In 1985, a former drug addict and violent gang member named Misha was freed after five years from a hard-labor prison camp in Siberia. To most people, he was simply the son of a street prostitute and a runaway father. Then the miracles began.
While pausing to listen at a street service in Moscow, he was converted to Jesus Christ. At age 24, he returned to his hometown in Russia and immediately was met with hatred and mistrust. Too many of them still remembered his violent past. But, in spite of his tarnished reputation, a childhood friend, who was now a Christian lady, learned to love him and married this former skin-head. What happened next is a remarkable testimony to the saving power of Jesus Christ.
Continuing to serve the Lord, Misha gained the trust of more and more Christian believers by his steadfastness, zeal, and hard work to see others accept Christ. In 1989, he organized a church named “The House of Compassion.” But, what really is the miracle of this anointed leader is not the organizing of a church; rather it is the impact that Misha has had on this city of 300,000 people. Everywhere Misha goes people call out his name with love and respect. His church has started and operates more than 24 ministries in this heavily polluted city that was once the feared headquarters of Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks.
Misha told me on one occasion that he believed the words of Mark 6:7, that Jesus had given Him the power to be anointed and victorious. He proved his faith, having in six years started ministries to feed and clothe the poor or homeless, administer medicine and nursing care to street people, to begin a homeless shelter for battered women, a housing placement program for runaway children, a transportation system for the needy, a program to minister assistance to the elderly, a school to teach English, and many more ministries. Oh, by the way, he and his wife have adopted six orphans and have two of their own children.
Yet, he works for the Lord full-time and lives on a personal salary of less than $400 a month! As I went around the city and met city officials and businessmen, my heart was moved by one anointed to lead. Everyone knew Misha and called him, “the man of God.”
In Mark 16:15-18, Jesus commissions his disciples: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover’”(NASB).
This scriptural passage took on urgency for me while visiting on one of my trips into Russia. On that occasion I had the opportunity to meet Dale Witt, a wonderful and godly man who lost his wife soon afterwards. At the time, he served as the International Director of Global Advance.
As I listened to him speak one evening, he shared some statistics I couldn’t help but start writing down. Here are a few of them: Every day, 15 million Christians around the world will say “Good morning” to God! Every day around the world, 15,000 persons will accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. In fact, 15 new churches are organized in the world every day!
This could make me truly excited if it wasn’t for three other sobering things he mentioned. The first, 95 percent of all Christians have never led anyone to accept Jesus Christ! Over 70 percent of the preaching in North America is about Christian character, while only 10 percent is about the delivering power of Christ and His saving grace! He stated that if we continue the present pace of evangelism of children and youth in North America, by 2035 Christians would be the smallest religious group on their continent.
All of this is happening while in most nations we have the greatest global revival in history taking place. Like many of you, I do not intend to be a part of a tragic possibility like this because I believe in God’s power to save. We desperately need to be anointed to lead this emerging generation to pass on their growing faith!
The Three Things Jesus Taught His Disciples
As one reads the gospels, there are three things that Jesus repeatedly commanded of His disciples. From Matthew to John, it is stated in various ways or orders but the message remains the same. Therefore, what He taught the twelve disciples is still relevant and applicable to us who are His disciples today. Read this command by Jesus to all His disciples in Mark 6:7–13.
“And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits; and He instructed them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a mere staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belt—but to wear sandals; and He added, “Do not put on two tunics.” And He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town. Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.’ They went out and preached that men should repent. And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them”(NASB).
Did you catch those three vital commands? Salvation—We are to LEAD LOST PEOPLE to Jesus Christ. Deliverance—We are to CAST OUT EVIL SPIRITS (the devil). Healing—We are to HEAL THE SICK!
Unfortunately, too many believers have been distracted and have forgotten that these three things are the primary focus of their church. Somehow they drift into making other things their central purpose for existing. Sometimes churches are more excited about their monthly fellowship than they are about a soul being saved. Even pastors can get caught up in the task of simply “keeping everyone happy.” But, it is not how to dress, how to act in church, not where to go or not go, it is not even to teach people to be able to recite Scriptures; rather, it is a need for passion to encourage and focus on those three commands of Jesus! If we are anointed to lead, we will no longer be content with having church or preaching the church.
The Four Areas of Anointed Leadership1
The apostle Paul takes the command of Jesus and helps us to see how it can be accomplished from the level of every local church. In fact, in the ministry of Christ and in the history of the Early Church of the New Testament, we can recognize four groups that are evidenced as causing growth in the church:
Goers—This group was symbolized by Jesus when He told the parable of “The Fish and the Net” in Matthew 13:47–51. If you have a King James Bible, notice that it calls it a “dragnet;” this was a net that they literally drug along the bottom of the sea. Most of the time, they got the dirtiest and ugliest of fish. Do you know who the “goers” are in the church? They are the evangelists, pastors, church planters, jail workers, hospital
volunteers, and those gifted to enter homes to help hurting people. We are to go out to the dirtiest and ugliest and bring them in with the net of the Gospel. This is your calling. Don’t ask what kind of fish the others would want; you are the ones “called” by God to bring all into the net.
Servants—This group is represented by the story of “The Basin and the Towel.” It takes place in Simon the Pharisee’s home in Luke 7:36-38, but it concerns the willingness of a despised person to be a servant to the ministry and person of Jesus. Can a believer be anointed to lead while serving? This symbolizes those who may not be in the limelight or gifted as preachers or teachers, but they are service-minded people, believers who love to serve the daily needs of the work of Jesus in their local church and community. Without them, every church would soon become anemic and irrelevant to their neighbors. These servant attitudes lead in the unorthodox ways by mowing the church lawn, fixing the church lights, cleaning bathrooms, or arranging flowers for the sanctuary. But, God bless those who see their “act of service” as a calling to help reach the lost! They are servants who help by doing something that helps others be free to go to the lost.
Givers—Jesus uses the example of “The Bread and the Basket” in the gospels to represent this group of people. It takes place outside in the midst of a large outreach effort by Jesus to reach lost people. This kind of need requires more than just a person who does their normal duty in the offering. In John 6:5-11, Jesus elevates a lad who is willing to give his lunch to the Lord without even knowing what will be the result of his sacrifice. Thank God for those who are givers like this young boy! A GIVER is someone who is anointed with a heart of giving beyond the average believer. In many cases, they are an individual who is successful in business, or they may be a retired person or someone blessed with a resource who realizes that God desires to use them to help finance or support the work of God. Unfortunately, we do not recognize this group enough and give them proper honor for their anointing. But, if we are to go with power, we need them to lead us in underwriting critical ministries.
Pray-ers—This fourth group is indispensable in reaching the lost and helping grow the church. They are not just people who pray, but pray-ers are individuals who are especially “anointed by God” within the assembly of believers to pray for the harvest. Even before the ministry of Jesus began, this group was symbolized in Zacharias through the burning incense before the altar. In Luke 1:11-16, we see the fruitfulness of his fervent and persistent
ministry. We will never reach the lost or see our churches growing continually until we have this faithful group that God calls in every group of believers to “give themselves” continually to pray and intercede to the Lord of the harvest. This group must be unleashed in every church until it is a common sight to see their incense of prayer and their robes of purity honoring Jesus. These anointed will lead their congregations by bringing spiritual awareness toward the lost. When an anointed group like this is in a church, God’s power is unleashed!
A Challenge for Those Anointed to Lead
A few years back, I came across a youth magazine that seemed really far out and strange until I saw what they were trying to do. They were committed to reaching the youth generation with a different approach through Christian hip-hop music. Their foremost ministry is a magazine called What’s the Word? In their June 2005 issue, they gave a report of “the dying state” of churches in North America. In that article, they reported the following warning: “Did you know that 95 percent of the people in America who become Christians do so before the age of 25? If Christians don’t reach people with the Gospel before they reach the age of 25, they are going to miss 95 percent of them.”
We are people who have been redeemed (delivered), but if we are anointed to lead, we must overcome the bondage holding too many churches and communities. Either our God is a God of redemption from sin, deliverance from demonic spirits, victorious over all obstacles, and a provider of abundance, or He is no God at all! Could it be that some of us are serving an “inferior idea” of God, but not the mighty God of Israel? Jesus by His own actions would become the first testimony or witness for God. He would become the first martyr to spread the message of a new vision of hope.
Pastors, lead your people out into your community (as Jesus did with His disciples) to be martyrs (one who gives up his life for God)! Children of God, where is our sacrifice today for the Gospel of Christ? God wants to change us! It is time to stop being unproductive; it is time to go with new vision and confidence in our future; it is time to lead with anointing! We are at a pivotal point in history.
We are either going to become relevant or we are going to become extinct! Anyone who doubts this has not been reading or watching news reports. As I travel and meet with many new believers, they are determined not to be sidelined into obscurity and irrelevance. They are refusing to get sidetracked by squabbling over denominational opinions, past history, or negative people. They refuse to allow their local church to inherit a “small vision mentality.” They are going to go out with Holy Spirit anointing. Jesus has brought us the power to redeem people from sin, to heal infirmities, to bring deliverance to the addicted, and to win a new generation of youth and children to Christ Jesus. Anyone ready to lead and be victorious?
Dr. Wallace Pratt, Overseer, Idaho, Oregon, and Utah
1S.D. Gordon. Quiet Talks on Service. Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, MI, 1980, pages 87-88.