The Apostle Peter warns the Church to “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). There is no doubt that we are in a spiritual battle. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). So, there is a battle going on, and even though victory is promised, it is not without humanity’s involvement. Every one of God’s wars in The Bible had humanity’s involvement. Whether Gideon’s army surrounds the Midianites (Judges 7) or David decapitating Goliath (1st Sam. 16), it is not without humanity’s participation because God works with and through man to fulfill His purpose.
In this spiritual battle that we find ourselves in, one of the enemy’s weapons has been used successfully throughout time to incapacitate the leader. Gregg Williams, the former New Orleans defensive coordinator, used to rouse his players by saying, “kill the head, and the body will die.”1 Therefore, to hinder the ministry’s health, the enemy must attack the leader’s health to incapacitate him. Thus, the minister (Pastor, Evangelist, Prophet, Teacher, Apostle) needs to be aware and sober because the thief has come to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) He is like a roaring lion looking for his next prey (1st Peter 5:8). If the leader is incapacitated, then so will the people. However, Paul’s command is “be strong in The Lord, and the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10b). If one is strong in The Lord, they are far from incapacitated.
Diagnose Spiritual Health
Unfortunately, bad spiritual health is not always recognizable and is rarely noticed until it’s too late. Bad spiritual health is dangerous for the church; it is the cause of a lack of spiritual power and godly living. It is the cause of burnout that has destroyed many ministerial families.
Many things hide our actual spiritual condition. Good theology can conceal the proper spiritual condition of a minister. A person can believe and preach good theology but fail to practice it. The works of a minister may hide the fact that they are not spiritually healthy. One often mistakes the blessing of The Lord with the approval of The Lord. Therefore, many are shocked when a particular preacher falls into sin, gets a divorce, comes out of the closet, has a breakdown, or one of the many other scenarios that are possible with a lack of spiritual health.
The Need for Spiritual Health
For the local church to be healthy, the leadership must be healthy. A Pastor that does not pray will end up being a CEO of a Non-profit rather than a church. An Evangelist that has no power will only be able to perform. A Prophet that cannot hear from God will only give His opinion and be more likely to lead the people astray. A worship leader that does not know how to get into God’s presence will only be able to lead a song service instead of leading people into the presence of God. An Apostle that has lost faith and vision will not be able to build and become a dictator. A teacher who does not stay in God’s presence will use the Bible simply as a self-help and neglect sound doctrine.
Ministers are a gift to the church and the people of God. The Apostle Paul said: “And He (Jesus) gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of The Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13). God has a work that needs to be done on the earth, and He wants to use The Church (both local and universal). It takes healthy, spiritual-filled leaders to disciple healthy, spirit-filled people to join in the job that God built the church for.
Jesus makes it clear in John 15 that the secret to life, ministry, and bearing fruit is abiding in Jesus. Jesus said: “I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing” (John 15:5). It is the secret to getting prayers and dealing with the stress of ministry. No matter how much expert advice or resources Kingsway Fellowship International may give or partner with, the reality is that only abiding in Christ will cause spiritual health.
Promoting Spiritual Health
Kingsway Fellowship International cannot force someone to be spiritually healthy any more than a physician can cause someone to be physically fit, or a psychiatrist can move someone to be mentally healthy. However, Kingsway Fellowship International can promote spiritual health and make available tools to keep its members spiritually fit. Most of the “spiritual disciplines” are known, understood, and agreed with by the members of Kingsway Fellowship International. Still, it is essential that spiritual health and the disciplines are continuously reminded, challenged, and encouraged because they are crucial.
Specific disciplines need to adhere to if a person wants to get healthy or stay healthy. With that understanding, Kingsway Fellowship International promotes and will encourage its members to develop spiritual disciplines and spiritual habits. For example, one must take time to pray in The Holy Ghost daily. Spirit-filled Christians understand that praying in The Holy Ghost has many benefits, such as The Holy Ghost making intercession through us (Romans 8:26), and when one speaks in tongues, they are edified. Though this is far from a complete list, a few examples include prayer, studying The Word, and solitude.3 A list of Richard Foster’s Spiritual Disciplines is in Appendix A.
Prayer is the most critical discipline in the life of the believer. Some said that “A week without prayer makes one weak.” That is a true statement. Jesus gave a parable in Luke 18:2-8 in which the purpose was so that “men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). Jesus gave the connotation that men would either pray or faint. And that they should not just pray but “ought always to pray.” With the choice to pray or faint, the obvious choice is to pray. Unfortunately, it is often forgotten in the face of busyness, stress, or even calamity. It is essential to emphasize, encourage and remind that prayer is important.
Study The Bible
As much as ministers stay in The Bible and know The Bible, for many, it is only for the preparation of the upcoming sermon or book. One must remember that The Bible is more than the resource for the next presentation. The Bible is the primary way that God speaks to humanity. Ministry, as well as life, is a spiritual battle.
The Apostle Paul describes prayer as “the sword of The Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17b). The writer of Hebrews says: “for the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). That scripture has often been used in conjunction with dealing with someone else, but the reality is that as a person spends time in The Word of God, God can use the scalpel of His sword to purify the reader, to expose the reader, so that God can heal.
The minister must also be a man full of faith because the attacks are numerous both upon the minister and those they minister. Paul calls faith the shield “wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked” (Ephesians 6:16b). There is only one way to get or increase faith, and that is by The Word of God (Romans 10:17). Thus, Kingsway Fellowship International will promote and encourage its members to stay in The Word.
Someone once said that Jesus never went looking for a crowd but was, in fact, always trying to get away from one. Whether that statement is accurate or not, the reality is that it was Jesus’ habit to “withdraw himself into the wilderness and pray[.].” The act of solitude is simply withdrawing oneself and being alone, and it is a spiritual discipline. In the place of solitude, one can listen to the voice of The Spirit, mediate fully on The Word, and fully engage in prayer without any disturbance. That place of solitude sets the mind right, refreshes the spirit, and puts the body at rest. Privacy is more than just “praying” or “studying,” it is getting away. The contemporary word would be a retreat. Sometimes this retreat can be a day, sometimes a week or longer, but it is a necessary discipline that must be encouraged.
World and Regional Conference
There are many reasons that KFI hosts the World Conference and multiple state and regional conferences: 1) We are a fellowship, and the conferences encourage relationships to develop. 2) It is a time of teaching and training. 3) an essential aspect of the KFI conferences is to be revived. Ministers give and give, and so when people come to the conference(s), it must be a place where they receive from The Holy Spirit. Each of the night services at the conference(s) will be “Revival,” where the ministers can meet with God. It will also be a place where the gifts of The Spirit will be in operation as The Holy Spirit leads.
Time must be honored in the Conferences. We are intentional because we want The Holy Spirit to move and have free reign in the conference. The announcements are minimal and purposeful. The person receiving the offering is cognitive of the purpose and timing. There should always be a short exhortation, directions (come up, text to give, give online, etc.), and a prayer.
There are three types of music ministries, and all should be used within the revival service. The worship leader’s expertise is leading people into the presence of God with thanksgiving and worship. The music minister understands how to minister to the congregation using music instead of a sermon. It would be the equivalent of a preacher preaching a sermon. The Gospel performer is fun to watch and listen to; it is the equivalent of Christian entertainment.
Ministers, their families, and members are sacrificing their time to come to a conference; they must have the opportunity of receiving from “The God of miracles.” They are like every person. They have needs (such as health and finances) in which they need a touch from The Lord. KFI has always believed that the altar is paramount to the service because it is where God meets man.
The Pentecostal Experience
Every KFI Conference has a service(s) where Pentecost is experienced. This is important as the impartation that the members receive in the conference can be taken back to their home church. So, one of the main reasons for the meeting is for the members to be renewed and revived. We are unashamedly Pentecostal and gladly make room and expect the Pentecostal expression throughout its conferences.
Devotions & Encouragement
KFI produces a daily online video for its members. The video may be a devotion, a word of encouragement, or a teaching. In addition to the daily video, a weekly teaching series will be done to benefit the Spiritual development of its members. This will be by the Bishop, Assistant Bishop, a board member, or one of the superintendents.
KFI knows the power of testimonies. John the Revelator said that “they overcame him (the devil) by The Blood of The Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12:11a & b). Testimonies enhance spiritual development (it builds faith, excitement, and expectation of what God will do) and are a spiritual discipline (a habit that many churches lack, thus the feeling that God does not do what He used to). Because of the power of testimony, KFI has a platform (both online and in print) for the members of KFI to testify of what God is doing in their lives, ministry, and the lives of their congregants.
One of the ways that KFI promotes spiritual health is by making recommendations or leading them to the resources that may benefit them. KFI may recommend books, videos, or a place where a person can get away to pray and fast.
Canon Christian College
KFI strongly encourages education, for education does more than make a person more knowledgeable in a particular field. It transforms a person in all areas of life. Those called to wield the Sword of The Spirit should also know how to use the Sword of The Spirit properly.
Jesus has called His people to bring forth fruit (John 15:16). It is not simply His desire but His command. There is no way for spiritually unhealthy people to bring forth fruit. It may take time for fruit to arrive (this is truer than not, for it takes much patience); however, fruit cannot be produced unless the vine is healthy and connected to the branch (Jesus). KFI refuses to assume that its members are healthy. We want to promote, encourage, and challenge spiritual health among its members.