Editor’s Note: During 2011, The Foursquare Church is reading through the book of Acts each month. This week, Foursquare Pastor Garris Elkins looks into Acts and offers insight into the Day of Pentecost.
Pentecost in its purest form is transferable across all models of ministry; Pentecostalism is not. Pentecost is what God did on the Day of Pentecost; Pentecostalism is a narrow human interpretation of the moving of God’s Spirit.
The “isms” of ministry have distanced many believers from the very things He wants to do in our midst. But a transferable model of Pentecost can work within any ministry without compromising the power and authority of the Holy Spirit or violating the unique assignment God has given a particular ministry.
On the Day of Pentecost, the church was given an empowered voice. That empowered voice would transmit the will of heaven upon the earth through the supernatural gifts of the Spirit, which included healing, prophecy and miracles.
This empowered voice of Pentecost would be the vehicle to carry the declarations of heaven into places of disease, suffering and bondage. This voice said things such as: “Be healed,” “Rise up and walk” and “Come out of him.”
The book of Acts is filled with the supernatural commands of the empowered voice. In fact, the overwhelming message of the voice of the church throughout Acts was given in the form of commands, not prayers. In Acts they commanded more than they prayed.
The unique voice of each ministry on the earth today was empowered on the Day of Pentecost 2,000 years ago. It is a wise leader who discovers the sound of that voice and releases it into his or her unique ministry assignment.
So, what is the take-away from all of this? The take-away is in three areas.
First, for the primary ministry leader: Make room for Pentecost in your personal life.
My ministry coach is Dave Jacobs. Dave kindly coaches my calling each month. He asked me to create “spiritual margins” in my life. My “margin time” is on Wednesday mornings, when I leave my house and hike the trails in the hills above our home.
During this “margin time” with God, I listen for the voice of heaven. I pray in my native tongue and in the tongue of the Spirit. The more time I spend, the more I understand how to discern God’s voice.
We learn to speak in the empowered voice of heaven by listening to the voice of heaven. Once we hear the word of God for our specific issues, we then have something to say to our family, our leaders and the church.
Second, for your leadership team: Discover the unique language of Pentecost that God has assigned to your ministry.
It is critical for our primary leadership teams to speak the same language. Language is culture. My pastor, Roy Hicks Jr., who passed away in 1994, once told a group of us young pastors-in-training to never have a meeting of our primary leadership teams without making room for the Holy Spirit to speak.
In Acts 13, the entire Gentile missionary movement was birthed because these leaders were worshiping and listening together before the Lord. As a result, the gospel moved out from Jerusalem and touched the world. No leadership gathering, no matter how small, is ever insignificant if we hear the voice of God and act upon what He has said to us.
Third, for your public ministry teams: Train them how to speak in the empowered voice.
The public outreaches of our churches—whether inside or outside the church walls—are all gracious platforms from which the empowered voice can speak. It is critical to train our ministry teams how to conduct their practical ministry assignments with excellence.
But this alone is not enough. These public ministries will carry us to the frontiers of darkness, where we will have the opportunity to speak and command life into the darkness of imprisoned lives. These encounters are supernatural and require a supernatural ministry empowered by God’s Spirit.
As you train people how to minister, teach them how to serve using their unique and personal voice of Pentecost. Our daughter, Anna, is a gifted artist who conducts Prophetic Art workshops to help people learn to hear the voice of God. She instructs artists how to hear God’s voice and then interpret that voice back into their medium of art.
Anna was released into this ministry when a wise professor told her that when the Spirit moves in her life, she creates art. Today, people stand before artwork inspired by the Spirit and receive emotional, physical and spiritual healing.
The moving of the Holy Spirit on believers can appear monolithic if we require that Pentecost be expressed in any limited form. The kingdom of God is expanding, and in that expansion He is raising up new and unique ways for people to hear His voice. Teach your teams to release what will validate the ministry of Christ and endorse His presence in your community.
This kind of leadership takes courage. In the early years of The Foursquare Church, Aimee Semple McPherson took hits from some of the traditional Pentecostal churches on one side, and the mainline churches on the other. One side thought she was too cold, and the other side thought she was too hot.
Sister Aimee remained true to what God had called her to do, because early on she discovered the uniquely empowered voice of Pentecost that was assigned to her life. Later, that voice initiated a great move of God and birthed the Foursquare movement.
By: Garris Elkins, senior pastor of Living Waters (Medford Foursquare Church) in Medford, Ore.
If you would like to join The Foursquare Church in reading through the book of Acts throughout 2011, subscribe to Foursquare Leader Prayer, a weekly e-mail that will provide insight from Foursquare leaders around the world.