God With the Flow of Your Anointing!

It is very important that each one of us:

  • recognize who we are and what God has called us to do,
  • go with the flow of our anointing,
  • find what we love to do, and do it,
  • follow our heart, not just our head,
  • function where we can, not where we "ought" or "should,"
  • do what we find easiest and most enjoyable, and
  • live an authentic life.

Each of these are just different ways of saying the same thing.

Conformed

Christians are fond of quoting the first few verses of Romans 12.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

The Phillips translation says,

"Do not let the world squeeze you into its mold."

This is a good and proper emphasis. But, some of us were in just as much danger of being conformed to the expectations of the church system. This system dictated that if we had any ministry gifts at all they were to be channelled toward our becoming "pastors." After all, to "pastor a church" was the highest calling on earth.

Well, I spent 20 years of my life in Pentecostal "Pastoral ministry" of one kind or another. I have also spent the next 20 years recovering from the same. I have a legitimate call to a Five-Fold Ministry function but no matter how much I prayed, fasted, claimed, named, or practised, I have neither the gifting nor the grace to pastor people one-on-one. Neither am I equipped to provide administrative leadership within the church or community in any way at all. Those two things are so much beyond my "gift mix" that today the very thought of doing them makes me nauseous. Some would say I am called to be a Pray-er/Preacher/Prophet/Writer. All I really claim to be is a struggling pray-er, and a reluctant writer. My spirit soars when I pray and write (but my flesh often cringes.)

Quit Pastoring

I was conditioned early. From the age of six or seven, whenever anyone asked me, "What are you going to be when you grow up?" my immediate answer was, "I am going to be a pastor." I would then be patted on the head and told what a good boy I was.

Unfortunately, I had no better idea of what it means to be a "pastor" than do most people. In other words, I did not have a clue. When the Lord told me some years ago to step out of "pastoral ministry" for a season I had no idea that the season would be for the rest of my life. I was long overdue for a major paradigm shift. I had to learn several important things.

  • First, true pastoring means caring for the sheep, not leading a congregation.
  • Second, leadership of a congregation is the joint responsibility of the local Elders. The Elders fulfill the five ministry functions of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers. (Ephesians 4: 11-12)
  • Third, I have no call to lead a team of Elders, or to function as a Pastor on that team.

During my years
as "Pastor Ken
I was not moving
in the flow
of my authentic anointing.
I was an actor
on a stage.

During my years as "Pastor Ken" I was not moving in the flow of my authentic anointing. I was an actor on a stage. From my childhood I read, studied, and observed. I even became an understudy (an "assistant pastor"). But, it lacked reality. It was always a role. Learning to become real has been a perplexing and often painful process. However, the moments of authenticity I have experienced have been well worth the agony of the struggle.

Major Paradigm Shift

I was not the only one long overdue for a major paradigm shift. The whole church needs to be reeducated. We need to learn to be who we really are, and do what God really wants us to do. Sometimes we have to be dissuaded from the lies we have believed before we can see the way and walk in the truth.

My reeducation process is still very much ongoing. It took some time but when the Lord finally got it through my thick head that I am not called to "pastoral" ministry. He then graciously showed me what are my actual areas of anointing.

God's Questions

I will never forget it. I was sitting on the small wharf in front of our cottage, enjoying the beauty and tranquillity of a cool and calm day, spending time in fellowship with the Lord. Suddenly He asked me a question. (Now, I have learned that when God asks a question He is about to teach me an important Life Lesson.) "Why do you think you only ‘pastored' small churches?" I have ‘pastored' three small churches, two of which were in the denomination in which I grew up. The last was a little Home Church.

The question made me feel inadequate. I hesitantly said, "Why Lord? Why did I always ‘pastor' small numbers?" The Lord told me it was because I did not have an anointing for any more than that. "The size of your churches was an indication of the level of your pastoral anointing. In the first church you had a small amount for a small group. In the second you had a larger group. Your pastoral anointing was almost at its greatest possible level of development. Finally, in your Home Church, it was at the full extent of the pastoral anointing you now have. A thimble full." Ouch! "You were born with just a thimble full of pastoral anointing. You developed that into a bucket, and ultimately through diligence it became a barrel. No matter what you did, that barrel was never going to get any larger."

Prayer Anointing

Then He showed me something that both delighted me, and "blew me out of the water." He said, "Let me show you how much of a prayer anointing you have." He then flashed on the internal screen of my imagination a barrel. He said, "Your pastoral anointing has reduced from a barrel to a bucket, back to a thimble. Your prayer anointing has developed from a barrel to a lake, and can become an ocean."

Then He asked me, "In which anointing do you want to live? Your pastoral anointing, or your prayer anointing? Are you not glad that I took you out of something for which you are so ill equipped?"

I spent the next few days
in worship and praise,
thanking Him profusely
for my deliverance
from the "pastorate.".

Glad? I was flabbergasted! I spent the next few days in worship and praise, thanking Him profusely for my deliverance from the "pastorate."

Buckets and Barrels

I realized several things.

  • No matter how hard I worked, how diligently I endeavoured to grow and expand, my pastorates would always have been small. I would have lived out my days overextended, overstressed, and missing the true of joy of serving God in the peace, delight, and grace of who I truly am.
  • I also saw that the absolute fullest extent to which I could develop my pastoral ministry - through diligent work, hard labour, and rigorous self discipline - was the measure of where my prayer anointing begins. I could never have more than one hard-fought-for barrel of ability to care for the sheep as a "pastor," in either the traditional or the Biblical sense. But I was born with the grace and gifting of a barrel of prayer anointing. Amazing!
  • The total anointing in which I could operate as a pastor, exerting great effort, is the amount of anointing I operate in as a pray-er doing nothing. It is just there. No stress, no strain, not striving at all. Easy. Pure. Simple.

And with just a little bit of application, it could become a lake, and then a large lake. Eventually, in His day and design, it can even become an ocean.

Since we were talking, I decided to ask God some questions.

"Well Lord, how much anointing do I have to teach?" He told me I started with a bucket that could become a barrel, and eventually a small lake.

"Prophecy?" A barrel that could become a small lake, and eventually a large lake.

"Evangelism?" This one amused me. I have almost no grace for evangelism at all. In fact, I look with wonder at those who flow so effortlessly in this marvellous gift. He showed me an eye dropper, and three drops coming out. That is my total supply of evangelistic anointing for one year.

"Apostolic?" The Lord was unwilling to even talk to me about that. So be it.

Leadership?

It was some time after that day on the dock that I came to realize that to pastor means to be among those who care for the flock, not lead the congregation. When that simple truth dawned in the darkness of my mind I asked the Lord another question. "Since I now know how much pastoral anointing I have, how much anointing do I have to be a church leader?" The Lord was gracious to answer my question immediately. "You have one cup of leadership anointing. Just enough to live your own life." I laughed out loud at that one. I also realized that if I used that cup to lead, or serve in any administrative position, I would not have enough left over to enable me to function well as an individual. I, like so many, am called to be an influence, not an administrator. The very idea of making decisions that affects people’s lives makes me terrified.

Flow With Your Anointing

We are frequently asked the question, "What is your calling?" A better question is, "What are you anointed to do?" Life is so much better when you go with the flow of your anointing. If we flow with our anointing we have both the gifting and the grace to do what is necessary, and with joy.

What a radical notion! God only wants us to do what we enjoy. Serving Him is meant to be a pleasure. If we are doing what we "ought" rather than that for which we are anointed, we "should not." This is not to say that there is no work involved. There certainly is. But it is joyous work for which we are uniquely suited.



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