By: Superintendent Doyle Fulkes March 1, 2015 Several years ago I had an experience that continues to impact my life. I was attending a service I was later scheduled to speak at in Jamaica. During the singing four little girls were sitting on the front row of the church talking and by no means were participating in the singing or the service. Suddenly the pastor stopped the service and demanded the girls stand up, sing, clap and participate in the service.
He declared to them “participation proves proper attitude.”
That phrase has stayed fresh in my mind for 29 years. When my attitude digresses enough that I no longer want to fellowship with those of my movement or church, and no longer want to spend time in the company of those I serve or work with, I recognize I need an attitude adjustment. Adjustment for me comes in several avenues including calling, humility, and mission. The call of God is especially unique as I realize that ministry is first to God but then always to others. God wants me to give Him preeminence in my life and if I love God I will love people. 1 John 4 says “if I say I love God but do not love people then the Love of God is not in me.” I must be sure I remain in the love God has for me. Humility always reminds me that I must esteem others better than me. The demand of seeing others and myself as God sees them. No pretense of agenda just accepting that we are pilgrims together in the Kingdom of God. Other ministers can intimidate us with their expertise causing us to withdraw out of embarrassment of our own accomplishments.
Humility toward others helps us see them in a different light; recognizing we can learn and be better by being in the company of others. Sometimes in participation with other ministers we realize what not to do. One great lesson in my life came from a minister’s absolute failure to help a grieving family at a holiday because of his own self-importance. I learned quickly through that experience, participation in the fellowship of other ministers is essential to my own training. The ministry is always about people and how to serve and communicate the message and life of Jesus Christ to each person in the context that is relative to them. When I believe I know more than everyone around me I need a humility adjustment or I will soon fall. It is through humility we learn from those in ministry around us. Last, to adjust my lack of participation I realign myself with the mission of Jesus.
My mission is not to collect Christians to caudle or keep but to evangelize the world, training people to catch the vision to reach the lost through their lives. Participation in the harvest of souls is essential to my being in the church and participating in the kingdom of God. Participation is realizing I cannot be successful alone nor would I want to be … success always involves others. Participation with others in the movement God has called me into is vital to my spiritual health. In this relationship ideas are held and challenged. In this relationship I learn to be tolerant of those whose methods may not be the same as mine. In this relationship, I become a learner of other people’s values and beliefs. This does not mean I change my own values, but I do embrace the views of others on peripheral things while still holding onto my personal beliefs; recognizing truth and not accepting the things I cannot personally participate in. In each of these issues it is good to remember that participation with others in the body of Christ, and in my case the Assemblies of God, does prove proper attitude.