When Jesus said, "Follow me", He set an agenda for believers and leaders that
only He himself can fulfill; yet that agenda calls forth specific attitudes and
behaviors on our part. He alone can "build the house", yet He chooses to build
it through us. "Follow me" He says, into character, into relationship, into
service, into mission, into ministry, into leadership, and into understanding.
And He provides us a model for how to follow him: his own record of following
As my mentor, John Wimber, used to say: the ministry of Jesus manifested an
oscillation between saying the words of the Kingdom and doing the works of the
Kingdom. The works verified the words and the words explained the works. They
were a unity, flip sides of one coin.
For instance, right after the Sermon on the Mount--which is all about the
kingdom--Matthew says, "When he came down from the mountainside, large crowds
followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, 'Lord, if
you are willing, you can make me clean.' Jesus reached out his hand and touched
the man. 'I am willing' he said, Be clean!' Immediately he was cured of his
In fact, if you look at the summaries of Jesus' ministry in the Gospels, they
nearly always focus on words and works
: e.g., in a recent Gospel lesson, "Jesus
went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news
of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people."
St. Paul maintained that pattern of words and works. In I Cor 2, in fact, he says
he played down the words in order that the demonstration of the Spirit's power
would be more obvious, "so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on
Part of the reason for the church's anemia is that we have focused exclusively on saying
the words with scant attention to doing the works. Fear, ignorance, self-preservation
and misunderstanding the Lord's vision for His church have all contributed to this avoidance
of the works. However, the Lord is restoring His ministry to the church. He's teaching us how
to do both the words and the works. That's why I'm committed to doing power ministry
A Power Ministry Conference seeks to be an oscillation between teachings and ministry.
The teachings tend to cover various combinations of
the concept of the kingdom of God as the parameter of understanding
within which we see reality and unify the words and works of Jesus;
calling down the Holy Spirit;
the five-step process of ministering healing;
the authority to minister;
the healing ministry of Jesus and others in the scriptures;
intimacy with Jesus;
a lifestyle of vulnerability to God.
Each teaching is followed by a clinic: a hands-on opportunity to see ministry modeled, try it oneself,
and be available to the Spirit for receiving an impartation for on-going ministry. A major goal of
these conferences is to "get the ministry out of the pulpit and into the pew" where it belongs
Another is to model vulnerability to the Lord as normative for life and ministry. The usual result is
that some people catch a new vision of what is possible, get healed, get taught, get anointed, and get
experienced and encouraged in ministry. This is because the Spirit loves to back up those who will be
vulnerable to Him. Couple months ago I was doing a vestry retreat for a church in Michigan. After
teaching, I called the Holy Spirit down on the vestry. All but one person said they could feel the
Spirit on them. One man felt he had hot hands, so I asked the Lord to anoint him for healing. As we
left for lunch, one lady asked if I'd pray for her shoulder which had arthritis in it. I grabbed the
fellow with the hot hands and we prayed for her for about 90 seconds. She was healed. It was easy!
Sometimes, getting someone healed is pretty tough, but that doesn't mean we are not to try. Later I called
the Holy Spirit down on them again. At the end of the weekend, the majority of the members explicitly
testified that it was the most valuable vestry retreat they'd ever been to. But I don't think the teachings
were so hot. It was no big deal. You understand? It was just the words and works of Jesus.
The words and the works are meant to be the norm, not the exception, to the activities of the people of God.
One dear lady said she'd never felt the presence of God before. It made me weep. What good is God if you
never feel His presence? And I guess it could be asked: What good is a church that never invites and allows
His presence to be a tangible reality?