Why Does The Financial World Embrace The Five Fold Before The Church Does?
I have listened to my son as he has learned about the business world in America and sometimes marvel that they use principles that should be anchored in the Church, but the church does not embrace or practice. Churches are known to be “cheap” in the business world, wanting hand outs, cut rates, volunteers in stead of paid staff even though they run their institution as a business. There is a business side to the American church: budgets, staffing requirements, property management, pensions, office expenses, etc. The budget dictates often what a church can and cannot do. Yes, God does speak through finances! Like the business world, it too has created a hierarchy: senior pastor, associate pastors, office staff, and at the bottom, of course, janitorial staff, all who are paid hierarchically by position. Who ever heard of a janitor getting paid as much as the senior pastor even though both do their work equally as “unto the Lord”?
If the bottom line of American business is to make money, then what is the bottom line for most American churches? The more money they make, the “more they can do for the kingdom,” we are told. In Jesus time, the growth of the kingdom of God did not hinge on the Church’s wealth. When the Church obtained wealth, it was plunged into the Dark Ages of corruption and heresy. So really, what is the bottom line for the business branch of most churches?
It amazes me that a successful business has a C.E.O. to run it, a visionary in the company to constantly produce new products or new ways to market their product, a C.P.A. who knows and follows financial laws in minute detail and will not waiver, a Business Manager to maintain the infrastructure of the corporation, and salesmen who enthusiastically proclaims and endorses the product to be sold. It appears to be a five fold model. Often, the American church has modeled their institutional structure after this capitalistic model: a Senior Pastor to oversee it, a business manager plotting where the church can go next financially, a biblically based teacher (unfortunately often the Senior Pastor through sermons or teaching classes, as if he already doesn’t have enough to do), a pastor (again the Senior Pastor unless he has Associate Pastors on his staff), and an evangelist (again often the Senior Pastor on Sunday mornings). In the business world power is determined by who “controls” what. The bottom line is control. Unfortunately the institutional church has fallen into the same category.
So what makes the five fold as I propagate it among all believers in Jesus Christ as their passionate point of view different from the business world or the institutional church? The answer: Through their bottom line. The capitalist’s bottom line is to make a financial profit. Often for the institutional church’s bottom line is growing in numbers and in their budget. But to the five fold it is “equipping the saints for the work of service.” What is each of these groups “investing” in and to gain what? Business invests in people to acquire wealth; institutional churches invest in people to grow in number and finances; the five fold invests in people to “mature” them into the image of Jesus Christ and to bring “unity” in the body of Christ.
Allowing the evangelistic, pastoral, teaching, prophetic, and apostolic spirits to flow and move effectively has nothing to do with money; it has to do with “releasing” the saints, the everyday believers in Jesus, and trusting in the Holy Spirit to orchestrate that leading. Unlike the C.E.O. who controls every facet of the business, the apostle only “sees over” what the Holy Spirit is doing because the Holy Spirit is in control. Unlike the Business Manager “controlling” finances, the pastor/shepherd doesn’t control those he is over, but serves them, nurtures them, cares for them, is willing to die for them. Unlike the C.P.A. who is controlled by financial laws, the five fold teacher is freed from being under the Law through grace in order to live life fulfilling the Law. The envisionary businessman looking ahead in the business world to “reveal” future profits falls short to the five fold prophet whose passion it is to “reveal” Jesus Christ to the lost and to the Church. The salesman whose goal is to sell the product, falls short of the five fold evangelist who not only proclaims and endorses what he knows, but also births the new things through the Holy Spirit.
Accountability! The business world is accountable to its bottom line, how much money it makes. The institutional church is accountable it its church boards, elder boards, ministerial management boards, congregations, etc. The five fold is accountable to each other through service, giving to each other, receiving from each other, and laying down their lives for each other.
The business world has embraced the five fold in ways that will profit their bottom line in order to be a successful business model making money to the envy of the rest of the business world with the goal of making the top ten Fortune 500 List. Why has the Church been so reluctant to also embrace a five fold model that will profit the lost, those who need nurturing and developing, those who need grounded, those who need proper relationships, and those who need over sight? The bottom line: the lost will be found, the hurting nurtured and cared for, those blown ever which way grounded, those with little or no self image or self worth valued in their relationship to Jesus and His Church, and those who are incomplete, become complete in the maturity, the fullness of Jesus Christ! Why would the Church not embrace the five fold if these were Church’s results, the Church’s bottom line?
Are we investing in the kingdom of God, or are we investing in an institution?