After having trained tens of thousands of believers in countless churches and meetings since 2000 in Elijah Challenge Training events, we have seen a certain pattern emerge. During the Training event itself, the Lord does numerous miracles as the believers minister to the infirm. At the public evangelistic healing service which often climaxes the Training, God performs impressive miracles through the trained believers, and unbelievers are drawn to Christ. There is excitement and rejoicing among the people at what the Lord has done through ordinary disciples.
But perhaps a month or so after the Training event, the excitement dies down and the miracles are down to a trickle. What has happened?
Firstly, you are being tested
I Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. (KJV)
The Lord has entrusted power and authority over diseases and demons to us. Since we are stewards of that power and authority, we will be tested in order to determine whether or not we will be faithful in the use of that power and authority.
1 Timothy 3:10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
Thus the Lord may test us to see whether or not we truly believe His Word and if so, what we will do with His power and authority.
Do we really believe God’s word in John 14:12 that believers will do the works that Jesus did?
After the Training is over, are we obedient to use the power and authority given to us?
How determined are we to obey his commands to heal the sick and cast out demons for the sake of the gospel?
Will we persevere in obeying his command even in the face of failure?
If we pass the test and the Lord knows we can be trusted, then His power and authority will flow through us and we will see people healed. One way the Lord may test us is by allowing us to fail when healing the sick. Are we easily dismayed and discouraged? Or do we persevere?
Just as in other facets of life, essential factors are determination and perseverance. How determined are you to see John 14:12 fulfilled in your life and church in terms of healing the sick for the sake of the gospel? Will you stubbornly persevere until you see it come to pass? Or do you give up easily? Perseverance is required if we are to pass the test. Ministering to the infirm effectively does not necessarily come overnight. It more often than not involves a process of learning in which giving up is not an option.
Secondly, doubt has returned
A related factor is the return of doubt and unbelief. When we minister to the sick and the infirmity does not submit to our authority—the person is not healed—there is opportunity for doubt and fear to arise. During the Elijah Challenge Training the issue of doubt is emphatically addressed through the Scriptures, and the doubt that we could in fact heal the sick recedes. And when we witness the miraculous healings taking place during the Training, the doubt that we could heal the sick is further weakened. But months have elapsed since the Training and the memory of the miracles is fading. When we minister to the infirm and nothing happens, the doubt which we thought had been put to death wakes up and comes roaring back. The old habits and tradition of crying out to God and asking Him to heal the sick—instead of healing the sick—come back to life. We are back where we were before the Training.
Jesus in fact taught that Satan wants to come and take away the word that is sown in some people.
Mark 4:15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop–some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” (Mark 4:15-20)
The enemy wants to steal the teaching which has been sown in our hearts through doubt which can arise when someone is not healed. Others may receive the teaching with great enthusiasm, but they last only a short time. Still others receive the word, but they are distracted by the matters of this life and cannot bear fruit. Every believer should therefore strive to clear his heart of such distractions and serve the Lord by faithfully applying the teaching which was entrusted to him.
For this reason videos of The Elijah Challenge Training (Basic Training I and Basic Training II) are freely and conveniently available for viewing on the internet. View the entire Training on YouTube. The more you are exposed to the word of God in the Training, the greater will be your faith to heal the sick and the more effective you will be.
Thirdly, the enemy wants to discourage you
The enemy certainly does not want us to use what we have learned for the preaching of the gospel. Otherwise we will become very fruitful for the Lord, and dangerous to him. He does not want people coming to the Lord through the miracles. He especially does not want us to multiply ourselves by training others. Therefore he seeks to discourage us by resisting our efforts when we use our authority to minister healing. When we experience failure, we can get discouraged. And we are less likely to try it again. So the enemy hopes to “nip us in the bud” by resisting us ferociously at the outset.
Yes, some may have a special calling
When we fail, we will be tempted to conclude that we are not called to the ministry of healing the sick and casting out demons. While it is true that some disciples will indeed have a special calling as an apostle or evangelist to heal the sick in an impressive fashion, every believer is called to obey the command to a certain extent.
John 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing…
Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you….”
The disciples at that time were to teach later disciples to obey everything He commanded them. What did He command His disciples, among other things? He commanded them to “heal the sick and tell them, ‘the kingdom of God is near you.’” (Luke 10:9) The disciples were therefore to teach later disciples to obey this very command to heal the sick, among other things. The Church today is also required to carry out the Great Commission: to teach today’s disciples to heal the sick, cast out demons and to preach the gospel.
Therefore we cannot lean back on the excuse that we are not called to heal the sick for the sake of the gospel. We must be determined and we must persevere and not give up. This is part of the Lord’s testing and winnowing process.
The essential role of proper leadership
After the Elijah Challenge Training, the Senior Pastor or ministry leader must be proactive in encouraging and leading the trained disciples to minister healing to the infirm. He should review the teaching for the disciples. Most importantly, he should schedule periodic organized outreaches where the trained disciples will heal the sick. These can be evangelistic healing services in the church, or public healing outreaches in the open-air, or the disciples going door-to-door in the community to heal the sick and share the gospel in the homes of the lost. Click on Visitation of God to view a report on the latter type of outreach as done so effectively in predominantly Catholic Brazil. Click on Mall Outreach to read a report on an evangelistic healing outreach conducted at an Asian mall in Houston. Click on Reaching the Unreachable for an approach which might be used in a country where the predominant religion is the one centered in Mecca. The type of approach to be used will depend upon local conditions. As we pray to the Lord for wisdom, He will give us a strategy and approach suitable and workable for our specific area.
If the Pastor or ministry leader fails to provide such organized and regular opportunities for the trained disciples to heal the sick in the context of evangelism, then it’s likely that the Elijah Challenge Training will have been conducted in vain. The adage “use it or lose it” holds here.
Matthew 25:29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.
When we persevere in obeying the Lord’s command to heal the sick despite occasional failure, the Lord knows that we can be trusted with His authority. Then we will begin to see the healings take place more and more consistently. We become bolder and more confident; our faith grows. Greater and greater miracles take place as we minister. And we begin to teach others what we were taught. In this way we can bear much fruit for the Lord.
Testimonies of servants of God who were determined and who persevered
Please click on Testimony of mountain-moving faith with extreme perseverance
and on New Testament miracle in Brazil to read two powerful testimonies of extreme perseverance.
We have also seen that determined servants of God who have attended the Training more than a single time—two or three times—will launch out and be used by the Lord to perform powerful miracles and also to train others in the same way. Pastor Albert Kang of Malaysia attended the Training three times, Missionary Carl Henderson also three times, and Worship Pastor Arjae Matthews of Atlanta two times (Basic & Advanced Training) on consecutive weeks. Click on their names to read their reports on how the Lord used them afterwards.
Ministering to infirm believers
For training on ministering to believers with infirmities, click on Ministering Healing to Believers. One very important condition for believers to be healed is for them to “confess their sins to one another”, thereby forgiving one another and others. In this way the Lord forgives them, and they can be healed. But for some infirm believers forgiving others can be very difficult, and therefore their healing can be blocked.