The answers to these Frequently Asked Questions are based on two things: the immutable nature of the Godhead, and the revealed season in which we find ourselves. So, before offering any reply to the questions themselves, I would like to offer a short summary of the foundation. Before anything else existed, God was present as a Father loving a Son (Jn. 17:24). The Holy Spirit is spoken of by the early fathers as the flame of love that passes between them. This is the prime culture of heaven. When God created man, He intended that there should be many sons who would rule by manifesting this culture in the world. Unfortunately, following the rebellion of Adam, the world and all it contains has been plunged into an ever deepening orphan existence. The answer to that rebellion and orphaned existence is Jesus Christ. In coming to Jesus we come home to the love of our Father, and progressively leave orphan hood behind (John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans”). Today, the Kingdom of God is expanding and righteous rule is being accomplished through sons who see what their Father is doing, and do the same in a like manner (Jn. 5:19). It is again a day in which the nature of God is being put on display in and through men.
Why do I need a spiritual father?
God has so arranged it that we are born and then develop and grow. We are not created fully mature in either body or spirit. Furthermore, we are not created to be isolated individuals, but an interconnected whole which will display the culture of heaven, which is the culture of our loving Father and His Son. The process of growing into maturity is greatly enhanced by having a specific individual, to whom you are connected by the bonds of parental love, who is more mature in God and can therefore ‘raise you up’ (1 Cor 4:15-17). This must be more than a mentor or teacher, because they must be able to remain steadfast in the relationship through all manner of circumstances in order to accurately portray God. It is a spiritual principle that you can give what you receive. One who has received years of being loved by their heavenly Father will be a reservoir of His love to those who are headed towards their destinies in Christ, since they already have their destinies etched in their heart. The spiritual father is designed to show the Father to the son through the natural father/son relationship.
How does having a spiritual father bring me to The Father?
We must be absolutely clear that a deep, personal, intimate, loving relationship with our heavenly Father is His intention, and we should settle for nothing less. That said, a relationship with a tangible, ‘flesh-and-blood’ manifestation of His love is the way He has ordained for sons to understand their destinies. As children of the first Adam, we are all born into a race predisposed to live from their soul, not their spirit. The sons of God must learn to live from their spirits in order to live in the continuous presence of the Father of our spirits. A spiritual father brings discipline to the soul of his sons. In addition, he is a touchstone for his sons to learn the rhythm of life in the Spirit and the ‘feel’ of God’s love. In Scripture, we can see this at work in the following way. Scripture declares that we are destined to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8) who is the perfect son. As a son, Jesus said that he only did what He saw the Father doing and whatever He saw the Father doing, He also did in a like manner (John 5) – in other words, He imitated the Father. In Ephesians 5:1, Paul picks up this theme and encourages the Ephesian believers to, ‘imitate God, as beloved children’. But for the Corinthian believers who were struggling with false teachers and divisive factions, he takes a different tack and urges them to, ‘imitate me (Paul)’, then promises to send Timothy who is a faithful son to him. Why the change for the Corinthians? Because they needed to see life in the Spirit lived out in the flesh. They needed help imitating God from someone who could demonstrate it in person (1 Cor 4:16).
What is the spiritual dynamic of this kind of relationship?
It is the principle of incarnation; God revealing Himself in man. Just as in Jesus, the prototypical son, was seen the out-raying of the Father’s glory and the exact representation of His nature (Heb. 1:3), the Father will be seen shining in all of His sons. Therefore, like Philip in John 14, we are able to see our Father on display in His sons. It is the Father’s good pleasure that this revelation should be both deeply personal enough that we can experience being individually known and loved and broad enough to encompass the whole Body of Christ in our view.
Isn’t my pastor my spiritual father?
Almost certainly not! I will acknowledge the possibility that your pastor is transitioning into the new season and has not yet confronted the issue of his vocation, and the possibility that you have a unique relationship, but the two roles – pastor and spiritual father – are very different! The positional authority which creates the role we know as pastor derives from an entirely different source than the authority which empowers sons and fathers in the kingdom. The necessities, methods, and goals of being a pastor are separate from, and in some cases opposed to, the necessities, methods, and goals of being a spiritual father. It is important to move fully into the new season which is unfolding around us. A spiritual father who is suspended by indecision between the two is going to trouble both himself and his sons.
How do I find one?
This may be frustrating to some, but you cannot decide that a spiritual father is something you need, and therefore go ‘find’ one. They are given by God, just as the father of our flesh was. To an orphan heart, this seems terribly unfair, and more than a little dangerous. But, God is good, and He will provide what you need. To discern whom the Lord has given you, first pray! Then take the time to learn from this website what a spiritual father really is and then ask God to either reveal the person who already has that role in your life, or bring you into relationship with someone who will. Consider those who are in your life: what is their understanding of their own sonship, first to our heavenly Father, and then to a spiritual father? Watch and listen to the Spirit, He will lead you! This website can help……..
Is the person who led me to Christ my spiritual father?
Not necessarily, but it is certainly a place to begin praying.
How do I know I have the right one?
You both must recognize the relationship, and embrace it in the Lord.
I’ve tried this before and it did not work, why try again?
While there have been various groups which have used the language of spiritual fathers/sons to describe the pecking order within their ranks, there has not been a call from God to come together as households. This is the earmark of a new season within the Kingdom of God on the earth. This new season is not at all about control and domination or financial support for the few. It is about the care and raising up that the future generations of sons need; it is about our Father making a way for His sons to come into their destinies regardless of where they begin the journey. Whatever it was that you tried before, leave it behind! Come along side of someone who is on this journey and see the fruit of having a spiritual father. Taste, and then decide if this is just more of the same old thing.
What can I expect from the spiritual father?
A spiritual father is not a replacement for a natural father. This relationship is not given for the son to work out ‘daddy issues’. A spiritual father is specifically given to discipline the soul of the son. This means that he is given to walk with a son who is already in passionate pursuit of his Heavenly Father, and is seeking to grow deeper. In that context, the spiritual father is able to share insight and wisdom from his own journey, as well as acting as the provision God has made for Himself to have a tangible voice into the lives of His sons.
How does the spiritual father help me find my destiny?
All of God’s sons are born with a purpose and a destiny, and the Spirit of God will reveal these to the son. But at the same time, the soul of a young son has ambitions and desires of its own. The spiritual father will help the son recognize the critical differences between these two sources (see Soul vs Spirit in Sam’s teaching in the Studio Session Series Spiritual Authority called “Operating in the Soul vs Spirit”).
How does the spiritual father help me hear God’s voice?
We are spirits who have a soul and a body, and the process of maturing for a son is the process of learning to live from our spirits, not our soul. Before our spirits are awakened in the Lord, we live from our immediate desires and needs as they are understood by our souls. As we begin to mature, our ability to hear God’s voice in our spirit increases – but it is not clear at first which we are hearing; soul or spirit. A spiritual father provides an invaluable touchstone for a spiritual son as he learns to sort out the differences between soul and spirit by bearing witness to what the spirit is saying (Matt 18:16).
What is expected of me in this relationship?
The relationship is actually for the sake (benefit) of the sons, and they determine how much is, or is not accomplished in it.The principle is the same as that seen in the prologue to the Gospel of John: “He came unto his own… but they received Him not. But to as many as did receive Him… He gave…” Remember what was said earlier, we are sons of our Heavenly Father. This relationship is provided as a means to enter into the life of sonship in a practical, everyday manner – to position our hearts to walk in a manner which is in keeping with our true nature. Therefore, the son sets the pace by how much he is willing to enter into the role of son, and in so doing determines how much he receives out of the relationship.
How should a spiritual father discipline a spiritual son?
Keep in mind that there is a vast difference between chastisement and discipline. Chastisement is defined as pain inflicted for punishment and correction, while discipline is training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior. Chastening of sons is something which the Lord superintends, using means of His own. It is not a task delegated to any man. Training and discipline, on the other hand, are. A spiritual father disciplines his sons (Heb 12:4-11) by recognizing areas of immaturity in their lives and confronting them in due season. This begins with recognizing the issues that God is working on in the life of the son. God does not deal with every point of immaturity at the same time, and may even choose to let an obvious (from human a perspective) issue go unchallenged in order to address a root issue. A spiritual father may assign tasks which will focus attention on the issue God is dealing with, and away from the distracting clutter of life. He may also hold back a release to do more, until an issue is dealt with. In this capacity, he must be a relentless witness for what is good and right and true. On many occasions, a spiritual father is a ‘guardrail’ placed along the path to keep you back from destruction. He is there to confront the things which rise out of the soul (fear, anger, greed, lust, ambition, and the like) which will bring destruction if allowed to rule in your life.
What if I disagree with his council?
I can guarantee that at some point you will! So remember, spiritual fathers are not given to dominate. They rule as standards of righteousness, not as dictators. If you disagree with the counsel, say so! (Matt 18:15) Discuss the issue. It is possible that you have not fully understood his counsel, or that he does not have a full picture of the situation. If there is still no resolution to the impasse between you, then an appeal should be made to the spiritual father of your spiritual father. The right of appeal is always available to a son. Should that fail to resolve the disagreement, then you must follow your conscience. Your conscience is not always right, but if you are living before God and pursuing Him to the best of your ability, He will bring you to the place you need to be. Just be sure that your approach to the issue is not one of breaking relationship over a disagreement. (Heb 12:14).
How often should I communicate with my spiritual father?
It should be based on need. When the son has questions or needs insight into a situation, the son should connect up with the father.
Will I ever mature enough so I don’t need a spiritual father?
There is much more going on in the living out of a spiritual father/son relationship than simply fostering your maturity. It would be shortsighted to view this relationship from a strictly utilitarian perspective, for it has meaning and purpose beyond its usefulness to either individual. Above and beyond any of the needs which are met in the individuals, there is the issue of displaying the culture of heaven here on the earth. In this way it resembles marriage. You would not suggest that marriage should end once the children are raised and out on their own, would you? No! There is still a display of Christ and His Bride in each marriage union, and, because there is, there is value and reward in living it out for He is present in it. The same can be said for spiritual fathers/sons. The relationship may change as the individuals mature, but because it is an expression of the life of God, it will continue to produce life. Consider also that this is the first generation of the new season – a generation drawn from a world with very few natural fathers who can also be spiritual fathers. If your natural father were your spiritual father would you still expect to outgrow the relationship?
Q: How many sons can a father have?
A: Since this is about relationships, every father has to judge for himself how many relationships he is able to handle and still be able to give all that he is supposed to give to each one of them.
Q: How old does a father need to be to be a spiritual father?
A: There is no specific minimum age to be a spiritual father. It has to do with spiritual maturity. When a father is able to handle the responsibilities of walking with sons, he may be ready to walk as a spiritual father.
Q: What is a patriarch?
A: A patriarch is a father who is mature enough and depth of relationship with the Lord such that he no longer needs oversight. This doesn’t mean he is not under authority. If there would ever be a need to bring correction to a patriarch, the matter would be judged by a delegation of apostles.
Q: As a spiritual father myself, do I need a spiritual father?
A: Unless the Lord has brought you to a place of being a patriarch, the answer is yes. Fathers who are not patriarchs need to be under authority. They are accountable and if there is ever a need for correction, the sons of this father have the authority to bring the matter to their fathers’s father for judging and discipline if needed.
Q: How do I download media to take with me?
A: Depending on the browser that you are using, you should be able to right click on the media file and click "Save link as" or "Save target as".