Day 18: Spiritual Leadership-Pastor John Hannah (New Life Covenant South East)
Ephesian 4:11-12 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
Hebrews 10:25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Song: Lord You are Good
Happy Eighteenth Day of Thanks Everyone!
Today I give thanks for spiritual leadership! It is wonderful to have earthly leadership who can oversee the things of your soul and spirit, is not intimidated by who you are and your God-given purpose, who will always direct you to the face and presence of God, and gives correction when necessary. I love my current spiritual leader, Pastor John Hannah of New Life Covenant South East in Chicago, Illinois. It is a blessing when God gives you a spiritual leader who loves Him, is an intercessor, has crazy faith to believe God at His word, is funny, is quirky, loves house music and to have a great time, and is really the experienced version of yourself to allow you to know that your greatness is possible and is coming.
If you have known me for a long time and are part of my intimate circle of folks, you know that I struggled for a long time in my youth with how God chose to do many things in my life. I’ve never had the traditional “spiritual walk” ever and because of that I have been seen as an outcast, sometimes treated as if I was a renegade and told that I had no real covering. You can imagine the devastation I felt to be rejected and told that I was “out of order” by the Christians who had “typical church” experiences, when all I wanted to do was really love and serve God.
From a very early age, God spoke to me and said that He was going to directly teach and show me things. Because I changed locations every few years from the time I was thirteen and lived internationally for many years, I could never really settle in a local church home for too long like most “typical” Christians do. Many of my “local” church experiences were either from a radio or watched online from the time I was about sixteen. (I am many, many moons from that age now.) When I didn’t have a local church or a spiritual leader, as I prayed daily, God would direct me to the word and scriptures that He wanted me to know and receive. If I needed to further expand my knowledge on certain topics in the area of ministry, God would direct me to the books that I needed to read to discover more. At specific times in my life, God brought spiritual leaders, women and men, into my life that would provide spiritually safe spaces for me to develop and grow in the area of my calling. Sometimes, God would send me to a local church to serve for a season and then move me to the next place he would tell me to go. My walk with God has been very non-traditional, although rooted in discipline and obedience to God’s instruction.
Since I was sixteen, Pastor Sheryl Brady has been my pastor. It was something about the way she spoke the word of God when I first heard her that awakened everything in my soul. Although I lived far away from her church, I tuned in for bible study and Sunday worship faithfully. I used to get so annoyed when I moved internationally and I’d travel a distance to get to a hotel to buy time for an internet connection to watch service and the connection wasn’t working and I couldn’t tune in to service. When I moved back to the US, I attended the afternoon service at my local church so that I could watch first service with Pastor Brady. I was always faithful and consistent with my tithes and offering too. Again, it was and has always been very important to and for me to walk in the statutes and commands of God.
During January 2020, Lilah and I started attending a very small local church in the Bronx. We went for two or three months and God was moving during the services. There were things that God was speaking to my spirit about what He wanted me to do in every aspect of my life and how to pray for the world concerning the pandemic. God reiterated 2 chronicles 7:14 to me but He hadn’t told me that the world was about to completely shut down. One day, as I was in the presence of God during prayer, God gave me specific instructions of what He wanted me to do within the next few weeks. God told me that He wanted me to eat at another table during the coming season and directed me to start attending the services of New Life Covenant South East (NLCSE) in Chicago with Pastor John Hannah
I had no idea why God told me to abruptly shift but I knew that He was sending me to solid word. Pastor Hannah wasn’t a stranger to me. He was a guest speaker at The Potter’s House of North Dallas several times and wrecked shop during a New Year’s Revival celebration with a word from the Lord. He was also the pastor of one of my bestie’s, who lived in Chicago, and she would send me some of their sermons from time to time. God sent me to the right place at the right time! Little did I know that during the first week of March of 2020, the church we were attending would close down because it rented a space in a local community center. I also needed to hear every word coming from Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night bible study, Friday and 4 a.m, prayer, and Sunday services. God began to download so much of what He wanted me to get at that time. Every series preached was taking me from faith to faith and glory to glory.
Through Pastor Hannah, God was showing me the different facets of ministry, entrepreneurial-ship, fashion and family one could have. It is possible to have ALL that God has said and spoken over me! I have never been just one thing or had one skill and Pastor Hannah reinforced that I didn’t have to be limited to the box of someone else’s expectation or limitations. He was a pastor, had real estate wealth, his own podcast, wrote books, did intercession, had his own eye wear line, a wife and family and still has big dreams along with the vision to build the Temple. I love that he is very clear about his faithfulness to his wife and lets everyone know that while he covers his home very well, his wife is his backbone and how he can do what he does so well. Pastor Hannah is not afraid to tell the truth about what he is going through and the struggles of ministry. Drawing from his experience as a younger man in ministry, he pours into other ministers and is not intimidated by their gifts. I love the way He will pour into the random people that God will direct him to bless. Through this ministry, God has also shown me that although the things of the Lord are sacred and serious and ought to be reverenced, one could have fun in the Lord. One knows it’s about to get real when Pastor says, “we out here nah!” He has me rolling in laughter in the pulpit and on his podcasts. I love that, like me, he has a great deal of holy with a little bit of hood.
As Pastor Hannah shared his testimony of his long wait to be where he is now in ministry, it gave me hope that God has not forgotten me and the promise that He had given me. Just like Pastor Hannah was reared and poured into by a Latino pastor, God used Latina/o pastors to shape and mold my ministry as well. As I spent years developing a pastor’s heart and serving others, I have often wondered when it will be my turn to receive what God spoke to me. I have been reminded that it is, in fact, my turn and that “my next is now. I will see it. I will touch it. And I will experience it.” Since I am a prayer warrior, I love the intercession and how Pastor sets the atmosphere, through prayer and worship, for the heavens to open up. And when the Holy Spirit wants to move, Pastor gives Him access to reign supreme in the atmosphere. I am a very justice-centered believer and the outreach NLCSE does, in the midst of an endangered city, is no less than amazing. After experiencing some of 12 Hour prayer last year, I made sure my entire ministry team registered for or watched 12 Hour prayer this year. It took our prayer ministry to another level/dimension in God. There was some entrenched demons and legion spirits from which folks got delivered, blessings that had been held up were released, and many were aligned into divine purpose. (Thank you!)
I have come to love Saturday night bible study. The nuggets and the pre-cursor lessons to Sunday service always bless me in such a mighty way and confirm everything that God is speaking to me. I’m grateful that Pastor Hannah and Pastor Glenn find and relate every experience they minister about to something found in the word of God. It really proves that the bible is the guidebook of life. This one year and nine months of eating from God’s table at this house has been absolutely amazing. I don’t know how long I’ll be here but I am enjoying every minute of this ride. I thank God for His divine wisdom and shift, knowing exactly what was needed and required to get me to where He wants me to go. I thank God for Pastor Hannah and Pastor Glenn and the wonderful ministry of New Life Covenant South East.
Today as I give thanks for amazing spiritual leadership, particularly for Pastor John Hannah, I invite you to catch a sermon on any social media platform (IG, FB, Youtube) or directly from the church website www.newlifesoutheast.org and to give your time and financial resources (https://pushpay.com/g/newlifesoutheast) to bless this temple as they bless their community. Recently Pastor asked if everyone could donate $25 to do holiday outreach and in-reach to bless the children and families within the surrounding community as well as the families within the church community who are having financially rough times.
Have a Great Day of Thanks!