The Power of A Right Environment!

In Luke 5:1-11 we see a story of  how JESUS found it important to seek a destiny enhancing environment for effective ministry. Let us try to re-tell that story in a unique way and as clearly as we can, without changing or damaging the context. As we re-tell the story, we should try as much as possible to see ourselves as JESUS or little JESUS. When we stay in JESUS "shoes", then we can practice and enjoy what he enjoyed!

  1. We see from the scripture that there was a high DEMAND on JESUS for ministry by many people.
  2.  JESUS could have micro-ministered but refused to do so and rather sought to macro-minister. 
  3.  In micro-ministering JESUS would have been hindered in EFFECTIVELY ministering to those people in need. He could reach some from his standpoint but he wanted to reach MORE or ALL that could possibly be reached. Instead of repeating one message to a few, he sought a better PLATFORM in order to reach more or all! Ministers should always seek platforms for MORE!
  4.  He looked away from the land environment and saw a BETTER positioning from using a SHIP from the SEA. (Whenever you are contained by your land, help can come from over-the-seas! Over-the-seas in the context would mean, another region, another geographical location, another perspective, and/or another viewpoint! Of course, our overall help comes from ABOVE without which land and seas cannot even be!)
  5. JESUS stepped into someone else’s ship by faith and BEGGED/PRAYED for FREE SERVICES from the ship owner. While people wanted to USE JESUS to meet their needs, JESUS also sought people to USE. (Every minister need to learn to allow him/herself to be USED by people. Do not run from being USED! Real ministry is about BEING USED! When you are USED your skills are sharpened. Your character is processed. Your skills are horned! Allow yourself to be USED by people – that is the real ministry – and LEARN TO USE PEOPLE TOO – and that is real ministry too!
  6.  With the USE of the ship & practical help of Simon’s team, JESUS functioned to his satisfaction and achieved INTENDED GOALS (True success is about achievement of intended goals. Many young independent ministers set goals but do not deliberately take necessary steps to make sure they are actually achieved)
  7. After Simon’s free-service, the time came for a REWARD. True ministers are never in it for the rewards. I believe true ministers are in ministry because God commissions them. However, such true ministers should STOP resisting REWARDS of spiritual labor as many do. Even God expects things from us after blessing us.
  8. We know that Simon first resisted his unexpected reward because of NATURAL FACTS and EXPERIENCE. Many have missed their moments of unexpected divine rewards because they resist anything that is outside of their acceptable facts and figures.
  9. Simon reluctantly obeyed JESUS command to let down the net and got more-than-enough harvest to obedience than he bargained for – prosperity cannot be prayed for, it is a reward to obedient ACTION – (the proof that Simon was reluctant is found in his subsequent astonishment and repentant decision…)
  10. The major tool for achieving harvest for Simon& his team was NET/ NETS. JESUS CALLED IT NETS, Simon called it NET. A net is actually composing of several units coming together as one! No wonder, what started out with Simon’s NET ended up with even other ships and other’s nets. We all need to have a network that gives us a right environment to be more effective in ministry. We need the right platform that helps us be more effective and fulfilled in ministry. We need divine connections that can bring us better unexpected harvests!

Environments can be physical, spiritual and mental! Environments are powerful determinants of fulfilling of destinies. Cultures, habits, mindsets, orientations, attitudes, norms & common-practices are all dictated by the environment that one is exposed to. No one can function above a prevailing environment without the influence of a more powerful environment. When people talk about the customs of their fore-fathers, their tribe, their nativity, their culture and determines to hold on tenaciously to it, such people are simply accepting orientations that have been planted by fore-runners in the environment they were born into. When Church people hold on to their denominational preferences and practices, they are simply accepting the power of selectively-imposed environment of their founder or sectional or denominational leader. Most people do not rise above the powers of their environment! When JESUS came, he brought the powers of a NEW heavenly & divine environment. With due respect to people of JEWISH descent, I dare to say that JESUS who later became our LORD JESUS CHRIST, indeed was born a Jew, but HE did not come to promote JEWISH culture! JESUS brought a fresh new way of Biblical living that was different and that defied prevailing Jewish cultural practices and religious beliefs of his times! That same spiritual climate or environment is what God used Apostle Paul to spread to others nations of the world.

Environment is a container of destinies. There are some victories that are won within certain environments, while, most “warfares” are never won from within a territory. Most warfares are won with external assistance! It is not possible to contain what contains you. No one is celebrated where he or she is only tolerated! For example, anyone who will impress his or her immediate family members would have to step out. When you are celebrated outside, then your insiders would be forced to rejoice with you. No one can overcome from a contained position. If you are going to attain beyond your immediate environment, then a superior environmental power must be sought and activated. Remember that we are talking about Holy-Spirit-Generated-Atmosphere and environment!

We will use the Nigerian Pentecostal Church environment to elaborate a bit on how external environmental powers molded  and shaped the status-quo. The prevailing church environment which many consider sacrosanct in Nigeria today, which is also a major spiritual influence on most of Africa, has its roots in the emergence of higher school education in 1960s and early 1970s. The emergence of Universities & Colleges of education brought in overseas environmental influences of the gospel giving birth to campus fellowships like the scripture union. In those days, many idealistic youths were converted, taking fresh Biblical dynamism into less-Bible-reading religious practices. Scripture Union and some other vibrant Bible-based fellowships broke out. 

Not long after those new fellowships and new Pentecostal churches came the Americanized Arch Bishop Benson Idahosa, now of blessed memory. He spearheaded a movement of evangelism like none other among his contemporaries. He was not the only one involved in mass evangelism, but he brought more limelight using the powers of the mass-media. Evangelism fire is always fueled by miracles, signs & wonders. There were mass exoduses from the routinely-programmed & “sleeping” churches into Pentecostalism. Prosperity came as a bye product to that evangelistic obedience. Evangelism is always God’s heartbeat. Evangelism is also like military warfare where territories are violated and loots of warfare are garnered. The loot of that significant evangelism matched with miracles, sign and wonders was monetary and material prosperity.

The analysis being made in this writing is done without prejudice and with due respect to many current leaders who have indeed done their best and continue to do their best. Many of today’s “fathers of faith” in Nigeria are offshoots of the era of God’s move upon Nigeria as described above, which has had much tidal effect on the rest of black Africa. I could almost mention many names of our leaders today who are beneficiaries of that major movement.  However, since the leadership products of that spiritual-environmental shift of the 60s and early 70s took charge, one would not think that there is a doubt about a serious nose-diving of the value-system that brought many into prominence in the first place..

There are two things to note at this point:

  1. Much of today’s ministry is essentially pursued with only veiled reference to true evangelism. The prominent agenda is more of membership drives and building impressive structures than true CONVERSIONS & REPENTANCE which was the bedrock of that earlier movement.
  2. The emphasis of that spiritual shift has obviously changed into a new direction. The new emphasis is on the fuels of evangelism which are miracles, signs & wonders. It’s like emphasizing more on filling a vehicle gas tank than on maintaining the vehicle itself. The true emphasis today in most places is no longer about conversions and repentance, it is more about satisfying needs of people in the ways they want their needs met.
Just as the reward for God's move as explained earlier, is prosperity, the unGodly reward for this new emphasis on un-Biblical practices is also monetary & material.. Anyone who observes the Christian environment in Nigeria and elsewhere will clearly observe that there isn't much new movement happening because everyone is now encapsulated in the new false-religious, overwhelmingly fake, and un-Biblical Pentecostal church environment.  Most leaders today are just essentially benefiting from obedience of those men of God of yester-years without making a new movement of their own

We can only ask whether any of us, especially, younger ministers, is ready to be USED of God, for a new UNCOMMON movement that will be fueled by the WILL of God and by the WORD of God. New movements will always start out with rejections, envy, and persecutions but once it is of God, it always ends up with harvests of souls, revival, and true prosperity, if not immediately then in years and for another generation to come.

The true Christlike destiny-molding environment commanded by The Great Commission says that we should
  1.          Go
  2.          Preach
  3.          Teach
  4.          Convert /Baptize
  5.          Disciple
  6.          Look out for transformational changes in saved souls.
  7.          Make them into soul-saving people of God
  8.          Then start from 1 to 7 again.

But, today’s celebrity-minded and celebrity-induced version of the great commission in our prevailing environment says:
  1.           Preach fancifully
  2.           Prophesy mesmerizingly
  3.           Pray impressively
  4.           Promise miracles massively
  5.           Seek personal promotion & marketing
  6.           Build personal empire whether people or society improve or not
  7.           Demonize others, but make a celebrity of yourself

For some it is preach, preach, preach, while others have chosen, prophesy, prophesy, prophesy, because of what they grew up to see practiced by their environmental leaders. Some of today's young ministers were even born (naturally or spiritually) into such corrupted environment thinking that what they grew up with is the true Bible-Commissioned practice!

So what do we do NOW to benefit from Christ JESUS & Bible-based Environment???

  1. Read your Bible.
  2. Copy JESUS.
  3. Follow JESUS’ example.
  4. Follow leaders based on how they follow JESUS and the Bible.
  5. Seek BETTER Biblical environmental PLATFORMs when needed. You cannot contain whatever contains you. Seek a fresh breath of “over-the-seas” HELP like JESUS did.
  6. Be ready to be USED. Some will try to abnormally USE (ABUSE) you. Avoid being abused but do not avoid being used for other’s motives. Simon in our guiding scripture fulfilled JESUS’ motive, then he got unexpected & unpromised abundant REWARD for it!
  7. Use others too! Avoid others abuse! Reward those that you use with as much abundance as possible like JESUS rewarded Simon for making his boat available.
  8. Fix your NET. (You are the first ministry tool. Fix yourself where needed! Avoid the popular brag-&-boast ministerial mindsets for sure. You are not JESUS Christ. You should only boast on JESUS Christ. We are not sent to make a name for ourselves. We are to propagate JESUS& JESUS CHRIST ALONE! Avoid branding your own name! God knows how to give you a name in ministry. Then, get into other NETS! Connect with Holy-Spirit-backed NETS!!!
  9. Beckon to others. Seek others. Beg others for help for your ministry. Staff your weakness. No minister has it all. USE others to fill up your empty areas.
  10. Partner with others from another SHIP to pull in your fellowship harvest
  11. As seen in the Scripture in Luke 5:1-11, do not sink in seeking personal harvest. If there must be a sinking, let it be with others & partners. Of course there was no sinking, because the one that talks to seas and they obey, is with you and on your side!
  12. Final message from Luke 5, verse 11: let whatever God start out from your (fellow)ship, end with other (fellow)ships sharing in your abundance!

By working together we can pay any and all price for fostering Christ JESUS’ plan of a spiritual environment of freedom, LOVE, and fulfillment of Kingdom mandates!


In His vineyard

Bishop Ola Elujoba

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