Having lived through the Great Depression, World War II, and several smaller conflicts (and, frankly, not looking forward to another), I am exercised to make a contribution to our understanding of the spiritual nature of the present conflict and the ultimate spiritual solution. While it is possible that terrorism will not escalate, it probably will. That being the case, our churches must be prepared for an onslaught of people in need – both inside and outside the church. Obviously, those who encounter such circumstances will have unprecedented stress since we have not experienced the privation of war on our shores since the Civil War.
Our experience indicates that churches have proven woefully inadequate to minister to the counseling needs of their people in times of peace; needy members are regularly referred to secular counselors, psychologists and mental health facilities. Agreeably, there are times that such referrals must be made; but such wholesale referrals are unwarranted since spiritual ministry is superior to secular approaches — even by Christians trained in the secular models.
Since being called to develop a Christ-centered, strategic approach to counseling and discipleship in 1967, there are almost 35 years of history of God transforming lives worldwide. A large percentage of these had suffered from the various ailments for which people are usually referred to the helping professions. While I am not saying that there is a spiritual answer for every ailment known to man, we have found that the majority of those who would normally visit therapists have been transformed by the Holy Spirit in a fraction of the time (and money) that they would normally have expended with the helping professions doing therapy on the symptoms.
Therefore, I am not suggesting some untried and ethereal “pie in the sky” type of methodology, but state of the art ministry that is, at once, Biblical and Christ-centered, where the work of the Cross is central and our Lord is glorified. While the Scriptural perspective that we inculcate has been largely overlooked by the ministry of the church today, it is in the heritage of leaders such as F. B. Meyer, Andrew Murray, George Mueller, Watchman Nee, and a host of others whose lives and ministries have stood the test of time. God called me to organize it in a form that could be taught to the average church member and which makes possible effective ministry to those within the church and those in desperate straits who turn to the church for help at a crisis time in their lives.
Training has now been done through Grace Fellowship Int’l on six continents with similar results in various cultures and languages. (International fruit should not be unexpected since the Holy Spirit is equally at home in any and all human situations.) We have trained believers with less than a high school education to be effectively used of the Holy Spirit in ministering to hurting people; since that is the case, we know that many in our churches could be equipped to meet the overwhelming need that may soon be upon us.
It should be obvious that this does not suggest doing business (or ministry) as usual, but it means a complete restructuring of the ministry arm of the church, which is a task of mammoth proportions. The first order of training should be to recognize that the majority of believers in the church have never gone through brokenness into Abundant Life and Spirit-filled living. That being the case, they obviously cannot lead another to a place they have not been. When one individual comes to this understanding and revelation by the Holy Spirit, revival has just occurred in one life. When that individual is taught from the Word of God how to articulate that and lead another into the same understanding, revival has just happened again! It becomes obvious that revival could spread throughout the church, to neighboring churches, and to our entire country.
Since we have seen personal revival happen repeatedly over the past 35 years, it is not a quantum leap to extrapolate these results to a major segment of the population of our country. Those who are at the end of themselves — for whatever reason – are often the most likely candidates for this renewal.
There have been a number of pastors who have been through some aspect of our training or that done by spin-off ministries; also, there are faithful pastors who have been teaching the same truth that have never heard of our ministry. Many of these, however, have not had the vision for such ministry on a one-on-one basis and have not recognized the possibilities in counseling. That being the case, there are a good number of believers who live the Spirit-filled life who are not effective or efficient at being used in such spiritual ministry.
To simplify, lets compare Exchanged Life counseling to the ministry of evangelism. One would hardly challenge the concept that any well-taught believer should be able to lead a lost person to the Lord Jesus and see the consequent change in their life. When the gospel is taught and there are those who have been prepared of the Holy Spirit, we routinely expect some to be saved. Why would we not have similar expectations when the message of our death and resurrection is shared with a believer? In other words, when we do the work of an evangelist, we expect the Holy Spirit to save some people from their sin. In similar fashion, could we not expect believers to be saved from themselves when the message of the Cross (death and resurrection with Christ) is faithfully taught in the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:10)? Most believers have witnessed a lost person being born again or being saved from sin; how long has it been since you personally witnessed a believer being saved from himself (Galatians 2:20)? Is it possible that you, yourself, have never lost your life at the Cross so that this is a new concept for you?
In my personal ministry — talking with pastors, and in reading — it is usually estimated that perhaps as many as 90-95% of all believers in this country have never experienced the deeper work of the Holy Spirit that we are addressing here. If they are truly born from above, they were then made participants with Christ’s crucifixion, burial, resurrection and ascension (Romans 6:2-11). However, most believers only know that Christ died for them but never come to the Spirit-given realization that they, too, died with Him and were raised to walk in newness of life.
This being the case, we have churches full of believers who must be re-educated as to their resources in Christ — who they are, Whose they are, and where they are presently seated in Him (Ephesians 2:6). Only as this becomes revealed reality (where they have lost their lives in order to save them – Matthew 16:25) are they candidates for training to reach out to others who may be in the same situation or who may not have been regenerated. (I am afraid that there are many who have been trained in easy believism and who are, consequently, lost church members.)
We have seen many desperate believers find this victory in a mere hour’s time; those who are merely uncomfortable take a while longer! And, we have seen believers who come to understand this vital truth take the simple tools contained in Handbook to Happiness and share with another believer shortly afterward; then that life is changed (exchanged) as well. Therefore, we are not talking about a long-term training program; rather, intensive training over a few days can liberate many believers to a new lease on life and ministry.
The challenge is to persuade pastors and leading people in the church, challenging them concerning the urgency of the need at hand. We, as the church, have the Answer to the ultimate problem in the world today! It is my conviction that it is the only message that will save our country from itself and the blatant sin which typifies it and that will result in our Lord joining us in resisting our enemies because we have repented and joined Him in holiness of life and ministry.
Having secured the cooperation of the pastors and their having a vision for the needed revival/renewal in their churches, the necessary training may be readily done. Much of our training is on the internet and the remainder can be placed there interactively so that travel and teachers could be kept at a minimum. The basic training of a seminar/conference and workshop can be done in a week’s time on location with much of the content accessible at our web site (www.SolomoNet.org ). Presently, we have the basic message, The Wheel and Line, which is a condensation of Chapter 2 of Handbook to Happiness, on the web in 22 languages. Also, we have a study book that can be downloaded: For Me To Live Is Christ This is a primer on the exchanged life to be used in conjunction with Handbook to Happiness. The Bible and these tools would be sufficient basic equipping for the earnest Christian to be able to understand and communicate the foundational truth of our identification with Christ in His death and resurrection. When his life is transformed, the believer can be used of God to see other lives changed and liberated.
Clearly, the greatest obstacle to overcome is lack of vision concerning the urgency of the hour and the efficacy of applying the message of the Cross — the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18) at this point in history — For Such a Time as This!
The churches have the financial resources and the personnel to bring this about if they will embrace the vision and allow God to work regardless of who gets the credit. Those individuals with discretionary funds can do much to finance the logistics involved to place effective counseling within reach of every believer in our country.
If we are faithful in teaching the message of revival, the Holy Spirit will attend the teaching with transformed lives and our country can be turned around to face our enemies within and without. We have a plan of action which can be deployed almost immediately when the churches and the financial resources are ready.
Please pray that the Lord of the harvest will attend to the details while there is yet a window of opportunity to train the harvesters before the unprecedented need is suddenly thrust upon us. Our God is able and awaits our readiness for His empowering so that He …will hear from heaven, and will forgive our sin, and will heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Charles R. Solomon