Spiritual Fathering

Spiritual Fathering

This is indeed the season of the sons and daughters returning to fathers. If you have been a son or daughter and have a broken relationship with your spiritual father, you need to repent and turn back to the heart of the father. Perhaps in the past, you experienced abuse by one you looked at as a spiritual father. They may have been that in words but not in heart and actions. Let me tell you there are real fathers out there, not a huge number, but ones with huge hears who can heal your brokenness. But fathers can only invest into those whose pride is removed and allow that investment to come to them.

The spiritual fathering relationship is more than getting some counsel from time to time, or being another number in a network, or just another stop in a preaching circuit. That is not fathering. A spiritual father invests into the life and purposes of the sons and daughters. They do this unreservedly and not based on the return from the son or daughter. They see their hidden potential and see it fully healthy and functioning. There are many claiming sons and daughters with no real relationship and the motive is not for the betterment of the person but to add numbers to their own tribe. The motive was wrong so the actions were also. This sickens me as many are getting only a portion of fathering without full investment.

All spiritual fathering relationships are required to have the expectations in them understood by all involved. They have safeguards in place as well to make sure things do not get off base. If Jesus could only father the 12, Paul had less, and Timothy was instructed to look to find them, then fathering is limited in the number you can truly be effective with. In the past few years, spiritual fathering has become another buzz word. I have seen many claiming sons who never spent any time investing in them but “absorbed” them already matured to claim they have sons. Or they absorbed them into their network without really helping to perfect them in the faith. To me, this is having the rewards and affirmation of peers, over the reward of seeing a son or daughter blossom.

Relationships change as seasons of fathering are completed. You can have 50-60-100 sons but you probably are only truly fathering a handful into the very depths of fathering at any one time, because if done right, like natural fathering, there comes a day when they stand on their own and have grown up. You will always be their father but it will change in function. If a spiritual father has many immature sons, then it is a sign that the father is still lacking in how to father properly.

Fathers love it when their kids come to see them and I love it when my spiritual kids come to see me. I’m in a season of life where many of those I have fathered that went out across the world to do ministry are reconnecting with me again realizing the investment I have done in their life has led to the current motion of God in their ministry. Many have come and spent time with me in my home. I also am seeing many, many come back that were prodigal or disconnected in the process. (As I write this another comes home.) This is equally rewarding as though they had never left. I can testify firsthand for the fathers who never disconnected their heart from their sons and daughters, no matter how they treated them in leaving, the hearts of those sons and daughters are being convicted and they are turning back to their fathers. I have some specific ones I am waiting on right now with faith and expectation for their heart to turn. My prayer for them is that it won’t take calamity like one of my sons overseas. He had been successful in ministry and became a “big man” in his nation. His wife died and in his ‘bigness’ he had no one to share his grief. I had heard his wife had died and reached out to him. Three months later, he contacted me in heartfelt repentance confessing he used me to climb up the ladder. The relationship was restored but his shame has kept it from being the same as it once was.

Once the spiritual fathering relationship is started, the father’s heart is always there for the sons and daughters. As I tell my sons and daughters, if I started this relationship, I already have decided the investment needed, the time required and the privileges I will give. I tell all my sons and daughters they have the same privileges as my own natural sons. They can call at any time and they have both privilege and priority. This is the hardest thing most sons and daughters seem to struggle with the most. They don’t want to be a bother or to take my time, yet ministry opportunity tends to come when it is not convenient and will always cost something if it holds any value. This is my first test starting in the relationship, will they even call me? Do they want this so badly that they are willing to take a chance in calling?

For the most part, sons and daughters are coming from an orphaned spirit. Perhaps their relationship with their natural dad is skewed. Perhaps they have been spiritually rejected, deemed of no value or pushed aside. These things are the second things I begin to press into to see them get healed and whole. Without these things complete in them, then all other perspectives and perceptions are really out of focus. These areas are probably the reason for the relationship. Identity is also a large part of this second step. Without a proper identity, you may never function correctly as function comes from identity not identity coming from function. This reversal is a hard one for most sons and daughters as they have always performed to have a place in the ‘pecking order’. For them to see the value of who they are to God takes time. This is the real heart of fathering. Patience. Long suffering. Right perceptions. This step is about helping the person to become whole in the midst of their confusion, perceptions, and self determined value.

The third step is the step of releasing potential. Giving opportunities for that potential to come forth and walking out life together. It is about helping with mistakes together and learning together. This is where ministry truly begins to happen and the person’s ability to rise above their past and into the future becomes present in their life. The core spiritual DNA is now drawn upon to see stimulated growth. This is new territory not fully explored, even if the person is currently doing ministry. This is destiny of the person’s life and how they will leave their mark on the earth.

These steps are paraphrased here to the simplest terms. Some of these steps will be occurring at the same time. Some will need to be done in a set order. Each relationship is different and requires truly knowing the heart of God for the person and having vision for who they are to God.

Spiritual fathering is an art form more than a taught way of ministry. You cannot read about it in a book and do it but it comes from a heart that has been formed over time. That same forming of the heart in the spiritual fathering is forming young hearts after they have been made whole.

Word For Iowa

I felt lead to share this word for Iowa again in my blog so more people would be able to read it that may have not seen it before. Hear the word of the Lord.

April 11, 2015, Saturday, The Base, Apostle Greg Crawford

I hear the Lord say, Do not look to those far away to come and ignite the fire.  For there will be some that will come and they will begin to ignite some fires, yes, but the fires will be short-lived.  There will be some that will come and they will kindle their own flame for their own fire. And pay no heed to those, for those will die out as well.  For I will raise up those within this state, says the Lord, that will be carriers of the flame and they will be the ones of fire that will go forth.  And they will sustain that which I am about to bring forth into the earth.  They have the investment of the land hidden in their heart.  And they will sustain that. And they will fight for it, war over it and they will rejoice for it to see it come forth into fullness.  So do not heed those that would come from afar, for they will only bring a certain degree of my flame.  But I am, even in this hour, raising up those from within, raising them from the very dirt and the dust, says the Lord, to carry the flame.

And when my prophets come in the month of June, they will finalize that which shall be.  For you think even in this hour that the new season begins in 7 days, but I say it begins even this night. For this night I begin to break forth the new season upon you, says the Lord. And when my prophets come in June they will finalize the season that is now beginning to break forth.  And you will come into your destiny and purpose that you have longed for and struggled to understand.  Many have even abandoned the destiny and purpose that lies before them thinking it is here or it is there, thinking they can go and be a flame in another place where they have no investment of the land in their heart.  But I say unto you, for those who have remained steadfast and faithful, that have endured the shame and the chastisement of many, the ridicule and the rejection of much, I will raise you up to be the messengers of fire and flame and you will sustain that which is about to break forth.

For the next 90 days I will begin to formulate something in you of great substance and great wealth.  Something that has been set aside, placed in your heart, hidden along the way that others have even tried to take and discourage you from seeing.  But what I am going to do, says the Lord, no man will stop.  And you have seen the beginning of it in other places that have longed for it.  And you have heard the reports in other places and regions and said, “Oh God, why can it not be here?  Why can it not be us?” And you have allowed the enemy to come and convince you to steal your inheritance from you, to cause you to be in faithlessness. But I say, only believe me, only believe me, only believe me.  And I shall cause these things to come, says the Lord, only believe me.  Let your doubt and despair be pushed aside. Do not be dismayed. Do not let hopelessness control your heart.  Do not let your soul or your mind begin to dictate to your spirit. But let your spirit rise in this hour and see me in new heights and new ways.  Let your spirit come before me and I will begin to tell you the mysteries of the kingdom that have been hidden for this age that is now breaking forth.  For don’t you know the eternal realm is breaking in upon you?  And that which is everlasting shall be everlasting and it will remain everlasting even when the temporal has disappeared.  For that for which you are laboring and working for is that which is of everlasting,  that which is the essence of who I am, the essence of my very being, my Spirit.

And I say unto you, Come, rise. Come and rise and take your places, Mighty Warriors, and as men and women of God that have been chosen for this time and season of the earth. For the assignment that lies before you, for the depths of what it would be. Your understanding does not have to be complete for my Wisdom shall make up the lack.  The utterance of my Spirit will give the Breath and it will confront the hearts of men and they will turn in a moment of time.  And you will see the wickedness of men’s hearts.  But you will see the hope of that which is eternal land upon the wickedness in the heart and begin to dissolve it and remove it and cause it to spring forth in a new life.

There are many in this hour that I am pulling and dealing with. And I am looking and longing for the place where people have come after me and my Presence to such a degree that they will not allow anything to hinder their walk or their belief or their understanding of what I could do.  I say, because of what I am about to do is bigger than what you have dreamed of, and it is bigger than what you think you can contain, and it is bigger than what you can plan for.  For I say there is even coming a season where that which you have as a building and as a place will not contain what I am about to do.  No matter how large you begin to grow and build and plan and scheme.  For what I do will require you to step out into areas that are not even your very own.  And I will cause you to go forth into places people will begin to call and an understanding into why they have called the outcome of what will be in the journey you are about to go on.

And the prophets that come will begin to make known that which is in my heart in a new way. And you will begin to see things and your faith begin to be ignited.  And it will pull others in like a big vacuum and a whirlwind. And the fire of the whirlwind will come and it will begin to burn the dross and the chaff out of people’s lives.  And, even as tonight, out of your very heart there is beginning to be a burning of the chaff that is there that lies within.  There’s a burning of the dross that has risen to the top and is skimming off.  There is coming the refiner’s Fire and the Fuller’s Soap. And I will cleanse the outside and cleanse that which is within.  And there will be purity in my house once again and holiness will be established.  For these are the things I am beginning to bring forth in the earth.  And this is what will cause the outcast to come.  This is what will cause the ones of hopelessness to come because they will see the purity that is upon my people and they will know there is hope once again.  They will know there is a God in the earth that is concerned with the affairs and the intentions of men’s hearts.  There is a God that has answers and I will be the answer for them.   It will not be you but it will be me.  And I will bring that which is eternal into their heart.  And the joy of salvation will begin to spring into the earth once again.  And the harvest will come forth and it will not be lost.  For it will be brought in, and it will be thrown into the wind, and the chaff will blow away. And the Refiner will come and purify what remains and the end will be.

♪ For I say it is a season, it is a season to call forth that which has not been seen.  It is a season to call forth that which you have only dreamed of.  It is a season, a season to call forth with the sound of heaven in your voice.  It is a season that I shall do things that you have never even dreamed of or thought of or even considered.  And I will become your God in a new way, a new and living way, and it will even overtake you at times and you will not know what to do with my Spirit resting upon you except to yield and to give in and say, “Yes, God, here I am.  Send me.” ♪

For I say, this is a season of something new coming.  There are some even in this room, says the Lord. You have not had your encounter with me that has shifted your heart.  I say, I am coming for your heart to encounter you that you could encounter me.  Just pursue me a little longer. Pursue me a little deeper. Pursue me just a little more and I will come in a very unexpected way.  You will see that I have come into your life and the encounter will begin and the understanding will come and Wisdom will set in.  For those who will carry this flame will have my Wisdom as their portion.  My Wisdom will rest upon sons and daughters.  It will rest upon fathers and mothers in new ways.

To Go or Stay

I want to address a real issue affecting Kingdom works: it is the placement and alignment of people in the Body of Christ. First of all, let me say I am not trying to cause a mass exodus but to look at things through a Biblical perspective. We all have heard such discontentment from a multitude about the current lack at the places they gather for fellowship, worship and spiritual community. Many are waiting and hoping, though not really in true faith believing, for changes to occur so it will be what they desire in their heart for it to be, which is life- giving. But when confronted with leaving that which does not bring life, the answer almost always is “God has not released me”.
A release from God means there is an assignment given that has not been completed. What is the assignment so many seem to be on and what authority do they have to complete it? How were they sent? If no real assignment has been given and a person is just waiting for changes to occur, perhaps it is not God releasing as much as you deciding to move. Perhaps it is a reluctance to leave what is common and comfortable. Perhaps a person thinks they are the catalyst for change instead of the Holy Spirit.
Soul ties and obligations seem to be the real hold, yet Jesus said “There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” Luke 18:29-30. If we are truly Kingdom minded, we would not allow ourselves to be stuck in frustrations when there might be real options. If we are on a Kingdom assignment, then we would be seeing progress and also be positioned to influence for the sake of the Kingdom. I have seen people wait for years in false hope when there were options they allowed to pass on by. I knew a woman who waited for 17 years faithfully praying for change in one church and nothing occurred. She finally gave up and and moved to another place only to step into a place of similar lack. She prayed for 11 more years and finally gave up. It is hard to move on after investing so much. We don’t want to believe that the things we desire will not come. Perhaps where we have placed ourselves is the real issue. Maybe in that time there were not any options but now in this season with the apostolic and Kingdom government emerging in force and strength, options for true spiritual growth are available.
God has placed you in the Body as He sees fit — to grow you spiritually. If you are not growing, either you are in rebellion, have things in your heart that need to be addressed or you are not in the right faith community. Thinking of it in a practical sense, why would God decide to sacrifice you and stagnate you in spiritual understanding of Him? Why would a loving God frustrate you? Or perhaps you are frustrating the grace of God to bring change. It is just not what you might be thinking of changing, what you are connected with, but changing your perceptions and maybe your alignments to something more life giving. Perhaps you placed yourself in your current faith community and the next location will truly be the place God has placed you.
Even Jesus could not perform miracles or healing even though the anointing was present in some places. Just because a person’s desire is in place to see God move, does not necessarily mean He will. He will not overstep the will of people and specifically the will of a leader. What a leader is currently allowing to occur in a meeting is the most you will see, unless there is a real heart change. You can’t change what you are not in charge of. You might influence but that will be at a price of rejection. So if you are complaining about it, then you are not really in an assignment as any assignment has a specific grace to endure. You can only grow to the degree your leader is growing. That is why it is imperative for leaders to constantly be studying and advancing themselves.
Paul, at times, was not accepted because he could not do anything. But the big, big, difference is that Paul was on assignment and not attending a place to be taught. For the most part, fellowship is what holds people, but it only can produce a certain degree of growth. Think of this: the early Christians left the temple and all the practices for what was life- giving. They left prestige, position, influence, family, obligations and comradery, for a new life-giving flow. There are no examples of people leaving a community of believers in the Bible as all were being taught and growing. The only time we see a departing is when there was doctrinal error and someone was being sent. The commitment to a life- giving community was very evident. That community was formed by God in such a way to grow all the members of that community into deeper relationship with Him.
Now let me say this: the commitment I am talking of, I do not want to be misunderstood. It does not apply to a place that does not produce life and true disciples. That is more a friendship obligation than a pathway to spiritual life. It does apply to a place that is producing disciples and life. This means submitting to real leaders for true spiritual transformation. It means becoming part of a spiritual community that esteems each other and recognizes gifting. It also means becoming involved with the spiritual DNA God has given you. I have seen rashness in young adults coming from the culture around them to abandon if the things being contended for corporately in a Kingdom setting did not come quickly. In this case, the leaving was unjust; they did not have patience to endure to attain the prize. I know of 2 cases in our ministry that they gave God a time limit and said ‘if this does not occur by this length of time, then I’m leaving’ and they did. Imagine the immaturity of that kind of thinking. But this has been caused by an instantaneous culture with rewards and levels attained. It also occurs by not putting your whole heart in play because it shows reluctance and a withholding of full faith.
I had conversations with a man over several months concerning the current body he was attending. He was a prophet living in frustration. Control and secrecy was evident in the body he was in. He would come to me and ask about doctrinal issues that were very skewed. There was a lot of liberty being taken in some areas and in others, things were overlooked. It seemed to be more about money than people. And when it did come to people, it was certain people who got the most attention, the well-to-do people who fit the classification the whole ministry was trying to become. Finally one day I told him, I can no longer meet with you to help you and listen to this. You need to stop attending. He asked ‘why’? I responded with two questions. “Are you attending there?” Obviously the answer was ‘yes’. “Are you tithing there and giving offerings?” The answer was ‘yes’ again. I then said “By attending there, your presence is endorsing it. By giving there, you’re actually supporting it. Both actions are empowering it to remain the way it is. Unless you stop endorsing it and supporting it, no one will stop to take notice of anything wrong.”
Perhaps it is time to shake the dust off your feet. Shaking the dust off is a sign of being on a long journey and the conclusion is before you. You shake the dust off before you enter a house to rest. It is leaving all the excessive baggage you have collected, the dirt, disappointments and weariness and entering into a new place for which you have been destined.

How Does Jesus Measure Success?

Coming out of a leadership meeting recently, I found myself somewhat in a quandary. We had talked about many different changes we could make to help facilitate the ministry. Many were God inspired ideas and many were just plain practical. Like everyone’s meetings, the underlying tone was that each idea would help us to grow numerically as well as spiritually.

Change is always hard and requires lots of effort. As a ministry, we have had some very high moments of both numerical growth and spiritual understanding established. But these did not happen in a moment, it took time. Each person was taken from a starting point and eventually ended in fruitfulness. Each person was hungry for God and that made the transformation easy. What we see as success is the finished product. We don’t see the work as the success even though it is the true success and the finished product is only the by-product of the work or success.

Many can say if you did this or that, I would come, or if the meeting was held at a different time, or you had child care, or you had… we have all heard these excuses before. The thing that makes lasting change is desperation for change and hunger to find answers. When you get desperate enough, you will do anything and pay any price to find change that will last.  The hidden place of the heart is where success is only seen by God. I have always said the number of people who come is only the number of those interested. The hearts that are changed are the numbers who are serious. As leaders, our role is to grow people in Christ, not grow large administrative works. We are trying to get a lot of people interested, so we can grow our works and in the process, we may be losing our success.

It appears that most people don’t want to really do the work of the ministry unless there is a guarantee of a finished product or measured success. I see many pastors desiring change but uncertainty of the outcome stops them from every trying or making an attempt. The emerging generation has this perception as well not knowing what to do, but at least more willing to attempt. Human natures DNA has within it a willingness to do the work, as long as a guarantee of result is given. But many times the results can be lacking, so do we still look at that as success or failure? Thank God Jesus did the work of the Cross and put into place the success of it for us, even though others would deny the cross! In many ways it could be looked upon as a failure, like how the early disciples saw it, it’s all in your perceptions.

We have all kinds of ways today that we measure ourselves to see if we are attaining our goals. Much of this is how we compare ourselves with each other; this is a much skewed way of measuring. It is measuring different gifts, callings, assignments, personalities, strengths, weakness, understandings, revelations, etc. against each other and expecting the same results or outcome. Paul was right when he said in II Corinthians 10:12,13  “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise. But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.”     The measure of the rule of Christ is the measurement of His righteousness established in our lives. It is looking at our lives and seeing how we are in measurement of the righteousness of Christ. Where is righteousness lacking? Where is it strong and settled? What is Christ desiring of me in areas? Now that is how we are to be looking: not outward but inward.

I talked to a neighbor just yesterday who has left the organized church about 8 years ago. He is discipling people in his home who have been so burned by religion and are hurting. He said “It does not matter to me if I have 2000, 200, 20, or even 2. If this is what God has given to me in my hand then so be it, then this is what I will pour my heart into!”

My perception had begun to change. I talked with a spiritual son yesterday and he gave me some good perspectives.  As an apostolic work, I have a desire to see the Body grow up but also to see the organized religious structure limiting. As a Kingdom center, we have always tried to maintain a position of neutrality, even holding meetings at different times than the organized church, etc. But after all is said and done, we have not seen those leaders support or help promote what we are doing. We did not want to compete with them, but now I am coming to a point of saying ‘perhaps we should be meeting at the same time and allow people to make a choice where they put their time, commitment, and resources’. Have I compromised for the sake of not being offensive? Could I not be fulfilling the will of God for the sake of helping keep the organized structure thriving by not having a choice or option for those seeking at the typical Sunday morning time? Am I doing and using everything available in my decision making to best put a tool in place that would change hearts?

What I do know is this; I must fulfill the things in my heart. That means even if no one else wants to participate or the number of followers seems low. Just because others deny, does not mean what you are doing is any less or more. It’s like preaching, if you are preaching the Word and you don’t see the results, it does not mean what you preach is wrong, but what people are doing with it is probably lacking.  The bottom line will not be the size of our ministry or the amount of people we produced or succeeded with. Nor is success how busy we are, thinking that equals results. Jesus told Martha that Mary had chosen the better thing to simply sit at his feet. When we stand before God, we will be asked something similar to this: “What did you do with my Son and His righteousness in your life as you fulfilled what I asked of you?” The work of success is righteousness and the outcome of righteousness is God’s will fulfilled!

Building Antioch

There are three distinct churches being built. This is also reflective in three distinct types of ministry styles that have been birthed from these influences. Though each has things to offer, only one is truly the more Biblical approach. These three styles are seen in Acts as the Church at Jerusalem, the Church at Ephesus and the Church at Antioch. Let’s make this more real. These three are the people assembled to conduct spiritual government and implement the intentions of God at Jerusalem, Ephesus and Antioch. These are not necessarily structures but are people.

Jerusalem was the place the Church was birthed but it was not until Antioch that they received their identity. As grand as the birthing was, the people were not without problems. They were reluctant to spread the gospel of the Kingdom being more focused on their city than even their region. Yet the command was to be witnesses to Jerusalem, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the world. Jesus had given them their assignment but also was describing the transitions that would be occurring.

The Church in Jerusalem was single culture focused. They went ever deeper in their own culture and never truly reached out in the community. Yes, the outpouring came and yes, many were added, but the Church in the years following never did have another major move of God. You see we become stagnate when we interpret through cultural perception and not through scriptural interpretation. If a ministry is singular in culture or focused on culture itself such as blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians, etc., they have taken on the Jerusalem model of church.

This means it is personality centered and relies on the person who has the greatest charisma or ability to hold the church or ministry in place. The people are followers with very little activity and influence affecting the future destiny of the Church. Most of these models are pastoral driven under a central form of government. Board meetings and meetings in general are the norm. Conformity and not creativity is a major pressure point. Unity as a goal, programs to engage and relationship that are more obligation than genuine. Most in this model are looking at temporal solutions and not permanent ones.

The Jerusalem church was very weak in developing leadership and leadership teams. We see this in Acts 5 of not being able to meet the needs and having to resolve it by putting into place leadership that they had not raised up but God has raised up. Mostly the focus is not on raising people beyond thier problems through a death process, but more so trying to restore them out of an unrepentant heart. Over time, they lost the Kingdom lifestyle and even more so, world missions outlook. This is why there was a scattering from Jerusalem instead of a sending. God waited long enough and stepped in.

Perhaps one the biggest things I see overall today is our constant desire and longing for another outpouring like we see in Acts 2. I believe this is due to us not reaching towards maturity and longing for another experience to solidify our faith. For the most part, denominations fall into the Jerusalem model. But so do many charismatic, Full Gospel, and Pentecostal churches. I see most of the ministries to homeless, jail ministry, and especially pastor group meetings falling into this model. It is easy to see the lack of response when a God- inspired moment comes and even less response when something is required of the people.

Building around its own activities, dates and programs, the Jerusalem church spent all its resources and manpower to maintain the existing church as a caretaker. Today’s pastoral driven churches either fall under the Jerusalem or Ephesus model, both are churches we should not be modeling to build after.

The Ephesus church was a church in proper focus but not properly aligned with apostles and prophets. There may or may not be a willingness to align and relate. We see the Ephesus Church doing much warfare and had much demonic activity allowed in its sphere of influence in the region. The Temple to Diana was set in strongly along with other occultism. Perhaps the meaning of Diana could best describe the Ephesus church. It means ‘fully enlightened but flow restrained’.

We see this in the Epistle to the Ephesians that Paul wrote where he addressed their spiritual enlightenment, their activation, demonic battles, Kingdom government, stewardship of grace, the power of God for transformation, and a host of other things that were lacking. These were things not so much in place but lacking! The Ephesus church is a church who will hear the heart and direction of apostles and prophets and be slow to implement it or possibly not at all. The apostolic thrust of Paul was available to shift the culture and impact society, but it hinged on them becoming active in the instruction given to them.

The Ephesus church is rebuked in Revelation 2. They are hardworking and many times have made it on their own merits. They have preserved and even tested the apostles and prophets and when they found a false one, they rejected not just that one but all of them from that point forward. But they have lost their first love. The excitement of God is hard to find and the zeal has been replaced with programs. The Spirit is no longer leading but is found along the way. The passion has been lost. The apostolic has come to bring renewed passion if accepted.

Many times the Ephesus type church will hold to a past move of God or a past truth that was brought forth to be dominant for a season. They are reluctant to embrace new revelation and will pick and choose what to embrace and what prophetic words to engage with. They focus more on the dominant gift and gifting that is present and dismiss any others. Under the Ephesus structure, an apostle will not be effective in bringing these churches together for instruction to establish them in greater faith and truth. The apostles’ hands are basically tied and the gifting is dismissed. The prophetic gifting will be embraced as long as it affirms the vision already in motion.

The Ephesus church today is the Spirit filled churches not connected or aligned with apostolic and prophetic voices. This again is the House of Prayer movement, many missions’ organizations and especially Spirit filled churches under pastoral leadership. Many times these types of churches have experienced great growth and success and believe they do not need any governmental guidance from apostle and prophets. Yet these foundational gifts have been given to expand and advance the works already in place. The Ephesus church again is not the model by which we should be building.

This leads us to the Antioch model. Antioch is where the Church or ecclesia received their identity and were called Christians or Christ like or little Christ. To have this name, they were required to be flowing in revelation, performing healings and miracles, casting out demons and to be connected in Holy Community with a culture of love and honor. If a person slipped from one of these things, then he was no longer looked at as being a Christian but being a disciple again.

Antioch had a defined ordered structure and a way of advancement that all could participate in. Plurality of leadership and a defined mandate were present. World mission and Kingdom advance require everyone to work together for the common cause of Christ. When it was time to send out people, they did not send who they could get by without having around but they sent the best they had to offer. This was reflected in the lifestyle lived and the functional expression of it.

They were a group that prayed, fasting and ministering to the Lord. They worked as a team that heard the Holy Spirit and then acted on it. The structure allowed for team expression, growth and development. There was no fear of others, no restrictions or limitations placed upon people. This enabled each ministry gift to develop more fully and move in their calling at a greater capacity than any other model of Christianity.

They had not only a culture of honor for each other, but also respect and honor for leadership and their authority. They were break through believers who broke free of cultural restraint and fear of men. The believers became the force to implement the vision and assignments laid out by the apostolic leadership. They had a “let’s make this happen” attitude.

As Antioch grew, it birthed other apostolic expressions. Each was autonomous and was allowed to have an individual expression but all related to Paul as an apostolic father they were in covenant relationship with. Paul helped bring a holistic spiritual perspective and brought in the ministry gifts based on need. The relationships were not in name only but functional and accountable. Antioch churches became regional bases of resources and have a region and even a state focus, not protecting its local expression but reaching out to others to bring the Kingdom. Antioch churches carry the burden for an entire region and will release people to impact where they are planted.

The commitment level is deeper than an Ephesus or Jerusalem model and since it is apostolic driven, the Antioch model requires a response to the truth spoken, the assignment given and the vision presented. Antioch churches know the destiny of each other is interconnected and will only be released through a corporate means.

Antioch churches are functionally connected and aligned with prophetic and apostolic oversight. They are regionally focused and many times much of the real work is not done within the walls of the local gathering but outwardly. They will travel anywhere there is a desire for the Kingdom. This final model is the pattern we are to build with to advance the Kingdom. Though small in number now, perhaps this teaching will enable us to drop the Jerusalem and Ephesus patterns and portions we have allowed to attach to us and fully come into the Kingdom expression we know is deep in our hearts!

Full Gospel or Apostolic Kingdom

I have been asked several times about the difference between an apostolic or kingdom church and a Full Gospel charismatic church. After all, they are the same, aren’t they? No, not at all. Here are some comparisons. (Full Gospel Charismatic church will be FGC. Apostolic Kingdom will be AK.)


Generally an FGC church will be focused like most other churches on outreach of winning the lost and discipling. The discipling is more into the tenets of their expression. The AK will be more focused on the development of people and their placement into effective function in the local assembly. FGC will focus on conversion of all souls and will focus on presenting the gospel of salvation. AK will be focused that all people will feel the weight of the Kingdom and its influences. AK knows the Kingdom automatically demands an answer and decisions will have to be made.


The structure of an FGC is more traditional and will be composed of a board and elders who make decisions. It may or may not have a voting system. Involvement in the ministry is generally attained after several months and is based more on attendance. AK will be composed of a team of leaders making decisions together. A board may exist but only to be a legal corporation. Involvement is generally very quick and is based on discernment and heart connection with the overall vision.


FGC generally align to a network of churches connected by doctrine. Many times this is a denomination. Outside alignments are seldom seen and this is reflected in the ministries coming through. Most of the time they are from the same camp. AK will align apostolically and prophetically and not so much doctrinally. AK will be relationship driven and the ministries coming through will be in relationship more so than the same camp. AK does not fear the variety of ways of ministry as much as the FGC.


This is probably one of the greatest differences. FGC has a senior pastor. Generally they are charismatic and probably have a certain degree of a teaching gift. As I stated earlier, it is an eldership driven leadership made up of those of the congregation and decisions are made based more from a business perspective than a faith position. AK will have an apostolic leader (not necessarily an apostle) who has a certain grace to lead others into Kingdom dynamics. A team is formed of fivefold type leaders who will speak by visionary perspectives and lead by faith.


The focus in an FGC will be more on life discipling and family focuses. Programs will be put in place to minister to the needs of the family and this will be reflected in special gatherings for men and women, youth and kids. The AK will be focused more on the Kingdom than the family and trust that if Kingdom dynamics are put in place, then the family will automatically be taken care of. The outworking of this is the family being together to experience spiritual life as a unit. Activation is put upon the family and development of gifts started at a young age.


FGC messages are culturally relevant and again family focused. Removing injustice is part of the message but ends up being more about ministering to injustice than removing it.  AK will have more revelatory messages and of course Kingdom dynamics. Messages will be on reforming culture to remove injustices instead of ministering within culture. While FGC will be “culturally relevant” (trying to relate to culture) AK will be “counter cultural” (knowing that Kingdom culture will change current culture).


FGC will have more of a standard approach to worship. Songs will have more of a focus about God instead of Who He is. Songs will also have a self focus and will be better known. Song services are more planned and have a set time. With AK, the songs are more focused on God Himself and His great works. Very few songs are about self. Songs are more from unknown artists because the message they carry is fresher. Spontaneous worship and creating of songs is what AK is known for. The worship has no real set time factor.


FGC has a group set aside and recognized as the intercessors. AK looks at every person as called to intercede. Prayer for people at altar calls may have a team in a FGC, but generally it is the senior leader and their spouse. AK will have a team or see everyone as being able to pray and minister to others.


FGC will take people through classes associated with what they believe before they truly activate people. Time factors and certain things need to be attained before a person is released or put in place, to reduce possible mistakes. AK will activate people pretty quickly and will train them as they do ministry. They are not concerned about mistakes but are more concerned about a person trying than being perfect in how they do things.

Spiritual Community

FGC has spiritual community based on relationships around the belief system. Most spiritual communities are pretty healthy but can also be more surface type relationships. Smaller churches will have greater community. In larger churches, the community will be several communities within it based around the programs. AK will develop a community of honor and tightness in relationships that can be enlarged as it grows. They will have solid, deep meaningful relationships that build a sense of family. This family is more than those in the room but also extends to those outside of the local gathering and into all those they are in relationship with in other ministries.


The outward expression of FGC will be set missionaries they help support in part. Locally missions will be a helps type ministry of feeding the homeless, crisis pregnancy centers, and other outreach programs. This could also extend into foreign mission trips where the same types of ministry occur such as erecting/repairing church buildings, working in orphanages, etc. The AK approach in missions is not so much as supporting but sending. They too, might be involved in the same local outreaches but are looked at as more of being sent with an assignment. This is extended to the foreign missions as well. Being sent with a specific assignment, the helps ministry is not seen in other nations but leadership training, conferences and educational thrusts are primary.

As we can see, there is a difference to both types of ministries. There needs to be more of a balance. As I see it, the main thing to be added to the AK model is local outreach. I think many Apostolic Kingdom Churches are hesitant because of associating with an old model. The main thing that stands out in the apostolic / Kingdom churches that I did not cover is a more consistent life-giving flow. To me, this is the primary difference and is why so many churches need to transition to this model.

Pharisees, Sadducees or Kingdom?

As I look at the intentions of God to provide for the advancement of the kingdom I started a journey of reflection of the early church. As the early church was put in place in the earth they were positioned to be a voice of authority in the spiritual realm of cities and regions. The true church defined by kingdom definition is the one moving in authority, carrying Gods breath with a fresh life-giving flow, ones esteeming each other and ones who love the lost that are longing for hope to be free. All the churches related to Paul as an apostolic father and he allowed each to have their own expression of spiritual life. There was not a central form of government but a kingdom structure and relationship alignment that allowed freedom of expression to be formed.

I wonder how today Paul would view the current church structures we have built with over 600 denominations and so many expressions with the bulk not relating to any apostolic father and having such diverse believe systems. It seems to me Paul would probably be rebuking them openly, and then if not repentant would be dis-fellowshipping many churches that would reject Gods ordained means of oversight. Paul would probably look at these religious positions as equal to Sadducees and Pharisees and forms of religion but denying the power of God to work through them. Disconnected to the kingdom and thus really not fully Christian or Christ like. Perhaps they would be looked at as new young believers but not truly disciples.

During the time of Christ and the New Testament era, the Sadducees were aristocrats. They tended to be wealthy and held powerful positions, including that of chief priests and high priest, and they held the majority of the 70 seats of the ruling council called the Sanhedrin. They seemed to be more concerned with politics than religion and being seen. They did not relate to the common man. This seems to be somewhat how the church today is viewed with the Hollywood style preacher with all the glitz’s and glamour. The other group the Sadducees who were legalistic only considered the written word to be true. The common person would relate the Pharisees who looked at oral traditions as equal to the written word. Both of these group put demands of offerings and giving upon people to support both of their traditions and to increase their positions of influence. This group to is easily seen in the current religious structures we have as well. The striving for position, jealousy, and the ladder of succession has created a great division and a spirit of competition, much like the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Paul even saw many who tried to imitate the apostles and even spoke the same messages. For these he accepted them as long as truth was presented but when truth was twisted or screwed he then would call them out and rebuke them. The woman declaring who Paul was for three days until Paul turned and rebuked her is a great example. The woman’s intention was to draw people after her and not Paul. Her insights and words were right but her intentions and motive was wrong, a self promotion to make converts to follow her. She was stating I also have this believe system to add to my own so if you join me you also are joining into Christianity.

So am I saying that many places need to be rebuked? Am I saying we disassociate with many churches? I know this may not be very popular but have we allowed so many belief systems to be formed because of us not wanting to confront what we know to be false doctrine or partial doctrine? The question always comes… who has made you the spiritual police? What I am saying is we are trying so hard to fit into the overall belief systems and expressions current in our culture, instead of realizing the Kingdom stands separated from all of these. Perhaps we should be more focused on birthing new kingdom focused apostolically connected churches. What if there truly was a network of these types of churches across our nation. What if apostles and prophets were being funded by these networks? What if apostles and prophets were truly accepted and embraced by these churches and had the freedom to travel to these to encourage them? We have spent so much in America on buildings and furnishings and not on supporting leaders and those really doing the work of the kingdom. Culturally in the church we are pretty messed up in our priorities and what we deem important. Culturally we want spotless bathrooms, 4” foam chairs, light shows, bible apps instead of written word, a condensed gathering, and no real confrontation that would create change. We want a soft word to create huge returns and to do ministry when it is convenient so we can feel good about ourselves. The formula is pretty simple to have success as a ministry. Don’t confront, don’t rebuke, don’t speak on repentance, holiness, sin and above all don’t have an expectation of change. As those from China years ago said America is the only nation you can have a successful ministry and God is nowhere to be found involved in what you are doing. Dutch Sheets said a couple of years ago “We know what to say and when to say it. We know how to cheer people on and have become real good at scheming instead of strategically planning.”

As we look backward longing for “old time revival”, we look at the outcomes but seldom look at the messages. Messages that were uncompromising and demanded responses. Messages that went for 2 hours not 30 minutes. Messages that came from preachers who had been through the heart dealings like Peter did so when they delivered it came from experience and not just correct exegesis.

The apostles traveled and their needs were provided by the church as a whole. Offerings were collected before they came and presented by laying them at the apostle’s feet. The life-giving flow of their messages they brought was confronting and convicting. They were in your face and pulled no punches, yet the people appreciated the honesty they presented and also the grace they brought that enabled them to go from glory to glory. They did not withhold their offerings as we do today, if something is not to our liking, but they gave and gave abundantly.  By today’s standards Paul’s ministry endeavors and team traveling with him would cost over a million dollars a year! Nobody is moving to this degree of kingdom provision.

So some real questions arise. How much time will be spent on trying to convince those who really don’t what to change and come into more of a kingdom expression? I for one am so tired of going to so many pastoral driven leadership meetings and seeing so little revelation, truth, and life-giving flow being presented. I look for the breath of God that creates and seldom find the anointing to speak for a few minutes under the spirits unction. It’s time we decide to let go of any religious connection and begin to truly spend our time on what we know to be true kingdom.