By Francis Frangipane
I love the Word of God. I have a burning passion that my words, whether written or spoken, might be filled with the river of life that flows from God’s throne (Rev. 22:1). I love studying the Word, comparing translations, researching commentaries and then preparing teachings for others from what the Lord shown me.
However, several years ago, as I was preparing a message for Sunday morning, the Lord gently admonished me. I had spent far too much time with details. My preparation was becoming increasingly cerebral until, suddenly, the Lord interrupted my study. He said, "I have called you, not only to prepare sermons, but to prepare people."
There is a difference between preparing a message about God and preparing a people for God. Obviously, sermon preparation is very important, but it is not an end in itself. The goal is to equip and train people to represent Christ.
As we approach the end of this age, I believe our Father is in the process of training people to serve during the last great harvest. Our destiny as Christians is to "grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ" (Eph. 4:15). This means, we must not only know that Jesus heals, but who He wants to heal and how He wants to heal them. We must pursue His wisdom, view life with His discernment, and learn to be led by revelation. In other words, we must not only seek to possess accurate theology, we must seek to manifest, in our times and circumstances, the actual life of Christ.
The Purpose of Leadership
Ministers are given by God not only to teach doctrine, but to impart Christ’s life as they train His disciples. Paul told the Christians in Rome that he longed to “impart some spiritual gift . . . that you may be established” (Rom. 1:11). Are you spiritually unstable, floating up and down? Paul sought to supply an impartation to help establish the church in Rome. He said to the Thessalonians that both he and his ministry team were “well-pleased to impart . . . not only the gospel of God but also our own lives (1 Thess. 2:8).
I know the idea of impartation scares some people, but the truth that one can impart life to another is fundamental to human relationships in general. Parents, through their love and union with their child, actually impart a foundation of life that their offspring, potentially, can enjoy forever. Teachers who seek to fulfill the highest calling of their vocation will supply more than information to their students; wise teachers can also impart their very love for the subject they are teaching. You see, principles of impartation are woven into the very fabric of life itself.
Jesus put it this way. He said, “He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet receives a prophet’s reward” (Matt. 10:41). Jesus is talking about impartation. A true prophet or ministry of the Lord has an impartable “reward” to give to those hungry for God. For instance, when I listen to T.D. Jakes or Joyce Myer, I find encouragement has been imparted to me. If I drink from the words of Myles Monroe, I become awed at the fact that God has predestined me. When I hear Mike Bickle, I am inspired to love Jesus and intercede. The Holy Spirit works in consecrated men and women and, over the years, creates a living spiritual reality in their hearts. This reality is impartable. It comes through their words and emerges in their actions. It is something that can be seeded into the life of others.
While I might be called to focus upon spiritual warfare or unity, the core reality God has given me is the pursuit and power of Christlikeness. It is a tangible, substantive reality in my spirit. It is an impartable grace, which is what we hope our students receive when they study our training materials.
Of course, we should never isolate ourselves with just one teacher; we should be followers of no man, except those leaders we perceive are themselves followers of Christ. We should not put ourselves in bondage to anyone. At the same time, let’s us drink freely from those whom Christ has given us, for true leaders do not seek to dominate, but to liberate.
In Christ’s Image Training (ICIT) begins a new term four times a year. To date, thousands of people from 70+ nations have found life-changing encounters with the Lord while studying ICIT. I personally believe it is time for us to grow in all aspects into Christ, who is our head. Beloved, throughout your life, you will have many opportunities to be trained by respected leaders. The focused themes offered by ICIT are truths that will endure a lifetime; they are foundational realities that can be built upon by those who shall help you mature.
It has been my heartfelt prayer that God would use this course to raise up and equip hundreds of thousands of Christlike individuals from every nation on earth. For more information about ICIT visit www.icitc.org.