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Leading a Church in the Twenty-first Century: An International Perspective

One of the first questions the western church asks of a growing church is what “method” is the pastor using? It is my observation that God uses people in a particular geographical and social situation to bring that community to faith in Christ. If you are able to identify the method one uses it still cannot re-duplicate what God is doing in another geographical location. God uses people anointed by the Spirit to do His work, not methods. The method is the man. The church and society is constantly changing. For example large city-wide healing and evangelistic crusades are not working therefore there is a greater need to depend on the Holy Spirit to offer this ministry to local congregations. In my limited pastoral experience, more people got saved and healed through pastoral ministry  than through city wide crusades. The day for church crusades and revival meetings has passed: People don’t respond to these types of meetings.

For a while the church was hoping that the church growth movement led by Fuller Theological Seminary and many other seminaries would produce church growth as it promised, but it failed to deliver.4 Like most pastors, I read just about everything on the subject and attended many seminars, but the most it did for me was to affirm that I was doing the right thing and that was seeking the Lord through prayer and fasting.

Have we forgotten? Being a man or woman of God is not about having evangelistic crusades, big meeting or taking big offerings. It is about seeking the Lord through prayer and fasting.

Pride, superiority and arrogance are deadly sins. Why then do we see these things on display in so many western churches? For example, a pastor might have a congregation of 250 people, a secretary, a youth pastor and a Christian education director. Usually his head is filled with book knowledge, but he walks around as if he knows everything. The Bible reminds us that the devil fell from his position in heaven because of pride and many pastors are falling because of pride. As the saying goes, “pride goes before a fall.” Pride is a result of self-confidence gone too far; it is a result of our self-importance: we are the richest country in the world. We have the best theological books and we have beautiful buildings. But when a pastor from the west tries to teach church growth in the third world to a church that has 14,000 members, it comes across as a joke. This is a common problem of any world power, but America as a world power is declining. It is predicted that in the not too distant future China or India will be the next world power. How will the American church react to the changing power and a more powerful global church? The church in the west is bankrupt and needs to look to non-western countries to teach them what it means to be a man of God and how to discern the Spirit of God for our times.

When I was doing research for my Doctor of Theology on Pentecostal preaching, I spoke to several homileticians. One told me we have better prepared sermons, greater oratory skills but the anointing of the Spirit is missing. We should see results in the lives of our audiences produced by the ministry of the Holy Spirit.5 Today when someone preaches there are fewer conversions, few healings, and less deliverances.

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2011

About the Author: Aldwin Ragoonath, Ph.D., is a trained homiletician with over twenty years of pastoral experience in the Caribbean and Canada. His ministry is devoted to helping pastors develop their preaching gift, teaching Pentecostal preaching courses and facilitating seminars around the world. He and his wife make their home in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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