Positions Determined By Office– TO – Positions Determined By What We Do
From Caterpillar to Cocoon to Butterfly – Part VIII
In this series we have been asking the question, “What happens with metamorphosis during the cocoon stage?” How, structurally, do you get a butterfly from what once was a caterpillar? In my Aug. 20, 2011’s blog, I listed several forms of transformation that I see occurring inside the cocoon of change. Today we will look at the principle: Positions are determined by offices (caterpillar) TO Positions are determined through service, what you do, not who you are (butterfly).
Caterpillar: Pyramidal, hierarchal institutional structures major in positions and titles. You position’s title is suppose to identify what you are to be doing or in charge of. It supposedly defines your sphere of influence. The higher up the chain, the greater potential for some one having someone below you “do” what needs to be done because of your directives due to your power by title or position. Those at the top don’t really do much physically to get things done, but has those under their “leadership” do it making them look good and effective. In corporate America you work hard to ascend the pyramid at the expense of those below you. The American church is no different, professionally. In some camps you become an evangelist working so that some day you will get “your own church”. Other camps have the progression from Youth Pastor, to Associate Pastor, To Senior Pastor. Often one starts in smaller churches working their way to churches with larger church attendance. Then some work their way from pastors, to superintendants to bishops, etc. With each step are financial benefits. You know who is “in charge” by their title. Often laity is exempt from their hierarchal structure because they aren’t professionals. The height of their titles would be elders or church board members. Those with titles are identified as “leaders”; no title, you are considered a “follower”. Ie. worship leader (title), worshiper in the pew (no title, only a follower).
Butterfly: On a linear horizontal plain there is no one “over you” as everyone is perceived as equals or peers. Here the “Priesthood of Believers” is practiced, where all are priests, peers. The only hierarchy position is that of High Priest, who is Jesus Christ. Being a “priesthood”, corporate ministry is central, so the church will experience a new definition of what ministry by the believers in Jesus Christ is individually and corporately. “What you do” defines who you are. If you do lead people to Jesus Christ, you do evangelism, so you are an evangelist. If you take care of people, nurture them, help develop them, you are shepherding them: action not title. You share from what you have learned by studying the Logos Word, the Bible, and practiced those truths in your life, the Rhema Word, the living word, then you are “teaching” people. What you do, determines the adjectives describing your actions.
The Differences: Institutional structured produce titles and positions to identify what one is suppose to be doing and giving them authority to have it accomplished, even if at someone else’s expense. It establishes a “power” structure or grid of “authority”. Relationally actions produce adjectives to describe that action, not nouns to identify the office. An “evangelist” by title is hired, through offerings, to come in and “evangelize” anyone who comes to their meetings. They are “in charge”. An “evangelist” relationally tells others about Jesus Christ, the Gospel, the good news verbally and through the “actions” of their personal lives. They can’t help themselves; they just “do it”. It is their passion, the way they see things, their point of view. Anyone, and everyone, who does evangelism, ie. telling “their stories”, their “faith journeys in Jesus” can be identified as evangelists because of what they are doing.
Implications Today: Whenever the Holy Spirit moves, what he “does”, the institutional church will institutionalize by making that action, that movement, a position. Let’s look to the 20th Century Church as an example. In the 50’s through 80’s, the Church institutionalized evangelism to the extent that they could fill stadiums and draw large TV audiences as shown through Billy Graham Crusades, the C.B.N. and T.B.N. Christian TV networks, and televangelists like Jim Bakker & Jimmy Swiegart. In the ‘70’s, with the release of the Charismatic Movement, the need for the pastoral was needed, thus the institutionalizing of it that produced the Shepherding Movement. The 70’s featured tremendous “teaching”, as the gift of teaching was released, & the Church institutionalized it through the Word Movement, producing more teaching tapes than my cassette recorder could run. The prophetic spirit was released in new powerful ways in the ‘80’s, and the institutional church promoted their pastors to prophets. The culmination came with the apostolic being released in the ‘90’s, where people were now getting to see the big picture of the Church, but the church institutionalized it by entitling their “super pastors” of large mega-churches as apostles wanting smaller churches to follow their lead. By the end of the century, the institutional pyramidal, hierarchal church had “structured” professionally within their ranks every movement of God during that century as an office, so today they think of the five fold as offices.
Conclusion: To become a butterfly, the church needs to change the way they think of structure. Relationally, evangelism, teaching, pastoral nurturing and caring, prophetically insight, and apostolic vision are all ACTIONS when released among the “priesthood of believers” by the priests, the believers in Jesus Christ to other believers by laying down their lives for each other in service. When God moves, the cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night, the Church needs to know how to “move”, ACTION, and respond to the moving of the Holy Spirit, not try to “fit it” into their current structure by institutionalizing it through entitlement, titles, and positions in order to be “in control”. Positions and titles are for control. The Church needs to let the Holy Spirit be in control. They need to settle the question, “Can you trust the Holy Spirit?”