHOULD BE DISCUSSING THIS WITH YOUR MINISTER/S, I’M JUST PASSING THROUGH; IT’S REALLY NOT WITHIN MY RIGHTS, IT’S YOUR PASTOR/S RIGHT TO HELP YOU WITH SUCH A DELICATE ISSUE” - Keith Hunt]
As a traveling minister, as I proved myself to be responsible in ministering in the local body, then pastors were always very gracious in giving me their full confidence to minister to their flock. I proved my ministry by acting in discretion and wisdom.
[IF YOUR TRAVELS STOP FOR A WHILE, A YEAR, OR TWO OR MORE, YOU PROVE YOURSELF TO THE LOCAL PASTOR/S SO THEY GIVE YOU THEIR CONFIDENCE TO MINISTER TO THEIR FLOCK - Keith Hunt]
God doesn't put novices in positions of authority. One reason He doesn't is that it takes time to become seasoned in the ministry and learn how to deal with situations in wisdom. A novice can get things in a mess if he doesn't know how to minister with discretion and wisdom in some of these areas.
For example, a traveling minister needs to know how to minister discreetly when going into another man's church…….
A prophet, or any traveling minister for that matter, needs to be careful because he shouldn't always speak out everything he hears and sees in the spirit. By doing so, he can embarrass the person he's ministering to, the pastor, and even the congregation. Besides, the prophet is a guest in that pastor's church, and as a guest, he needs to submit himself to the pastor because there is no higher authority in the local body than the pastoral office……
Traveling ministers who don't submit their ministries to the pastor of the local church where they are preaching are in error…….
But the point is, traveling ministers have no business dealing personally with another man's sheep without the pastor's permission. After all, the pastor is the shepherd of the local body, and he is responsible for that congregation. And visiting ministers shouldn't just go around trying to deal with some of these issues publicly in the first place. Ministers need discretion and wisdom in dealing with people in the local assembly…..
No traveling minister, including the prophet, is above the pastor in the local body. That pastor is still the overseer in his own church; he's responsible for the sheep. As a guest in that church, the prophet is not the one in authority; the pastor is. Any traveling minister needs to submit his ministry to the pastor of the local assembly where he is ministering. That's not only ethical and proper, it's good ministerial etiquette.
Some people say, "Well, someone's got to preach and teach the truth!"
A traveling minister may be preaching the truth of God's Word. But the pastor may know that his congregation isn't ready to hear a particular teaching, even though it may be thoroughly scriptural. Certain teachings could do more harm than good if a congregation isn’t spiritually mature. It could even split the church.
That pastor is there with those people all the time. If he is a true shepherd, he knows his people. Or he may know the people have had much teaching along a particular line, and that they need teaching on a different subject to balance their spiritual diet. The traveling minister won't necessarily know that.
There is a correlation between the natural realm and the spiritual realm. For example, in the natural, you can't feed a baby a beef steak or he would die. The same thing is true spiritually. And it's the pastor's responsibility to make sure his congregation is fed the proper spiritual diet.
No traveling minister should be a church splitter. He should edify and bless the local body.
And even though prophets are equipped with spiritual gifts, they need to learn the purpose of them and how to use them constructively and with discretion. If prophets have any wisdom, they won't go around revealing everything they see and hear in the Spirit.
Any traveling minister, including a prophet, ought to be gentleman enough — and Christian enough — to tell the pastor ahead of time, "Correct me if I'm wrong." It's not right that innocent sheep are hurt because some traveling ministers don't minister with discretion and wisdom.
Over the years, I've told every pastor I've preached for, "You are the head of this local body, not me. Jesus is the Head of the Church, but you are an undershepherd. If I teach on any subject you don't want me to teach on, just tell me, and I will avoid that subject. Or if you see me do anything you don't want me to do, just tell me, and I won't do it anymore." That's where true submission comes in, dear friends.
Some of those pastors gave me marvelous advice and in some cases, sound constructive criticism. It wasn't destructive; it didn't destroy me. It greatly benefited me, and helped me change in some areas….. And the Word teaches that we are laborers together, not laborers apart: "For we are labourers together with God . . ." (1 Cor. 3:9). That means we can learn from one another.
If a prophet's ministry is properly submitted to the pastor of the local body, there may be times the Lord will reveal something to the prophet that will greatly help and benefit the local body. A pastor can trust a proven, spiritually submitted ministry.
Of course, a prophet doesn't just speak out and reveal everything he sees and hears….. A prophet must be careful so he doesn't unnecessarily embarrass anyone.
When I was out in field ministry, I always submitted my ministry to the pastor of the church where I was ministering. And I was always welcome to come back to every church because I didn't leave churches in a mess….. That's why a traveling minister needs to submit his ministry to the local pastor.
Much difficulty has been caused in the Body of Christ by false pastors, false apostles, and false prophets. Churches have been torn up and have lost members over unbiblical teaching in this area.
Any true minister of the gospel, no matter what office he stands in, comes to bless the people, the church, and the community. If a minister comes to a church for his own personal gain, or to stir up strife and confusion, then he is a false minister of the gospel.
I’m Not a Sheep Thief!'
There is another area of ministerial ethics and etiquette concerning the pastoral office. And that is in the area of stealing other pastors' sheep.
One church I pastored in east Texas had other neighboring churches close by. Three families that lived near my parsonage attended these other churches.
These other churches didn't have services on Thursday night when we did, so these families came to our Thursday night meetings. This was during World War II when gasoline was rationed. One of the leading men of one of these other churches lived across the street from me.
He came to me, and said, "Brother Hagin, because of the gasoline rationing, instead of driving all the way to our church, we'd like to start coming to your church. After all, your church is just across the street and we can just walk over."
I said to him, "No, don't join my church. They need you in your own church because you're one of the main board members. They need your support and your finances, especially right now because they are in a building program."
You see, the Bible says we are to consider our brother before ourselves. Besides, I'm not a sheep thief.
Soon after that, some of the members of my church board said to me, "Brother Hagin, these folks who go to those other churches live close to the parsonage. You ought to try to get them to join our church. It would really help us financially."
I said, "Men, I'm not a sheep thief. I'm not going to steal another man's sheep.”…..
There are certain people even in the ministry, including ministers' wives, who have been used to some extent in the area of the gifts of the Spirit. But then they missed it in a few places, they got hurt, and they said, "I'll never do that again."
But the Spirit of God is saying to stir up the gift that is in you and put aside that hurt, and just purpose, "I'll not miss it next time." And as you walk in the Spirit and operate in the Spirit, others will begin to believe in you, and you'll be blessed in your doing. And even those round about you will come to see, and say "Surely the Holy Ghost is manifesting Himself through them."
And then there are those for whom past mistakes, failures, and even sins have numbed your spirit, so to speak. And even some who are in the ministry have thought, I'll not operate in this area of ministry anymore. People won't have confidence in me.
But thus saith the Lord: The past is gone and should be forgotten. The blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin, and I look upon you as though you never did anything wrong.
So stir up the gift, and in some occasions, gifts that are within you by the anointing and unction of the Holy Ghost upon you, and begin again to yield to the Holy Spirit. And you will find that as you yield to the Spirit, and as you minister under that anointing, you'll come back to that same level where you were in the Spirit, and you'll go on from there.
And it will seem as though there is a double portion of the Spirit upon you. And men will look upon you and marvel and say, "Oh, the wondrous grace of God." And I'll get all the glory, saith the Lord, and not man. So the work of God shall be accomplished in the earth……
Prayer of Consecration
Say this from your heart as a prayer of dedication and consecration:
Father, I purpose in my heart to yield to the Holy Ghost, to be motivated by the Spirit of God, and to be regulated by the Word of God. For the Word and the Spirit must agree.
I purpose in my heart to learn how to flow with the Holy Ghost. If the anointing is not there to minister by the gifts of the Spirit, I will go ahead and share the Word, and leave the results with God.
When the anointing comes, I'll be faithful to speak and minister under the unction of the Holy Spirit as He directs. And as I consecrate and dedicate myself to God and His Word, I will allow the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, to set me in my place in the Body of Christ to minister as He desires and chooses.
Father, I purpose in my heart to minister and live in such a way that will never bring reproach on the Name of Jesus. I will lift up the Name of Jesus and endeavor to be a blessing to others, not desiring my own glory or that my name or ministry should be magnified. I ask that in everything I do, Jesus Christ receive the glory and the praise. Amen.
THIS CHAPTER HAS INDEED SHOWN HOW MINISTERS IN THE BODY OF CHRIST, THE CHURCH OF GOD, SHOULD HUMBLY WORK TOGETHER FOR THE UPBUILDING OF EVERYONE, THE UPBUILDING OF THE MINISTRY AND ALL THE FLOCK OF THE LORD, THAT THEY ARE CALLED TO LOVE AND FEED SPIRITUALLY. ALL THINGS SHOULD BE DONE IN HUMILITY AND WISDOM WITH RESPECT FOR ALL MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY OF GOD.