The pastors of Palm Beach County and the surrounding area gathered on April 28th at Christ Fellowship church for their quarterly meeting of Church United.
After a prayer meeting and light breakfast, Pastor Todd Mullins of Christ Fellowship opened the meeting by announcing a variety of multi-church events including a security conference and a Church United for Kids meeting.
Pastor Todd began the meeting by speaking about foster care, this year’s focus of Church United. He encouraged Christians in our community to get involved in caring for our children in the foster program, a need that has been dear to the heart of the Mullins family for many years.
Pastor Tom Mullins, one of the original founders of Church United, spoke of getting back to “the fundamentals” of our faith. He directed his listeners to Luke 5:4-7 and spoke of these “simple fisherman who became part of a transformational movement that turned not only their nation upside down, but turned the world upside down.”
If you’re not a good follower, you’ll never be a good leader. Followship always precedes leadership.
During a trip to Spain, Pastor Tom heard the Lord speak to him that if he would concentrate his focus on this region here in Palm Beach County, God would touch the world with greater impact than if he traveled the world preaching the message.
In Humility, Submit to the Will of God.
Quoting again from Luke 5:4-7, Pastor noted that Peter had to recognize and submit to the will of God. Peter didn’t want to go. Pastor Tom shared, “Great leaders are first great followers. If you’re not a good follower, you’ll never be a good leader. Followship always precedes leadership. If you’re not serving someone, find someone and serve them. True humility is the foundation of honor.”
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” 1 Peter 3:15
Pastor Tom told the story of a man who once greeted him, declaring that everything in his life was in a F.O.G. Upon further inquiry, he learned that this man believed that he was in the Favor of God (F.O.G.) because of his humility. “The F.O.G. will do more for your ministry than any program, any plan, any ministry that you’ve got going.”
The ministry of Christ Fellowship was based on the mission that they would love God with all of their heart and that they would meet people at their point of need. Pastor Tom had the audience rolling in laughter with the story of his early days when his own mother gave him a signal to “cut” and stop preaching.
Those who walk with God always fulfill their destiny.
He believes that the only reason God blessed his ministry was by grace. Pastor Tom said, “We pushed our boat out from the bank and let our nets down. Those who walk with God always fulfill their destiny. Peter had no idea when he pushed off the shore that day that his destiny would be determined by his decision to push the boat off the shore and go do something that made no sense to him, but because God said it, he did it and unlocked his destiny.”
Understand the Power of Team Work.
Pastor Tom shared, “Never limit God by what you have a perceived capacity for. Your capacity is unlimited when you are united. You’ll never fulfill your capacity with just your boat and your net.” He quoted Mother Teresa, “You can do things that I can’t do, and I can do things that you can’t do, and together we can do great things.”
Always Bear Up. Never Tear Down.
Pastor Tom spoke from a lifelong commitment of avoiding the criticism of other denominations, “Isn’t it great that we never allow criticism to arise among us, even though we have differences of approach, maybe a little bit of difference in our theology, but we’re all about bringing people to Jesus and then impacting them for Kingdom of Heaven. We find our common ground and that’s where we work together and support each other.”
I want you to know that if we ever talk about you or your church, it’s going to be positive. We refuse to say anything negative about anyone. ~Tom Mullins
He affirmed his continued commitment to supporting and not ever tearing down, the work of other Christians, “I want you to know that if we ever talk about you or your church, it’s going to be positive. We refuse to say anything negative about anyone…just lifting up the name of Jesus. We don’t have any time for that. When you’re in covenant with Christ then you’re automatically in covenant with His church.”
Always Believe the Best of Your Team.
“You speak the best of that team and you give the best to that team.” Pastor Tom spoke of the Apostle Peter’s humility and awareness of his own weakness.
“When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” Luke 5:8
He continued with a story of a pastor from Dallas, Texas who called him on a Sunday morning distressed by the discovery of adultery by someone on his church staff. Pastor Tom took the time to listen to this pastor and cried with him.
In a solemn moment, Pastor Tom advised, “Practice honesty. When you step into ministry you forfeit all rights to a private life. We must walk in transparency. People are dying for true character and when they find it they will follow it.”
Every follower asks three questions:
- Can I trust them? If we say something, we do it. If we can’t do something we come and explain why we can’t do what we said we were going to do.
- Do they really care about me? Are they trying to manipulate me, use me, or do they really care about me. Do they see in me someone they can advance or are they trying to advance themselves?
- Can they really help me? Are they competent to help me move to the next level?
Never Lose the Awe of God.
He went on to say, “I love the fact that the boys were in awe of God. They recognized that this was a sovereign move of God. This was God’s hand that came at that moment in that little fishing village to these little fishermen who had probably never witnessed a miracle before, but they recognized that this was a miracle from God.”
Pastor Tom referred to a message Pastor Todd was giving to his leadership team one day when he told them, “Never lose your awe…that holy reverence…of what God is doing among you.”
“When you lose your awe of God, you lose your sense of destiny and become a pawn in the enemy’s hands.” ~Tom Mullins
“Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.” Psalm 33:8 NASB
Referring to the story in 2 Samuel when Uzzah lost his life for the irreverent act of becoming too familiar with the things of God. “I think God was saying, ‘Don’t you ever get too familiar with My holy things.’ God is working in the churches. He’s working among you. Every time there is a life that surrenders his heart to Jesus, you’re watching a miracle take place that has eternal impact. We need to be in awe of that.”
Take Time to Celebrate the Things of God.
Every time there is a life that surrenders his heart to Jesus, you’re watching a miracle take place that has eternal impact. We need to be in awe of that.
Pastor Tom travels the world delivering inspiring messages to church leaders and often reminds them of the importance of celebration. He said, “In your messages, why don’t you take a point out and put in a story of a transformed life and celebrate what God’s doing? People want to celebrate. Try to celebrate every week what God is doing among you. You don’t need to have a fifth point on your exegesis of the text. They’re not going to remember most of them anyway. They’re going to remember a good story. Celebrate what God is doing. Keep your awe.”
Have Courage to Embrace the Next Steps.
The disciples of Jesus left everything to go with God. Pastor Tom said, “In order to be effective, every one of us, in that life crisis moment, we have to say, ‘Alright God, I’m willing to surrender everything to follow you.'”
“…forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
According to Pastor Tom, having the courage to submit to God is a key element in unlocking God’s purpose for our lives. “Significance in life and eternity are discovered when we honor the call of God and we get back to the simple fundamentals and say, ‘Lord, I want to be humble and submitted to you and I want to have a servant’s heart. I want to become a great follower so that somehow, one day You can help me become a great leader.”
The Power of Team Work
And then the coach began to speak to the team. “I understand the power of team work. That’s why we’re here today. I’m just thinking about all this…I see your lives, I see your boats and I’m thinking, man, we have a fleet. Do you realize how many we could get with a fleet? Whew! Watch out.
Not willing to leave even one behind, Coach said, “Some of them are going to be really big fish; kicking and screaming and trying to tear the nets. Hold on. We’ll come get ’em another net over them. Let’s be committed to each other.”
Speaking of our Christian brotherhood as a sacred trust, Pastor said, “Let’s treat our relationships as a sacred trust of God, and watch what God will do in honoring that, honoring you and honoring your ministry. Let’s live with transparent lives before the Lord.”
Stay Focused and Committed
He had a word of encouragement to pastors, “A lot of the things that God has for you is right around the corner, but you are going to have to persevere to get there. We had to work for seven straight years seeing very little fruit and very little fish. But we knew we were endeavor to obey the will of God. We kept fighting, fighting, fighting…struggling…persevering. Were there days of discouragement? Of course there were! There were days we were wondering, ‘What are we doing here? What difference are we making here…and I’m preaching to the same people. Bless their hearts. I’m amazed that they all didn’t forget this.'”
Referring back to when his mother gave him the “cut” signal on his sermon, he said, “By the way, when my mom did that to me that night, I’ll never forget it. She got a standing ovation. But then suddenly, God gave us an old horse barn and everything broke lose ever since.”
Pastor Tom’s Prayer
May the words of Pastor Tom’s prayer be a prayer over you as you read them:
Father, I thank you for these precious men and women of God. I thank You for their lives, their calling, their giftedness, their passion. Father, I just pray that You will overshadow them with Your greatness and goodness and Your favor, that literally the F.O.G. of Heaven will sweep over them, and they will begin to see a harvest of so many souls that they realize they’ve got to call the other ships and boats and nets in to help them.
Together, we’ll begin to see a transformational movement take place in this region. May we look for ways to add value to each other, Father. May we always believe the best, speak the best and give our best to one another because that’s demonstrating Your love through us. By this all men will know you’re My disciples in the way that you love one another. Father, we want it to be such a clear message in this region that goes out, such a clear Light that shines, there will be no hidden places in this region where the Gospel is not impacting, because we’re simply making ourselves available to serve You, to honor You and to one another.
So Lord, I pray for blessing, favor, strength, encouragement, I pray God, for the resource. I pray, God, you will send in the men and women that are needed into all of these congregations that are represented here today that will help them go to the next level. And Lord, may we look for how we can help and serve one another, because as we’re busy serving each other You seem to take care of everything we have need of, when we take care of each other.
May your blessing be upon them. In Jesus Name. Amen. Thank you. I love you. God bless.
Pastor Todd then stepped up to the alter and invited all who wish to participate, to join in the first Wednesday fast, where we unite our hearts in prayer for the region by fasting and praying in whatever manner we are able.
The next Church United meeting will take place on August 24th, 2016.