Caterpillar to Butterfly: Control– TO – Equipping and Releasing
From Caterpillar to Cocoon to Butterfly – Part XII
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 for the church. Today we will look at the principle: Controls people (caterpillar) TO Equipping and releasing people (butterfly).
Caterpillar: Up to now, historically the Church has not done a very good job “equipping the saints for the work of service” (Eph. 4). With the clergy/laity differential, most of the work is done by the professional clergy and staff asking only their parishioners to “follow their lead.” With a professional staff, much training is done, but that is not necessarily true for the saints. A church is always excited when a young man decides to go into the “professional” ministry, as his equipping or training begins towards the goal of becoming a professional. Often churches have attempted to “train” their people, only to not release them once trained. Mindsets are that the clergy does the work because that is what they are paid to do as professionals has hampered the church. With a pyramidal church structure, the issue of “control” over a congregation can become more of an influence that training, developing, and releasing them.
Butterfly: With the five fold, when discovering one’s passion and point of view, the church can equip them to do what drives them, their passion, no matter if it is evangelistic, pastoral, teaching, prophetic, or apostolic. Equipping comes through serving and being served by each member of the five fold who are also laity and learning to “lay down one’s life for their brethren.” The apostle has probably experienced the other four passions in his life, but the purpose for his gift is to see the big picture, to network, develop, nurture, support, and edify the other four giftings, then, most importantly, release them to do what they are gifted to do. Releasing means “hands off”, no control, but remain in a supportive role. Apostle Paul is an excellent example of a man who did all four passions when birthing churches on his missionary journeys, only to physically leave them, release them, and only correspond with them through letters. Because his techniques were all “relational”” when birthing and developing a new church, he could relationally “release” them with confidence of their giftings in Jesus Christ to carry on and expand the work.
The Differences: Old School church prepares and develops one to be a “professional” in what they call “full time ministry”. Higher education through westernized teaching philosophies is the route provided to produce a well educated professional rather than a hands on, trained and developed laity. New School church’s mission is to “equip the saints”, not the staff, for the “works of service.” The goal is to birth, nurture, and develop the skills which goes along with one’s passions. All this development is of no use unless it is “released”, freed to move ahead in one’s passion. Even with that freedom will come accountability through relationships to the other four passions and points of view in the five fold ministry.
Implications Today: Personally, I have been trained with a group of men to become “lay speakers” in a denomination, but few of us in the class ever got the opportunity to fill any pulpits when pastors were away on vacations. They controlled their pulpits rather than releasing them. I also have been trained to operate prophetically with fifty other people, to be able to be part of a prophetic presbytery, seeking the Holy Spirit, discerning His will for someone’s life, and in faith giving them a prophetic word. Today, none of us are in prophetic presbyteries anymore. Training a laity and actually releasing him/her to give one freedom to minister in their gifting and passions has been a rarity in my fifty years as a church attendee. That needs to change drastically if the church is to take Ephesians 4 and the Great Commission seriously.
Conclusion: Instead of “enabling” Christians, the laity, to just “follow” everything the clergy proposes, then criticizing them for being lethargic in living out their faith, the church needs to be better at “equipping the saints” and take that more seriously. The investment should not be in creating a professional staff, but in equipping and developing the already existing saints, those who make up the local body of Christ. If we would equip (birth, nurture, teach, spiritually edify, and see over) the saints currently in our churches for service, then release them, we would see a revolutionary change, called revival or reformation, in the church today. You know, a butterfly can never be "free" to "fly" until it is "released" from its cocoon. Oh, I dream to see the day of that release!