(The Core Issues)
– Pastor Bimbo Animashaun
There’s a wide gap and margin of difference between “STYLE” and “SUBSTANCE” in ministry.
Don’t be distracted by people’s STYLE OF MINISTRY, as long as it does not offend the morality or sensibility of Scriptures.
Truth is that we all have DIFFERENT STYLES PECULIAR TO US, and more often than not, this is based on our level of upbringing and exposure in ministry.
For instance, a minister whose ministerial orientation is majorly gotten from American Pentecostalism is most likely to have a different style of ministry from a minister who is a thoroughbred Scripture Union (SU) conservative product, but the most important thing is to look out for THE REAL SUBSTANCE of the Gospel that they preach and their lifestyle as witnessed and attested to by the principles of Scriptures.
Some ministers are “loud” while some ministers just prefer to keep a low profile.
Some ministers prefer to put on suit while some ministers like flowing gowns.
Some ministers make use of pictures for their products and there are some other ministers who will never affix their pictures on their books or write-ups.
These variations in STYLE go on and on, and over time, we have allowed these differences to polarize the Body of Christ.
The situation is so bad to the extent that some believers have fixed their minds not to receive from some ministers, owing to their style of ministry, and these are vessels that Jesus, the Head of the Church, has placed in the Body.
Anytime we talk along this line, some people are quick to throw a jab by saying, “Jesus was not flamboyant. He led a simple life. Infact He kept a low profile, so any minister who is loud or flamboyant cannot be a true minister of Christ”.
We’ve seen that narrative replayed over and over again, but a very careful reflection of the life of Christ gives us an inkling into ALL SHADES OF STYLE displayed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Although fundamentally speaking, our Lord Jesus Christ set before us a pattern of SIMPLICITY, but not without VISIBILITY.
We need to realize that Christ is ALL SHADES OF BRILLIANCE.
He mixed with His apostles and disciples such that when He was to be apprehended for crucifixion, He could not be recognized – Jn. 18:3-5.
Yet the same Christ spoke truth to power – Jn. 18:33-37.
He was so loud that He talked about His spiritual identity and the mighty works wrought by His hands as tangible proofs of His vindication.
Think about Him saying the following to an extremely conservative Jewish audience:
* I am the Way, the Truth and the Life – Jn.14:6.
* I am the Light of the world – Jn.8:12.
* I am that Bread of life – Jn.6:48.
* I am the Door – Jn 10:9.
* I am the true Vine – Jn.15:1,5.
* I am the Resurrection and the Life – Jn 11:25.
* I am the good Shepherd – Jn.10:12.
Talking like this to an extremely conservative audience does not show humility “TO THE NATURAL MAN”, yet these are statements of eternal fact, and they were flowing from the One Who is meek and lowly in heart – Matt.11:29.
Then think of His response to John the Baptist when the latter sent his servants to ask Him “the Messianic question”.
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
4 Jesus answered and said unto them, GO AND SHEW JOHN AGAIN THOSE THINGS WHICH YE DO HEAR AND SEE:
5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Our Lord Jesus was just too balanced. He’s an all-round exemplification of SIMPLICITY and VISIBILITY.
He didn’t hide His mighty works; He was loud on them and He projected them, yet that doesn’t mean He was arrogant.
Remember also that He rode on an ass into Jerusalem amidst pomp and pageantry such that THE ENTIRE CITY WAS MOVED – Matt. 21:6-11.
When Mary broke the alaxbaster box of very precious ointment and poured it on Him, He didn’t reject it – Matt. 26:6-13 yet we’re not saying that He was flamboyant for receiving that precious perfume.
Christ is both WISDOM and POWER – 1Cor.1:24. In the context of this piece, we can say that the wisdom part is the simplicity part – talks about reflections, cogitations, and cognitive components in general while we can say that the power part talks about demonstrations, tangibility, “loudness”, manifestations, etc.
It is not every minister that will first kneel down at the altar to sing before preaching; some will simply stand and “scream” under the influence of the anointing and swing into action.
It is not every minister that will put the label, “Brother” as their official title; some will simply prefer something else WHICH IS NOT AGAINST THE BIBLE and it doesn’t mean they’re title-conscious or braggadocios.
Therefore it is not right to demonize or blackmail any minister based on STYLE.
If for instance you have aversion against the use of social media or technology in ministry, so be it.
Don’t tag other ministers exploring technology to project their works as flamboyant.
We are different in STYLE – our STYLES are variables but our SUBSTANCE is eternally constant, and that’s what we should look out for.
The real SUBSTANCE of ministry is the Gospel of Christ communicated in the power of the Spirit for the salvation of the world and for the edification of the Church.
Whether you’re putting on suit or a flowing gown (agbádá) to preach it is IMMATERIAL.
Whether you’re putting on Italian suit and shoes or a simple “Ankara” to preach it MAKES NO DIFFERENCE.
We look out for the Word and the Spirit as Siamese Twins to convey the eternal counsel of God to the nations, and that’s THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.
STYLE should not divide us in ministry. This was the same question I was privileged of God to ask Papa, Bishop Francis Wale Oke in his office some years ago.
I asked specifically about how he was able to manage his relationship with Archbishop Benson Idahosa and Pastor E. A. Adeboye and few other fathers simultaneously without any friction.
Papa smiled and said that the Archbishop and Pastor Adeboye are two “extremes” but what he did was to relate with their “PERSON” and to also receive them in their callings.
Now I can never forget that! STYLES are peculiar to people but SUBSTANCE is the unifying factor for all!
When we focus more on SUBSTANCE and take different ministers for their STYLES (talking about the ones not offensive to the morality or sensibility of Scriptures), then we as the Body of Christ will open up the valve and create more outlets and channels to receive the blessing of the Gospel of Christ from His chosen vessels.
No matter what our STYLES of ministry are, every minister can be guided by Paul’s admonition to the Philippian Christians.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
I hope this is a blessing Sirs and Mas?