By Pastor Bob Myers
I often hear people say that God anointed a song, sermon, conference, book or event. That’s wrong. God only anoints people. God does not anoint songs, sermons, books or strategies. God does anoint song-writers, preachers, leaders and authors. God only anoints people. Not products.
We love our programs, our credentials, our vision statements, our creeds and our strategies. These things are sometimes useful, sometimes they are even necessary. But God has never anointed any of those things. If those things live, it is because the people who embody them are anointed by the Holy Spirit.
Churches are dying in Doylestown not for lack of programs, buildings, preacher’s credentials, or even sound doctrinal statements but because there are no Spirit filled people to embody them.
People are the only vessels God uses. God fills nothing else. Every ministry that has ever gotten traction has happened not because of a structure or a strategy. Even Biblical teaching has to come through a person.
God puts His Spirit only in Image-Bearers. We sometimes think it’s humble to deflect praise by saying, “it’s not me”. It’s a distortion of reality when we speak that way. It’s never just you or me when we’re being used, but it’s never less than you or me when we’re being used. Christ in me is the force of spiritual power and ministry.
God generally chooses to work with human agents. Not without us. Not apart from us. Not against us. God conveys His flawless glory through flawed, Spirit-filled, agents.
The Lord lifts up “the light of His countenance” upon us (Number 6:26). “Those who look to the Lord are radiant, their faces are never covered with shame” (Psalm 34). “As for the saints who are in the land, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight” (Psalm 16). “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh” (Joel 2 and Acts 2). ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty (Zechariah 4:6).
We often look for spiritual short cuts. A program, a novel method, a new approach. One thing I’ve learned over years of ministry is that Christ-filled people drive everything. Programs rise or fall based on those who lead them. I have seen ministries in our own church experience ebb and flow and it is always traced back to this. Your small group is only as spiritually vital as the person leading it and the people in it. A care ministry will only convey the care of Christ if the people are Christ-filled. You can’t give what you don’t have.
People are the change agents. Nothing else is. Nothing less than a person can accomplish Christ’s purpose.
Spirit-anointed people have supernatural energy. The Holy Spirit empowers us so that we channel His energy into action.
Many times, they start a program, or they lead out in a bold and faith filled way. They might bring needed organization and order. They might bring a better mission strategy. But the power commenced because the Holy Spirit touched down through a person.
So, the Bible shapes my answer to the old question, what’s most important, people or process, relationship or getting things done? One thing precedes the other. The reason things get done in the Spirit’s power is Spirit-anointed people. The reason any strategies and structures live is that people filled with the Spirit inhabit them. God anoints nothing else on this fallen earth than a redeemed woman or man.
1. This should make us desperate to pray. We are utterly helpless to bring this about. It should humble us and embolden us. This is why Moses prayed, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here." (Exodus 33:15). This is my prayer as I walk around our new construction.
2. Pray for people. The most important thing that I, or any other Christian does is to draw my strength from Jesus and cultivate a deep, honest, desperately real relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray for our church by praying for people. Pray for leadership and staffing and volunteers. Pray for current staff vacancies to be filled with anointed people. We know that God works directly upon nothing else, nothing less, than a surrendered and anointed person.
3. Stir up your own gifts and faith. “Fan into flame the gift of God that is within you” (2 Timothy 2). Recognize that no one but you has the responsibility for bringing your life to the Source of all lively spirituality and strength. If you can’t bring this, stop doing what you’re doing. Resign your position. Stop going through the motions until you seek God.
The tap root, the fountain, the catalytic force and power of all ministry is the Spirit of God working in and through people. No substitutions. No exchanges. Everything else is less than and inadequate. Nothing else can replace this.