THE PROCESS OF PROMOTION — A FIRST HAND LOOK

Can you remember as a child the wonder that filled your imagination as you dreamt of who you would become and what occupation you would have? Maybe you dreamt of being a superhero, fireman, or ballerina — didn’t the possibilities just feel endless? Often, I see believers eager and excited about the endless possibilities when they first receive a word from the Lord about their calling. However, sometimes the patience necessary for the process can actually become disheartening. Truthfully, I experienced this in my own life as I waited over 20 years to be acknowledged as a prophet. The truth is, the gift of prophecy brings clarity to our call and purpose to the process. Maybe you’ve had a dream or vision that you can’t deny was from the Lord about the call on your life. However, questions like
“How will it pan out?” or
“What will it look like?” might fill your mind even if there is a clear direction given from God. But, before accomplishing the call there is the process of preparing and priming for the purpose; layers are shed, seeds are planted, and roots are established. I did not know I was called to be a prophet until I was in my mid-twenties and it wasn’t until 20 years after that I saw any fruition of the promise. Anxiety and worry can easily fill the journey if you’re unaware you are in the process. However, there is peace before promotion when you are aware of your season. Are you aware of the part of the process you are in? This past week I had the opportunity to sit down with one of my spiritual sons, Ben Armstrong, and ask him questions about his prophetic journey. I have known Ben for over 30 years and have had the honor of watching him choose humility as he’s navigated the prophetic call on his life. Very often our journey is filled with layers of discovering and learning as well as challenges and overcoming. Ben has an inspiring story that I know will bring clarity and understanding to the role of a prophet. I believe his story will help many prophets in their own journey. In this week’s vlog, Ben Armstrong, who is also a speaker at
School of the Prophets 2021, shares vision for this year’s event that is happening this August 2-6, both in-person in Redding, CA, and online. Ben is the Prophetic Ministry Director at Bethel Church and has incredible wisdom and insight into the prophetic. Whether you have been called to be a prophet or are eager to gain a greater understanding of the prophetic, I pray this conversation is a blessing to you. How did you know you were called to be a prophet?The office of a prophet is a call not just established by an encounter from the Lord, but with the acknowledgment from another prophet. In my journey it was the opposite — I had not realized the call on my life until a leader saw it on my life. The first encounter I remember was when I was reading the Bible between the ages of 8-10 years old. It was the first time the logos Word of God became the Rhema Word of God as I read, “The power of life and death is in your tongue.” God told me “Ben, when you love people the way I love them and see them the way I see them, I can trust you with the secrets of who they are, not what they’ve done.” Before I even knew the call on my life the Lord began instructing and teaching me. Though I had many encounters in my life, the call on my life became apparent in a dream I had over 20 years ago. In the dream, I was sitting in the passenger seat of an old car and Jesus was in the driver’s seat. We were having a conversation and He leaned over to me and said, “Here comes your dad.” I looked over at the tree line at the edge of the park and I expected to see my earthly dad, but it was actually, you Kris.At the time, I wasn’t connected to you so I had no context for you being a father in my life at all. As you know, I was raised in Weaverville, CA, but I left for university before you ever started your prophetic ministry there. So, when Jesus told me you were my dad, I was surprised! In the dream, you walked over to the car and handed me a signet ring of gold with a black stone on it. You actually told me to wear the ring with the stone on the inside so I wouldn’t show it to people. Although I am a dream interpreter, sometimes the meaning of our own dreams is hidden from us. I think that is the grace of God, as there is a process that has to happen in us before the full understanding comes. What was your process like in stepping into the role of a prophet?  Seven years after having this dream I got invited to be a Revival Group Pastor at BSSM. Though I stepped into the role of a pastor, this is actually where I learned to be a healthy prophet. I learned to teach and equip people; I fell in love with people’s processes. How do you walk out the calling of the office of a prophet? Well, a prophet trains and equips people. The office of a prophet is also a governmental position; prophets grow in favor with leadership and community. This was a long process for me; from a young age the Lord began to teach and equip me, then I began to gain favor with leadership and community. It wasn’t actually until seven years after being hired as a pastor that I was publicly acknowledged as a prophet and became the Prophetic Ministry Director at Bethel Church. What has it looked like to have mentors in your life? First, I had to change my perspective of mentorship. We typically think of mentorship as one individual; we place them on a pedestal and desire the “top dog” to have influence and input in our life. However, if we take the approach that you can be mentored by multiple individuals and community — you will never be in lack. There were multiple apostles and pastors that molded me as a prophet. As I look back to my younger self I did not have a bad heart, but there was a lot of arrogance and pride. I learned over the years that receiving correction from the mentors in my life was fuel for my success. Now, I am eager to receive feedback — this is the very thing that helps us grow. I believe as prophets it is so important to surround yourself with a community of people that will love you and support you, but most of all are not afraid to correct you because they see the gold in you. 
What advice would you give other prophets stepping into their ministry? Quit trying so hard! I think sometimes we think that in order to be a prophet we need to prove to everyone that the Lord speaks to us. You don’t need to pressure the Lord to speak; He will give you a word in its right timing. I also believe it is easy to feel the pressure to fill the role of the prophet. You may even think in order to be a prophet you must look or act a certain way. But, the truth is, more than aspiring to be a prophet, you should aspire to be a good mother or father in your environment. You will realize that to be a prophet is to encourage, comfort, and call forth — naturally, this will happen when you are loving people really well.Has Ben’s story inspired or impacted you? I would love to hear in the comments below how you have navigated the call that is on your life or how you have humbly waited for promotion? Are you called to the office of a prophet or eager to gain clarity in your prophetic calling? Too often we miss out on the historic moments happening right in front of us and sit back as they pass us by. It’s time to step up to the plate! Join us this year at School of the Prophets in person in Redding, CA, or online from August 2-6 and find confidence and clarity in your God-given calling. In this 4.5-day intensive training, school get equipped and deployed into your divine destiny to influence Kings and bring light to even the darkest situations! 

4 POWERFUL INSIGHTS ON HOW TO INSPIRE LEADERSHIP IN ANY ENVIRONMENT

Have you ever questioned what it would look like to be surrounded by world-class leaders? Or to be a world-class leader yourself? I would propose that the greatest leaders of our day are not solely the president or the pope, rather they are the individuals in our everyday lives that inspire and ignite people to pursue and prepare for a vision or mission. Personally, I work and live in an environment where I am surrounded by world-class leaders that cultivate and equip others to do the same; an ecosystem of sorts that creates the finest leaders — no, they are not perfect, but I would argue that they are some of the finest leaders of our day. One of the greatest attributes of a world-class leader is the ability to raise up other strong leaders that can lead and carry out a mission and vision farther and wider than you have ever been able to do on your own. It is extremely rewarding to watch other people that I have led and poured into over the years step up to the plate, outrun me in the race and carry on the vision beyond my own ability. This week, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Chris Cruz, one of the leaders in our environment that was equipped and now equips powerful, strong, and faith-filled leaders all over the world.
I want to share with you some primary principles for young leaders that Chris Cruz shared with me. I hope these keys inspire and provoke you to become a stronger and wiser leader no matter your age and in turn help inspire others. I asked Chris Cruz some questions about what he’s learned as a leader and I believe his insights are key for any leader desiring to develop themselves or develop others in their leadership ability. You can also watch the interview on this
week’s vlog. What did you learn in your first year in leadership as a 22-year-old Revival Group Pastor (at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry)? What went through your mind, and how did you prepare?I realized the great risk that had been invested in me as a 22-year-old when I was asked to lead a group of 60 students that ranged in ages from 18 to 70 years old. I knew I might have had knowledge that was greater than many I was leading, but my wisdom could not compare to the years of life they had on me. I prepared the best I could for my initial year of pastoring in the school by devouring Paul’s letters to Timothy. Paul told Timothy to lead by example, so in my first year, I truly adopted this idea. I thought first I needed to make sure I was leading by example. I wish I could say leadership was as simple and as easy as that in my first year, but you could imagine the challenge of having to learn how to lead people that are far older and wiser than you.
The greatest key I adopted and still use today was asking a lot of questions. As a young leader, the challenge is to often think that you need to prove your capability when actually you need to prove your humility. The truth is, you are not going to have all the right answers or know all the right solutions, but
your ability to learn and receive input will be key to your success. I could not agree more with Chris – being a lifetime learner is a sign of great humility. How do you motivate people as a leader? First of all,
leadership moves at the pace of trust. If there is no trust we will move really slow, however, if there is a lot of trust you can move incredibly fast. The challenge as a leader is to want to motivate by gripping people by the arm to follow you in the vision, but without investing in their hearts there will be no reason for them to invest in the vision. In return, you will not have trust; you will have real conflict and artificial harmony.
As a leader, I would challenge you to ask yourself the question, “Have I invested in the trust bank?” This goes both ways; as a leader, you need to invest in the trust bank and as a follower, you need to invest in the trust bank. When it comes time for a “withdrawal” if neither has invested, there will be nothing to pull from; the foundation will lay bare and the artificial harmony will fall to the ground as you realize it hasn’t been standing on a false foundation anyways. If all leadership is built on trust then the million-dollar question is, how do you build trust with people?There are key trust builders and breakers in leadership. One being, it is vital as a leader to create an environment where people have what they need to excel and feel safe; people need to feel capable of being fully who they were created to be. If we build an environment where people feel they need to wear a mask or fit a mold to belong, we have failed at allowing real conflict and we rather have built artificial harmony.
One of the keys to ensuring others feel capable of being fully themselves is when, as a leader, you model vulnerability; this creates an environment that isn’t afraid of conflict or imperfection, but that nurtures and repairs the cracks and bruises that are inevitable in life with people. Conflict is not what should scare you as a leader, conflict will be your greatest key to building real trust. A trust breaker in leadership is when your yes is not your yes and no is not your no. If I say I am going to keep that information to myself and I do not, trust will be lost as a leader. How did you learn to press into conflict instead of running away from it?I learned to press into conflict rather than run away in marriage, but also in my early years of pastoring. I realized that if I can lean into a moment’s pain, the gain of the long-term level of trust will far surpass the initial pain. The truth is, running into the fire isn’t a lot of people’s natural tendency.
As a leader when I realize the people that I have conflict with drawback into a cave, I step forward with the desire to understand. I begin asking questions like, “Have I done something to hurt you?” or “What are you feeling?” How do you inspire people to walk with you?It is important for leaders to understand your responsibility versus your influence.
The key here is to make it my priority to care for people’s hearts over influencing them to think a certain way or adopt a certain vision.
Metaphorically speaking this looks like me painting on a canvas with watercolors and the people can add with whatever medium they’d prefer to the canvas. I learned people tend to support what they help create. My prayer for you this week is no matter what lies you have believed about your ability to lead or to lead well that you would bring them to the Lord and ask Him what He believes about your leadership. One of our greatest strengths as leaders is our ability to lead with the Holy Spirit; He will be your greatest companion and strongest support no matter the circumstance you are leading in. I also want to encourage you this week, if you feel unnoticed or not seen in your leadership that you would hear the Lord’s voice and guidance in the journey and process of preparing you and establishing you as a leader. If you would like to hear more from Chris, you can find him on
Instagram and
Facebook, and be sure to check out his book
The Practice of Being with Jesus.Lastly, what are some keys for great leadership that you have learned? I would love to hear in the comments below. 

We Have Been Comfortable For So Long

Spiritual Apathy

“If the world hated me, it will hate you, too.” (John 15:18) Our 21st century, North American culture is a veritable “freedom utopia” for Christians, at least as far as it compares to the rest of the world. (So far, anyway. It appears that voters in the US signed themselves on for some drastic changes … Read more

I’m NOT A Liberal

im-not-a-liberal

I have to chuckle at how badly people can take something you say and mangle it beyond recognition. I recently had occasion to be a “victim” of misunderstanding on a recent post I wrote as a guest-blogger on another site. I wouldn’t have even written this post, perhaps, except an article that I wrote for … Read more

It’s not always what it looks like

People worshipping Toronto Vineyard

I remember, back in 1994, hearing a bit of a hullaballoo about the “Toronto Blessing” (a revival that is purported to have broken out at the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church in 1994, now known as “Catch The Fire“). It is one of those stories that, depending on your persuasion, leaves you with some very positive … Read more

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