by Pam Clark (pamclark @

Many times people solicit other ministries, saying they want to be mentored or affiliated. While the idea is right, I as well as others who have discussed this together, have often noticed that what many people really just want is the perceived power they covet or a name association. And after some of the things we have been through for our ministries, we even wonder why they would want that! Ha ha. Sometimes they just want hand outs of some sort and so they use flattery. A person has to discern. What is the real reason?

When a leader of any kind considers another for association, there are several factors at work. One of the first things they look for is evidence of understanding their vision. If that is not there, they often do not consider it further. However many will look to see if the other person wants to serve the vision and so they will look for evidence of that.

Is the person a giver or a taker? Is the person bartering for something they think they want or are they really looking to serve through a selfless life? Do they see Jesus in your vision or do they see their own vision? Do they even know what they want?

Most God called ministers know that when God is callling you to Him, He is calling you to serve. And He gives you a plan. There is just that place where you must lay down your life to do something else that He is asking you or even commanding you to do. If a person is arrested by Love, they will submit their will to God as unto a divine mandate.

The key word is submission, not because someone needs to rule over someone but because someone needs to serve Someone. People can be impressed with someone because we like the way they teach or preach or prophesy, but are they wanting to buy that with money or do they have a heart of prayer?

Is the person soliciting affiliation or mentoring willing to work in the heat of the day? When the going gets tough or uncomfortable, are they still willing servers? Do they have a diligence that can be depended upon, especially in the more difficult times? Do they have the minister on a pedastal or can they handle the weaknesses of the human side of life and not feel let down or betrayed or lose heart? If they cannot handle the minister's weaknesses, then they surely will not be able to handle those who come to them for ministry with their problems.

When the person comes, do they want to redo the ministry? That is often a sign that they really have their own ideas or calling but are just afraid to step out in it. What they really want to "borrow" is the strength of another rather than discovering their own. They become disgruntled when things do not go the way they perceive they should go and often times end up sabotoging the other's work over it because in their heart they really believe their vision is better or more qualified than the one they are serving. They are trying to come up another way.

Paul the apostle had a lot of things figured out. He was helping the Sanhedrin run the synogogues. He had so much zeal in fact, that he persecuted the Christians broadly. He was even endorsed with rewards. He was trying to serve God but he was not in a position to discover Jesus one on one because he would have carried that same spirit and attitude over into the new churches. God had to knock him off of his horse and scare the everloving wits out of him to get him into a position of servanthood.

Contrast him to Ananias who came and prayed for him. Without being under the anointing, he was in fear of Paul and his wrath. Ananias had to submit his soul and his fears unto God to do what God was calling him to do. He submitted himself to pray for a terrorist, in person! And he submitted to prophesying outrageous things that were not as if they were!

In his right mind, Ananias would not have wanted to fuel any spirit that would have come against himself or his family or other fellow Christians, it would be insanity. It ~had~ to be God for him to do that. Ananias held stark obedience in contrast to Paul's former zeal. And of course, the outcome proved it.

Consider Elisha who came to serve Elijah for many years before he began his ministry. The Bible says he "washed the hands" of Elijah, as a menial servant. No doubt, since Elisha did twice as many miracles, that Elisha had an aptitude for miracles and power. Many people like those things for the attention and reward they bring, but do they know how to handle that attention? Elisha had to "sit on his gift" for years before God released it. Elisha's servant failed that test.

Elijah had some moods! It can be just as important to "not catch" some things as it is to "catch" them. Does the person have a judging heart? Or can they see the power of God and work and honor His choices? Do they want to rewrite God or can they submit? Do they want to usurp authority? When some is given to them, do they want to take more and see this as their opportunity to do just that?

Wives are told to win their husbands without saying a word by their chaste and virtuous conduct. As a bride to our Christ, are we winning others? Or are we on a worldly public relations campaign? Jesus' very own family came to Him and tried to advise Him as to how He should do His ministry. Is your calling from God with His tools, or do you lean on or need or give into family consensus? Is your calling from God or do you just want to serve?

It's very important for people to discover their own motives and goals. Many times we have to give up our goals for God's goals. There is a place of obedience in serving where we sometimes do not know what our Master is doing. Will we serve Him anyway? Can we and will we be led by His Voice and Spirit?

Sometimes we want to be with others because we fear we cannot do what we "see" by the Spirit that those others are doing. We know it's God and we know it's good and it stirs us, so we think that by affiliation we are pleasing God, when in reality we are just denying the process. If we have idol worship, we want to be just like the one we admire, rather than hearing the Voice of God speaking to us. Like the children of Israel who responded to Moses, "You tell us what God is saying. You go up and we will just do what you say."

Some people are called to serve under others. Big visions and projects cannot get done without servants to those ministries and visions. But one way you know it is God is because those visions and ministries serve in such a way that others are blessed and enriched. God's anointing is also put on those servants of the vision. For many this is a preparation, because as David knew when called to serve King Saul, there must be a learning and understanding of the proper protocols.

David raised sheep! He did not understand life in the king's palace without experience and instructions. In that palace he had friends and he had enemies. Later even the king was to turn against him. He was blessed with the king's daughter and she later turned against him. He lost heart many times but encouraged himself in the will of the Lord.

He could not dishonor the system or the system would have dishonored him. He had to understand God's order for governing. He could not go to just any king or organization of his own choosing. He couldn't even spend all his time with Prophet Samuel and get all that God was requiring of his life. Over time, more and more he began to understand his calling, even though he was anointed and prophesied for it as just a lad.

Joseph had big dreams as a child. They were prophetic. But did they get accomplished simply because he shared his visions? No, that only brought the wrath of his brothers! They were determined to prove him wrong. But the vision was for down the road, and so he had to suffer great persecution. Did God leave him through that or did God prepare Joseph through that?

To affiliate or mentor means to serve. It means to submit. It means to lay down your life, your finances, your time, even your heart. It means to trust. A price is paid. And it is not always easy.

You can try to buy the gift for money, you can try to usurp authority, or you can seek the will of God for your life. What you sow into, you will reap.

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