Monday, January 23, 2017

Defining Ministry

This is one amazing lady!!! She has many beautiful and wonderful attributes but she is also very shy, timid and introverted. She often considers herself "Reverend Sloggett's wife" as if I am the minister and she is just there. What many fail to recognize is just how multifaceted ministry really is. 
For example. I preached the weekend in Arkansas. I did it wearing my brand new 35.00 suit. That's right. I am 6'8" tall and only weigh 220 lbs. Suits for me are rare and EXPENSIVE! But I got a brand new name brand suit, completely recut to fit me for 35.00!!! I went and got this suit all by myself but the reason I got it was the influence of my wife. She is extremely frugal and can make a dollar go farther than anyone I know. 
She takes the time to study things out, she does her shopping and her homework. She is positive and faithful about finding a good deal. She believes in good deals and knows that they exist. She also understands the value of finding them. A dollar is worth more when it can purchase more. 
This is a part of Sister Niki's ministry. A portion of her influence on people all across the country. She has taught hundreds of young people, married couple, new wives, new moms, our children and even me; how to be diligent and faithful with the income the God blesses us with. 
I can afford a 500.00 suit. But the fact that I found a 500.00 suit for 35.00 is extremely important. I can give more to missionaries, I can provide more for my family, I can preach for more churches that don't think they have the finances to call me in. It is not about can you afford it, it is about should you spend it? The answer is: Not if you can get same and similar for a little more effort and a lot less money. 
Many of the ministries that we have built over the years owe a huge amount of gratitude to the ministry of my wife. We were able to afford to start those ministries because she was able to spend so little money on so much stuff. We are finally going to attempt to build a house this year, mostly because my wife has spend the last several years being so frugal with our finances. 
MINISTRY is a huge thing. It has many avenues of blessings. Look for your ministry. Work at it. Cherish it. Perfect it and Thank God for it!!

Pro 31:10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 
Pro 31:11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
Pro 31:12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
Pro 31:13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
Pro 31:14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
Pro 31:15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
Pro 31:16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
Pro 31:17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
Pro 31:18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
Pro 31:19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
Pro 31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
Pro 31:21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
Pro 31:22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
Pro 31:23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
Pro 31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Pro 31:25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
Pro 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
Pro 31:27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Pro 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Pro 31:29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Pro 31:30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
Pro 31:31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Pentecostal Youth Pastor Needs To Know What To Do About Feminine Boys????

I receive dozens of questions about ministry, addictions, relationships, etc. every week. Many of them are just repeats over and over from different sections of the country. I have posted a lot of my answers on fb and my blog but haven’t had time to post a lot of them lately. Here is a very unique one that got started when a Preacher that I met at our home fellowship meeting, several years ago, contacted me this week. 

Hello Bro Sloggett,
You probably don't know who I am. My name is ********************. I've spoken with you on the phone once when I was pastoring in ****************. Since then I have moved back home to *********** and my wife and I are youth leaders in a local church. 
I have listened to several of your messages and heard you preach a few times in person. Often times you say things that I've often thought but never verbalized. Your posts usually resonate strongly with my own thoughts regarding our movement. Thank you for your ministry and all the great teachings!
I have a topic/series of questions that I cannot find answers on and was wondering if you've ever dealt with it. I have asked pastors, looked for books, called focus on the family, called family talk and have found very little advice or literature available.
As a youth leader I have several young men in our church that I am doing my best to disciple. Please understand that our youth group is not the typical children of the holiness parents that go to that church. Many of our youth come from broken homes and abusive pasts. Many of their home lives are a wreck and the filth they live in on a daily basis is quite sad. 
With that said our church and my family have been working with these kids and have seen them genuinely make many changes in their lives. I believe, even though they have a long ways to go, they have started their journey in serving the Lord.
I apologize for being so wordy but I wanted you to understand the background. A few of these young men have feminine tendencies, some a little more severe than others. I've heard all the preaching against homosexuality and all the remarks about "if you walk like a duck and you talk like a duck.... I have heard much teaching/preaching regarding what not to do but literally nothing on what to do or how to help. I have preached and taught in our Sunday School about how feminism and homosexuality are sin and how the mind and our thoughts are the enemies largest battleground but I have never addressed any of the young men individually. 
When I say feminine tendencies I'm not just harping on our youth about wearing the latest clothing. I have one young man that has worn female perfume and had carried a purse in the past. I have another young man that has Facebook friends of other men in very inappropriate underclothes. 
Also as a disclaimer I am careful about keeping these young men in groups and not allowing them be alone with other youth and especially younger children. I am very very cautious.
I do not believe these boys have acted physically on any of these homosexual tendencies and hope to redirect them while we have a window of opportunity.
I'm reaching out to you to ask if you've worked with young men like this before and if so what did you do? 
Do you speak to them directly and let them know you have noticed the things that are not natural or do you continue to involve them and mentor them giving them a Godly masculine example and pray they change? 
It has taken some time and much work but I know our youth trust, respect and love us. I don't want to do or say anything that would make us lose ground but I also want to address things that will destroy their lives if go un-dealt with. 
Thank you so much for your time!
God Bless 

 Reverend *****************. I remember you. God bless you and good to hear from you. I have so much to say I could write a book on it but don’t have the time right now. First of all I am thrilled that you and your church are working with such a group of troubled youth. Many churches wouldn’t even go as far as you have already. Even the ones that say they will or say they want to, really can’t. They have too many traditions of men that hinder them from doing the right kind of outreach OR are too confusing for un-churched people to be able to figure out if they did come. 
I have sat in many many services and listened to saints and ministers testify and preach about how bad they want to see souls saved and how hard they are working to get sinners in but then I listen to the rest of what is said in the service and I realize that if the lost do come…they won’t make it here! 
Outreach from a “Holiness” church must be a two edged sword. First, you must practice and perform true New Testament Biblical Outreach and second you must bring your converts to a true New Testament Bible Church Environment. Many churches have neither and they are rapidly dying. Quite a few over the last 10 to 15 years have developed the first, but still greatly lack in the second. I am very excited to see churches at least getting some of the outreach right but it is still a far cry from what Christ wanted. Look around and notice how many un-churched, horrible sinners, adulterers, drug addicts, etc, etc. that have been in contact with people that you know from churches that we would fellowship and God touched them! Delivered them! Saved them! Even perhaps through outreach and contact with OUR people. BUT…..THEY DO NOT ATTEND AT OUR CHURCHES. Often times that is because we had “the first part right”. God was able to use us to REACH them. Praise God. But we didn’t have the second part right. So God was un-able to use us to RAISE them. This breaks my heart in almost every church service that I attend. But we have made progress and must continue. 
This being said, it sounds to me like you are at least doing the first part right. Glory to God!! Now, can you get the second part right? I agree with you in what you have done so far in the sense that you have worked with these young men long enough for them to gain some confidence in you. This is extremely important. Because at some point you must counsel with them and counseling is worthless if it is not done by someone that is trusted by the one being counseled. 
Doing all of the things that you are doing is great and should continue and I would add a couple other things. Number one, if indeed they respect you at this point, you need to talk to them one on one. DO NOT talk to them with the end in mind idea of “fixing them” or “convincing them”. Talk to them with the idea of “loving them”! You can intend to fix them without loving them and caring about their ultimate end. But you cannot intend to love them without wanting to see them fixed and helped. Often times ministers DECIDE what is wrong and counsel to correct it. Often times ministers are wrong. First FIND OUT then FIX. If not, you can waste precious time trying to fix something that isn’t broken and never helping the thing that is actually hurting. For example: You may have a young man wearing high heels and carrying a purse and set out to “convince” him against homosexuality. All along he may be a purely straight young man that likes girls but has a female role complex or is possessed of a feminine spirit. 
There are only two real ways to “find out”. Talk to them, ask them, listen to them and get to know them well enough to read their actions correctly OR pray and seek God until He reveals it to you through the Holy Ghost. Of course The Holy Ghost is the most accurate but I often find that advising people to attempt the first way is best in many cases. Oh don’t get me wrong, I trust The Holy Ghost….I just don’t trust a lot of people that claim to have it.  
Having the conversations after trust is developed is tremendously important for a couple reasons. First of all it gives you valuable information that you can use to guide and give resources. ie. Read this chapter. Listen to this sermon lesson. I’ll be there for you in this area. Etc. Secondly and at least as importantly, you do not want the young person doing something against their God given conscience, that society has possibly told them is ok, without a check and balance. They may very well still be questioning the “rightness” or “wrongness” of their actions. But no one, that they have confidence in, has yet challenged them on it. If they are allowed to go to church and pray and hang out in the youth group, etc and never be challenged on it….sometimes that equates with acceptance and approval. 
I know that you and I have seen A LOT of stupidity flow from across pulpits in the name of standing against sin. But sin should still be stood against, just without the ignorance. Not explaining to them what is wrong with it in a rational, reasonable and Biblical way, is just as destructive to them as the “if it walks like a duck” bashing and smashing. Sin must be confronted. But with facts, love, righteousness and truth. Not anger, fear, self righteousness and traditions. 
I will add something else while I am right here. TEACHING and RELATIONSHIPS are the key to fix a lot of these problems. You came up in a preaching and preacher worshipping religious society. There are many amazing, Godly and wonderful people amongst us but that is no reason to not work on our faults, do better and keep growing. If you and many others will draw a line in the sand and start now, we can change things for the better and it will have a ripple effect across your youth groups, into your church fellowships and literally across the world. 
Emphasize teaching more than preaching. Emphasize learning more than feeling. Emphasize how people live day to day rather that how good your services are. You will know that this is working by watching the transformation of a few tell tale signs. When you preach you will “talk” to the people and “read” to the people and you will be more emphatic on the points that they need to “LEARN”….as apposed to, “screaming” the verses as you read them and being emphatic on the rhymes and rhythms. Also, over time you will notice that your people that you are ministering to are living more consistent and Biblical lives at school, at home and at work….as apposed to frustrating the ministry by dressing right, acting right, looking right and sounding right AT THE CHURCH SERVICES and yet still living “separate”, more carnal lives elsewhere. 
The other point was relationships. The church has far too many Pastors, staff members and ministry members that “do their job” but are not in relationships with the people that they are supposedly “doing their job to”. Ministry members should be the most spiritual people on the planet. But NOT THE MOST UNTOUCHABLE. I’ll give you an example of either or. A Pastor or evangelist that is a great preacher, an orator, a polished speaker. He “runs” the show well. A master manager. BUT he is so busy running things and having meetings and pushing the process that a member would have a hard time meeting with him, getting a call through to him, getting a word in edge wise with him, etc. He is in some ways untouchable. This means that he risks becoming disconnected with the people that he is supposed to be helping and serving. If they begin to have a problem he will only notice it from a distance and he may “guess” at what it is and attempt a wasted opportunity at resolving the wrong thing. 
Next we have the staff member that is “busy” working for the kingdom to the point that they are no being a true servant of the King. If you have people working in the sound booth, playing the instruments, running around the service “doing things” for and about the service…those people better be some of your folks that pray the most, study the most, listen the best, are humble, kind and deep, etc. etc. IF NOT, you will have what many end up having. Workers that are your workers because they were willing so you let them or they just started doing it and you let them…..These are huge risks for your converts. If a convert is struggling, the devil will take the easy pickings and point out the hypocrisy and inconsistency of people that you have “approved of” elsewhere. These, sometimes carnal, staff members can have relationships with your converts or at least be looked up to by your converts, because they “hold positions” and it could do the very opposite of what you want done. 
So, the ministers not having time or desire to have relationships with the young souls and then having shallow staff members that do have relationships with the young souls, can spell disaster. 
I also would like to point out some doctrinal material that may be of long term assistance. Teaching, preaching and living very broad and basic Biblical doctrines is extremely helpful to new converts. Just hammering pin pointed, named things to avoid, not do or are “bad”, is nowhere near as substantive. Example. Consistently bringing up and pointing out in scripture such things as “The Two Sex Society” and how it works and why it works and that God MADE it, etc. etc. Helps combat societal and generational sins. Bringing up that God created a two sex society and used it to plan the first family, the first community. When sin entered in to the human race God gave two sets of punishments to humans because there was two kinds of humans. Male and Female. When talking about abortion remember to memtion that two thirds of all of the victims are female. Half of the babies and all of the mothers. Thus making a distinction between male and female. When talking about sodomy and homosexuality, do not fail to point out that besides the spiritual and moral failures of it there is a huge elephant in the room because no one is talking about the societal failure of it. Plainly stated, if all were homosexual, they would be the last generation of humans because humanity can’t continue without the two sex society. Doing ministry this way puts bullets in the guns of the convert. Gives them things to think about and wrestle with. 
The opposite of this of course is preaching that “If you wear a pink shirt, you are a faggot” or “If you spike your hair or buy your pants too tight it means………” This doesn’t work for soooooo many reasons. Allow me to list a few. It is generational and it will change, it has not scriptural basis so it can’t be taught, oh did I mention that we have hypocritical doctrines that contradict it?! We have ministers out there yelling things across our pulpits like, “Be a man you bunch of sissies! Hunt, fish, arm wrestle, do things that only men can do. That’s why God made you that way!!!” (Yes I actually heard that preached) “Oh, by the way….DON’T WEAR A BEARD, IT’S WORLDLY!” Ummm, but that is something that only a man can do and….God made you that way. Right?  
I know, I know. There are a bunch of “in your face” BEARD PUSHERS out there now a days. I am not one of them, I don’t wear a beard, never have, never thought about growing one….but I might….That is not the point. The point is that is an easy easy target to point out how arrogantly inconsistent we have been and if we don’t start cleaning some of this stuff up, we are going to have a bunch of good Holiness/Pentecostal/Whatever churches out there that have got the “outreach” part right but they haven’t got the environment part right. So praise God at least we may finally be allowed to help REACH THEM but I also want to be able to help RAISE THEM! 
So, your question was “Do you speak to them directly and let them know you have noticed the things that are not natural or do you continue to involve them and mentor them giving them a Godly masculine example and pray they change?” The answer is BOTH BUT…You must have the right approach and the right environment or your efforts may be mostly in vain. God bless you my friend and we pray earnestly for you and those that you are attempting to win for Christ!!! 
I realize that this may very well be far more answer than you anticipated but these things can be quite complicated when being approached from such a scattered religious background as ours. I thought that you would appreciate the extra information. If you need anything else just reach out. 
Also, would you mind if I removed your name and the places that you speak of and include your question and my answer in my blog for other ministers and saints to learn from? 
Your humble servant,
Rev. D. Todd Sloggett
Bro Sloggett,
You don't know how much I appreciate your response. Thank you for giving me time out of your schedule. I've already read your reply twice and am sure I will be referring back to it many times more. 
Feel free to post the question and response anywhere you'd like.
Thank you for the extra's in your email as well. One of the things you had mentioned was to move towards teaching/preaching rather than screaming/preaching. This really hit home and has been the subject of many thoughts and prayers. Recently I have been re-evaluating my (for lack of a better term) preaching style. I have felt somewhat convicted and have been asking myself "Have I been preaching to lift ME up or have I been preaching to lift up the broken, hurting, discouraged and bound?" I pray that God can use me to reach someone that needs him and for no other reason. 
Thank you again
God Bless