(Photo: Cornerstone Church of San Diego)
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Megachurch pastor, Benny Perez of The Church at South Las Vegas, took to the stage during the Heart Revolution conference last week to tell leaders and pastors in attendance about embracing a unison movement within the body of Christ instead of viewing themselves as singular individuals called to lead a local church.
"Many times we start getting convoluted in this thing we call Christianity and we start making up a system when really it's about a movement. A movement cannot be all about you, a movement is a bunch of people who get together and say, 'We've got to do something that is bigger than you and I,' and if we do that, we can bring change to our city, region and the world," Perez said.
The underlining theme of the conference was "Set Your City on Fire" which Perez said will never happen unless leaders begin to change their mentality because exclusivity should not exist within God's people.
"If we're not careful, we just begin to think of ourselves as isolated little islands of local churches and yes, we have a sphere, we have a region but we are a movement. You are my brothers and sisters and connected we could do a lot more than by ourselves," Perez said.
To emphasize his point, Perez drew an example from the day Pastor Sergio de la Mora of Cornerstone Church of San Diego, the host location for the conference, called him to speak during the four-day event. He said he took up de la Mora's offer because he "believes in what Pastor Sergio is doing." In the same way, he encouraged those in attendance to work alongside their counterparts in ministry.
"When you're young, you say, 'I got this, I don't need help,' but when you're older you 'don't got this.' I personally need help from Australia, Denver, San Diego and Chicago," Perez said, referring to the cities of origin for other megachurch pastors in attendance.
In contrast, he also noted that leaders exist who isolate themselves and do not embrace the unifying spirit of the church because they think they do not have resources. However, Perez says, oftentimes, those leaders simply do not realize that they already do.
"You think that God can call you and then say, 'You don't got it?' You have all you need but if you don't believe it, you'll be chasing something for a long time that God has already given you," Perez said. "You are here by divine appointment, every pastor and every leader, God did not put you on assignment and send you where he sent you without giving you everything that you need."
The reason leaders are fully equipped to work in ministry and as one with other leaders is because God has already bestowed gifts upon them, according to Perez. However, he says that many do not grasp that Biblical notion.
"The Father has given you a gift and it's based on how good He is not how good you are, He just wants to give you everything you need to do what He has called you to do but we still hold this mentality that we are undeserving," he said.
One common fault among many pastors, according to Perez, is the fact that many disqualify themselves from God's gifts, noting that in order to embrace the movement which they are a part of, leaders must shed the mentality that they constantly have to "earn" what God has already placed in their hands.
"Why do you give gifts to your kids on their birthday? Because they earned it, you say? No, you give them gifts simply because they were born," Perez said. "In the same way, God gives you gifts because you are born again. If you just quit disqualifying yourself from these gifts, you'll see you already have everything."