Spiritual Parenting Defined
I wrote a post on Facebook once about how God is restoring spiritual parenting to the Church. Someone responded to my post and said, “These ministries are always coming up with something new. There is always some new doctrine or revelation. Why can they not just stick to the Word?”
The truth is that spiritual parenting is nothing new. It has been there since Genesis. God is only restoring in His Church today what He has had for it all along as a pattern. This is the essence of what I am going to show you from the Word.
What God has called you to be and to do is something that has been established since the beginning of time. It is, in fact, part of our foundation. Not a new piece, but a missing piece.
It is an element that has been there all along that the Church has for so long overlooked. It is now time for it to be revived. God is not adding a new piece to the Church, but He is exposing what has been hidden that was there all along.
He is taking what always was and infusing it with a new power and anointing. Along with the concept of spiritual parenting, there is another aspect of the fivefold ministry, which is also nothing new under the sun.
The fivefold ministry was established in the day of Paul. Everyone carries on about how this is such a new thing. Paul would laugh at us if he was here today. He would say, “Wow, it took you this many thousands of years for you to finally catch up with my message?”
What we see here is a fascinating element that we have not seen since the New Testament church. The concept of spiritual parenting and the concept of the fivefold ministry are being blended into a perfect picture.
When we add the apostolic dimension to that, we have a whole new picture. What we see being raised up and defined right now in the Church is the concept of spiritual mothers. I will show you where this has been in the Word as we progress.
When you take these elements that have been there all along and you ignite them all simultaneously, it is like putting a recipe together. It is like putting a science experiment together where you put just the right amount of chemicals to make the perfect experiment.
That is what God is doing in His Church right now. If you look through the Church age, you will see that He has taken time to revive each thing a little bit at a time. He took time to revive the concept of the fivefold ministry.
When we started our journey in 1999, God began giving us the revelation of the fivefold ministry. We started to understand the apostle, the prophet, the place of the evangelist and the pastor-teacher and then suddenly there was an awakening in the Church.
When this awakening came forth, there were many people that needed to be trained. So, how were we going to train them? God said that we need to love His people. Well, that seemed simple enough.
However, He did not give me the fullness of the picture because I was not yet ready to handle it. Eventually, He said, “I have called you to be a mother to my people. I have called you to love them in this way.”
I thought, “What about the fivefold ministry?” He said, “How do you think you are going to train them?” I came to realize through this experience that there is an easier way to train.
These are three distinct functions. I have been training the prophets since 1999. So, I know what it means to mentor and get into the dirt and push through with people. Then, after spending years of doing that the Lord said, “Good. Now that you have that down, there is an easier way that I would like to show you.”
That is when He had me lay that all down and become a spiritual parent. I discovered that spiritual parenting did in a third of the time what I could do in basic mentoring. I thought that this was such a new revelation until I started looking in the Word.
Then, I did not feel like such a “hot shot” anymore because I saw that it had always been there. I realized that God was shaking me and waking me up. He was saying, “Hello. I have been trying to get through to my Church.”
Then, we have seen a lot more women being used in ministry. This is nothing new either. Who do you think supported Jesus’ ministry more than anyone back in those days?
Go look in the Word. A woman being used in ministry is not new. God has used women all along. The only difference between Paul’s time and ours is that society has changed. I believe society for the most part in many countries now accept women leadership more.
Therefore, God can use them. God can use a donkey if He has to. He will use whatever is at His disposal. He will use whatever people will listen to. We are in a society where people listen to women.
We have so many discussions on why women should be used and why they should not be used. Why cut off an arm? If God needs to get His message out there, He is going to use every possibility that He can.
With society accepting women, we are definitely seeing more spiritual mothers. When I gave birth to Deborah, my eldest, I looked down at this beautiful newborn and for the first time I realized that I had no clue what I was doing.
I thought that having a baby was a lot of diaper changing and making sure they eat. That was where my knowledge stopped. I did not understand why she would just cry continually.
I thought, “I have changed her, fed her, rocked her and burped her. I will stand on my head if she will just stop crying.” I would go through the books trying to figure out what I was supposed to do.
Then, you discover that parenting is not natural. I am not like a dog that pushes out twelve puppies and then knows what to do. I did not know what to do. I had to learn and go by the experience that was passed onto me.
That is how God has made us human beings. It does not just come naturally. You do not just wake up one day and you are a good mommy. Just because you have a baby does not make you a good mother.
It is the same on the spiritual side. Just because people look up to you as a spiritual parent, does not mean that you are a good parent. There comes a time where you have to learn the skill.
With each child, I learned the skills that I needed. What we are going to share with you are the things that God and our spiritual parents have taught us. We come from a unique perspective.
We have been both spiritual children and now we are spiritual parents with spiritual children of our own. So, we can relate to both sides of the coin. Now, if you think that the anointing is just going to come upon you one day and you are going to know exactly what to do and say, then I have news for you.
It does not happen that way. It is a process. Yes, we can certainly receive that knowledge straight from the Lord, but we all know that it is much easier if you can pick up a book and get some help.
Why Spiritual Parenting is Needed
I can have twelve children and finally by the twelfth child figure out how to parent correctly or I can get the knowledge and wisdom that I need with the first child, so that the other eleven are not so messed up.
That is what I am here to help you with. You have hit some walls and fell into some potholes. You have tried your best, but it is still not working out. You are thinking, “What am I doing wrong here? I have burped and fed this baby, but she is still screaming. What am I supposed to do?”
Craig and I are going to be here to give you some good diaper changing advice. When I looked at this concept of parenting, I asked the Lord to give me a foundation to start with. He sent me to John 21:15.
This is a part in scripture where Jesus had resurrected and appeared to the disciples and as you know Peter opens his big mouth and denies the Lord three times. I can imagine what a heel he must have felt like.
The Lord appears to him and I cannot imagine what that must have been like. It says in the Scriptures that after he denied the Lord those three times, the Lord stopped and looked at him.
I can just feel that death and that piercing in Peter’s heart. He must have been so ashamed that he let down the one that he loved the most in this world. Then, on the beach, there stands Jesus.
If I was Peter, I would have wanted to hide my head. Yet, in John 21:15 it says,
So when they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonah, do you [agape] love me more than these? He said to him, Yes, Lord; you know that I [phileo] love you. He said to him, Feed my lambs. (AMIV)
I can imagine that Peter thought, “The Lord does not even think that I love him because I just denied him.” Yet, when the Lord asked Peter did he love Him, Peter said, “Yes Lord.”
In other words, he was saying, “I am sorry. I know I messed up, but I really do love you.” The Lord said, “Feed my lambs.”
Then again, Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. I would have been squirming at this point. Peter says, “Yes Lord.” Then, the Lord said, “Take care of my sheep.” Then, the third time, Jesus says, “Peter, do you love me?”
I can imagine by then Peter was exasperated. Then, the Lord said to him, “Feed my sheep.” The Lord told me that these are the three functions of spiritual parenting. I am going to lay them out for you very clearly.
I have four kids. I am not going to expect my toddler to do what I expect my adult daughter to do.
The Lord will bring you the same. He will bring you children of different maturity levels. You need to recognize which ones are lambs and which ones are sheep and then figure out how to shepherd them accordingly.
Spiritual and Natural Function
The first thing that you will come to understand when it comes to spiritual parenting is that it is both a natural and a spiritual function. As mentors, it is quite clear. For pastors, it is also very clear.
People come to you for spiritual guidance, to receive the Word of God or even to receive a prophetic word if you are a prophet. We are very comfortable in the realm of ministry and in the spirit.
However, what you do not realize is that when it comes to the concept of re-parenting and spiritual parenting, there is a lot more than just spiritual guidance. There is a very large natural aspect to it as well.
This aspect I am going to labor on a bit because it is the one that is most left out. Walking in the gifts of the spirit is not the problem. You already have those things. You already flow in those things.
Those things are actually the easy things. The difficult stuff is the natural things. It is what to do when you get off the pulpit that you need help with. You need to know what to do when they come knocking at your door at three o’clock in the morning and you are a mess and you did not get much sleep.
What you do in those moments is what makes you a true spiritual parent. What God is calling you to do is to take His Church and take them through a process of displacement. He is calling you to change people’s lives.
Spiritual parenting is very much like natural parenting and that is why we call it a re-parenting process. Why is it so needed in the Church today? It is needed because we are seeing so many broken homes.
Never was there a time when spiritual parenting was needed more than this time right now. Like it or not, these spiritual children are going place to place with a hunger deep in their hearts that they do not even understand. They are hungering for a mother and a father.
They need a mother to accept us for who we are and a father who will bring us security. When we do not find these things in our natural parents, we will naturally look out to others to meet that need.
What is there out in the Church right now for the lambs and sheep of God? These needs drive us and very often they drive us beyond what God intends. We have a church full of men and women who have a deep hunger and need that they do not even understand what is going on in them.
They are nibbling here and there trying to get that need met within them. The issue is that they are getting that need met in the wrong place and satan is now leading them astray.
We are now seeing deception rampant in the Church. We are seeing prophetic ministry going way beyond what God intended. Why is this? It is because there is such a need in their hearts for recognition and acceptance.
They just want to get their need met and there is finally something that can get that need met. When they begin to flow in ministry, satan is only too happy to jump in there and push them beyond what God intends.
However, if they had been parented correctly and they got those needs met in the foundation of their ministry, they could stand up and not care what people thought. They could stand up secure in themselves and not need so badly to preach or give a word.
We need to fill that desperate hunger in the heart of God’s people. That fire has already been put in you. It is time that the spiritual parents rise up and take up the responsibility to feed the lambs and the sheep and to shepherd the flock of God’s Church.
If you do not do it, then someone else will. If the Church does not do it, the world will. If you are not going to rise up as a spiritual parent in the church, then they are going to go and follow a leader in the world.
Then, you wonder why we see so much of the spirit of the world in the church. It is because we do not have leaders and models in the church that are worth looking up to. It is great to stand behind the pulpit, but it takes more than that to be a leader and a spiritual parent.
It means that when you get off the pulpit that you are also a good imagine for people to continue looking at.
The problem is that you go to church on Sunday and the pastor looks great behind the pulpit, but then when he comes down and you need to talk about things like business, sex lives, divorce or children that want to leave home, who do they have then as a good image and a model?
When these natural things that trip us up in our lives arise, who do they turn to? Let me tell you. They turn to google.com. Now, what do you think they are going to find there? If you do not take your place, that place will be filled.
It is already being filled out there. Satan has many messengers out there ready to step in and fill that place. We have the “guru” now. There are so many gurus that give business and relationship advice and they speak such a moral message.
What spirit are they imparting to people when they share these messages? Is it an apostolic foundation that is being laid in the Church or is it the spirit of the world that is being laid in the Church?
It is like this because we have a lack of spiritual parents that are prepared to be that model and to follow through not just behind the pulpit, but off the pulpit as well. We need this, so that we can leave behind a generation that will remain.
As you read this book, you will be encouraged. Yet, my spiritual children will remain. They will rise up and continuing preaching this message. That is what is going to change the Church.
A single person or message is not going to change the Church. The fruit that you leave behind is what is going to continue to sow seeds and produce more fruit. Yes, there are not many that are called to this because it is a laboring process.
It is a high price to pay. You will most times be the one in the birthing room while everyone else is outside playing soccer. Yet, you will leave behind an inheritance and no one in this world will be able to take that away from you or away from the Church.
Feed the Lambs
The Lord called Peter to feed His lambs. What does it mean to feed the lambs? It is quite easy. You start by feeding them the Word. Now, remember that they are lambs. If you have someone that has just been born again, you are not going to sit him down and give him all the doctrines of sanctification and a lot of heavy teaching.
You cannot just jump right in and tell them that they are called to be a prophet. Do not laugh because this happens all the time. Someone gets born again and then the preacher says, “I sense a prophetic anointing on you. Let’s send you right into prophetic training.”
No. You have to start out by feeding the lambs. Not too long ago, we got my husband a huskie. When we got him, he was only six weeks old. He had to start out by feeding it puppy mush.
He could not start out eating a huge steak. Sure, if you put it in front of him, he will certainly give it a shot, but it will not be very good for him. You have to start off with what he can handle.
When you have someone that is a baby, you need to treat them as such. You need to give them milk. This is a mistake that I have made myself and that is why I can write this book now.
I am at an apostolic level, so everyone that came into our ministry, I treated them at an apostolic level. I had to realize that not everyone is called to be an apostle. That was a huge revelation. Who knew?
Some people have a simple body ministry of encouragement or of prophecy. It took me a while to come down a few notches. I am not going to tell my four year old son to stand up here and preach. It is foolish.
I am sure he would love it, but it is foolish. You have to gage what you are investing according to the maturity level of those that you are investing into. This is the sorting process that I am going to take you through throughout this book.
I am going to help you take everyone that you are working with and sort them into their specific categories, so that you can meet their needs accordingly. If you just lump everyone together, they are going to leave.
If it is too low, those that are higher up will get bored. If it is too high, those that cannot keep up will feel that they cannot swallow this food and they are going to get discouraged and leave.
You cannot just put everyone in the same category. Also, let me share with you a great revelation. Not everybody is like you. Everyone does not have your same passion and commitment. Do not think that just because you will pay the price, others will too.
Hard lesson learned. Learn it now or else you are going to learn it the hard way.
Teach the Lambs
A parent is to teach that lamb how to teach and feed themselves. I grew up in the Lord, so I knew how to study the Word and I knew how to hear the Lord’s voice. These things are second nature to me.
Yet, when someone else comes along that has not been saved long or does not even know the principles that we teach and they have a question and I say, “What did God tell you?”
“I do not know what God said.”
“Go ask Him.”
“How do you do that?”
“You just ask Him. What is your problem? Do you not know how to talk to the Lord?”
No. Some people actually do not know how to talk to the Lord. Some people do not know how to read the Word. They think that you should just pick up the Word and start at Genesis and see what happens.
When you get someone like this, you have to sit them down and teach them. We, leaders, really overlook this. We have to sit with them and say, “Let’s look at this scripture. Let me teach you how to read the Word.”
I learned this most in our prophetic school. I just thought that all those that have a prophetic call could hear the Lord. Was that asking too much? It turned out that the prophets knew how to hear the Lord for everyone else, but themselves.
I asked them to submit their journals to me about what God is telling them. Wow. I was astounded in not such a positive way. They could not hear God for themselves when they needed to.
The best thing I heard was that when they needed to hear God they went to another prophet. I thought, “What is wrong with this picture? You are supposed to be representing Christ and giving God’s word and you cannot hear God for your own life?”
That had to change. I realized that I had to take my own journals and actually show them how I heard God. So, I pulled out my journals and said, “Ok. This is what a journal looks like. This is the process I go through. This is step 1, 2 and 3.”
Then, after a couple of tries, they were journaling. I realized that not everyone is at the same level. You really have to make it that simple. Just because God gave you something and it is so natural to you, does not mean it is natural to others.
That is why you are a parent. You are meant to teach them to put the toilet seat down, to brush before bed and to make up their bed in the morning. You have to teach your children those things because they do not come naturally.
Then you need to feed them the spirit. Teach them how to hear the voice of the Lord and to know God’s will for themselves. That is the difference between the fivefold ministry of prophet and a spiritual parent.
A prophet will stand up and say, “This is God’s word for you.” A spiritual parent will say, “Come. Let me teach you how to get God’s word for yourself. This way you do not always have to run to the prophet. You can grow up and be the one to give that word to others.”
Loaves and Fishes
That is the level that God is calling you to. Then, like Jesus, you have to feed them the loaves and fishes. That means giving them daily principles to live by. I mean really simple things, like how to cook, how to clean dishes, how to dress, how to handle finances, how to handle conflicts in marriage and how to raise children.
The list goes on. There is not a single thing that we did not have to teach our spiritual children from scratch, especially in the natural things. The greatest change does not come when I impart to them a spiritual gift, the greatest change comes in their lives when I have taught them natural things.
When we have a ladies evening and I teach them how to do their hair and makeup, they receive more from me spiritually in that time, then in all the time I stand behind the pulpit.
I can preach a message to them repeatedly and they kind of get it. Then we will have a ladies evening and talk for hours about guys and do our nails and makeup and they receive from me instantly.
Why? It happens like this because we are relaxed and our hearts are wide open in these moments. That is why God is dealing with all of your insecurities and mommy and daddy issues. If you are going to be able to reach people at this level, you are going to have to be transparent, vulnerable and real.
You cannot talk to people about intimate things of their life, if you are not prepared to open up and talk about yours. How does a child learn what a marriage should look like? How does a woman learn to be a wife?
It is from what she sees from her mother. That means that you must get extremely real, if you want them to get it right. That is why there are not many that are chosen for this call, because it is really a price.
It means putting your life out there where everybody can see it. Look through the Scriptures. Do you think that David had anything to hide? Even his affair was broadcasted for generations.
If you think that your intimate squabbles with your spouse are just your little problem, you are very wrong. Not only are these things something that you need to work through, but they are something that others need to know see that you have overcome.
You should not be ashamed to bring those things to the light because it will be an example to them in the end.
Maturity Levels Vary
You will have some that are more mature than others. These are the ones that you can teach the heavier doctrines of the Word.
Caution: “The quicker they mature, the more you have to learn.”
When your children are spiritually mature and coming to your level, you can be sure that God is going to put you through your paces. You are going to run a marathon.
This is because you have to go ahead of them to prepare the way. Then you can say, “Do you see that road? Do not take it. Bad road, bad idea.” That is mostly what I do as a spiritual parent. I do everything wrong, so that they do not have to.
They eat the fruit of my labor, just like Paul said. You children will eat the fruit of your death, labor and mess ups. If your life is full of mistakes and you keep messing up, then you are in good company and you are exactly what God needs you to be.
What lessons do we learn the most in life? Are they the ones that we just excelled at? Are they the ones that take us no effort at all? That is no example. The example is when you fall flat on your face in front of everyone and you get up, dust yourself off and move on.
Those are the ones that people want to follow because they see you push through travail. If you fall flat on your face, the key is to keep getting up so that your children behind you do not fall as well.
You can point out the stumbling blocks for them. As they mature, you are going to mature. Then you are going to have to start training them in their ministry. Yet, a lamb you do not train for ministry. You train a lamb to maturity.
Only once they are mature can you start training them for ministry. Since we are fivefold ministers we are very passionate about fulfilling our call and we just throw everyone in training because we want everyone to fulfill their call too.
However, their marriage is a mess and they do not know how to believe God for finances for their daily lives... and you are trying to send them into apostolic training? No. Lambs must first come to spiritual maturity.
Do not even think about ministry training until they are fully equipped to do good work as the Scriptures say. Only when they are fully equipped will they be ready for training. Then, when you release them into training, it will flow easily.
If you have been working with someone that you have tried to train up in the fivefold ministry and it seems like they are hitting rock after rock and they are not getting it, then you left out the lamb phase.
You did not raise them into maturity in every area of their lives first. Are they walking in faith, hope and love? Do they know how to hear God’s voice for themselves? Do they know how to journal? Do they know how to hear His voice through the Word?
Do they know the principles required to live out their daily lives? Are they successful in their relationships? Are they successful in their marriage? Do they know how to believe for finances and health?
These are not high level things. At least they should not be. These are basic Christian principles. If they cannot even do these things yet, then why are you pushing them for apostolic office?
Women are separated from their husbands and we are pushing them for prophetic office. No. They need to rise up and become mature believers first. Let’s start there. Get them flowing in the body ministries and learning to hear God’s voice and share with one another before you start pushing them up to training.
However if they have matured, then they are ready for training. Do not make the mistake of thinking that training them for ministry will mature them. It will not mature them. It will actually discourage them because they are not ready.
You have to build the foundation first before you build the house. Bring them to spiritual maturity and then you can bring them to training. The spiritual maturity phase requires more parenting than anything else because that builds a foundation in them for life.
Take Care of the Sheep
You are going to teach them how to hear God’s voice in every area of their lives. When you do that then you are ready to shepherd, take care of them. I was fascinated when I looked at the Greek meaning of the word shepherd.
Shepherd in the Greek means to feed, to tend the flock, to rule, to govern, to furnish a pasture for food, to nourish and to supply the requisites for the soul’s needs.
It has nothing about spiritual gifts here. Where is the stuff about impartation and more glory? That is not what a spiritual parent is and does.
Rule and Govern
The essence of what it means to parent God’s people is to rule and govern. It is to have the courage to stand up and say, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” It is to have the courage to stand up and give God’s people a place and to give them direction.
It is to say, “You are out of order and you need to come in line because the Word of God says this.” It is saying, “Yes, you do have a call, but right now you need to get into the Word.”
It means being bold enough to say, “You have a prophetic call and it is now time to rise up into it.” Not to say, “What do you think about this call? Do you feel something? Do you sense a Urim, Thummim, tingles or anything?
No. You have to have the courage to put yourself in the place of accountability and responsibility and say, “I am giving you this direction for life.” Then give them a vote of confidence and let them know that they are going in the right direction.
Let’s be straight. It is a dangerous place to be in as a leader, because what happens if you are wrong? That is why few are chosen. Hello? Who else is going to help them make that decision?
If they could make the decision on their own, they would have made it already. They could not make the decision on their own. That is why they came to you. Yet, you passed the buck back to them and said, “Well... what do you think or feel?”
When are you going to have the courage to say, “Follow me as I follow Christ? Yes, I am going to trip, but just sidestep me when I do that.” You just need to have the courage to step forward.
That is what the Church is looking for. They are looking for real leadership. If they do not follow you, who do you think they are going to follow? They are going to follow the “Saul” that says, “I am the ‘hot shot’. Follow me. I will never fall into the ditch because I am perfect, so know that you will never attain to what I have attained to.”
Yet, people follow those leaders and you get mad when people follow those leaders, but where are you? Are you governing God’s people? Do you have the courage to give them direction for their lives based on the Word of God?
We work with so many people and there are many that have major marital problems. The Church is a mess when it comes to marriages and we always ask first, “What counsel have you received from your pastor?”
We are not going to give cross counsel. Before we get involved at all, “Have you already gone to your pastor?” They say, “Yes I did, but he does not want to get involved because that is not his thing or he sent me to the Word to see what I think about it.”
It makes me so frustrated to hear these things because here is a little lamb of God that needs someone to give them direction based on the Word and to give them security. If we cannot rely on our spiritual parents in the Lord to give that direction and confirmation, who will we look to?
God is calling you to be accountable. You should have the courage to correct and keep them on track. You are to be accountable for their souls as the Scriptures say.
The child is responsible to obey them that rule over them. However, we have to make ourselves accountable. We have to step forward and say, “Lord, I fill this place.” I tell my team, “I will not always get it right. I am expressive and I talk before I think. I get angry. I am going to yell at you and a lot of times it is going to be unfair. I am not going to get it perfect.
However, as you are submitted to me, I am submitted to God. If I step out of line, God will take care of it. So, you trust God in me and we will work this thing out. You follow me regardless of what happens. God will protect you, if I mess up.”
If you fall into a ditch with others following you, then you can all help one another get out, but someone has to take the lead and make a decision. By the way, that person is you... because you are reading this!
Furnish pastures for food. You have to create an environment for financial support. Do not think that you can just have people come on Sundays, give them a message and then send them home to take care of their finances themselves?
You cannot be the one to say, “I do not care about your struggles. I do not want to hear about your financial problems. Figure it out yourself.” I just love this portion about furnishing a pasture for food.
This means that if there are poor people and people struggling financially, then you are supposed to be figuring out a way to feed them. You need to find something for them to do, so that they can be fed.
You go job hunting for them. You start up a business if you have to. You furnish that pasture because this is both spiritual and natural. That is why in this day and age there are people rising up in the realm of Christian entrepreneurship. We are seeing Christian businesses.
People are furnishing a pasture, but the problem is that they are too much in the world. We have ministers in the church and businessmen in the world. The spiritual parent is meant to be bringing both together.
We must invest spiritually and furnish a pasture. We have had to do this with our own team. We have sit down and said, “You are struggling with finances, right? You are up to the ceiling in debt, right? Sit down and show me your budget and your bank account.
Now, how much is there? How much did you earn? How much did you pay in taxes? Why did you not pay this bill? Why did you not take care of that? Why have you not arranged your finances in this way?
Let’s bring this to the Lord and get some direction. What should we be doing to get you out of this hole? How can we help physically and spiritually? Let’s work together. Let me teach you how to get out of this hole and onto financial prosperity.”
Are you prepared to get that deep? I love something that Ronald Jordan said to me once, “You know you are becoming family or getting close when you are able to talk about sex and money.” These are the two deepest things in our lives.
If you can talk about sex and money and you train up people in those things, then you have it made because their hearts are open to you. These are the things that either cripple us or establish us.
When it comes to money, you are going to have to get your nose in there. People actually want you to get your nose in there because they are tired and struggling. They are hitting wall after wall.
It is not natural to know how to deal with money. My four year old son does not say, “I am going to go and start a business now. I am going to get rich, invest and do this and that.” No. He is going to learn those things as he grows.
He just knows one thing right now. “Mom, you went to the shops. Did you buy me Lego?”
“No, I did not buy you Lego.”
“I asked Jesus for Lego. Where is my Lego?”
“Jesus can go and get your Lego because I do not have it.”
That is all he knows. He does not get the concept of where the money is coming from or where it has to go. He just knows that he wants his Lego. There will come a time when we will have to have a talk about these things.
It is the same with your spiritual children. When they come to you with these real personal things, are you sitting them down and saying, “Let’s get some revelation here? Let’s talk to God and work out a plan.”
If every door is shutting in your face, maybe we should start a business together. I cannot run the whole thing for you, but I can be there to support you. I can give you help.
If you need a job, let’s look over job opportunities together and see what is good for you. After they finish the interview, ask them how it went. Ask them if they dressed well.
Now, after they have a job, then you can say, “You have this much salary and this much debt. It is going to take this many months to work that off. In the meantime, we need to work out housing. Let’s see if we know someone that we can set you up with.”
Are you prepared to get that involved? That is the price of spiritual parenting. It means that you need to furnish a pasture for God’s people.
You also need to nourish them. Do you know what it means to nourish? It means to discover the hidden talents and strengths that they do not even know that they have.
When we get a new team member, I throw them in every department, especially the ones they have never done before. When Nathan Berry first came, he got to do the dishes.
He always knew how to preach and sing, so obviously... I made him play the drums! He was in ministry his whole life, so it was clear that he had to do business because it was the one thing that he had never done.
I said, “What have you done? I am glad to know that. You will not be doing any of those things.” I wanted to see where his real strengths and talents lay because if he had discovered them, he would have already been successful.
That is what a parent does. When it is one of your natural children that have been with you from birth, then it is easier to spot those strengths because you watch them grow up.
However, when you have spiritual children that have already grown up, you now have to dig those abilities out. If you do not know the strengths and talents of your spiritual children, the best thing to do is just throw them in something and see what happens.
Tell them to stand up and prophesy. When you see them prophesy and it is not good, then you know that is not their strength. Tell them to stand up and preach, do a daily word, learn HTML or learn programming.
If they say, “I have never done that before.”
When Chaifa came along, she was the prophet at the church she attended at that time. So, she thought that we would need all of her amazing prophecies. No. Rebekah, my twelve year old can prophesy. We do not need you for that.
I told her to write.
“No. I cannot keep attention. I am not good at writing. I cannot do that.”
It turns out that she is better at writing than me! I said, “From now on, you do the writing.” We discovered a strength that she had never tapped into before. We did that with each one of them.
The funny thing is that these things were all strengths that God gave them. All the other strengths were natural strengths and abilities, but these were spiritual abilities God had deposited in them. Yet, they did not know because they had never drawn out of that well.
Who would have known that Nate would have such a flair for business? He is a pastor’s kid. All he knows is ministry. He was just as bad as me. When God said to put him in business I thought, “Really Lord? That seems so foreign.”
“Exactly! There is a hidden talent there that I am trying to pull out.”
That is how you are going to find their strengths. Is that not investment to nourish and take the time to do these things? You have to have the courage to get in their face and sometimes even push them.
They are going to say, “I cannot do this.”
“I never asked you if you could do it. I told you to do it. I do not care if you can or not. Figure it out and do it. Then, come back to me.”
“Good. Do it again.”
“I cannot do it.”
“Do it again.”
We had a Swiss team member working with us and her first language was German. I said, “You have come to an English speaking world. Now, you need to start writing daily words and answering correspondences in English.”
“I cannot do that.”
“Yes you can.”
It took her three hours to write one simple admin letter. I said, “Good. Here is another one.”
“The last one took me three hours.”
“Next time it will only take you two hours and forty-five minutes.”
It did not take long before it clicked and she could just press through all of those things. She was soon able to go from one writing to another at such quick paces. I just had to push her a bit.
I knew that God wanted her there, but I had to push her past herself and her own obstacles. Sometimes we have to do that. However, you are only going to discover those strengths when you have the courage to govern and get in their faces.
Meet their Soul’s Needs
Then, you are going to have to meet their soul’s needs. You are going to have to teach their minds. In our soul, we have mind, emotions and will. You have to meet the need of all three.
That means that you have to get involved. That does not mean just sitting there in a bible study and teaching and then saying, “That was the word of God for today. See you next week.”
“Oh, by the way, I know that you are in the middle of a divorce. I hope that all goes well. Let me know how that turns out for you.” It is so sad because it really happens.
I do not think it is because many pastors do not care. I think they are just too afraid to get in there and give direction and it goes badly and then they are held accountable. You know what? It is part of the business.
It is the risk that goes with what we are called to do and you are going to have to take that risk. Otherwise, do not call yourself a spiritual parent or a leader in the kingdom of God. There is a price for this call. That is why not everyone does it.
If everyone could do it, they would. They are not. God has called us to a higher level. So, when they are going through these problems you need to get involved. It means saying, “How is the divorce? What did he say? What did she say? How did you feel about that?”
If someone died, sit them down and tell them to tell you all about it. You would like to hear it all. Let them cry and let them go through it. When we go through tough times, there are questions that we want people to ask us, but you do not want to push yourself and say, “Ask me about this or ask me how I feel about that.”
That just seems too much. You are just yearning for one person in this world to come to you and ask you that one thing. You are the one that is supposed to ask that one thing.
When you are fighting with a spouse or battling with a child or something in your life, like cancer, you need someone. People are so uncomfortable about cancer that they just avoid it.
Yet, that is exactly when you get in there and say, “How do you feel?”
“I have to go for chemo.”
“How do you feel about that? Are you stressed about your hair falling out?”
You think that this is too personal, but they want you to ask them about it because they need to talk about it. Those are thoughts in their own mind and they think that they are the only ones thinking that. They worry about things that they think is stupid to worry about.
They think, “I am going to die of cancer and I am sitting here worrying about my hair falling out.”
I am a woman. I understand. I would be more worried about my hair falling out, then all the other stuff too. It seems so "in your face" and such a personal thing, but those people that get in your face are the ones that you give your heart to.
They see beyond you. They see beyond what you show everyone and they see the real you. They touch that part of your heart that is covered over. They do not just pat you on the back and say, “You will be just fine love. You will do great.”
I am not talking about that. I do not mean go and make people feel good. I am talking about being real. I am talking about saying, “I know that you two had a fight again. What happened? What did you fight about? What did he say and what did you say back?
How did you feel about that? Do you not think that you should be doing this?” You need to get in there. You cannot just say, “Shame. You are having a tough time. We will pray that the Lord works all that out. Press on through. I know that God will give you wisdom.”
We just rub it over with oil and hope that it will go away. You have to wash the wound out first before you put the oil on. That is what it means to meet their soul’s needs. Ask them questions.
Now, you may not always hear what you would like to hear. You will get all that bitterness and junk that is in there. It is going to gush out all over you. I know my kids, so I know when something is up.
My daughter, Jessica gets this look like a deer caught in headlights whenever she is having an issue. I just need to look across the room and I can see that it is "one of those days". I walk up and say, “Did you and Deborah have a fight?”
“Tell me about it.”
“She did this and she said that. Then she did that, but I am ok.”
That is all she needed. She just needed me to notice. If you are having a bad day, your hair has gone wrong, you had a bad night and you have to be there to pour out and meet everyone’s needs and be a good leader, you just want someone to notice that you need five minutes.
Then you come to bed and look at your husband. You are not going to say, “Baby, I am dying. Hold me.” You want him to notice. You do not want to say, “Please give me attention because I am a weak and vulnerable woman right now and I need you to put your strong arms around me.”
If I have to say that, then when you do it, I do not even want it anymore. You can just keep your strong arms and broad shoulders to yourself! You want somebody to notice and say, “How are you feeling? Come here babe. I am there for you.”
It does not take much. That is all you need do for people. You just need to notice without them saying anything. You will win their hearts. Then, when you have won their hearts, these principles will be so easy to apply to their lives.
Be Spiritually Sensitive
It is all about working with people. Yet, it is God’s people and that holds a whole new dimension because you can get revelation. That is the great thing. I do this every morning.
I walk downstairs and I see Nate in the bookshop and I say, “Hey. How’s it going?” By the way he responds I know that he is good and move onto the next person. I see Deborah and I think, “That is how she always looks. She is fine.”
Then I walk into the kitchen and see Chaifa. Hey mom, “Do you want a coffee?”
Then, I just sense that something is up with her. “Bad night Chaifa, huh?”
You just sense it in the spirit when you are parenting God’s way. I can sense it before I come downstairs sometimes. Nate knows this one well. I will walk into the bookshop and say, “Nate, what’s up?”
“Good morning, mom (he looks at me sheepishly). Well, I had this dream last night and I think we need to pray.”
“Yeah, I figured. Let’s do that.”
There is a short cut when you have God to help you. I can teach you the natural things, but then once you have that, God can give you spiritual revelation.
Craig and I live in Mexico, so we spend a lot of time there. I will wake up in the morning there and think, “Oh Ron. What did you do?” I pick up the phone and call.
“Ronald, what’s up?”
I pick it up in the spirit. Is that not what Apostle Paul said? He said, “I bear the burden of the Church and I sensed in the spirit that this, this and this was going on and this person was doing that. Now, do this guys.”
Why do you think that he could give such clear direction and he was not anywhere near them? It was because he was a father - God’s style. He picked it up in the spirit. That is what we have at our disposal.
Yes, there is the natural weight of taking responsibility and when you feel that yoke upon you and you feel like you cannot bear it, realize that His yoke is easy and His burdens are light.
With the anointing, we can do what the world cannot do. What would take someone in the world years to get the skill together to do, we can do in a fraction of the time. This is because we do not have to guess and study psychology.
We do not have to say, “Ok. You are acting this way, so I think it has something to do with the way that your mother raised you that has now led to a psychological problem. We are going to have to address this at some time. Also, I think you have some abandonment issues from your dad.”
I do not have time for all of that.
“Come here. Let’s pray. Alright, this is your problem. Let’s deal with it.”
We have the power of the Holy Spirit available to us. That makes all the difference in the world.
Spiritual Parenting in the Word
I want to conclude this chapter the same way I started. I am going to show you that the concept of spiritual parenting has always been in the Word. I am going to give you a list of some of the examples that I found in the Word.
First, there is Abraham and Lot. Lot’s father died, so Abraham had to take care of him. It did not turn out so well in the end for him.
There were some conflicts there and we will learn from that disappointing experience, which I think all of us have experienced at one time or another. Abraham was both a spiritual and a natural father to Lot.
Second, we have Moses and Joshua. They were not related like Abraham and Lot were, but Joshua came in to be a spiritual and apostolic son of Moses and he took on Moses’ mandate.
Thirdly, we have Deborah and Barak. She was known as the Mother of Israel and she was as a mother to Barak and led him into battle. The Lord has been using women as spiritual mothers since the beginning of time.
Fourth, there is David and Saul. I think that is why it was so hard for David. Saul was David’s father. He thought, “Why are you running after me and persecuting me?” He called Saul "father" again and again.
David clung to Saul. It was clear that David had some daddy issues. He was sitting and taking care of the sheep and not even invited to parties. I do not think that daddy saw him as "up there" with all the other big, strong guys.
David hungered for a father and he thought that he had found it in Saul. It did not work out so well, did it? Yet, we see how Samuel stepped in and saved the day and met the need that Saul should have met in David.
In this, we have such a beautiful picture of spiritual parenting, both gone wrong and how it can be done right.
Fifth, we have Elijah and Elisha. Elisha shouts, as Elijah is being taken away, “My father is being taken away by the horsemen in the chariot.” This concept of parenting has been here all along. Do you not realize how much it is mentioned in the Old Testament?
They do not even take time to explain it and talk about it. Why do you think that is? It is because it was so common to them. It was so normal to have a father in that time to look up to and to study the scriptures with.
The Word speaks about the concept of adoption so much because the people in that time were so familiar with that concept of a father or a master. It was part of the culture all along. We have just lost it somewhere along the way.
Sixth, we have Eli and Samuel. What a beautiful picture of both spiritual and natural fathering. Hannah comes and drops off Samuel and Eli raises him and becomes his father. He takes care of everything and follows in his footsteps.
Seventh, we have Jehoiada and Joash. Zethalia wanted to kill all of the sons. All of Joash’s brothers were murdered. So, his nurse took him away and brought him to the temple and the high priest, Jehoiada, took him in, raised him and put him on the throne.
Then, he continued to be there and teach, instruct and raise him up. It is such a beautiful picture of spiritual and natural parenting. Going through this process of parenting, helped Joash run the kingdom.
What I love about these examples is that we see both mothers and fathers working with people.
Eighth, we have Esther and Mordecai. Her parents died and he took over the role of father to her.
We see in the Word that Mordecai raised her up naturally and spiritually. He taught her the scriptures, he gave her prophetic direction and he taught her what to say and what not to say. This was way beyond simply being dad.
Ninth, we have Mary and John. Jesus is on the cross and he says, “Son, this is your mother. Mother, this is your son.” I find it fascinating that He did not just say, “John, please take care of my mom because I am not going to be here.”
That would have been a natural request, but He did not do that. He said, “Son, this is your mother. Mother, this is your son.” John is the only one that died of a natural death, according to history.
The Scriptures say that he was the Apostle of Love. It seems to me that he had something that none of the other apostles had. Could it be that it was because he had a mother that took care of him and nurtured him?
She went into his home and gave to him. They obviously already had a relationship for Jesus to make that connection between the two of them at the cross. John had something that the others did not.
I thought that was such a great picture from a New Testament perspective.
Tenth, we have Paul and Timothy. That is the last one that I am going to share for now. Can you see that parenting has been there all along?
The concept of being a spiritual mother and father has always been there. What remains is how we put it together and into practice today. There are some basic principles that we can apply, but we live in a new age and era.
Though the principles are the same, how we apply them is going to change. That is what we are going to continue looking at throughout this book. For now, do you have the courage to stand up and say, “Follow me as I follow Christ?”
Do you have the courage to get involved? Will you say what needs to be said and be quiet when you should just shut up and let it be? Well, that is what you are reading this book to learn and that is what we are going to teach you.