To be sure, all growth is intentional. It is not automatic. Therefore, we must create a plan of action. Too many in religious circles believe that growth is automatic, but it is not. You can come to church, worship, be involved in ministry and NOT GROW. You can sit on a church pew and be unforgiving, bitter, hateful, spiteful and just down right mean. However, when you develop a plan for growth, you begin to switch your focus from the parts that need to be changed to the transformed nature that we need to change into. I assure you, if you do not have a plan for growth, you are not growing. But, with a plan you have an opportunity to grow beyond anything you thought possible. A transformed life begins with an intentional plan for growth.
So, what does it take to grow people personally? How do you do this? Let me tell you about the plan that God showed me when I was 19 and struggling as an evangelist to make it in full time ministry. It was a plan that at the time I didn’t realize would lead to a transformed ministry. The Lord spoke to me in prayer when I was fretting over my future, not quite knowing whether or not I would be able to make it. He said, “If you will meet me every day, I will show you how to do it.” And the remarkable thing about it is that God was true to His promise.
In the story of Esther when Mordecai went back to the King’s gate, even after he was exalted by Haman for a day, he knew that Israel was still under Haman’s curse to be executed. So he returned to the King’s gate to weep and pray for their complete deliverance (Esther 6:12). God told me, “Go back to the King’s gate every day.”
Pentecost is so event oriented that we have forgotten how to be growth oriented. I wanted to change that culture and the Lord told me to “teach them how to grow.” I called it the Rule of Five. Leadership gurus have used this term for years. The Rule of Five is the basic practices that you will complete every day, no matter what. Consistency is vital and more important than quantity or even quality; the key is do it every day. You have to have a designated place where you can get alone, and you have to have a plan. Judas was able to betray Jesus in the middle of the night because he knew the place where Jesus prayed (John 18:2). If you don’t have a place, then I know your plan will not work. No place, no plan = no growth.
My Rule of Five
- Read and pray the Word for personal and kingdom purpose.
- Write in a journal the things that you learned while reading and listening to the voice of the Lord.
- Speak a word of encouragement into a leader’s life.
- Speak a word of healing into a hurting saint or sinner’s life every day.
- Reflect at the end of the day whether you completed your rule of five and plan the next day’s journey.
Four Transformational Attributes that will develop from a consistent application of the Rule of Five:
- Abundance Mentality (defeats a jealous spirit that consumes professional Pentecostals)
- Serving Heart (defeats the entitlement mentality that is so prevalent in today’s culture)
- Blessing Tongue (defeats the negative viewpoint that causes complaining and criticism)
- Yes Spirit (the ability to have faith that God has a plan and a destiny for each one of us)
You must commit to this daily process. If you have a day filled with victories, do your rule of five. If you have a day that seems like nothing but an utter failure, do your rule of five. If you are walking on clouds and life is bliss, do your rule of five. If you are in the darkest of days and your worst trials, do your rule of five. Your rule of five can differ from mine, but key ingredients should include: prayer, a daily diet of the word of God, and pouring out of oneself.
What happens to water if it stands still too long and there is no movement or flow? It becomes stagnant. Water is necessary for life and the world around us shows us that water is itself a life source. But this substance that was once a life source, can become foul, putrid, and rotten. So every day our spirit needs to be renewed, refreshed and rebooted to allow for the free flow of His Spirit.
John 7:38 (AV) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
Rivers can only exist where there is a constant current or flow. We must have that outpouring of ourselves into the lives of those around us so we do not become stagnant Christians, and the only way we can pour into those around us is to have a constant source of this living water. The necessity for the rule of five works from both ends of the current!
Ultimately, the only one responsible for your growth is you. You can’t buy all the raw materials and tools needed to build a house and then get mad when the foundation never gets poured. You must start the building process. God has given us all the power and resources we need and it is up to us to put them to good use.
Earlene Perkins, a dear lady in our church who has worked with our Sunday School Department for almost 50 years received the lesson I taught our church about the rule of five. Although she has served the Lord all these years, she obediently and happily applied it to her personal life and came up with an acronym that encompasses the heartbeat of this lesson – PULSE.
Praise – Wake up with praise and praise God throughout the day.
Unleash the word (read the Bible).
Lean on God in prayer.
Speak the word to someone.
There is no better time to start than now and no better place than home, so let’s begin.