I was told once by a church member (paraphrased), “God won’t bless your ministry unless you submit your ministry to the pastor, because people who don’t submit are usually caught up in pride. If you won’t submit to a pastor, why would you expect anyone to submit to you in your ministry?” He was under the impression that if you were a member of a congregation, it was required of you to run any ministry ideas through the pastor to bless it even if the ministry was not part of your church. Although there are times the Bible tells us to seek godly counsel and blessings (Proverbs 11:14; 1 Timothy 4:14), there are many times when God called individuals one-on-one to complete a task for his glory without a committee vote or pastoral advice. Often it was during a desperate time that required God’s unconventional methods. The following are just 6 of those examples among many:
Gideon: Israel was severely oppressed by the Midianites at the time of Gideon and they went so far as to steal and destroy Israel’s crops and livestock (Judges 6:3). So God called Gideon to deliver them, but before the deliverance, it was required that Gideon destroy Baal worship and set up an altar for the Lord’s glory (Judges 6:25-27). He waited until night fell, took 10 of his trusted servants who knew how to keep quiet, and destroyed the altar of Baal to replace it with an altar to Jehovah. The next day the men wanted to kill him because of it, but his father defended him by reasoning with the men and they backed off. Then Gideon went on to defeat Midian to become a righteous judge over the nation.
Jonathan: Two years after Saul was anointed king of Israel, they were still trying to break free of Philistine oppression. Saul’s son Jonathan was inspired one day as they camped near the Philistines to take them on with his armorbearer, just the two of them (1 Sam. 14:1). He told his armorbearer, “Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.” Talk about faith. So he and the young man went secretly and kicked some serious Philistine butt because the Lord gave them a clear green light. Their attack caused so much panic among the Philistines, they began to fight each other, which alerted Saul and his men who took advantage of it and ran to defeat the Philistines.
Nehemiah: When Nehemiah got permission from his boss King Artaxerxes to go to Jerusalem over his concern about it, Nehemiah went secretly by night around Jerusalem, without telling anyone there, to survey the city to determine how to proceed with building the wall. It was only after he came up with a plan of execution, with the Lord’s help and a handful of his men, that he shared his vision and inspired his countrymen to join him (Neh. 2:11-18).
The man who cast out devils in Luke 9: This unnamed man must have seen Jesus and/or his disciples cast out devils and it prompted enough godly faith in him to go out and do it himself–apparently without telling anyone. It upset the disciples because he wasn’t part of their group, so they told Jesus they forbade him from doing it. Jesus responded, “Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us,” Luke 9:50.
Saul/Paul: After Saul’s Damascus road experience, God sent a lone, average disciple named Ananias to lay hands on Saul to confirm God’s word and baptize him, then Saul immediately started his ministry without going to the 12 apostles in Jerusalem for blessing or permission. He only met them years after his ministry started (Gal. 1:15-24).
Peter’s visit to Cornelius: Following Peter’s vision of unclean animals declared clean by God, Peter took a few men to share the gospel with Cornelius, a Roman centurion, and Cornelius’s family and friends–who ended up getting saved. Upon getting saved the Gentiles started talking in tongues by the power of the Holy Ghost to signify they were on par with Jewish believers. When Jewish believers got wind of Peter’s visit, they chastised Peter for hanging out with Gentiles, but Peter explained what God told him and what God did, and they backed off to praise God instead of complain.
Based on these examples, sometimes seeking approval of other believers, especially church leaders, can be a bad idea because they may not understand and may try to talk you out of obeying what the Lord called you to do. Maybe God is telling you to act first, and explain later, because the situation may be a desperate time. I know personally that if I had waited to get feedback from people I respect regarding this blog and the spiritual topics I discuss, it never would have happened.