The Art Of Governing the Church

Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXXX

Isaiah prophesied,  “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Really, what form of government is resting on his shoulders? Church government? If so, What is that to look like?

The secular political world is all about power and control. Agreement is rare, compromise is common, fighting and squabbling the norm. Corruption hangs around the corner awaiting opportunity, and position and titles are important, yet all claim to be “public servants”.  Today’s church government is patterned after the secular, for men are given titles, positions called offices, and claim to be servants to their congregation. Some churches are congregational where members hold the power, other churches have elder boards, and still others have strong senior pastors with full authority. Since churches are institutions, they are governed by secular guidelines, their own bi-laws, and legal paperwork to remain tax-exempt. The first century church was not governed this way.

The first century Church was governed by consensus among believers as peers in Jesus Christ. Consensus does not mean 100% agreement nor majority rule where 49% still disagree. Consensus was when every believer was willing to lay down his personal agenda and lay down their lives to serve one another allowing the Holy Spirit to guide the Church.

The Holy Spirit led the first century Church into accepting” diversity by making all believers peers in Christ. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) Today’s church can no longer segregate itself by sex, race, title, economic status, or denominations. It has to learn to “accept” one another, not be judgmental.

In the five fold, no one person governs, the whole body does by trusting the Holy Spirit and each other. The “government rests on His shoulders.” Ironically, the Holy Spirit is not above” believers in a pyramidal paradigm, but indwells each believer. Gods Spirit is among His people for a consensus from the heart. If Church leadership is linear, every believer serves beside his brethren as an equal peer. No one stands alone or above others. All are “to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16) That is how the Church governs itself; through body ministry.

Headship does not mean being “over” others, but beside one another as peers. Even in marriage, Eve came from Adam’s side, not his head or foot. Figuratively, they are joined at the hip! I believe that it is God’s will for believers to be “suitable helpers” (Genesis 1:24) as a wife is to her husband in order to be “one flesh” in the Body of Christ. If you are willing to ”lay down our lives for the brethren” and serve one another, people will naturally follow you, making you a leader.

Paul did not serve and govern the first century church alone. He had Barnabas, Timothy, Silas, Mark, Pricilla & Aquila, Tychicus, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Luke, Demas, Nympha, Archippus, Epaphroditus, Apollos, and many others who stood by him. Church leadership should be pluralistic. Ruling or lording over others creates church politics. Ruling by serving one another as a peer, as a brother and sister in the Lord, brings life. Life creates an organism. Properly governing the Church through Christ-like relationships is the only way the church will restore itself from being an organization to again being an organism. That is why the 21st century Church must address a new mindset of governing itself.


Singular or Pluralistic Leadership?

 Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXXIX

A good pyramidal organization needs many good leaders at different levels, but only one leader can be at the time. His decisions are decisive, and everyone below him obeys his directives in order to be a “company man”. When things run smoothly, everyone is happy. When a problem arises, the man on top tackles it, for that is why his paid so much. Positioning of leaders is crucial to develop “yes men” to follow directives from above. He is your boss not your peer. People who you consider to be your peers, your coworkers, aren’t necessarily your friends but are your competitors for higher ranking positions. By working with one another you appear to be supporting the corporation, but bottom line, you make the boss look good to increase your chance for advancement.              

In the religious world the Senior Pastor cannot have personal relationships with a large laity base, so he concentrates on his leaders. When a problem arises, he too steps forward with authority to solve the problem. His decisions too are final, decisive, and not to be questions. His job as an authoritarian is never easy on relationships. Only professionals qualify; laity can never attain a high position of leadership.

Millennials find that there is no room for leadership for them since they occupy the foundational base of this pyramidal structure. Millennials are looking for linear peer relationships, not vertical relationships based on authority. They want their voices validated rather than always being criticized and dictated to.

Although Jesus spoke to multitudes, he intimately invested in only twelve. He was preparing simple men to be apostles who would see over what the Holy Spirit would do in the lives of believers. The twelve became peers in the faith. Although Jesus told Peter, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church,” (Matthew 16:10) it was not his intent to make Peter the Pope over his church, but he taught Peter to lead by being beside others, serving them. At the house of Cornelius, he validated the gentile’s experience with the Holy Spirit and defended them at the Council of Jerusalem. For the rest of his life he would be their peer, never dominating over them.

The organizational mind asks, “Doesn’t having so many leaders as peers bring confusion? Someone has to be in charge!” If all the leaders are serving one another, there will be no confusion. The Church can never have enough evangelists, shepherds, teachers, prophets, or apostles who serve simultaneously. The key is all must be listening to the Holy Spirit and network through service with one another. Releasing people into the five fold can prevent domination and control while promoting diversity and plurality. The church multiplied quickly because Jesus invested in only twelve who invested in other believers by equipping and releasing them to serve.

Since power often defines position, I ask you, “Does the leadership at your local church stand over you or beside you relationally? Are they your peers or superiors? Do they come across to you as common believers, peers in Jesus, or as superior leaders better than you?”


Are Millennials Vertical Or Horizontal?

Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXXVIII

The current church leadership style of being built on pyramidal titles, positions, and professions can be a challenge to Millennials who are looking for linear relationships built on peer acceptance as equals. Millennials are not impressed with pyramidal leadership that has built organizations and institutions but are not effective in developing meaningful, intimate relationships as peers.

The perks of a pyramidal structure as a chance for advancement, providing a good health care plan or a secure retirement system are not as appealing to Millennials as finding relationships who will stand beside you, defend you, lead you, and walk out life with you personally. Why should they trust a Health Care System they are financing, a burdensome pension system they are paying for, and a Higher Education System that places them in deep debt without the promise of a job, or a banking system that pays them no interest on their savings but massive interest rates on using credit cards? When they come to church, why would they not be skeptical of yet another pyramidal scheme? They always lose! Is church just another institution that they have to finance? The pyramidal system benefits those on top at the expense of those below them. The investors are more important than the workers. Millennials are looking for meaningful relationships that will benefit them, not just being the base of a system financing the top.

Millennials are also facing an ethical and moral clash with older generations. Millennials are just trying to survive economically; so living with a roommate of another sex to pay the rent is no big deal. They aren’t looking for formal commitments, just the need to be “accepted”. Being “in a relationship” is important to a Millennial, but not necessarily a marriage relationship. Millennials are being conditioned to take care of themselves, since pyramidal institutions will not take care of them. It is more important to a Millennial to complete high school, get a college education, even if it puts them deep in debt, so they can get a well paying job, and establish a career before thinking of having children, a family, or getting married. Since they aren’t committing to marriage until later, they are sexually active longer as singles, which has produce a generation filled with single mothers, unwed couples, and dead-beat dads.

Before previous generations throw stones at Millennials, I ask, “Why would they embrace marriage when there are more divorces than successful marriages among their parents and peers?” Marriage looks like another institution that has failed them! To them birthing children does not equate to forced “shot gun” marriages, nor does having children outside marriage carry the same negative stigma it once had. The Puritanical days of having a “bastard” child as in The Scarlet Letter is history. Amazingly, the unchurched Millennial is not as judgmental about each other as their churched parents and grandparents are.

If secular and religious institutions have failed Millennials, what does the church have to do to draw them back into its fold? Answer: Accept them for whom they are, where they are unconditionally. Jesus always used unconditional love and grace, not the religious Law. They are looking for genuine relationships, not superficial structures. They are looking for people to walk beside them, not lord over them.

Millennials are looking for someone who is willing to step up, step forward, step beside them through loving relationships of service to fulfill Mathew 15:35-40:

“For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”

Secular institutions have not fulfilled Mellennial’s needs; they have failed them. It is time for the Church, not as an institution but through personal relationships, to step up and serve, accept, win them to Jesus, and equip, nurture, and care for them in an effort to mature them into the image and fullness of Jesus Christ! That is the mission of the Ephesians 4 Church!


The Tension Between Revival And Control

 Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXXII

When revivals break outside conventional church boundaries, the church asks, “What covering do you have?” Basically they are asking, “Who is in control?” They feel their pyramidal leadership structure can control to prevent weirdness, cults, and heresies. Ironically, it is the pyramidal control that kills the organism, the life of the movement; it certainly does not protect it. During times of revival, the church needs to learn how to come along side the revival movement, embrace it, not control it, but accept it for what it is, a movement of God, or just leave it alone.

Acts 5:34-40  records, “A Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. He said to them, ‘Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.’ They took his advice.” (Acts 4:333-40)

Revival exposes the church’s tension for control. The religious institution always has asked who is in charge, who is responsible for the actions of this radical movement? The revivalist claim the Holy Spirit is in control.  Being outside established religious norms, the Holy Spirit moves anyway he chooses, often looking like chaos to the institutional church, so they take control to establish order, but usually at the price of the life of the organism.

Only if one is willing to give up total control to the Holy Spirit can they become part of the revival spirit. If not, tension and a battle may ensue. One could find themselves in the same position as Gamaliel and the Sanhedrin. Is is smart to take Gamaliel’s advice, or you too could be taking the risk of “fighting against God”? 

I realize that what I am proposing with the five fold is a challenge to current church leadership structures, accountability structures, the clergy/laity belief system, while advocating for a Priesthood of Believers and the restoration of the five fold for everyday believers. The question is am I, or are we, willing to embrace this movement of God or will we oppose it?



Consensus and Accountability

 Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXXI

The first century church was governed by consensus as recorded in Acts 15. At the Council in Jerusalem, the Church came to a consensus over the “gentile question.” They agreed that gentiles received the same Holy Spirit as they did and were a part of the Body of Christ. There would be no room for divisions or classes in Christ’s kingdom. Peer brethren were sent to verbally proclaim their consensus and blessing. The apostles did not dictate or manipulate the outcome; they allowed the Holy Spirit to work among the brethren which brought a consensus, a unity, a positive move forward.

In the kingdom of God, accountability does not come from the top down from leadership that demands unquestionable submission to their authority, but instead is a body ministry of believers standing beside one another, taking the lead or adding support through their strengths and talents. Leadership is from a linear plane of being peers, equals in Jesus who accept and receives from one another. Unlike pyramidal structures were decisions are often dictatorial, leadership is consensual. It is not being “told” what to do, but to willingly give what you have for the common good. Apathy becomes archaic as every believer is active in this giving and receiving process rather than be passive. A community is built as a living organism that produces life.

Respect does not come by being in an office with a title, but by being an accepting friend, a brother or sister who not only is willing to stand beside you and with you through the good and bad times of your life, but who is willing to lay down their life for you in spite of who or what you are. If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you are my equal, my peer, in Christ! Respect comes through service, and the five fold is all about serving.

Accountability to an organization is dictated by position and office. The question is always, “Who are you under, who are you accountable to, who is the authority above you?” Basically they are asking what leadership do you have “over” you, as if that authority is your protective umbrella.

Accountability to an organism is built on peer relationships. Their question is “Who accepts you as an equal by walking beside you in your journey? Who is protecting your back? Who is walking before you in the lead? Who are you surrounded by who will nurture, care, teach, and fellowship with you on a daily basis in practical ways? That is linear.


The Accountability Round Table: Hypothetical Situation


Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXX

Recognizing that today’s church is one of the most segregated institutions, your five fold group asks, “Since we live in a community that is multi-cultural, how can we get believers of different races and cultures to worship and fellowship together?”

The evangelist pipes up, “That’s easy. They all just need Jesus. Let’s introduce each and every person in our community to Jesus. It is that simple. (The evangelist’s limited point of view sees only the lost in need of Jesus, spiritual birth.)

The believer with a shepherding heart comments, “The challenges lie in how we care and nurture in the context of different cultures, social norms, and traditions. I’ve experienced a White church that started Sunday services mid-morning, while the Black churches arrived an hour later, and it took another hour just to get it rolling! The Hispanic church didn’t even think of starting until noon or later. How are we going to integrate these cultures and worship styles together?” (The shepherd’s limited point of view is his concern for spiritual growth.)

The teacher interjects, “What really matters is their need to get grounded in the Word, the Bible, and truth will work itself out. One has to know what they believe, and that knowledge will be unifying. We will have to make the Logos Word an active Rhema Word that touches their daily lives, no matter what culture.” (The teacher focus is on the Word.)

The prophet shakes his/her head, “Drawing all men to Jesus is the answer. If people focus on Jesus, their focus on cultural traditions will be diminished. The Holy Spirit speaks all languages, earthly and heavenly, so we must teach all our believers to listen to the Holy Spirit for themselves, He will direct our path.”” (The prophet’s point of view is to spiritually draw near to God and seek His will.)

The believer with an apostolic leaning has been quiet, listening, validating each person’s voice while listening to the Holy Spirit for wisdom, understanding, insight, and guidance. The apostle’s vision is for an united family under the headship of Jesus, but can not attain that unless the other four are “on board” with him. (Networking is the apostle’s passion.) He begins, “I hear us saying Jesus has to be central in this endeavor. He has to be the creator who births this project. Jesus, as a Jew, also reached out to gentiles like the Samaritan woman at the well, and Peter who had to experience the vision that ‘what was unclean is now clean,’ meaning the Church must be inclusive, so how do we get each culture to accept one another in Jesus? Can we trust the Holy Spirit to speak in any language? He did at Pentecost! We may first have to meet around a table, the Lord’s Table, to eat together. There just may be grits, beans, and rice served with our cheeseburgers. The Lord wants us to not only draw near to Him, but also to each other. As we ‘accept’ one another no matter what sex, race, nationality, culture, passion, or point of view, the more ‘receptive’ we will be towards each other.

To my evangelistic brother/sister, I ask, ‘How can we birth this multicultural endeavor?’ To my pastoral shepherd friend, ‘What cultural experiences can we have to break down barriers, then instead of building new structures or barriers, build meaningful relationships between us? How can we build one another up by walking beside each other? Finally what will it take to get us to a point where we are willing to die for one another?’ To my teaching brethren I ask, ‘What will it take to make a Logos Word a multi-cultural Rhema Word, where we are all of the same race because we have been transformed into the image and likeness of Christ?’ To my prophetic friends, I ask, ‘What is the Holy Spirit telling you individually and corporately, so that we may be obedient to His will and His way?’”


The Accountability Cycle

Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXIX

The five fold accountability circle forces each participant to serve one another while receive from one another. Because it can circulate, no one gifting is top dog, but any of the five may arise to lead when needed with the other four in a supportive role.  The giving and receiving from one another prevents believers from becoming passive and brings life back into the organism.

But the critics cry, “Who’s in charge? Where does the buck stop?" Being in charge to them means someone being “responsible” at the top of the pyramidal structure of leadership. That is not so with the five fold. In the five fold, trusting the “Spirit of Jesus Christ” is mandatory. The five fold will fail if any of the five doesn’t put their trust in the Holy Spirit, for He is in charge.

“Trusting one another” as peer believers in spite of our diversity is compulsory. Instead of arguing over differences, being defensive, becoming aggressively defiant to other Christian sects, the church needs to extend grace, mercy, trust, and acceptance to one another as peers, equals, needed parts of the Body.

In this circle of faith, if you can’t trust your spiritual brother/sister in Christ to your lift or right or across the table, who can you trust? Being one in Jesus as peers is the only way to create unity.

When it comes to leadership, how does this wheel of service work? Isn’t the apostle to be “at the top” as the “overseer”? No! The being an apostle is not a position, title, or an office; no one is “above” the other. The apostle IS NOT an administrator, a management consultant, a C.E.O., a President, or a Chairman of the Board. He is just a peer to other believers who just so happens to have the passion, vision, and point of view to see the big picture of the Church as a whole and the knowledge of its parts and how they work together.  Anyone of the five could “lead” according to how their passion, gifting, or point of view addresses a need or situation that the five together are facing. When another person feels his passion is needed, the wheel can rotate so that they take the lead and the others follow supplementing his work. It doesn’t matter what direction the wheel rotates, so any of the five can rise to lead with the others giving support to meet the current need of the group.


The Teacher, Prophet, Apostle Connections


Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXVIII

Let’s examine how the teacher, prophet, and apostle can relate to the five fold to bring maturity to individual Christian growth and unity to the Body of Christ. Strong relationships are reciprocal, so lets see what the teacher, prophet, and apostle can give to the others and receive from them and why they need each other.

Teacher/Prophet: If there was ever two giftings that augment each other it is the teacher and the prophet because they both major in the Word of God, Jesus! The teacher’s passion is to study the written Word, the Logos Word, the Bible, which is foundational to everything he does. The prophet’s passion is to live out this written Word through the Rhema Word, the living word. Jesus, God in human flesh, “lived out the Word” because he was the Word. The question for the ages is how do we, as believers in Jesus, live out the Word? The living out the Word is central to the Jewish faith, but it has become legalistic. Man has failed to live out the Logos Word on his own; he needs the living Rhema Word and the Holy Spirit in order to live it out. The teacher and prophet working together is a powerful tool to help believers in Jesus to grow into a “mature” man in the image of Jesus.

Teacher/Apostle: The teacher and apostle can be a great duo as the teacher grounds the Church in foundational truths and the apostle sees the overall picture. The apostle must prevent the teacher from being legalistic or over zealous in his desire to live out the Word. Ask Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee of Pharisee, taught under leading rabbis of his day, a zealous defender of his Jewish faith and the Torah. Only when he embraced both the written Word, the Torah, and experienced the living Word, Jesus, did he qualify to become an apostle for this new Church. Every teacher develops his own personal theology and methodology, but he needs an apostle to bring simplicity to the gospel. The restoration of the Apostle’s Teaching is mandatory to prevent doctrinal sectarianism that divided the church for so long.

Prophet/Apostle: You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:19-21) The believer who sees the Big Picture of the Church as a whole is apostolic, while the believer who yearns to draw nearer to God, who seeks to commune with his God, who listens to the voice of the Holy Spirit is prophetic. What better foundation upon which to build the Church but on the vision of an apostle, the guidance of the Spirit, and Jesus as the cornerstone! The apostolic sees the strength of individual pieces and how they fit together in support and encourage one another. The prophetic hears the voice of God, senses his heart, and always leads himself and others toward Jesus. The two together become foundational.


The Shepherd Connection


Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXVII

Let’s examine how the shepherd can relate to the evangelist, teacher, prophet, and apostle to bring maturity to individual Christian growth and unity to the Body of Christ. Strong relationships are reciprocal, so lets see what the shepherd can give to the others and receive from them and why they need each other.

Shepherd/Teacher: The shepherd and teacher can work hand in hand because their focus is on “maturing” the saint into the image of being a  godly, Christ-like person. This faith journey must be grounded in the Logos Word, the Bible, yet lived out in practical everyday life as a living Rhema Word. Who better to walk out this new life with a shepherd than a teacher? Since “all things are new” when being born again, a teacher is necessary to instill Biblical principals as a foundation. A convert who has a shepherd on one side and a teacher on the other walking with him is a fortunate person. The five fold can offer that!

Shepherd/Prophet: When facing the challenges of everyday life, one can lose focus and be distracted. The shepherd works daily with a a new convert’s spiritual walk, but the prophet keeps one’s focus on God, his Son, Jesus, and through the Holy Spirit. The shepherd teaches one to walk with God; the prophet teaches one to hear from God through the voice of the Holy Spirit. The more righteous the walk, the more obedience to the voice is required, the more mature a Christian becomes into the image of Jesus. The shepherd and prophet need one another in their own practical daily walks and spiritual journeys.

Shepherd/Apostle: Even with all the nurturing that you have received, did you ever ask how you “fit” into the picture of your local church or the Church as a whole? As the shepherd works with your development toward becoming a “mature” believer in Jesus, the apostle specializes in networking the pieces together, seeing over what the Holy Spirit is doing in each believer’s personal life and the life of the Church as a whole. As the convert grows, the apostle “sees over” the walk he had with his shepherd and networks him with other teachers and prophets. The apostle doesn’t control the sheep nor tells the shepherd what to do, but he “serves” them to assure the growth of the sheep and the spiritual health of the shepherd.


The Evangelist Connection


Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXVI

Let’s examine how the evangelist can relate to the shepherd, teacher, prophet, and apostle to bring maturity to individual Christian growth and unity to the Body of Christ. Strong relationships are reciprocal, so lets see what the evangelist can give to the others and receive from them and why they need each other.

Evangelist/Shepherd: An evangelist’s strength is in birthing. His passion is for the lost to find their way into the kingdom of God. Nurturing and caring for new converts is his weakness because his passion drives him toward winning the lost. Every evangelist needs a shepherd beside him whose strength is to nurture, guide, care, and “parent” these new converts in their faith journey. Since the sheep may get sick, wonder off, or even die, it is mandatory for the shepherd to be available 24/7 for his sheep. Personally, an evangelist needs a shepherd to speak advice into their own personal life to temper their zeal. The shepherd, on the other hand, needs the evangelist’s zeal to motivate his own life.

Evangelist/Teacher: An evangelist needs a teacher to ground his personal ministry in the Logos Word, the Bible. If it isn’t scriptural, it’s questionable. Also the teacher can make the Logos Word real by making it a Rhema living Word, applicable to everyday life, not just theological. This is to prevent new believers from becoming Pharisees, followers of institutionalized, structural, lifeless religion. Jesus was severely critical of Pharisees. A teacher needs an evangelist to keep his faith fresh, active, and alive. An evangelist needs a teacher to walk with him through his daily faith journey. Their passions are necessary to keep a believer in Jesus a living organism.

Evangelist/Prophet: To prevent legalism, the evangelist needs a prophet whose passion is to draw near to God. Rather than relying on programs and events, the evangelist needs to rely on the Holy Spirit to produce creative, relevant ways to share the gospel to win the lost. Personal prophecy can be an effective evangelistic tool as Jesus demonstrated with the Samaritan woman at the well. Words of wisdom and knowledge can be beneficial to winning the lost.  Since the evangelist majors in birthing, who better to work with than a prophet who majors in the spiritual. Prophetic evangelism could revolutionize the way the Church does ministry.

Evangelist/Apostle: An evangelist has a narrow view of seeing only a lost and dying world that need Jesus. An apostle sees the big picture, the Church as a whole. The apostle sees birthing as only the beginning of a process towards maturity in Jesus, so he directs new converts to the right brothers or sisters to be nurtured, cared, taught, and spiritually guided. An apostle needs an evangelist to birth vision and projects the group as a whole will develop.


Purpose & Mission of Five Fold: For Individual Christian Growth


Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XXI

To understand the five fold relationally, one must understand its purpose and mission. Is the five fold to be offices to govern the church or are they passions desires and points of view of believers in Jesus? Let’s continue to look at their purpose and mission.

For Individual Christian Growth

…..until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.  ….. we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,” (Ephesians 4:13, 15)

The second purpose of the five fold is for individual maturity, the growing up “in all aspects” into “fullness of Christ.” Paul wrote in verse 14, “We are no longer to be children, tossed ….. and carried,” but we are “to grow up,” to learn to stand and walk as “a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”

Evangelical churches that emphasize “birth” are usually weak in Christian growth. They see large numbers get saved, but later move on to more nurturing congregations. Pediatricians help with your birth and early childhood development, but if you go to one as an adult, you got a problem. Pediatricians are for children, not adults! Christians who often chose to stay with their spiritual pediatrician, the evangelist, remain childlike in their faith, never quite maturing. They will always prefer milk over meat. Physically we are destined to grow as humans, but that is not true spiritually. We grow only as much as we allow the Holy Spirit to penetrate our lives. Spiritually we can choose to be babied by our professional church staffs, or we can stand and learn to walk in the Spirit. It is our choice!

How do we learn to grow? Churches offer Bible studies on discipleship telling you “how” to grow. The five fold has brothers and sisters, relationally, walking out your growth with you, standing with you, teaching you to take a stand in your faith walk by experiencing it with you. As younger siblings look up to older siblings, Paul exhorts younger men and women to “hang out” with older men and women for just this purpose: to grow by example! Youth offers zeal, but if tempered with wisdom and experience from an older brother or sister will see mature growth.

The purpose of the five fold is “to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” We measure our growth by how much we portray the image of the Father, the Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. In Genesis 1:26, “God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” We are to be God-ly, Christ-like, and obedient to the Holy Spirit. It is an awesome task which can be attained because Jesus modeled it! He hung out with twelve ordinary men, stood by them, led them, covered their backs, accepted them, nurtured and cared for them, and eventually died for them, all for the purpose of drawing them closer to his Father to make them “godly”. “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) When you read about these same twelve in the book of Acts, your see totally transformed men who are “godly” and “Christ-like” in so many ways! The four gospels are about their five fold relational walk with Jesus, and the book of Acts is about their “growth” in becoming a “mature man” in the “image of Jesus Christ”.

That is the goal of the five fold: to mature the saints, to help them “grow up” into the image of the Godhead!


Purpose & Mission of Five Fold: To Equip The Saints…


Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XX

To understand the five fold relationally, one must understand its purpose and mission. Is the five fold to be offices to govern the church or are they passions desires and points of view of believers in Jesus? Let’s look at their purpose and mission.

                  To Equip The Saints…..

“….. for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;” (Ephesians 4:12)

One purpose for the five fold is “for the equipping of the saints”. If it were for the structuring of the church, it would read “for the equipping of the staff,” but it doesn’t say that. It is not a “professional development” tool.

One definition for “equip” is “to prepare mentally for a particular situation or task.” For what situation are we preparing our believers in Christ? For evangelism? It takes a special mentality to infiltrate a hostile world that rejects Jesus and share the gospel. What “necessary supplies for a particular purpose” do we, as a Church, “equip” them with? One of the greatest tools we can give them is to “release” and “send” them with our blessing.

The organizational church tried to keep William Booth in his pulpit, not in the streets, and would not release him to evangelize. He resigned, went for it alone, and founded the Salvation Army. Unfortunately, many believers with an evangelistic passion find themselves alone because the church won’t bless their “independent” endeavors.

Evangelists do not have to be alone when embracing the five fold because they have others supporting and encouraging them. A believer with a shepherd’s heart, standing with him, he can nurture and care for any new convert. Another believer with a passion to teach could share the Logos Word and help make it a Rhema Word in a new convert’s life. A prophetic believer would seek the voice of the Holy Spirit for guidance. A believer with apostolic vision would network this new convert with others to strengthen his walk. What greater gift can we give an evangelist than release him to, “Go do your thing; we got your back covered”?

A believer with an evangelistic passion often gets burned out and discouraged if they don’t have the support of their local church. But in the five fold an evangelist has a shepherd to nurture, a teacher to instruct, a prophet to draw near to God, and an apostle to “see over” what the Holy Spirit is doing in his life. That is equipping!

If we would approach equipping through the Lamad method of experiencing a faith journey with a brother or sister rather then academically instructing them, we would be more effective in discipleship. Am I willing to “lay down my life for my brethren” by literally being beside him in a 24/7 relationship? Jesus did it! If so, this five fold will work. If not, I will be inclined to outsource it to a professional, which is our current structure. It is all about intimate, sacrificial relationships!

The same is true with the other four passions. Equipping means standing by each other while “laying down” your agendas, passions, and opinions “to serve” one another!

As a church we have no idea what equipping means until we “experience” it! When we “invest” in one another, believers to believers, “equipping” will flow naturally as it did in the first century.


The Rise Of The Professional Clergy

Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part XII

How did the clergy rise to power and create this divide?  Frank Damazio in his classic book The Making of a Leader (Portland, Or: Bible Temple Publishing Co., 1988, p.9) explains, “Another major cause of the Church’s unbiblical division between the ‘clergy’ and the ‘laity’ is the professional status the church accords to clergy. The process of elevating clergy to the status of ‘professional Christian’ follows a claim of logic that looks like this:

Since the:                              clergy          =   priesthood

and the:                                priesthood    =   profession

then:                                    profession     =    professional

  Therefore:                             clergy           =    professional.

Those considered to be in the clergy, therefore, were looked upon as ‘professionals’. Those who received a theological and ‘professional’ education were considered to be part of the clergy, or at least, well prepared for a particular denominational ordination. Neither of these ideas, however, are Biblical.”

Here we are in the twenty-first century still maintaining the belief that the only clergy can be professionals, those who have made a career out of what is called the “full time ministry.” Because they are paid out of the laity’s tithes and offerings, many in the laity feel they do not have to do ministry because “that is what we pay our pastor and staff to do,” so they outsource their obligations.  I have heard the Pareto Principle quoted that “20% of the people do 80% of the work.” I have no idea if that is valid, but very few of the non-clergy in most churches do very much of the work. The paid staff does it! Some believe the “lay” in “Laity” justifies being passive. I believe that clergy and laity want it that way. The clergy do not want to give up their pulpit, control, and power, and the laity enjoys being passive with no requirements placed on them except financial!

The hierarchal organizational church of the Dark Ages advocated the two class system: The clergy were educated and spiritual; most of the laity illiterate and secular. The clergy were set apart to draw near to God; the secular needed the clergy for confessions, the resolving of sins, penance, baptisms, marriages, and the giving of sacraments.  What brought the Church out of the Dark Ages? The invention of Guttenberg’s printing press, the Age of Enlightenment, and the Age of Reason when the laity learned to read the Bible themselves.

Martin Luther questioned the mother church’s institutional structure, power, practices, and doctrines that bred enormous wealth and corruption. His discovery of “justification by faith” and John Calvin’s “justification by grace” brought a spark of life back into the organism. As believers read the Bible for themselves, they began questioning official church dogma for interpretation, and life seeped back into the Priesthood of Believers.

Although Luther did not actually pen the term Priesthood of Believers, he did initiate the principle that all believers in Jesus were peers, equals in the faith, and could do many of the things that the organized church had prohibited them from doing. Ironically, as much as Luther advocated the concept of Priesthood of Believers, he felt forced to accept a hierarchal leadership model when State governments began to endorse State religions as Germany went Lutheran, the Czar went with Russian Orthodoxy, and England’s King Henry VIII formed his own church, the Anglican Church. Those rejecting State run religion fled to America where they placed the Separation of Church and State into their Constitution.


Offices Or Passions, Desires, and Points of View?


Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part VI


Should we envision evangelists, shepherds, teachers, prophets, and apostles of Ephesians 4:11 as church offices and leadership titles, or are they diverse passions, desires, and points of view found in common believers in Jesus Christ?

Ephesians 4:7 & 8 reads, “7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, ‘When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.’”

He gave ”gifts to men’” to equip the saints for works of service. These saints will worship by giving back their gifts to the Lord and to other saints that will build up the body of Christ to attain unity of the faith and acquire the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature the brethren into the fullness of Christ. . That’s receiving and giving; that’s being fluid.

The gift of evangelism became prevalent in the 1950’s as “You must be born again” became a popular theme, but the church opted to train their clergy to become professional evangelists rather than equip the saints to evangelize.

The 1960’s introduced communal living as believers tried to nurture and care for one another, but five respected Christian pastors formed the Fort Lauderdale Five in an effort to bring stability. Instead their influence became too controlling and dictating for which they had to repent of spiritual abuse.

The 1970’s was the decade of the teacher, and I think every professional clergy thought of himself as a teacher whose cassettes and CD’s could be purchased. Unfortunately the laity who bought all those tapes, did all those Bible studies, and earned Biblical degrees became frustrated when the clergy refused to give up their pulpit or gave them no outlet to release their teaching voice or passion.

The prophetic movement of the ‘80’s began as a grass root movement among believers but quickly turned to super pastors now not only being evangelists and teachers but also prophets. Again the prophetic voice among the laity became silent.

By the end of the century, many mega-church pastors, overseers, and bishops bestowed the title of apostles because they oversaw networks of independent churches or denominations. I have never met one of these apostles who were laity because only clergy were qualified, yet I have met many believers who see the big picture of the Church and network believers in serving one another.

The purpose of the five fold, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service,” has been lost. A fluid, fivefold church would have emphasized giving and receiving among the saints. One’s weakness is another’s strength. All five NEED to RECEIVE from EACH OTHER and GIVE to ONE ANOTHER. The fluidity of giving and receiving is central to building relationships through the five fold.

I ask, “Who is your church investing in?”

The data of your local church budget will reveal that answer. Most church budgets support the building and maintenance, and salaries and professional development for staff, and program needs. It feeds the organization, not builds up the organism, the believers. Is your church investing in you and your fellow believers or in the building, programs, and the professional staff?

The five fold is about relationships which bring Jesus into believer’s lives. It is for birthing, feeding, nurturing, and caring for the organism through “service”, not for keeping the organization solvent and running smoothly.



Is My Church Fluid Or Structured?


Why Should/Shouldn’t My Church Embrace Change? Part V

 Is my church fluid or structured?

I have a simple definition for worship: “Worship is giving back to Jesus what He has already given you.” We, as believers in Jesus Christ, are only stewards here on earth, so giving back to Jesus, worship, should come natural. Worship is the ebb and flow, the giving and receiving. The Holy Spirit receives from the Father and the Son and gives it away to the saints, the believers in Jesus Christ. Jesus, as a man, did the same while on earth as an act of worship to His Father. As believers we are to do the same.

Since we are free to worship anywhere at anytime, one does not need a formal structure or a designated place in order to worship. Unlike the organizational church structure where you are told when to stand, sit, sing, be reverent, pray, greet one another, give financially, take notes, listen to the sermon, respond through an altar call, and leave after the benediction, worship flows naturally among His people. If you are given an original song, sing it; a Biblical insight, teach it; a word from the Lord, prophecy it; an urge to pray for some one, lay hands on them, or give them a word of encouragement, just do it!  Obedience to the Holy Spirit is the key to being fluid.

The majestic mystery that drives a fluid service is found in the thread that is sewn through the tapestry of worship by the Holy Spirit who speaks with clarity. You can always find a message, theme, or lesson taught by the Holy Spirit, which brings awe, anticipation, excitement, and a reverence among those participating.  

A fluid service of worship builds and reinforces relationships, strengthens believers’ faith, and taps into the heart of the Father. That which is unseen that is birthed in faith and released among God’s people strengthens the Church. Jesus allowed Thomas, who doubted, to physically see and touch his wounds to boos his faith. That single act sealed their relationship for eternity.

Relationships among peer believers are also strengthened by being fluid. Confession to one another brings healings and repentance. The laying on of hands can produce powerful results, for the “touch of faith” can produce a powerful bond. God’s love flows through personal touches! That flow from the river of life is being fluid.

 In a fluid service, what the institutional church reserves for only the clergy can be done by any believer in Jesus. Any believer can participate in baptisms, share in communion, pray, and share the Word of faith with one another. It allows the flow of Jesus, the flow of the Holy Spirit, to bring life to the organism. It encourages the giving and receiving among the saints as a body called the Church. If brothers and sisters in the Lord are willing to “lay down your life for your brethren” (I John 3:16), then the flow of God’s love will administer to and threw his believers and become a natural thing to do.

There is life in being fluid that produces an expectancy, anticipation, and assurance that the Holy Spirit will speak, flow, and move! The organized church says, “No way!” to the saints being fluid fearing they may lose control, swing from the chandeliers, bark like dogs, fall on the floor, speak in tongues, etc. The organized church believes that stability can only be achieved through proper leadership being in control, so they stifle the flow among the saints in an effort to control. As the tap of control is tightened, the flow is reduced to a drip and finally one last drop.

So I ask, “Can you as a believer in Jesus Christ trust the Holy Spirit, or must you trust only the control of your church leadership?


If Taking Care Of Others Is Mandatory…..


Now What? How To Maintain the “Organism”– Part XIV


….. because it requires us to be our brother’s keeper through service and love.


In the previous blog we have established that taking care of others is mandatory in the kingdom of God. Jesus, his disciples, the early Church, and the Church today has been commissioned to take care of others. Serving others is central to the gospel! The parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:31-46 paints a picture of judgment as hanging on the balance of those who serve and those who don’t.

“How do you serve others without having it become an institution later on down the road?” has been a questioned asked by the church for centuries. How do you keep the Church as an organism, a living being, from becoming an organism, institutionally structured? Answer: By keeping it simple by everyone serving each another.

If we can get past the mentality that the five fold is NOT about offices, titles, and positions in the church, but passions, drives, and points of view of individual believers in Jesus Christ, we can begin to understand this simplicity.

If a believer has a passion, is driven, to win the lost for Christ, he is filled with life through rebirth. We, the Church, need to nurture that life by equipping it, encouraging it, then releasing it with the support of the other diversely different giftings and passions the Body of Christ has to offer. An evangelist’s single vision, driving passion, is to win the lost, to bring birth and new birth. Seeing the big picture of the entire Church, like that of an apostle, is too overwhelming for him/her. He/She doesn’t even think about nurturing the “newborn” in Christ, nor how the “newborn” needs fed on the Word of God, nor how to teach them to hear the voice of God on their own. They immediately look for more who are lost, so they can be found. More who are spiritually dead, so they can have a new birth in Jesus Christ.

Since the Church is composed of people, Believers in Jesus, who are evangelistic, nurturing, teaching, prophetic, and apostolic, it can effectively serve others to meet any need that the Holy Spirit brings before them without forming an organization. They are an organism who just “does it” out of obedience to the Holy Spirit! Any one of the five can rise when needed with the support of the other four. Jesus never founded nor formed an “institution” called the church, he just equipped and empowered a small group of individual believers whom He released together through the power and leading of His Holy Spirit who would change the world. That’s the Jesus way!

Jesus equipped them with spiritual gifts, the five fold passions, authority, and the power of the Holy Spirit and released them to make the Logos Word a “Rhema” Word, just as He did when He ministered on earth. That “living organism” is the Church! It is all about “living”: living relationships as a living organism experiencing a resurrected life that is alive in Jesus Christ! It is that simple.

Rather than flow with the life of the organism, that is the leading of the Holy Spirit through the use of spiritual gifts and five fold passions, man chose to organize structurally, eventually creating institutions. Organizational institutions kill the simplicity of the simple truth that individual believers, themselves, yet together, must serve, serve, serve others! It is not an option; it’s mandatory! That is how the Church should function.


Being Your Brothers Keeper Is A Requirement


Taking Care Of One Another In the Body of Christ – Part XIII


….. because it requires us to be our brother’s keeper through service and love.


Genesis 4: 8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”[d] While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. 9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Ever since the time of the fall of man through sin, man has refuted, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Man has become self-centered, taking care of number one, oneself.  Even in the church today, though unspoken, the question remains, “Am I my brother’s keeper,” especially if my brother is not from my local congregation, sect, or denomination, or even if he is not a Christian.

But the Bible says, “I John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Taking care of others is mandatory in the kingdom of God. One of Jesus’ last acts on earth was to take care of his mother, Mary, a widow, giving her to John even though he had several brothers and sisters.  The early Church created deacons to “serve” widows, orphans, and the poor. When Jesus spoke to the 5,000, he didn’t leave them hungry but fed them. His first miracle was water into wine at a wedding. When he saw a mother whose only child had died, he raised her. Serving others was central to Jesus’ ministry.

Serving others is the keystone to the five fold. Each individual gifting is not to isolate itself in its gifting from the other diverse giftings in the Body, but serve and support the other four. The giftings of birthing, nurturing, caring, teaching through daily life, drawing nearer to god and hearing his voice, and working together as a family are all gifts for the purpose of serving each other. Every believer in Jesus needs an evangelist, a shepherd, a teacher, a prophet, and an apostle around him to help him/her grow and mature spiritually into the image of Jesus Christ and to bring unity to the corporate Body of Christ.

Unlike Cain who murdered his brother then tried to justify his actions, IJohn 3:16 exhorts us to lay down our lives for our brother just as Jesus laid down his life for us in order to expose the gospel.

The Church is a community of believers, not an organized institution. Faith is when individual believers just lay their hands on the sick who become healed rather than building huge health conglomerates whose bottom line is finances. Service is giving a cup of water to a child or a stranger who is thirsty, not building a huge welfare system with food stamps.

Will you hear Jesus say, “Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;  naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’  The righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” (Matt. 25:34-40)

Taking care of others is mandatory in the kingdom of God.


Trust And Obey; Who Me?



Trust And Obey For There Is No Other Way To Be Happy – Part XII


….. because it forces every believer, me, and the entire priesthood of believers, us, the church, to ask the question, “Do I totally trust the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and can I trust my fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord?”

In my youth, I remember singing the old Hymn Trust And Obey. The chorus rang out, “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust in obey.” Wow, what truth! But…..

Who do you trust?

 I remember singing the old Hymn Trust And Obey. The chorus rang out, “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust in obey.” Wow, what truth! But…..

Who do you trust?

Who are we to trust?

Can you trust your priest, pastor, or church leader to treat you as a peer, or will he be demanding and lead an abusive hierarchal structure?

Is the Bible, the Logos Word, to be trusted, or do you question its authenticity?

                 Can the Holy Spirit be trusted, or will following Him just make everything weird?

                  Do your trust your brothers and sisters who follow Jesus Christ, or do you mistrust them as being hypocrites and fear being hurt by them?

                  If one can’t trust the Bible, the Holy Spirit, his brothers and sisters in Jesus, and his church leadership, how can he obey them? In battle, you must trust your commanding officers who lead you into a conflict and obey their orders. You are not to shoot them in the back and disobey all orders, yet Christians are known for doing just that.

“Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust in obey.”

                The church isn’t happy because many have lost trust in their Bible, the Holy Spirit, their leadership, and each other!

                  The ffive fold is all about trusting four other very diversely different people in Jesus whose passions, drives, and points of view are vastly different from yours. Your natural desire is to not trust someone who is different from you, but by not trusting them, you produce division and skepticism. Trusting one another through the five fold will bring individual maturity in Christ and unity in the Body. Only the supernatural can do that, so the question remains, “Can you trust the supernatural”? Can you trust that which you can not see, touch, taste, hear, or smell because your trust has to be built on “faith”, that which is not seen, touched, tasted, heard, or smelled? To your natural sense of reasoning, faith makes no sense, so can it be  trusted?

                  So I sing the chorus again, “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust in obey.” Really, can’t there be another way in spite what the chorus proclaims? But I want to be happy especially in Jesus? I guess my only option is to “trust and obey”, so I guess I better get start right now!


Accountability: We Need For A Suitable Helper


Why I Would Want The Five Fold In My Church – Part VII


Genesis 2:20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found….. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman ….., and he brought her to the man,…. 24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

  As independent as we like to think we are, man still has the need, the desire for fellowship. Loneliness is not a good thing! Even though Adam communed with God, there was still a void. Adam had a need, and God loves to meet our needs! In fact, God’s ways, His plans, the way He meets needs often surpasses the request given.

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule ….. over all the creatures …..”  27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

                  God saw beyond Adam’s need. Adam needed more than companionship, he needed others to help rule over all the creation God had made. He could not do it alone. True, he was lonely, but he was also overwhelmed. God understood, for in Genesis 2:22 it says “But for Adam no suitable helper was found.” He was doing everything alone; he needed a “suitable helper”. God’s answer: union with Eve! She not only filled his loneliness but was a compatible, “suitable” helper! They now ruled together by serving one another.

                  But Paul in his letter to the Ephesians takes it further.  Ephesians 5:29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.

                  It is all about relationships! Paul goes beyond Adam and Eve’s relationship to sharing a profound mystery: it’s about Christ’s relationship to the church! Who is the Godhead’s “suitable helper” here on earth? The Church! It is through the Church that God chose to rule over the earth and to be protectors of His creation. God has provided a “suitable helper” in his eyes.

                  I believe God has given the Church the five fold in order to be the “suitable helper” He has created it to be because the five fold is build on SERVICE, serving one another, helping one another, aiding one another, sacrificially, the being willing to lay down your life for another as Jesus did for His Church!

                  As a Church we have to begin to allow believers in Jesus Christ who function as evangelists to birth, who function as shepherds to nurture, who function in a teaching role to make the Logos, written Word, a Rhema, living Word, who function in the prophetic to draw near and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who function apostolically by seeing the Church as a whole, networking the many parts of the Body of Christ for the common good. Each of the five ARE NOT entities unto their own, but parts of the Body of Christ who are to be “suitable helpers” to one another through service.

                  If the prophet has a Godly dream, he needs an evangelist to birth it, a shepherd to nurture it, a teacher to bring the truth of the Word of that dream alive, and an apostle to network everyone toward the completion and fulfillment of that dream. The prophet CAN NOT do it alone. He needs the body; he needs “suitable helpers”.


Accountability: We Need Each Other


Why I Would Want The Five Fold In My Church – Part VI


….. because it makes believers in Jesus accountable to one another through service.

I believe one purpose of the five fold is to bring unity to the Body of Christ, to draw one another toward each other through service that will build up individual Christian growth and corporate unity. The church, I believe, will not experience true revival until it admits that “we need one another.”

God created man to draw near to him. God empathized with Adam’s loneliness when he said, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will give him a ‘helpmate’.” Communing with one another is a basic need in humanity.  God met that need before the Fall. Sin brought separation, rejection, distancing, and a desire to “have one owns space”, withdrawal, and a desire for independence. God’s plan was for unity, acceptance, a drawing near, a desire for fellowship, a coming together, a dependence on one another. God’s plan is all about relationships. With sin, relationships were broken, Adam & Eve hid from God, and their son Cain killed his brother Abel. The Cross of Jesus Christ offered redemption. Relationships were mended. Man again could draw near to God, and redemptive people were now told “to lay down you life for your brethren” as Christ did on the Cross.

The five fold is all about “laying down your life for your brethren” (IJohn 3:16) through service in spite of your differences, diversity, your uniqueness, your individual callings and challenges. You are commanded to love those different than you; in fact you are commanded to even love your enemy. It is not an “us” verses “them”, where “we” are Biblically, doctrinally, and theologically correct, and “they” are in error, false prophets, or false teachers. It is about “us” serving “them”, and “them” serving “us” as equal brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, peers, one body, one Priesthood. The five fold CAN NOT function properly until this attitude becomes reality.  

The very diversity that has divided us is the very diversity God wants to use to unite us. We look at our differences as points of contention, but until we get to the point of NEEDING ONE ANOTHER, we will continue to be divisive opponents, not brethren. As I have pointed out in so many of my previous blogs, an evangelist needs a shepherd, a teacher, a prophet, and an apostle around him. Everyone of these needs the other for a balanced ministry. We need the whole package: the birthing, the nurturing, the teaching, the living out of the gospel, the drawing near to God, and the networking of all these in serving one another and drawing from one another. That is accountability; people laying down their lives for one another through service.

For a body of believers to be truly functional, it needs to develop this desire to serve one another, peer to peer, and to draw from one another, peer to peer, rather than counting on a professional ministry to do it for them. If “we”, the Priesthood of Believers, are the Church, then we got to begin to act like the Church and accept one another as equal peers and begin to serve one another, not oppose one another, and quit acting like Cains. I believe the five fold can be a tool for this coming together, this acceptance, this service, creating accountability.

When your are willing to lay down your life for a diverse Christian brother or sister whose giftings are different than yours, and they are willing to lay down their lives for you, then the church will experience an accountability that it has not experienced since the first century when the Church was born and during its infancy. That relationship of peer acceptance in Jesus is the key to establishing true accountability among the brethren. That is what the five fold has to offer.