This month I have officially graduated my third year at Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry! I remember how I got here as if it was yesterday: I landed in San Francisco 2009 after just turning 20, leaving friends and family behind in Germany to start a new life in California and be obedient to God’s call. Time went by in a fly (it seems to be true what they say about getting older) and it’s been a feeling of deep joy, richness and overwhelming thankfulness that’s been accompanying me as I spent time thinking and about all that God has established in my life and character. I’m forever enriched by the revelations I’ve received through the teaching of incredibly anointed men and women of God and countless experiences in ministering the love and power of God in churches, bars and the streets.
My Personal Top 5 Lessons…
Let me say this first: I’m not saying the following points are in any way representing Bethel’s full curriculum nor am I trying to give you a comprehensive list that covers every important aspect of kingdom theology. Many of these lessons were not learned in a classroom while listening to a speaker, but while hanging out in the darkest bar playing pool with drug dealers or in relationships with peers and leaders. I’m also excluding lessons from this list, that I’ve learned before I started School of Ministry so this list truly is my personal and individual top 5 of the last three years. Okay, now that you have somewhat of a framework, let’s get started:
1. Powerful ministry is a byproduct of a heart overflowing of His presence.
It’s amazing how easy it is to become so busy in ministry that we begin to utilize our relationship to God to gain revelation for the next sermon we preach or “refill” our miracle tank for the next healing event we know we’ll minister at. I’ve seen many beautiful and supernatural things happen throughout my life years before I went to School of Ministry, but to be honest, I haven’t always done a great job protecting my first love for His presence. Instead I often found myself so driven by divine vision and purpose that I forgot about simply spending time with the One all purpose and vision originates from. One of the first observations I’ve made after arriving in Redding was that almost every time I watched Bill Johnson speak about God’s presence, he was moved to tears and his voice would begin to shake. I am deeply impressed and forever inspired by the way Pastor Bill has kept his heart tender towards the Lord over decades and decades of busy ministry.
“Never prostitute the presence of God for what You can get out of it. It’s all about Him and His glory. Everything else is secondary.” – Bill Johnson
Once I understood this, I also realized that the supernatural is super easy, if I just stay full of Him.
“Healing is only hard if I think it’s about myself. It becomes extremely easy and fun as soon as I focus on stewarding God’s presence in my life and let Him do the rest.” – Joaquin Evans
2. Royal Sonship is not a theory, but the deepest essence of my identity and confidence in God.
Of course we all know this is true. We’ve heard it hundreds of times preached from a pulpit, haven’t we? One of the major breakthroughs in my life happened in January 2010, when after spending several days in His presence I had an experience – a vision to be precise – that turned this theory into an actual reality for me. How would it look like today, to walk this earth understanding that all of the riches and blessings of heaven are your heritage? How would your perspective on God and yourself transform, if you fully understood that He is already completely pleased with You? There’s a reason the devil confronted Jesus 3 times saying “If you are the Son of God…”, shortly after God himself spoke from Heaven: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I’m well pleased.” He knew, if Jesus got that “sonship-thing” down, he’d have access to all of his Father’s resources and become unstoppable. The same is true for us, which leads us to lesson number 3.
3. I will only reflect the world I’m most aware of.
From childhood on I’ve been wondering why some people seem to be “more anointed” than others or experience more with God than most of a generation of Christians combined. Does God favor some more than others? Do they know a secret? Well, the answer is simple: most of the time they simply choose to believe God more than others. Many believers start out from scratch every day, because they rely on their feelings and emotions more than on everlasting truth and promises. How often does God have to speak a truth to you, before you start believing it and choose to see the world through the glasses of His perspective? Does he have to send someone to you everyday to tell you that He loves you and all things are possible, or can you get up in the morning and know that what He promised yesterday is still true today, tomorrow and into all eternity?
“So let us stop going over the basic teachings of Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and mature in our understanding…” – Hebrews 6:1
All great men and women of God knew and experienced God differently, because they trusted him differently.
4. My mere presence scares the Devil to Hell.
It’s always concerned me to see how many Christians a living a life of mediocrity, because they’re scared to step out of the boat and see if the water will carry them. Too many of us are passively waiting for God’s promises to manifest, not understanding that it’s God’s word combined with action-taking faith that releases the power of God. We allow fear to limit us, because it’s more comfortable to stay where we’re at, than to slay a few giants and take over the promised land. In the “Shaking Demons” video, I’m sharing a crazy story of an encounter I had with 7 demons and a bunch of gang members at Yale University Campus just before I came to Bethel. It changed my life and my understanding of the importance of supernatural boldness forever.
5. The essence of the kingdom of God is family.
God’s not calling himself father to borrow a term familiar to us and help us understand better who He is, but because He truly is the ultimate father and origin of family. I’ve often times asked myself, if the success of any ministry is measurable. Is the numbers of souls saved that matters? Is it the amount of presence released in a worship service or the quality of revelations taught in sermons? Ask 10 people and chances are you’ll get 10 different replies. In my experience the more “professional” and “structured” ministry gets, the higher the danger that we move away from the center of God’s heart. Instead of organic, real, every-day relationships churches today unfortunately are full of organized, stiff weekly groups. Most of the people I’ve ministered to on the streets of America claimed to have a relationship with God at one point. The real reason for why they’ve been drifting away was that they’ve been completely discouraged by the representation of God’s kingdom on earth – the local church. Many of them were excited about the message of love and unconditional acceptance until they experienced anything but that from the person sitting to their left and right in sunday morning service. After all the theological discussions, arguments and church-splits of the last 2,000 years we are finally returning to the simple revelation that in the end God is all about relationship. Everything He does is inspired by His longing to deepen our relationship to Him. That’s what we’re created for. It’s not about getting people to attend a meeting or join a group, it’s about leading people into a living relationship with the father through living relationship with each other. The true measure of success in any ministry therefore has to be the quality of relationships established and cultivated in and through it. People need a friend more than they need an evangelist (and I’ve been an evangelist for many years). Could that be the reason Jesus only focused on 12?
“The essence of the kingdom is family.” – Bill Johnson
“Your success is measured by how well you can equip others to be successful.” - Kris Vallotton
In my 2nd year I started a house church in my living room together with several of my friends to reach out to my neighborhood. One of the core values I established form the very beginning on was that we’d replace the words “house church” with “family” and every time we’d reach out to people on the streets, we’d be in groups of actual friends, not just evangelizing strangers. We certainly didn’t do everything right, but after a few weeks we had over 30 people cramped in that little living room and were celebrating some of the most incredible transformations of lives I had every seen. Later on people would tell us that it was the seemingly insignificant moments when we stopped by their house for 5 minutes on a random day or took them out to see a movie at the theater that really impacted them more than all the healings and prophesies they had witnessed. Sometimes it’s the smallest gestures, that can have the most supernatural impact we can ever have: communicate the Father’s heart of love.
That’s it for now, although I could go on and on into the top 10 and 20. I’d say that’s a pretty good start into my future life and career!
What are some of the main lessons you have learned through School of Ministry or by being under Bethel’s teaching? What do you agree or disagree on? Let me know in the comment section below and I’ll surely get back to you. If you’d like to get notified about my future Posts, you can learn about different ways to subscribe here.
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