When I first became a Christian, I was intrigued with the proficiency of those in the pulpit. In fact, back in those days, it seems that there were many traveling evangelists and teachers coming through our church. We used a word back then that described the environment … ‘anointed.’ Now, I won’t dismiss that some of those folks were really anointed to preach and teach, but is that the end of the ‘anointing?’ Was an anointed service the end of the matter? No, it is never the end … it’s only the beginning. If the anointed service were truly anointed, it would challenge people to be different … after all, they just experienced God at work.
Since then, I have learned that God’s anointing is not only on the individual, but it is on a community. It is the community of believers whose gifts are used to bring people to Jesus, to bring healing to the hurting, to provide safety for the strays, and to bind up the wounds of those who are injured. This is the picture of a community of believers who are anointed for service.
When I reference passages of Scripture like 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, I am amazed at how the community is used by God. It is not the anointed individual who is doing this unique work that is mentioned in these passages, it is the Body of Christ. In fact, when we look at Ephesians 4:11-12, the Apostle Paul tells us these functions of God's Holy Spirit are to raise up and train the Body of Christ to do the ministry. These gifts are not the anointing … the anointing is on the body who is to do the ministry. This changed how I saw the pulpit. It is the work of the pulpit to bring awareness, insight, and release to the Body so they are encouraged to be the ministry. It shifts the ministry emphasis from the pastor to the people, and it’s the people who catch the vision and become the emphasis of doing the ministry.
Ministry is community-oriented, and so is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is true the Holy Spirit works with the individual to draw him or her closer to God, but it is also His emphasis to bring the Body into the alignment of His Word. Look at the two references noted in 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12. What is the common thread you see? It is God giving gifts to be used on the community and it is the community who is getting the gifts to be used. It is not the evangelist, prophet, teacher, pastor, or teacher getting the gifts … it is the Body of Christ getting the gifts. God works best in community.
Any church can hire an anointed and talented preacher, but it is a different matter when you have an anointed and talented congregation. This is the ultimate objective … to have a congregation pursuing God and open to bringing the gifts to a working practice among them. God’s gifts are given to the congregation so that the ministry is done by the pew … not the pulpit. This is not to minimize the preacher but emphasizes that the preacher is not the objective with God … the Body is. It is always the Body that God is most interested in because it is the Body that does most of the work in ministry. Even the structure of governance in the church supports this community idea. It is the plurality of leaders from the Body who oversee the church. It is the people whose characters and lifestyles become the examples of Godly leadership that encourage the church to pursue God as they do. The rebuke of Jesus in Revelation 2 and 3 was a rebuke to the community. He was saying, "You have missed the mark" to the community of believers. The purpose of His rebuke was to bring them back to doing His will.
Community is important to God, and it is His main concern. How can our communities catch this anointing and emphasis? We first acknowledge that our community is God’s Bride and belongs to Him. As a part of that Bride, how do we, the members of His Bride, bring our best to Him every week as we meet for worship? What have I not given to Him as a part of being His Bride? Have I kept something from Him, hiding it in a way that I hope He doesn’t notice?
The idea of having a congregation that is anointed is found in the pursuit of God in the way that nothing is held back from Him. All our selfishness is abandoned for Him. All our self-pity is denied access to our mind and heart. All of our sinfulness is confessed and we pursue Him with all our heart:
Matthew 6:33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Anointing comes when people become serious about God and become concerned about the people who aren’t interested.
God works best in community. And remember, it only takes a few to make anything happen with God.
Matthew 18:20 For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.
Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler