Calvary Chapel Ministries
By Larry Taylor
[No copyright was printed or to be seen on this text]
Table of Contents
- Not By Might
- The Servant of the Lord Must Not Strive
- Blessed are the Flexible
- Where God Guides, He Provides
- Learn to be the Servant of All
- Minister to Others
- Sheep Beget Sheep
- Be Submissive and Loyal
- Emphasize what God has Done for Us, Not What We Can Do for God
- Feed, Don't Beat the Sheep
- Present the Word of God in a Loving, Relaxed, Relevant Manner
- Worship is Vital
- Be Balanced Theologically
- Get Your People Praying and Keep Them Praying
- When You're Confronted With That Which You Do Not Understand,
Fall Back on What You do
- Be a Shepherd not a Hireling
- God is More Interested in the Minister Than The Ministry
It is Not By Might, Nor By Power, but By My Spirit Says the Lord
of Hosts (Zech. 4:6)
It is imperative that we as pastors rely on the supernatural
power of the Holy Spirit in our ministries. Perhaps one reason why
the church has turned to secular humanistic psychology with such
enthusiasm is because it lacks the supernatural power of God.
The church is God's. Jesus said "I will build My church..." (the
personal pronouns are emphatic in the Greek). It is His work, the
problems are His problems, the people are His people. We are not
to be building our personal kingdoms, we are to be flowing with
To do so, we must seek His will for the ministry daily, confess
our personal inabilities, and rest on His strength. How easy it
is to fall into the trap of relying on self, especially in areas
that are routine.
Christian book stores, seminaries, and denominations are filled
with programs that propose to teach us how to raise money, how to
attract new folks, how to administrate, how to counsel those in
need, how to evangelize, etc., etc. But one key to the success of
Calvary Chapel is that Pastor Chuck and those who have learned from
him ignore all that. We are not interested in spiritual "how to" books
and seminars, instead we seek the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit.
We look to Him each day in prayer, we search His Word, and there
we find direction for the ministry for today. He gives us ideas
and plans, He instills vision that is breathed by His life.
So many of the programs around us are adopted from the world. Evangelism
programs are based on worldly sales techniques, administrative courses
come from business management principles, counseling techniques
come from secular psychology, the "science of church growth" is
based on demographics and marketing strategy. And of course, much
of it works in the sense that you can build a church that way. The
problem is that it's not the Lord's church, so if you build it,
you'll have to sustain and maintain it.
Laying all of that aside is hard on the flesh, but in the long run
much easier. Rather than striving to build and sustain, we can let
God do His work. It takes all the worry out of ministry. It's His
work; I can just relax and enjoy watching what He'll do. My responsibility
is simply to seek His face, rely on His Spirit, and obey Him.
When we do rely on Him, all the glory and honor goes to God. And,
we must be very careful to give Him the credit for what He does;
and, conversely, we must be careful not to blame Him for what we
do. God will not share His glory with any person, He knows we can't
handle it. All praise and glory must go to the Master Builder, the
chief cornerstone, the Head of the Body, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Servant of the Lord Must Not Strive (2 Tim. 2:24)
If you're building your kingdom, you'll find the work strenuous.
But if you can relax, rely on the supernatural power of the Holy
Spirit, with all of His gifts and glory, you'll find ministry to
be delightful. You may get tired in the work, but never of it. "Burn
out" is unthinkable if we're resting in Jesus.
As Pastor Chuck [Smith] says, "God wants inspiration, not perspiration." If
we seek to "pump up" a ministry with programs, hyped up "worship",
or charged up emotionalism, we'll not only be exhausted, but we'll
have to strive to maintain what we built. True inspiration comes
from a heart yielded fully to God, a life in a state of being continually
filled with the Holy Spirit, "speaking to ourselves in psalms, hymns,
and spiritual songs."
Pastor Chuck loves to take ventures of faith, like Jonathan of old.
He loves to just step out and see if God wants to do something.
If He doesn't desire to move in that way, that's fine, you withdraw
and move on. But sometimes, God will move mightily. He was just
waiting for someone to step out of the boat.
When you recognize that God is in charge, and Jesus is building
His own church (without our help if need be), you can relax, not
strive, not push, not worry. Sometimes if will become obvious through
the lack of fruit that God's not in a particular venture. If so,
fine, if God's not in it, let it go. That's one reason why each
part of Pastor Chuck's ministry is financially independent. That
way you're not taking away from something God is blessing to prop
up something He's not. [That's a principle straight from George
Mueller's life of faith, where money designated for one purpose,
or donated for one purpose would never be spent for another purpose.]
All of our churches and ministries don't have to be identical, maybe
God doesn't want a bookstore here or a touring music ministry there.
Let God be God. Go with the flow.
Blessed are the Flexible For They Shall Not Be Broken (See Acts
This third principle is a necessity if you're adhering to the
first two. In fact, you can't do the first two without being flexible.
Lack of flexibility is why we're often attracted to pre-packaged
programs; we like our lives to be regimented, scheduled, so we know
what to do and when. It drives our flesh crazy to not have a five
Any ministry associated with Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa must be
flexible, "instant in season and out", ready to be used of God at
any time in any way. If you're not flexible, you'll break.
In ministry, there are no interruptions, just opportunities to minister
the love of God to others. If our lives are guided by the Holy Spirit,
we need to be open to hearing and obeying His voice as He speaks
to us from His Word.
It's not necessarily wrong to have a schedule, only to be a slave
to it. Perhaps God has other plans. I planned to write letters today
and tie up administrative details, but maybe God's plan for me was
to visit in the hospital or share Christ with the letter carrier.
Walking in the Spirit implies an openness to have one's schedule
rearranged. Everything God wants done will get done.
Of course, we need to be diligent, good stewards over our time,
well organized. But simultaneously, we must be flexible, able to
accept change, willing to go wherever the Lord leads. In a big ministry
that God is blessing, you may be called on at a moments notice to
teach a Bible study, pray with someone, counsel another, or fix
the air conditioner.
The flexible never break.
Where God Guides, He Provides (see Phil 4:6,12,19)
There is never any good reason to beg for or manipulate
folks into increasing their financial commitment to the Church.
Usually when we do so it is because we are seeking to sustain
or build something of our own making. Where God guides, He provides. If
He's not providing, maybe He's not guiding.
So many ministries have been discredited by pastors and evangelists
putting the squeeze on people to give. The opposite happens at Calvary
Chapel. A while back, a woman persuaded her wealthy husband to come
with her to a Thanksgiving service at Big Calvary. Pastor Chuck
shared about how blessed we all were materially. "So, here comes
the pitch for money", the man thought. But then Pastor Chuck went
on to share that he couldn't enjoy family Thanksgiving if he knew
anyone there was in want, so he encouraged anyone in need to contact
the church office for a free turkey. The rich man was blown away,
in fact he got saved because he'd never seen a church that didn't
beg for money.
God doesn't need your money. He's not poor. The kingdom
of God is not teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.
But, you protest, the people need to learn Biblical principles of
giving so they can be blessed. Granted. So teach those principles
when you naturally get to them in the course of a verse by verse
study of Minor Prophets or Paul's Epistles, not as a special message
because your budget is low. Is our motive in teaching giving really
to bless the folks (if so, got for it), or is it rather to raise
money? We are instructed in the Bible to be "blameless", the word
means of pure motive, not sinless.
It is equally important not to ignore finances. We are to not be "slothful
in business" (Rom. 12:11, KJV). Frugality, good stewardship, being
careful with every penny of God's money is vital. As a pastor, I
never wanted to know who gave what--I don't want to treat anybody
differently than anyone else. So we set up a careful, theft proof
system to count, record and deposit tithes that did not involve
me, and a careful system of purchase orders to watch diligently
the outgo as well. Every penny at Calvary Chapel is carefully accounted
for, and used only very sparingly as the Lord directs. Even in minor
purchases, we always ask, (a) do we really need it?--and (b) is
this the best?
The Greatest in the Kingdom Must Learn to Be the Servant of All
(See Mt. 18:1-4,23; 23:11; Mk 9; Lk. 9; Lk. 22)
The way up is down. If you would stand tall in God's church,
you must learn to be on your face before Him. The Lord's way is
exactly the opposite of the world's way. It saddens me to see flow
charts in churches. If we must have a flow chart, stand it on its
end. God's order is an inverted pyramid. The "higher up" you go,
the more people you have the opportunity of serving.
God Incarnate, the Creator of the Universe, the Almighty God, girded
Himself with a towel (John 13), knelt down, and did the work of
a slave by washing His disciples' feet. Are we greater than our
Ministry means service. It means opening your eyes and seeing what
needs doing and doing it. It means that we consider no task to be
too low or common. If it needs doing, do it, don't get others to
do it, don't hire a staff to do it, do it yourself. If there's trash,
pick it up. If a light's out, change it. If the nursery is short
of help, baby-sit.
Motivated by love for God's people, it is our calling to serve them,
to make them happy and comfortable, to bless them. I once went to
Israel with Pastor Chuck and a group from the church. He led the
tour, taught 4 or 5 Bible studies on location, each day, and spent
the night running medicine to this room, encouraging that person,
helping this other one. If we're above any of that, we're not servants
of the Lord.
Every minister at Calvary Chapel lives a very simple life style.
Once you're standard of living is above your people's you are no
longer a servant.
Some people aspire to ministry but won't lift a finger to help out
in practical ways. Others are willing to help if you specifically
tell them what to do. Both drive me crazy. A true minister is a
servant, a voluntary daily slave of the people; he sees what needs
doing, and he does it. The fields are white unto harvest, but the
laborers are few. The self appointed clergymen who want prestige
are many, but workers, laborers, true servants are few. That's what
Jesus said to pray for more of.
In all my life, I have never met anyone who is more of a servant
than Chuck Smith. You can find him installing urinals in a new building
in the middle of the night, picking up trash at the conference center,
crawling in an attic to fix a leaky pipe, in the parking lot jump
starting someone's car, baby-sitting children, always helping, always
blessing others. Why does he do it? Because he loves God and loves
You never out grow service. It's not something you do until the
church is big enough to get others to do it. The greatest in the
Kingdom is the servant of all. Gayle Erwin's ministry is a dynamite
presentation of this principle; but Gayle lives it, he doesn't just
Minister to Others, Don't Try to Get Them to Minister to You.
(See John 13 and 14:13)
So many people in ministry today, especially those on radio
and television, spend most of their time trying to get the people
to minister to them, rather than ministering to the people. It may
be an effort to get the people of God to send them more money, or
it may be a pastor angrily accusing his board of not taking care
of him, or it may be a subtle manipulation so others will praise
or encourage us. As ministers it is not our responsibility to seek
anything for ourselves. God will take care of all that. He'll supply
our financial needs. He'll meet our emotional needs. It is our responsibility
to die to self, and care for others.
Near the end of his life, General William Booth, founder of the
Salvation Army, sent a message to his co-laborers that contained
nothing except the word "others". That was the essence of his life.
Live for others, not self. Seek the good of those God has sent you.
Seek to bless, not be blessed, to love, not be loved, to care for,
not be cared for, to minister to others, not have them minister
Feed the flock of God with the pure Word of Life. Serve them in
love. Give. Live for the sheep; if necessary, die for the sheep.
You are a shepherd, and that's what shepherds do.
If you're in the ministry to get your own needs met, either repent,
or quit. Jesus is looking for people with hearts for the sheep.
He sees the people scattered, bruised, bleeding, dying, ravaged
by the wolf, and His heart breaks for them. He longs to enfold them
in His love.
As pastors and ministers, that is our calling, to enfold the sheep
in the loving arms of Jesus. I have personally known Chuck and Kay
Smith for twenty years, and they have both always led me past themselves
and into the arms of Jesus.
Minister to others. Lead them into the arms of Christ, He is the
loving, great, and beautiful Shepherd.
Sheep Beget Sheep
(see John 15:16)
The whole Calvary Chapel movement started with Chuck Smith
and Kay Smith sitting near the ocean at Huntington Beach praying
fervently for the lost young people that were all around. [This
was during the Hippie movement, era.] If we are walking with the
Lord, it is essential that we have a heart for the lost, a deep
burning, unquenchable desire to see the lost evangelized and missions
throughout the globe. Our zeal for missions and evangelism should
go deep. Our congregations must catch the vision to reach the lost
and be involved directly in missionary work, and evangelism.
Beware, however, of mission and evangelism programs and gimmicks. As
pastors, our primary responsibility is to feed His sheep--the Christians--in
order that they might do the work of the ministry (see Ephesians
4). If we are feeding the flock the pure Word of God, verse
by verse study of the whole counsel of God, they will be healthy.
And healthy sheep will automatically and naturally reproduce without
the artificial aid of programs. Healthy sheep share their faith,
they have a burden for missions, they seek the lost. We do not have
to pump them up or push them, it flows naturally. Feed the flock
and it will reproduce.
Mission programs, outreaches of evangelistic nature, social help
and relief are all vital, but they are by-products, they are the
fruit of solid Bible teaching, not ends in themselves. You'll never
find peace by pursuing it, it is only found in Jesus, find Him and
you'll have peace as a by-product. Similarly, you'll never build
a missions program by seeking it directly (at least not one that
God's in). Feed His people, and missions will be a part of the fruit.
And where does it start? With prayer. Get together to pray for the
lost. Seek God's face that He might give you souls for your hire.
Be Submissive and Loyal
(see Titus 3)
The men God had raised up to help Moses helped him best when
they stood by his side and held up his arms. That is our responsibility
towards those God has placed over us. Here at Calvary Chapel Bible
College and Conference Center, it is my calling, my responsibility,
my duty to assist my pastor. Chuck Smith is the director of this
ministry, he is the shepherd whom God has charged with overseeing
this ministry. My job is to ease his burden, to make his job lighter,
to hold up his arms, to help him in any way that needs doing.
My job is to pray for my pastor daily, to encourage him if I can,
to give him lots of data so he knows everything that's going on,
so that he's never surprised by anything, to give him input and
opinion, to support him and help him. Pastor Chuck doesn't want
or need a yes man who nods dumbly at everything. But on the other
hand, he doesn't need some independent cowboy seeking to build his
God has placed somebody over you. Submit to him. Love him. Pray
for him. Help him. Above all, always be loyal. Never betray those
with whom you minister. Never ever backbite or criticize publicly.
Never gossip or be a talebearer.
If there's something you can't live with in a ministry, quietly
leave. Never try to build your own ministry on another man's foundation.
Touch not the Lord's anointed. If he's off the wall, God will deal
with him; who are we to criticize another man's servant?
Never cause strife or division. Help, encourage, submit, lighten
the load, assist. Don't try and be a star. Serve God by serving
the man God has placed you under. If I'm doing my job right, Pastor
Chuck will never have to worry about this part of the ministry because
he'll know that it is running just exactly as it would if he had
the time to be here and do it all personally. The only reason he
hired me is because he doesn't have time to do it all. If he did,
he'd do it himself. It is his ministry, I need to guide it just
as he would.
I've heard people say that Pastor Chuck is hard to work for. Let's
go on record that that is simply not true. If you have a heart for
God's people, are a servant, and are willing to put sincere effort
into your service, you'll never have trouble with Pastor Chuck.
Emphasize What God Has Done for us, Not What We Can Do for God.
(see Rom 8)
Grace, the unmerited favor of God towards those who deserve
the opposite, is the heart of the Gospel. It is grace we must teach,
and grace we must live in the ministry. So many pastors continually
emphasize what the people need to do for God--give more money, pray
more, study more, volunteer more. The genius of Pastor Chuck's ministry
is to emphasize rather what God has already done for us; Jesus loves
us, He died for us, He rose from the grave, He ascended to the right
hand of the Father where He ever lives to make intercession for
us, He prays for us daily, His thoughts toward us are continually
thoughts of blessing and love, He has forgiven us all our sins,
He is always with us to help and guide, He has empowered us with
His Holy Spirit, He is preparing an eternal abode for us.
Teach the people what God has already done for them, and their hearts
will overflow in love and gratitude; gratitude that will manifest
itself in loving service and devoted prayer.
Lead your people past yourself and into the arms of Jesus. They
need Him, not you. At one point in my ministry, I got overwhelmed
with a huge counseling load; then I realized I was training the
people to rely on me, rather than the Lord. I repented of the sin,
and started to emphasize His loving grace, letting them see Jesus
Seeing Jesus clearly should be the goal of every service, every
study, every gathering. Our goal at Calvary Chapel Bible College
is for every man and woman to know Jesus better when they finish
than they did when they started. Our goal for the Conference Center
is for every person who attends a retreat here to know Jesus better
when they leave this mountain than they did when they came up. We
want every student, every retreater, every room renter, every staff
person, every visitor, to see Jesus clearly shining through us,
to know His love and grace, and to get to know Him better.
Emphasize what God has done for us, not what we can do for Him.
Feed, Don't Beat, the Sheep
(see John 21:15-19)
When I was a young pastor, I used to think Jesus said "Peter
if you love Me, beat my sheep". And I did a good job. I rebuked
everything and everybody from the pulpit with the fire of an Old
Testament prophet. And the people loved it. They were so used to
being beat up on that they thought they weren't spiritual if they
left church feeling any way but miserable.'
Moses was not allowed by God to enter the promised land because
he misrepresented the Lord. He gave the people the impression God
was mad at them when He wasn't. Moses beat the rock in anger, and
therefore, never tasted a grape in Canaan.
We must be very careful not to misrepresent God. He's not mad at
these folks, and if we are, we need to get back in touch with the
Feed God's people. Teach them the Word of God. Speak the truth in
love. Share the pure Word of God in love.
As a young pastor, I would often preach at those who weren't there.
If four people showed up for a mid-week service, I'd rant and rave
(with plenty of proof texts) about diligence and commitment. I was
talking to the ones who weren't there, not to the four faithful
sheep who were. Pastor Chuck taught me to forget about who's not
there and lovingly feed those who are. It was then that the ministry
started to grow.
Guard your heart, watch your motive. The only legitimate motive
is love. That is why we teach, that is why we preach, that is why
we worship, that is why we serve.
If you love Jesus, feed His sheep. [John 21:15-17]
Present the Word of God in a Loving, Relaxed, Relevant Manner.
(see John 15 and Jer. 3:15)
I grew up hearing preachers that either put me to sleep or
yelled at me. They put me to sleep because their messages were not
relevant to my life. They yelled at me and fed my guilt without
showing me the love and freedom of Christ.
"Line upon line" is the way God speaks to His people. Topical sermons
are a scattered diet. Sheep don't grow well on topical sermons.
Pastor Chuck has taught us to feed the sheep--to teach line upon
line, verse by verse through the books of the Bible. Doing so keeps
us balanced. We don't get off on pet doctrines, we cover the whole
counsel of God. The people get fed. They grow. They produce fruit
for God's glory. God is seeking for pastors who will feed His people,
who will teach them verse by verse and stick to what the Bible actually
says without adding to it.
Stay current on political affairs. Keep the studies relevant. Scatter
throughout your Bible studies information on prophecy, the political
climate, social problems, evidence for creation, etc. Read magazines
and newspapers, be informed. [I am going to add a quote from a biography
about John Wesley that is appropriate here. "At Leeds in 1766 Wesley
was careful to impress upon his preachers the necessity of possessing
a book-shelved mind, and entered in the minutes, "Read five hours
in twenty-four...' 'But I have no taste for reading.' 'Contact a
taste for it by use or return to your trade.' John was trying to
make certain there were to be no preachers the feet of whose minds
paced across their sermons with a leaden step..." Now I have no
idea whether John Wesley meant five hours a day in purely secular
reading or a combination of secular and Bible study, probably the
latter. But his point is clear.]
Present the Word of God in a relaxed manner where anyone will feel
welcome, even those from different church backgrounds or varying
ages. It's no secret why so many of us hippies wound up at Calvary
Chapel--it was the only place that accepted us just as we were.
They accepted us and we accepted Jesus. Someone recently wrote me
a letter saying that they thought it a shame that Calvary had lowered
its standards to let me in. Praise God, this ministry is still lowering
its standards to let sinners saved by grace of all kinds in.
While we believe in the informality of worship, it is equally important
to keep our services respectful, to do things decently and in order,
and with dignity. Depending on the community to which you live,
that may even mean wearing a suit and tie on Sunday morning (Chuck
Worship is Vital
(see Eph. 5:18,19)
At Calvary Chapel great emphasis is given to music and worship.
Worship is not just a warm up for the sermon, it is actually and
literally entering into the Holiest of All, coming through the gates
with thanksgiving and the courts with praise. Jesus said the Father
was seeking those who would worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Way back in the early days of Calvary Chapel there was a sign out
front that said "Jesus Christ is Lord, adore Him with us". That's
true worship--adoring Jesus.
We like to stay away from performance type music where the congregation
is just watching others worship, in favor of participatory worship
that everyone can enter into.
We also like to emphasize songs to Jesus, rather than just songs
about Jesus. We are singing to Him, adoring Him, loving Him. We
are not just filling space until the late comers get seated.
You can always tell a church that is moving with the Lord. The sanctuary
fills up early, people love to sit up in the front row, and they
sing with all their hearts.
True, heart felt, Spirit filled worship is vital and essential.
Be Balanced Theologically
(see I Tim. 4:16. II Tim. 2:23-26)
Pastor Chuck has always sought to avoid those issues which
do nothing but divide the Body of Christ, and, as he once said, "when
Christ's Body is divided, pray tell, who bleeds?"
Calvary Chapel is unique in the world today because it fills a gap
that other churches do not.
On one side of the spectrum, there is an extreme form of pentecostalism
with its emotional expression of "charismania", an emphasis on gifts
of the Spirit to the expense of the Word of God. On the other end
of the spectrum is fundamentalism with its opposition to gifts of
the Spirit. At Calvary we believe in and allow for the operation
of all the gifts of the Spirit, but always decently and in order.
We believe that the Holy Spirit never interrupts Himself, so tongues
or prophecies are not allowed while the Word is being taught, for
example, Calvary Chapel is the balance between pentecostalism and
On another spectrum, there are the hyper-Calvinists who teach that
Jesus died only for His elect, that man has no free will, that one
group is elect for heaven, another is elect for hell, and there's
nothing you can do about it. Opposite them are the hyper-Arminians
who forget the sovereignty of God altogether and believe a person
must be born again each time they sin. Again, Calvary Chapel is
the balance between the two. As Pastor Chuck said: "I believe in
once saved always saved, if you abide in Christ". [And this is in
total agreement with Scripture, for Jesus said in Matthew 24:13 "But
he who endures to the end shall be saved." I.e. you can fall away,
as Hebrews 10:26-31 also indicates. See also John 15:1-6. These
are all serious warnings that we as Christians must abide in Christ.
Read them. Take this seriously.] The Bible teaches the sovereignty
of God and the responsibility of man; it teaches the security of
the believer and the perseverance of the saints. We will never intellectually
reconcile the two; we just need to accept the fact that God is bigger
than we are and teach all that the Bible says.
There are other areas where we tend to get out of balance. Some
groups preach pro-life to the expense of the gospel. Others mix
in so much psychology that the Scriptures are forgotten. Stay balanced.
Stay true to the Word of God.
Get Your People Praying and Keep Them Praying
(see I Sam. 12:23; Lk. 21:36; Mt. 6)
Jesus said that men ought to always pray and not faint. Samuel
said it would be a sin against God to stop praying for the people.
Paul prayed whole heartedly for the Philippians.
Prayer is the life blood of the ministry. The church moves forward
on its knees. Every successful ministry has had dedicated prayer
warriors behind it.
Be creative. Get people praying. Use prayer letters, prayer rooms,
elders meetings, whatever. Get them praying. Then, keep them praying.
Prayer is not a means to convince God to give us what we want. It
is a means by which we can participate in His will. It is the channel
through which He works. Prayer moves the heart of God.
Saturate your ministry with prayer. Lord teach us to pray.
When You're Confronted With That Which You do not Understand, Fall
Back on What You do Understand.
(See Prov. 3:5,6)
Pastor Chuck told me the statement above when my oldest son
died. We are often in life confronted with things we do not understand.
As a young pastor, I had all the answers, there was nothing I didn't
understand. But, now I know that there is much I do not know.
People often come to us with unanswerable questions. Why did God
allow this? Why is this happening? Our best response is to simply
say we do not know, but there are things we do know. We do know
that God is love. We know that our sins are forgiven. We know that
Jesus will never leave us. We know that we're headed for heaven.
We know His Word is true.
When you're confronted with something you don't understand, fall
back on what you do understand.
Be real honest with folks. Don't pretend to be something you're
not or know something you don't. Don't pretend to have all the answers.
Be yourself. Love God and love His people.
There is a great deal we do not know. But, on the other hand, God
has revealed to us in His Word all we really need to know for this
life. Quiet yourself, humble yourself, stay in the Word of God.
Declare His revelation to others, not your own speculations and
Be a Shepherd Not a Hirling
(see John 14-16, and the Pastoral Epistles)
Make your people the best fed, best loved sheep on earth. The
greatest gift of all is love. At one point in his ministry, Pastor
Chuck was praying for gifts of the Spirit, and the Lord spoke to
him and told him that He had already given him the greatest gift
of all--the gift of love.
The high priest bore on his breast the stones representing the 12
tribes of Israel. Paul carried the believers on his heart. Carry
the people of God on your heart. Love them. Serve them. Have their
best interest at heart in all things.
The shepherd gives his life for the sheep. Sacrifice self. Die to
fleshly ambition. Serve the saints of God with love. Serve. Give.
Minister. Care for people. Love them. Love them. Love them. Feed
them the pure Word of God.
The hireling seeks his own welfare. He's a man pleaser. He's in
it for the prestige, or the position, or the money, or to get his
own needs met. When the going gets tough, he runs, he quits, he
Don't quit. Don't give up. Of course it's hard sometimes. Chuck
and Kay spent 17 years pastoring little tiny churches, they brushed
their teeth in the backyard because they didn't have indoor plumbing.
Chuck and his brother Paul slept in their car as they traveled about
preaching and witnessing. Hang in there. Persevere. God has called
you. Labor as unto Him.
Die to self and lovingly feed the flock verse by verse Bible studies.
Love them, they're His sheep. Make them the best fed, best loved
sheep on earth.
God is more interested in the minister than the ministry.
(See John 21:20-25)
The reason God has you in ministry is because he loves you.
He really doesn't need your expertise or skill. He could raise up
rocks to preach if He wanted.
No, He doesn't need us, but He wants us. He wants to fellowship
with us, deeply, personally, intimately, continually. He wants your
heart, not just your service.
Your personal fellowship with Jesus is vital. Spend time in prayer
and the Word--not to study for sermons, just to know God. Knowing
Him is far more important than serving Him. Knowing Him is the reason
you exist, and the reason Jesus redeemed you with His precious blood
on the Cross.
"Christianity is like measles", Pastor Chuck used to say,
"you have to have it to give it away." You can never lead your people
closer to Christ than you are. You can't impart what you don't have.
Be a man of prayer. Be a man of the Word. Be a man who walks with
Jesus like Enoch did. Be a man after God's own heart like David.
Jesus, draw us nearer, take us deep into your heart of love. Jesus
lives in your heart, now live in His.
[Some may wonder and ask at this point "How do you know these Principles
of Ministry are so effective? How do you know they will work? The
proof of the pudding is in the eating. The Calvary Chapel movement
is a large and growing group of congregations now spanning the globe,
and all of these congregations are affiliated with it's "parent" church,
Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, California--the congregation that
Pastor Chuck Smith pastors.
This congregation in Costa Mesa that Pastor Chuck pastors is 35,000
strong in membership, and no, I didn't put the decimal point in
the wrong place. The Calvary Chapel congregation that David Rosales
pastors in Chino, California has 30,000 members, the one that Greg
Laurie pastors in Riverside, California has 10,000 members. Most
the Calvary Chapels across the rest of the country have in excess
of 2,000 members, and in Massachusetts, the one meeting in Rockland
has over 1,200 attending. I was attending one when it had only 12
members meeting in a room of a radio-studio building. Two and a
half years later they had to rent a building, and packed it out
with 125 attending. Now they had to move again and have in excess
of to 175 and are building a sanctuary that will hold 440. This
is in central Massachusetts where size of congregations is never
very large. Calvary Chapel's can be found all around the world now.
They started in a tiny congregation of 25 members in Costa Mesa,
California, pastored by Chuck Smith. Be sure to read Pastor Chuck's Philosophy
of Ministry, to continue this study.]