QUALIFYING FOR MINISTRY
By Apostle Richard Wright
Over the past few months, I have felt myself under a new burden for the Church. I keep hearing the phrase "set the house in order". Also, I see some things going on in the Church today that are causing my spirit to grieve. I even see this in many calling themselves "apostolic reformation" churches.
What I see and hear is this: Most ministries are emphasizing outreach to the nations. They are sending "missionaries" and a lot of money to foreign nations, yet their own house is not in order. Most often there are even those in their own house who are in need both spiritually and naturally but those needs are neglected in order to "save the world".
I hear apostles today using the phrase "apostolic strategies", such as "apostolic strategies to take the nations", "apostolic strategies to take our cities", etc. I am grieved over this as I can see Jesus weeping over His Church. We are famous for putting the cart before the horse and the Lord is calling out to us today to stop and take a good look at our priorities. I personally believe that the true apostolic strategy for today is to first get our own house in order. This is what He is saying and saying it very loudly. Perhaps we are not listening because we think our house IS in order.
"It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the Church of God?)" (1 Timothy 3:1-5, NAS)
I realize that this passage is speaking of the qualifications for leadership and is primarily directed toward the ministers' home, but I would like for us to expand this thought and direct it toward the Church, especially in light of today's message concerning sonship. If we do not understand what the Lord is saying concerning getting our house in order, then we must reexamine scripture and open our eyes to the simplicity of the gospel.
Many are praying for revival and believing for the end-time harvest, but have not first prepared their own house to receive and care for the very thing they are praying for. As an "apostolic reformation" people, are the saints being adequately trained, equipped, unified and matured for the work of the ministry? (Eph 4:11-16)
Does the training of these saints begin with them getting their homes in order and dealing with character issues? This is the method Jesus used when training His disciples (Matthew, chapters 5-7).
"But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Timothy 5:8)
"...and especially for those of his own household; that is, who are of the same household of faith with him; see Galatians 6:10, (So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.), and so the Aramaic version renders it, "and especially those who are the children of the house of faith".
I believe that we (the church in America) are unqualified to send ministries and money to other nations because...our own house is not first set in order.
"My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you..." (Galatians 4:19) Here the apostle Paul is addressing the Church as a family...as a father speaking to his children. He is speaking to the Church as a household of faith and telling them that he will be in their face until Christ is formed in them. What makes any of us believe that he would not do the same with today's Church if he were here today? What makes us believe that just because someone has an anointing, they are qualified to minister? Jesus' disciples had to prove themselves in character before being sent. Timothy had to prove himself before being sent. "But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father." (Philippians 2:22)
There are many other passages of scripture that would indicate that our first priority in ministry must be to get our house in order. So goes the home, so goes the Church, so goes the world!
1 Timothy 4:12 says, "Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe." Until we can be a living example of true christianity, we need to stay home and get it in godly order, in our speech, our conduct, our love, faith and purity. The house must also be governed by biblical order as well as being guided by the Spirit of God.
Together, we can do all that we are called to do if we only follow HIS pattern.