Same Gift. Different Administration.

Fellow Young Minister,

Merry Christmas! I hope its going well for you on the road. I hear traveling weekly and preaching can get pretty lonely and presents its unique challenges. People are expecting you to show up with the same results everywhere you go, yet each church you’re with has a large variety of differences that show up. Talk about pressure. We know, its only pressure if we let it become so. But, I remember you mentioned how you felt the people expecting you to preach a certain way, because you are an evangelist; which typically means people are going to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, be baptized in Jesus name, miracles and healings are going to show up. Despite the expectations of the people, you mentioned you went ahead and followed God’s Spirit and there was demonstration of the Spirit and of power. This letter is not about the definition of demonstration, but I’m thankful for how you said that you focused on just “doing the will of God, and staying in your lane”. That really went a long way with me. I decided to look into the office God has appointed for you, from a biblical perspective, and the subject became bigger than I thought it would be. I have other friends called to the same office and became very intrigued, because while the Spirit and gift is the same, the administrations are different (1 Corinthians 12:1-4).

In Acts 8, Philip, biblically-known as an evangelist, went about Samaria preaching to people who had not heard of Jesus, having miracles and deliverance confirm the preaching (Acts 21:8). Likewise, people were being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, but no one was receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We don’t hear of Philip getting frustrated over why none were receiving the Spirit, he simply sends word for Jerusalem to send Peter and John. These two apostles show up and Samaritans receive the Spirit. EVERYONE rejoices.

There are a few things I want to denote before going further. Philip ACKNOWLEDGES that there is still a need not yet met, that another individual is gifted for. In the same manner, when people receive the Spirit after Peter and John show up, we don’t hear of Philip thinking he’s a good-for-nothing evangelist. It doesn’t stop there. An angel speaks to Philip to pack his bags and go to a desert where he finds ONE man, an Ethiopian eunuch. He proceeds to preach Jesus to this man, who reads the Scriptures, and baptizes the man in the middle of the desert. Then, God literally translates Philip to another region, like straight out of the movie “Jumper”. What’s astounding to me is that Philip is fully confident in his office and gifting, whether or not he was ministering to a whole region, one man, people received the Spirit, or people were being baptized. I wonder how many places Philip would be “invited to preach” nowadays, if no one ever received the Spirit where he went. Nevertheless, God would speak to him and Philip would listen. Peter had his place. John had his place. Philip had his place. ALL were effective.

Allow me to take this further. You know who else was gifted as an evangelist? Timothy (2 Timothy 4:5). The Scripture emphasizes that Timothy needed to be intentional about making “full proof” of his ministry. Yet, we discover that Paul had STATIONED Timothy in the region of Ephesus (1 Timothy 1). So how does one make full proof of their ministry, as an evangelist, when you’re stationed? We see here that the office of an evangelist isn’t limited to an “itinerant preacher” that’s invited to church services. Paul fully expected Timothy to appoint elders at Ephesus and still grow as an evangelist. It is for this very reason, I believe that Paul told Timothy to “not neglect the gift” that was within him (1 Timothy 4:14). Biblically, evangelists are individuals that are gifted for bearing the good news to SINNERS, not saints. Many times, we call traveling preachers evangelists, when they really may be operating as an apostle, prophet, pastor, or even teacher. I have witnessed young ministers become frustrated or skeptical of God’s gifting for them because it was not administered in the same manner others administered their gifting. They felt called to be an “evangelist” but never had “preaching opportunities” show up. Consequently, they felt like the bible studies they taught, souls won, and evangelistic equipping done in the local church weren’t good enough for a phone call to preach somewhere else. When in fact, it was the most terrifying thing that young evangelist could do to the kingdom of darkness in their hometown – and more importantly, to glorify the name of Jesus Christ.

Scripture talks about the “same Spirit” distributing “manifestations”, “administrations”, and “ministries” to every individual in the church (1 Corinthians 12). I would apply this principle to the five offices in Ephesians 4, as well. The same office, but a different manifestation or placement. BOTH just as effective. All evangelists are traveling preachers, but not all traveling preachers are evangelists. Whether or not traveling takes place right down the street, you’re traveling towards the destination of a soul’s heart, in order for God to intervene where they are at. I love how the Lord has such diversities of gifts in His body, and ALL MATTER. Paul talks about how the “unseemly” and overlooked ones end up mattering the most (1 Corinthians 12:23). It gave me so much encouragement to find this out, because our Lord really has a part for all of us to contribute through. Likewise, I am grateful and excited to know that I will continue to see God glorified in the manners He is through your life, in the years to come. It may be that you are in the same place Timothy was, in 20 years from now; but, God won’t be done doing marvelous things through you.

I suppose I can end this letter with saying, we’ve all received gifts from Jesus on our spiritual Christmas, and we rejoice that though our administrations may be different, the gift and Spirit is one and the same. Thankful to be partnering with you.

Merry Christmas!

You Mean, Me? Yes, You.

Fellow Young Minister,

I am writing to you because I want to let you know I believe in you as a Kingdom partner in the Lord. I was very confused at times wondering if I was “called” or not. I mean I KNEW I was called, but I didn’t know WHEN I was called – rather, I didn’t know when I was going to step into it. We hear “calling” a lot, don’t we? We’ve been in some powerful services together and separately, where we so strongly FELT that mission from God, to do SOMETHING. Then time after time, saw our friends or peers doing SOMETHING significant in the Lord, and we were in awe. You know, there’s only so many microphones to speak from during a service. I used to get so frustrated in the beginning because I didn’t understand the concept of roles in the Kingdom.

Roles. Not the Texas Roadhouse rolls, but the roles where I do something that is in alignment with God’s mission, and you do something that is in alignment with God’s mission. But, what I am doing doesn’t overturn or obstruct what you’re doing – and vice versa. It’s God’s mission. So when I hear people are receiving the Holy Ghost when our buddies preach, victory is ours too! I’m so thankful! I have been so jealous of wanting to see God glorified in such a manner that I started praying for them because I want to be involved with what’s happening. They wouldn’t mind my prayers showing up, anyway. That’s why they’re our friends. 

And that means you, too. I haven’t “preached” a Sunday service in awhile. In fact, I currently cannot remember the last time I held a microphone. What’s the deal with the microphone anyway? Jesus never used one and “pulpit” only shows up once in the Bible. Not to mention, it is very likely I have become more edified by my Pastor’s intimate leadership, daily prayers, and personal investments with me, than the allotted time of preaching from the pulpit in our church building. Don’t you love our pastors? They’re God’s chosen leaders for us.

You inspire me. You’re faithful unto the Lord and rock solid. That’s much of what we are going to be called anyway, when we get to the other side: “good and faithful servant”. We don’t always think so of ourselves, I know, but He does. It’s probably because we define the “successful” ones as “great and powerful”. The ones we love! I’m not saying we should change that up, really. But we can’t forget the grandest of our Lord’s compliments will be that: “good and faithful”. If you won’t remind yourself of your integrity, I’ll remind you of yours.

You showed up to the youth functions when it didn’t “apply” to you. You know what I mean by that statement. You greeted that young person when it was their first visit to the church service. You took a few moments before the service and reconsidered why you were even there. That tells me you sought to be purposeful in your attendance, whether or not your flesh was screaming at the top of its lungs the whole service. You liked the posts where our peers saw demonstrations of the Spirit and of power, and God used them. You’re about the Kingdom. Jesus told us that that was the first thing we ought to seek. I love your passion. You put on music that helps you focus on God and you’re studying to know God, not to preach. Furthermore, I saw you look at that person when we went out to eat and contemplate how you were going to pray for them or invite them to service. I love you for who you are in God and who God is in you. That’s the kind of heart I pray for, at least. So I’ll speak it over myself, too. You are a minister of integrity. I heard this statement recently, “in worship, we need less industry and more priesthood.” That’s who you are. You’re a royal priest, and a mighty one in my estimation. I discovered biblical might is capacity of strength, while strength is the effort and execution of it. If you don’t believe me, read Strong’s H3581 and compare it with Strong’s H202.

You are so capable. I know it burns inside of you. You can pray prayers that no one else can pray. My my my. I need you and your prayers. Our friends need you and your prayers. The Kingdom needs you and your prayers. You can touch God like nobody else can.

Thanks for taking the time to read my letter. I have one more thing to share. You know I can be long-winded. I found out that Paul asked for prayer from every single church except one. And the problems that local church faced were about doing spiritual things through the flesh and believing in another Jesus (Galatia). I’m so glad to call you my friend, because you’re not looking for excuses to do either. I need that in my life. Golly, we all do. I’ve had some carnal moments and you helped me out. I hope to catch up some time. I had to write you this letter because your words burned in me, from the last time we spoke, like the words of Jesus burned in the hearts of those men on the road to Emmaus. Yeah, just like Jesus that day, we can go unrecognized, too. Yet, those men couldn’t escape the impact of Jesus, and neither can we escape yours. I’m thankful the Lord is using you mightily.

I hope to hang out soon.