I’ve had discussions over the past few weeks with people about how we are to function as a body of believers – the “Body of Christ” as we call it. I’ve sensed for several months that since many new revelations about functioning in the Kingdom Realms are being discussed, there are those who may tend to gravitate to one group or another as an exclusive source for their information/teaching/fellowship. As the Body of Christ, we are supposed to function in unity, even when we have different callings and mandates. ALL of our parts are needed to complete the “blueprint” of what Papa has for us.
All your eggs in one basket?
If you’ve ever attended church, you’ve probably been a part of a church split. Those splits are often over disagreements with (or within) the leadership, offenses over doctrinal beliefs, or simply holding grudges against leaders. None of these are appropriate reasons for leaving a group or ministry because they are all based on “I” statements… “I want this… I need this… etc..” However, there are basic beliefs that are important to hold (Jesus as Lord and Him crucified, the Trinity, etc.) and when leaving a church/ministry, I believe the exit should be on good terms, even if any doctrinal beliefs are un-Biblical. How you leave one place is how you start another. NOTE: This blog post isn’t about religions who hold alternate beliefs; it’s about those who call themselves Christian.
It seems that human nature, in a sense, is to “put all our eggs in one basket.” I see this throughout culture, and since I’m a musician, I’ll use my example from that arena. As a music major, everyone is required to have a major instrument. You take lessons on that instrument (or voice) through your entire schooling. My instrument is the clarinet and I took private lessons with a master artist of clarinet at each school that I attended. For some unsaid reason, it seems to be the expectation that you only study with that one person your entire time at any given school. My personal belief is that teachers are afraid someone else will teach you something contrary to what you’re currently being taught. If there’s any insecurity with the primary teacher, any contrary instructional comments coming from another teacher, can be taken as “that teacher thinks I’m doing it wrong.”
My musical example
While attending a school (not any that I graduated from), my major professor (clarinet teacher) about had a hissy fit when he found out that I wanted to also study with a former member of the Cleveland Orchestra. My purpose in desiring to study with this man was to learn orchestral protocol, which is different than functioning as a soloist and/or chamber musician. The focus on the literature is very different. Up to that point, I’d never studied with someone who made their career as an orchestral musician; I’d always studied with clarinetists who were soloists, teachers, and chamber musicians. My strength was as a soloist – not an orchestral musician. And, my major professor had very little experience as an orchestral musician. It would seem natural that I’d want to expand my horizons a bit. The long and short of it… I ended up leaving that school because my professor could never get over the fact that I wasn’t totally devoted to him and what he was teaching me. He saw studying with this other person as competition.
Because of my experiences as a music student, I have molded my teaching style to include “I don’t always have the answers so, when you get the opportunity to take lessons from someone else, do it!” Everyone has a different style and sometimes, combining styles/methods eventually helps the learner put all the pieces together. For example, I may talk about rhythm to a student who never seems to get it. Then, someone presenting a masterclass comes along, explaining it slightly different, and it finally clicks with that student. As a teacher, I should be overjoyed that my student finally got it, even if I’m not the one who happened to be around when the light comes on. It takes not allowing yourself to be insecure and/or offended. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to be offended (remember, being offended is a choice), especially when an adjudicator at a festival tells a student (in front of me) that he/she needs a new private teacher. Yes… that actually happened, more than once. Because I play piano for my students at festivals, many adjudicators don’t realize I’m that student’s teacher. It always makes for an interesting lesson right after this happens.
Engaging the Presence of God
Now, let’s take the focus back to Kingdom dynamics. There will be incorrect teachings and/or those that have partial truths, or misunderstandings, or showing lack of personal experience, or a myriad of other possibilities. No one person or ministry has all the answers. Each has a piece to the puzzle and when combined as a whole, it’s much easier to see the overall picture. This is why we’re told to divide the wheat from the chaff; take what’s good and throw the rest away. And, might I add, we should never go to church expecting the worship team to “lead us into” God’s Presence. We should go expecting to ascend into the Glory and Presence of God despite what the worship team does or doesn’t do. Worship leaders, it’s not up to YOU to make sure everyone in the congregation has an “experience” with God when you lead worship; we all have a choice to enter in.
I’ve seen people totally leaving one ministry to focus on another because they think it has the answer or the latest greatest thing going on. Again, this has been our pattern or M.O. (mode of operation) for as long as I’ve known. I think this is one reason some people hop from conference to conference or church to church. They go looking for things to feed themselves when they should be looking to Papa first. I heard someone quote a study where people were asked the purpose of church. If I remember correctly, over 80% responded that the responsibility of the church is to feed people and bring them into relationship with God. In other words… it’s all about what the church can do for me. What is wrong with this? It’s someone else doing something that we should be doing ourselves. WE are responsible for our relationship with God, not our pastor, ministry, spouse, friend, or whomever else we may be close to.
Learning to be a student
Maybe because I’ve been both a student and teacher most of my life, I have tried to look at things from more than one angle. Currently, I’m an integral part of three different ministries. They are not connected and each have a different mandate, or “call” in what Papa has asked them to do. I’ve found that balancing between the three can be a bit challenging at times (time wise) but, I find that they each present information in a manner that’s slightly different and when I take all those pieces and put them together, I have a greater understanding on what I’m called to do. I actually follow about ten different ministries and glean from all of them, even though a couple have a teaching or two that’s a bit off.
I’m not looking for the latest “word of the Lord” from anyone because I’m going directly to Papa with my questions. I’m learning to be on my seat of rest and govern my life from that position, in Christ. And, it’s made a HUGE difference in the way I think and act. The key? It’s all about practicing! Not that I want to advertise what I do but, if you’d like some assistance in learning how to practice, CLICK HERE for more information about a self-paced class where you can find your own method of learning to engage the Kingdom Realms of God.
In closing, I encourage everyone reading this to seek Papa yourself for direction in all things. As you become a part of ministries, attend conferences, or follow organizations, they should assist in your efforts where you take what’s given to you and develop that into your own process of engaging God. If you find something that seems off or odd, take it to Papa and let Him talk to you about it. Please don’t throw out everything a person/ministry has said, even if some of the information is wrong! Remember to separate the wheat from the chaff and NEVER talk against another ministry or person. Your words create and negative spoken stuff just boomerangs back on you. Is that what you want? There’s a scripture that talks about learning to control the tongue like a rudder on a ship and how hard that can be. My father said to us growing up, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” My dad is a very wise man.