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I love the local church, and I love pastors. That isn't surprising given that my primary calling is to be a pastor. Because we have a national television ministry associated with the church, occasionally someone will ask me if I plan to one day quit pastoring to pursue the television ministry full time.

My answer is always the same, "Absolutely not!" For me, pastoring a church is not a springboard to something else. My highest call and anointing is to be a pastor, and I plan to be the best one I can be right up until the moment Jesus returns.

I also have a burning desire to see other pastors and churches achieve maximum effectiveness in reaching their respective communities with the gospel. If I can be used of God in some way to help them do that, I want to do it.

Make Room for the Supply
I'm convinced that God wants to bring increase in the local churches. God isn't into small churches remaining small forever. If you are pastoring a small church, please don't feel condemned. I simply want to encourage you to expand your expectations.

God wants your church to grow and to be as big as it can be relative to the size of the community you are attempting to reach because the more people you bring into your church then the fewer that there are out there serving the devil.

God wants to bring the last-day's harvest in through the agency of the local church, and one of the most exciting and powerful ways increase will come to your congregation is as each member brings his or her supply of the Spirit.

The reality is, however, that supply will only come forth if you make room for it. So you are going to have to encourage, endorse and model being yielded to the promptings of God's Spirit so that others will follow your example and be obedient to bring their supply as well.

I'm also aware that for many pastors this is a pretty scary proposition. I know it wasn't easy for me, especially in the beginning. I had to fight constantly against my natural tendency to keep everything under tight control. How did I overcome that tendency? By keeping in mind that every member has a unique supply of the Spirit and that they need the opportunity to give it in order for us to experience the level and quality of increase that would be available in these last days.

Does that mean I let chaos reign in our services? Of course not! Our biblical mandate in 1 Corinthians 14:40 is to let all things be done decently and in order. Keep in mind, however, that our idea of order may not necessarily line up with the Holy Ghost's idea of order.

Order for the Spirit is a flow that accomplishes His purpose. Experiencing the fullness of the Holy Spirit corporately requires that each person bring their supply, but if they are in an environment that discourages that kind of participation then that supply and increase won't come.

Don't Underestimate the Power of Prayer
The other element that is essential is an active prayer ministry. If you want your church to get into the flow of that increase, then you as a leader are going to have to encourage your people to pray and provide opportunities for them to yield to the genuine promptings of the Spirit of God.

Now I know that these are the two things most likely to strike fear into the hearts of many pastors: an out-of-control prayer ministry and a runaway Holy Ghost meeting. Unfortunately, because of the fear, I have heard a lot of preaching against both. Granted, there have been excesses in these areas, but that doesn't mean we have to throw them out altogether.

The reality is that whenever you provide liberty for people to respond to the promptings of God's Spirit in unusual ways, there are going to be abuses, misuses and a few problems. Why? Because the enemy is petrified of a praying church that is hungry for a move of the Holy Ghost. That is why he is going to make sure that there are some excesses. He will underscore every wrong thing that happens and bring it to your attention in hopes that you will say, "I'm going to make sure none of that flaky stuff ever happens in my church!"

Once that happens, there is no place for people to be developed in prayer, and there isn't any encouragement for people to learn to recognize the voice of the Spirit and be trained to yield unhesitatingly. And without these two opportunities, there is no complete supply of the Spirit. And without the supply of the Spirit, there is no move of God. And without the move of God, there is little supernatural increase in the body.

What brought increase to the early church? According to Acts 4, it was the power of God that came as believers found their own company and brought together their respective supplies in one accord. We, as pastors, must encourage corporate prayer and allow the freedom of the Holy Ghost to be imparted through the members of the body because it is to that extent that we will experience supernatural increase.

You can have brilliantly conceived programs and be the best preacher within five hundred miles but still not come close to producing the kind of increase God wants to bring in these last days.

Continue Preaching the Word
Does embracing this move of the Spirit mean abandoning the preaching of the Word on a consistent basis? Absolutely not! You have to make a place for the Word on a consistent basis because it is what gives a healthy parameter. Without the Word of God to provide a frame of reference and standard of measure, flakiness is inevitable.

When we began experiencing this move of God, the Lord gave me specific instructions about our services indicating that we should reserve our main, Sunday morning services for the preaching of the Word. This gave our visitors and young believers, which usually attended this service, time to get grounded in the Word and receive valuable teaching about how to flow with the Spirit. It also gave them an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of what they would experience in our Holy Ghost services on Sunday and Wednesday evenings.

Then when our evening services rolled around, we would give the Spirit of God the full latitude to move in whatsoever way He saw fit, and we would come with the attitude that says, "Whichever way the Spirit blows, that is the way we are going!"

When you begin to talk to your people like this, it does a lot to free them up to move with the Holy Spirit. This, of course, is important because many times people are reluctant to step out during a move of the Spirit. Usually they are afraid that they will be out of order or that someone will rebuke them. That is why people need to be exhorted to make their supply of the Spirit available.

Since the Holy Spirit has been given the freedom to move through our church, we have seen quite a few manifestations of joy and laughter. We have seen running, dancing and even a few people rolling in the aisles. If you had told me ten years ago we would be experiencing these manifestations in my church, then I would have said you were crazy.

Some might ask, "What is going on here? What is behind all of this activity? Are we just letting our emotions get out of hand?" And my answer would be, "Not at all because I've seen the fruit."

As people in our church have begun to overcome their fear of man, stepping out in faith and running when they saw themselves running, they have had their bodies healed instantly. Couples who have been in marriage counseling for years have had their marriages marvelously healed. Believers who were formerly timid or shy about sharing their faith have become bold witnesses for Jesus. The power of God has moved through our church like it never has before, and it is all related to our freedom in moving in the Holy Ghost.

Now please don't misunderstand me. I don't have the last word on any of this, and I'm not trying to hold up my church as the model to be copied because we still have a lot to learn. But I do know that God has done something wondrous in our midst as we have given His Spirit the liberty to move in unusual ways.

Train Yourself To Be Yielded and Bold
It is clear in the Word that one of the primary missions of the Holy Spirit is to lead us, direct us and show us what to do (John 16:13). As we step into the things He shows us, the power of God is released. Personally, I believe the essence of the move of God in the local church is to provide a safe, secure place to train His people to respond to the Holy Ghost so that the power can flow.

If you are too bound up by the fear of man to step out and dance a Holy Ghost jig, when prompted, for the sheer joy of being redeemed, you certainly aren't going to share Jesus with the guy in the grocery checkout line when the Spirit plants that picture in your mind. And if you are too tied to your dignity to jump out of your seat and run when you "see" yourself doing so, then you probably won't risk praying for that sick coworker when the Spirit shows you a picture of them getting healed when you lay hands on them.

Throughout this move of God, His Spirit has been conducting training exercises. Training in being yielded. Training in being willing to lay down pride and the fear of man to obey the Spirit's promptings. That is certainly what it has been for me. Personal incidents like mute preaching and jumping up on Brother Hagin's pulpit to dance - have changed me in profound and lasting ways. Some things that were holding me back were broken. Some doors God wanted to open to me were thrown wide.

The same will be true for you - personally and corporately. Will you be criticized? Probably. Will some misunderstand? Most likely. But the rewards will outweigh the criticism because you will receive in exchange nothing less than the power of God to carry out His will and destiny in these amazing final days of history.

God is looking for a people who are yielded and bold. As pastors, let's make room for Him to raise one up.

Source: Seeing and Knowing God by Mac Hammond.
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Minute, which is seen locally in the Minneapolis area and can also be viewed at winnersminute.com. He is also the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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