Why are some pastors leery of having anything to do with intercessors? Why do some intercessors flit from church to church, never quite settling down in one place? The pastor/intercessor relationship was meant by God to be a harmonious duet of two very different ministries. Sadly, often it has not worked out that way. Misunderstanding and hurt fill the great divide between multitudes of prayer warriors and the pastors they were called to help. But if we learn how the relationship is supposed to work, we can cut the problems to a minimum.
In order to stay balanced, intercessors must be plugged into a local church. We are not above other Christians in needing to receive solid Bible teaching. We should not be depriving ourselves of the corporate worship experience, either. Most of all, we need accountability. This means that we are connected to our pastors by more than just sitting through their Sunday sermons. Pastors should know who the intercessors in their churches are. A trust relationship must be built between the two. If your church is small enough, you will probably be able to connect with your pastor personally. In larger churches that may not be possible, but there is someone you can connect with — perhaps an intercessor leader.
So, where do problems come into play, and how can they be avoided? The number one conflict between pastors and intercessors is over revelation. Intercessors, because they spend so much time in prayer, tend to hear a lot of things from the Lord. Often, the things they hear pertain to the local church fellowship. Many of us have gotten the mistaken notion that if we hear something for the church, and communicate it to our pastor, he is obligated to agree with and implement what we have told him. If he ignores our “word” or out-and-out disagrees with it, we think he is spiritually obtuse or disobedient to the Lord. We tell other intercessors that the pastor doesn’t “get it,” or that he is resisting the Spirit. We create suspicion of the pastor and his motives, and fuel division in the church. We build our own little faction of disgruntled people. Unity flies out the window, but of course it is the pastor’s fault! All of this is completely out of order. Small wonder that many pastors do not trust intercessors.
Here are the rules of the road when dealing with your pastor:
1.) If he welcomes revelatory feedback from his intercessors, by all means give it — but then leave it there. Your job is done, once you have communicated your information.
2.) The pastor has the right to discern your revelation and from there implement it or dismiss it, as he deems best. God will not punish him if he does not do what you say. Part of his discerning process will be listening to see if God places a witness of agreement in his own heart. He may also discuss your word with other church leadership and pay attention to whether other intercessors not directly connected with you are telling him similar things. He may put your word on a back burner, sensing that it is possibly valid, but the timing is not quite right for it yet.
3.) The pastor is the one who hears the vision for the church. This is his domain, not the intercessors’ or prophets’. God may give you something that wonderfully confirms a portion of what your pastor is hearing about vision, but He does not give the church vision to someone other than the pastor.
I once knew a woman who repeatedly came to her pastor with the declaration that God had given her the vision for the church, and that the pastor’s vision was not correct. She pestered him to alter course according to what she felt she had heard. When her word was not received, she began to plant division in the hearts of other members of the congregation behind the scenes. This behavior is ungodly — and unfortunately, it is not uncommon. (Now that I think about it, I know several intercessors who have done this.)
Pastors, you can keep your relationship with your intercessors in good working order by letting them know they are an appreciated, important part of the Body, that you are eager to hear from them, and that you will seriously consider what they say. Regularly communicating your needs to them, so that they know you value them and their prayers, goes a long way toward building a great relationship with your intercessor team.
Next time we will talk in detail about what the road rules I’ve listed here mean for intercessors.
Excerpted from Lee Ann’s book, The Intercessor Manual