Hierarchy Divides


Why I Wouldn’t Want The Five Fold In My Church – Part III


….. because the senior pastor heads our ship and his staff is onboard; the priesthood of believers, the laity, the saints are not “trained” professionally to lead.

                  I remember Mylon LeFevre singing, “How would you like to take a trip on that good old gospel ship?” which for me through my childhood, adolescence, and most of my adult life was the local church, often headed by a senior pastor (if a large congregation) or a pastor (in a smaller congregation) who captained the ship.

                  Senior pastors would often amass a staff of associate pastors, a worship pastor, a youth pastor, a small group pastor, a home visitation pastor, etc., etc. as well as a janitorial and secretarial crew to maintain the building and church office. All were aboard; all the pastors were professionally trained through Bible Colleges and/or Seminaries.

                  Because of the system, I’ve seen pastors come and go; it is not a permanent job to serve one congregation for a lifetime to birth, nurture, care, and release those in your congregation. The captain of the ship was often replaced every three to ten years. Pastors would abruptly leave, often not leaving time for a congregation to grieve; often leaving due to a conflict or disagreement. If retired, they did not stay, but moved on, so that they would not be a threat to the next pastor. Congregations always hoped for new direction, new life, and new leadership from each new pastor. The direction of leadership by the pastor defined the theological direction of that church. Many families remained in the local church for generations, but their leadership came and left, which caused the local church to build archives of previous pastors and their influences.

                  The westernized, institutionalized church has made higher education, and/or seminary training a prerequisite for professional training. Those with Masters Degrees and Doctorates were rewarded with larger congregations and greater pulpit presence and prestige. Today, the westernized church can’t conceive what it would be like without a dominating professional clergy presence leading its churches. This mentality would want to prevent any influence of the five fold by members of the congregation to permeate its present existence; they would oppose it.

                  Ephesians 4 does not call for “intellectual training” as the key component for “professional leadership” that establishes a professional clergy class, but calls on the elders, those older in the faith, to “equip” their fellow “saints”, not the professional staff, “for works of service.” Equip them for what? Evangelize and birth, shepherd and nurture, teach and train, embrace the prophetic by drawing closer to God, and seeing the Big Picture, the Church as a whole, with its many members, and network them into a body, a family, the Church, bringing maturity to individual believers and corporate unity to the body of Christ.

                  Training the laity to do what the clergy claims is their rightful duty would be looked upon also as heresy. Although Jesus never founded a Bible College or Seminary to train his disciples, did not stress the intellect but taught through parables that were not understood unless taught by the Holy Spirit and experienced by the believer, the institutional church still clings to its academic requirements as being central to their establishment.

                  Jesus promised that “where two or more are gathered”, there you would find Him. The Church exists when two or more believers gather in unity to exalt the Father God through His Son Jesus by His Holy Spirit. None of that needs to be done professionally; neither does “equipping the saints” for “works of service.”

                  To exalt the “saints” to be equals or superior spiritually to their professional leadership, the clergy, would be rejected and too labeled heretical by today’s church.