Mind Sets

Diversity Is Our Strength

The Ebb And Flow Of Personal Relationships


After spending four days with old college friends in a cabin in Potter County, I’ve learned that “ebb and flow” brings peace. The creek behind the cabin brought soft whispers of peace and tranquility. No humming of cars could be heard; only the humming of a humming bird who danced around the edges of the porch. The gurgling creek harmonized with the chirps, warbles, caws, and blunt squeaks of birds, creating a song of nature that was both simplistic and distinctive.

Hidden in the recess of eddies, tucked near the shore, just beyond the rocks that causes the rapids to sing is found various forms of life: tiny creatures and crayfish tucked among embedded rocks. Tucked in a deep eddy called a fishing hole, trout swim as if still against the creek’s current because eddies are havens of rest from the torrid pace of the stream’s activities.

Our cabin lay in a sleepy valley tucked between two mountains where sun drenched rays of light fought the foliage to feed the ferns on the forest’s floor. I found refuge here from the strong currents of life. My solace lay not in its silence, but in boisterous laughter, revelry, and bantering among five old friends: a banker, carpenter, print foreman, public school teacher, businessman and college professor, all retired, all advancing in age. Here we reminisced of bygone college days, and here we found the essence of peace in the sound of nature.

Peace can be a woven tapestry in a field of diversity, sewn through each person’s unique journey that bonded them as a group. One’s talents flow through their career, but here they are joined together by just sitting on a porch reminiscing, a perfect eddy.

Commonality was found in their acceptance of each other after forty-five years. The weekend caused walls to crumble and openness to prevail as most of the weekend was spend around a kitchen table, talking, playing cards, or sitting on the porch. Differences diminished with peer acceptance.

Similarities can be found between our weekend and how the five-fold works relationally. I cohabitated with five distinctively different people with five distinctively different gifts, talents, drives, and points of view. Once all were very independent from the others in their journey in life, but now were being drawn together through a bond of acceptance they have never experienced before. All served and accepted one another as equal peers. No bickering or fighting ensued since playful bantering brought howls of laughter and delight. No one needed to be asked to do a chore; all chipped in when needed. Everyone willingly served one another. In the past polite handshakes would have been the norm when leaving, but no longer! Backs were slapped and hugs given.

The power of the “ebb and flow” brings peace, and we experienced that peace through giving and taking throughout the weekend. The creek was not the only place where one can find the “ebb and flow”, nor is the mountain valleys the only place one can find peace. Both can be found in built relationships between one another.

The Voice & Faith of A Believer

 The Aura Of A Papal Visit

Americans were mesmerized by Pope Francis’ U.S. visit because their respect for him as a holy man who leads the Roman Catholic Church, his political influence addressing the Halls of the U.S. Congress, where nothing is revered anymore, and speaking to the nations at the United Nations in New York, as well as hugging, kissing, and blessing babies and children. He spoke to the issues of climate change, poverty, and family issues. The Press, Catholic and secular, focused on his image, persona, symbolic actions, and Catholic doctrine.

Two vivid images are implanted in my mind: At the Philadelphia Airport, the Pope paused to “bless” a quadriplegic that brought his family to tears; and a local reporter interviewed a local man who froze when the Pope came by, never taking pictures on his phone because he was too spellbound when being in his presence.

The Pope was seen hugging, kissing, laying hands on and blessing hundreds of people, but what were the “results” of those actions? Were any healed, delivered, or saved? Tangibly, how were lives changed? To become a Saint in the Catholic Church, you have had to perform at least two documented “miracles”. For a man who touched hundreds, the odds for at least two healings or miracles seem like good odds to qualify him for sainthood just on this one trip. Unfortunately, neither the Catholic Cable Channel nor the secular networks reported any miraculous healings during his visit.

Jesus too was mobbed by the multitudes in his time. When the woman with an issue of bad blood touched him, nobody knew who had done it until she confessed because of the throngs of people. Acts 5:15 records, “They even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any of one of them.” People today fought to catch a glimpse of or be touched by or receive a “blessing” from their 21st Century Peter, Pope Francis. Are they getting the same results?

I would love to hear actual, personal testimonies from those touched, transformed, or changed in tangible, documented ways because of the Pope’s visit, not just testimonies of how they were awed or inspired by his image, his presence. I want to hear how “Christ” changed personal lives because of his faith and his actions. There is a part of me that still wants to see the supernatural through the most adored figure in the Roman Catholic Church.

I am not critical of the man, for like each one of use in the Priesthood of Believers, I know he too struggles with his faith. “Pray for me,” is Pope Francis’ continual request to his followers. I have no doubt that he is a very humble, pious, sincere man of faith, a holy man, but Jesus, Peter, Paul, and all the original apostles saw, felt, and released the supernatural.

Jesus usually instructed a person who had just been healed to keep it quiet, but they couldn’t; they had to tell others of the good news. When supernaturally touched by Jesus, one is not the same and wants to proclaim His wondrous “Acts” that he has performed.

If you, as a common believer, a member of the Priesthood of believers, is touched personally by Jesus, tell others! Your voice is as valid as the pope’s. Your testimony, your story, your experience is special and unique and needs to be told.

The voice and faith of a believer in Jesus is a powerful voice.


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 Churches Infallible?


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

In the archives room of old denominational church I starred at a 1911 black and yellow photo of the Sunday School orchestra, 100 strong! Incredible. Now only a handful over 100 people attended this church regularly on Sundays. Where have they all gone?

I recall hearing Larry Lea call the nation to pray the Lord’s Prayer while offering books, workbooks, teaching tapes, etc. on the topic. His popularity propelled him into the forefront, as his Texan congregation swelled into a mega-church until scandal brought a collapse, and numbers drastically fell. Where have they all gone?

A local pastor took his church from humble beginnings and built it into a mega-church seating thousands. A choir of over two hundred sang in one of two services. After years at the helm, the founding pastor decided to retire. His replacement immediately faced challenges as soon as he took what appeared to be a prestigious position as Senior Pastor of this large church. Scandal broke out in his staff and worship team, and today only 1/3 of the seating capacity is used in only one service. Where have they all gone?

Mark Driscoll started in his garage, and grew his ministry into a multi-campus Mars Hill network of churches in the Northwest, boasting over 12,000 in attendance before the rubber bands of an abusive leadership environment snapped bringing its downfall and his resignation in less than a year.

The largest local evangelical church in our area, who even hosted a young Billy Graham, released their pastor for not giving enough altar calls. He had more of a pastoral heart as a shepherd rather than being an evangelist. Half of the congregation left with him forming a new church, now a mega-church. The former church has since dwindled to under two hundred attenders and even did a name change. Where have they all gone?

There are so many other examples that I could give. As churches grows in number, they begin to believe that they are infallible, maintaining their large numbers forever. History will prove them wrong. Many large churches often have a charismatic pastor. When he leaves or retires, numbers dwindle. Churches who offer excellent programs, professional sounding music, and highly entertaining sermons see their numbers dwindled when people feel like only a number. Still others have phenomenal children’s ministries and high powered youth programs, yet they dwindle when the twenty-somethings leave for college, career, and to experience their own spiritual journeys.

History records that a church unwilling to embrace change is doomed to become traditional and eventually will see their numbers dwindle. As a local church becomes highly organized and institutionalized, it loses its identity as an organism. Churches are not infallible. Many American cities now host an abundances of church buildings that have witnessed suburban flight, reducing their numbers. Many majestic edifices of past glory days now sit as beautiful mausoleums of stain glass and empty wooden pews.

In the following series of blogs I will ask you, “Is your local church willing to embrace change?” Historically the church is reluctant to embrace change, opting to remain steeped in tradition, guided by institutional regulations, and cemented in unbending theological doctrines, tenants, and beliefs. Let’s look at the state of the Church today and what it may look like if it is willing to go through a period of transition and change. What will that change produce? What will that change look like? Are we willing to embrace change, or will we continue to sing with conviction the old hymn Give Me That Old Time Religion because “it is good enough for me.”


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.


Why I Would Want The Five Fold In My Church


Reasons To Embrace This Incredible Journey


I believe part of this metamorphosis, the change of physical institutional structures of the church, will come through the truth and understanding of the purpose of the five different passions, drives, and points of view found in Ephesians 4 (the evangelist, shepherd, teacher, prophet, & apostle). It’s purpose is to “equip” the “saints”, not staff, for the works of “service”. The “priesthood of believers”, the Church, is about to learn how to not only serve their God but serve each other. They will be willing to lay down their lives for their God and for each other. “Service” will be their motive, their passion, their desire, and they will use their personal passion to serve the body of Christ and edify their Lord and Savior, Jesus, whose fruits will be unity.

There will be a new accountability to each other in this new paradigm, not based on a hierarchal structure of dominant leadership, but based on horizontal leadership of walking beside the brethren in service; leading them by being in front of them, covering their back when behind them, and serving when walking beside them. This paradigm will demand intimate relationships of trust through service to be established among the brethren. Instead of being accountable to a hierarchal structure or titles and positions, the accountability will come through relationships and the willingness to “lay down your life for your brethren” and serving them.

So “Why Would I Want The Five Fold In My Church?”

….. because it makes the priesthood of believers, the laity, us, accountable.

….. because it releases believers in Jesus to serve others through their passions, giftings, drives, and points of view.

….. because it replaces enabled apathy with Holy Spirit led activity for believers in Jesus.

….. because it prepares the body, a priesthood of believers, the Church, to serve.

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

….. because instead of enablement and inactivity, it promotes equipping and releasing of believers in Jesus to actively pursue service.

….. because it requires sacrificial service, the laying down of your life, for others.

….. because it equips the local body to serve the local community through Jesus.

….. because every believer is special, gifted, and equipped through Jesus to do the Great Commission, the Golden Rule, and to love one another.

….. 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?”

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

….. because home grown leaders are birthed, nurtured, taught, equipped, and released by the local church, the priesthood of believers, to serve their local community.

….. because we can not afford NOT to embrace the five fold and its benefits.


Revival and the 21st Century Church

Options: Traditions or Change


I haven’t written a blog entry in almost a half a year, but I am back. I have been working on editing manuscripts, including over 500 blog entries into book form  (over 800 pages worth!), and I have reread every blog entry that I have written. I truly thank the Lord for some amazing insights.

I have realized that if a church truly wants revival it will have to be willing to embrace drastic change, and historically the institutional church has only embraced gradual change. Traditions have ruled the day. There is a sense of safety in doing things the traditional way, for traditions don’t make waves. They don’t flow; they are established.

If what I am sensing is truth, that the church is entering a cocoon stage in its development, drastic change will be a requirement. The necessity of changing the church’s very structure is at the core of this metamorphosis. The caterpillar structure of the current church with is squishy body, its multi-legged segments, and its ravishing eating habits to sustain constant growth will have to yield to a hard shelled, three segmented structure with wings whose purpose is to soar into the heavens. These are two totally different structures; same creature, but new look and purpose!

The churches who are willing to face this metamorphic state will find themselves surrounded by conflicts that demands change. Every program they have will be challenged; every thing they have done will be questioned by the standard of “relationships”. How does this standard or program enhance the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and their relationship to mankind, us? Can I trust the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus Christ? How does this standard or program enhance the relationship between man with his brother in this priesthood of believers that is known as the Church, us?  Am I truly my brothers’ keeper; if so, am I willing to “lay down my life for the brethren”? Can I trust my brother or sister in Jesus Christ? Those are the basic, challenging questions that will be asked.

Under the old caterpillar mentality of doing church, the Church cannot fly. It’s multi-legged, multi-bodied structure of splintered, divided factions, and its ravish appetite for constant church growth have often hindered its vertical relationship with the Godhead. It has not been able to bring an united, corporate atmosphere of worship or fulfilled John 17’s vision of church unity with the Godhead. Every segment feels it has the inside scoop with the Father through their church doctrine and beliefs, and the other segments of the body don’t, thus bringing division.

Under the butterfly mentality, the Church will be “equipped” to fly because it will “equip” the “saints”, the priesthood of believers, for the works of service. Everything that they do will be seen as an act of worship to the Godhead. Everything that they do will be an act of service to each other; all at the price of being willing to lay down their lives for their God and their fellow brothers and sisters, exactly what Jesus did on the Cross! The Cross is still the central component of the message of the gospel.

Every church revival that I have studied about or have personally experienced has been a messy affair as man has been challenged with new ways of doing things, new mindsets, a new awareness for the need of worship, a new burden to truly be one’s brother’s keeper, and a hunger for healthy relationships with the Godhead and the body of Christ, the priesthood of believers, that only comes through brokenness, repentance, and healing through Jesus Christ. Churches who don’t want the mess or the challenges will safely continue to crawl into its security and safety that tradition and being an institution can give. We are faced with only two options: tradition or change!

An Apostle, A Woman, In A Five Fold Peer2Peer Relationship?

 The Five Fold = Peer2Peer Relationships – Part VI

Romans 8:7 - Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Titus 1:1- Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness—

2 Peter 1:1 - Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:

 I truly believe the best qualified person to be a five fold Peer2Peer apostle would be a common, everyday Christian mother! A female? You have got to be kidding! Didn’t Paul say I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence?  - Timothy 2:12 Institutionally, under a male dominated hierarch that is probably true, but relationally that is a lie. Relationally, under the “authority” of Christ Jesus there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:27-28 Either we are all one in Christ Jesus or we are not! What is it? This fruit of this debate has always brought division in the body of Christ, so Paul would again ask, ”Are you not carnal?” – 1 Corinthians 3:4  The five passions of Ephesians 4 are not given to believers because of their race, sex, nationality, gender, or profession. They are given to all who seek them in Christ.

Religious critics refute, “Why did Jesus only pick males to be His disciples and later His apostles? In Romans 8:7 Paul writes Greet Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners, who are outstanding among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.  Junias is a woman, and an “outstanding apostle in Christ before me.” Before Paul was even an apostle there was a woman apostle. Female apostles did exist in the first century Church because of the driving force of what they did. It was how they functioned that mattered, not establishing a political position in a religious church hierarchy.

The question remains: Do women have the drive, the passion, the fortitude to see the big picture of the Church as a body, the ability to equip that body for “works of service”, and the ability to network others in body ministry, all qualifications to be an apostle? Do they have a godly character? God believes women can be godly; read Proverbs 31:10-31.  Jesus surrounded himself with godly women because women know how to serve, have faith to believe, and to be faithful even when standing before the Cross. The men? Well… their track record is not as pristine!

A Peer2Peer five fold apostle must see the big picture of the Church while understanding the other four passions in order to network them toward unity. Women understand evangelism because both experience “birth”. Both have felt the labor pains. Women are nurturers, for they care for their families (See Proverbs 31) as shepherds. Women teach their children from potty training through dating how to “grow up”.  Prophetic? Ask any teenager about the power of a praying mother, who knows the promises of the Logos Word, the Bible, and her attempts to apply it to the members of her family and her own life. Her desire is to have every family member “draw near” to God. Last, but not least, apostles network with others. Mothers are great networkers within her family, networking schedules, plans, goals, dreams, etc. of the other family members. The big family picture? She gets it! Who better to be an excellent candidate to be a five fold Peer2Peer apostle than a mother because she knows all about relationships?

Critics argue that men should be apostles and women servants because they function differently. For example, women give birth to children; men don’t!  With this kind of logic, why aren’t all evangelists females? Women have experienced the pains of “birthing”; men haven’t. If parenting is pastoring or shepherding your children, done by both men and women, they shouldn’t women also then be allowed to be pastors in the Church? The church looks at teaching as purely academic. Aren’t women intellectually capable too? As the myriad of female valedictorians! Intelligence doesn’t discriminate because of sex and gender. Why shouldn’t women be teachers? Prophets? Mothers’ prayers do more damage to the kingdom of darkness than we can imagine. Women usually have a more sensitive side towards spiritual matters and a more open willingness to receive faith without questioning and doubting than men do. And if she can oversee her family for the good of the gospel, why couldn’t she oversee the family of God for the good of the Church?

Some believe that the criteria for being an apostle is that you had to see Jesus while he was alive, thus the twelve immediately qualified. How about Paul? He never saw Jesus while He was on earth physically. Acts records that on the road to Damascus Paul hears God’s voice questioning him. He never physically sees Jesus.

Think about it. If Jesus is currently at the right hand of the Father in heaven, where would you “see” him today? You would “see” him through His Body, His Church. An apostle must be able to see Jesus through seeing the big picture of His Body, the Church here on earth. Through three missionary journeys, Paul sees the birthing, the nurturing, the teaching, the prophetic fulfillment, and the apostolic gathering of the Church right before him. That is why in I Corinthians 9:1 he defends his rights as an apostle when he says, Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? There is the qualification of being an apostle. Can a woman also see the big picture of the Church, the Body of Christ, Jesus? Women hung around Jesus in biblical days, why wouldn’t do the same today?

Being an apostle is all about relationships: birthing spiritual babes into the kingdom of God, nurturing those babes toward maturity in Jesus, helping them “grow up” spiritually, teaching them kingdom of God principles by making them not just Logos principles, but Rhema principles, drawing men toward God and teaching them how to hear the voice of God for themselves and being obedient to the Word, written and living, and networking all these people with all these passions to bring unity in the Body of Christ, the Church, and maturity, being Christ-like, in every believer.  It’s all about people2people, Peer2peer!



The Prophetic In A Five Fold Peer2Peer Relationship


The Five Fold = Peer2Peer Relationships – Part V

John 4:19, 23-24 (AS) – The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.” …..”But an hour is coming and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

2 Peter 1:19 (NIV) - We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

I Thessalonians 5: 18-19 (AS) – Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances.

“Worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” As much as the teacher is driven to transform the Logos, written Word, the Bible, into a Rhema Word, to bring life into a believer’s faith, the prophet is driven to “draw near to God” through the Spirit. Worship is central to a prophet’s existence. A prophet desires to be in God’s Presence to draw life. If Truth is recorded in the written Logos Word, the prophet yearns the Spirit’s revelation of that Truth to bring a living Rhema Word.  If churches wish to worship in Spirit and in Truth, then the teacher and the prophet must unite to reveal written Truth, the Logos, as practical living Truth, the Rhema. Together they can bring a dynamic power of worship to any local church.

The prophet can also be a powerful asset to an evangelist. Jesus used prophetic evangelism when talking to the Samaritan woman at the well by using personal prophecy, discernment, and wisdom to reveal the woman’s background. There is no way Jesus could intellectually know these details since he never met the woman before. He received them through divine knowledge, the supernatural, the Rhema knowledge. This revelation verifies him as a prophet to her, so he reveals his messiahship to her, a Samaritan, a woman, even before he reveals it to his own Jewish male disciples, for she was ready to accept it. Now touched by the supernatural, the woman invites Jesus to stay bringing revival among her family and the people in her town.

A prophet can push one’s faith beyond an evangelistic message Acts 19:1-7 records how Paul followed Apollos, who was an evangelist, into Ephesus. It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?

They said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”

 He said, “Into what then were you baptized?”

They said, “Into John’s baptism.”

 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. There were in all about twelve men.

These disciples who had received B.A. Degrees, “Born Again”, had repented of their sins and now believed in Jesus, but they did not know they could have B.S. Degrees, “Born of the Spirit”.  When they heard that Jesus was the one, who was coming after him, (John the Baptist), they were baptized (in water) in the name of the Lord Jesus.  There was more! When Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them. They were baptized in the Holy Spirit (of Jesus Christ) which was evidenced by speaking with tongues and prophesying. Common believers in Jesus were prophesying! To speak in tongues and prophesy, you had to be both “Born Again” and “Born of the Spirit”!

If what Jesus said to the woman at the well is true, “True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth,” then what these disciples had heard from Apollos earlier was truth. Now Paul was introducing them to the spirit.

Now let’s look at a chapter earlier, Acts 18:24-26, to see who is this Apollos.

Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and searching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. Like Paul instructed the disciples at Ephesus, Priscilla and Aquila explained to him the way of God more accurately. They explained the Holy Spirit to him. Now Apollos knew both the “truth” and the “spirit”, fulfilling the call of becoming a true worshiper that the Father desires!

Paul, Priscilla and Aquila, Apollos, and the Ephesian disciples were now on the same page. That is why Paul confronted the Corinthians: I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there is no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Has Christ been divided? - 1 Corinthians 1:10-12

That is also why Paul writes, When one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? – 1 Corinthians 3:4

Even today’s church has a division between the “truth” camp emphasizing correct doctrine and theology and the “spirit” camp wanting to experience life in the Spirit. Paul asks are you not carnal when you have these divisive attitudes? True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers! Like Paul, Priscilla and Aquila, Apollos, and the Ephesian disciples, let’s embrace the revelation that we are to worship in BOTH Truth and Spirit! Both spirit and truth are to be taken seriously. Ask Ananias and his wife Sapphaira and the first century church as recorded in Acts 5: 1-11:

A certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession.  He kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last, so great fear came upon all those who heard these things. The young men arose and wrapped him up, carried him out, and buried him.

Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter answered, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?”

She said, “Yes, for so much.”

Then Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.” Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband.  Great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.

The 21st century Church has to recognize that we also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. – 2 Peter 1:19 (NIV)

The prophetic is a powerful tool that is needed beside that of the evangelist, shepherd, teacher, and apostle to serve them and be served by them. That is the power of the Peer2Peer five fold model. We need to heed Paul’s advice in I Thessalonians 5:19-19 (AS) – Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances, and let’s worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers- John 4:19, 23-24.


Teaching In A Five Fold Peer2Peer Relationship


 The Five Fold = Peer2Peer Relationships – Part IV

John 4:19, 23-24 (AS) – The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet.” …..”But an hour is coming and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Matthew 23:8 (NIV) - “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.

John 14:26 - But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Acts 4:8,13 - Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…. Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus

 I have sat through 65 years of sermons, thousands of hours of Sunday School classes, hundreds of hours of Bible Studies, hundreds of more hours at Jesus Rallies in the ‘70’s & 80’s and Conferences in the 90’s, even hundreds of more hours listening to teaching cassettes, radio and tv preachers, and have even earned a Masters Degree in Biblical Studies, but am I a qualified Bible teacher? Since I am not “ordained” or a “paid professional”, I am not considered clergy. I teach as a volunteer when asked. I feel the stigma of just being called “laity”. I have had little opportunity to fill a pulpit or exercise my teaching skills in church in spite of being Lay Speak Certified through the United Methodist church and being recognized as Teacher of the Year after 40 years as a public educator.

Since I had a college degree, as a public school teacher, confined to a classroom with textbooks, I discovered the easiest way to teach was by lecturing. I learned the most effective teaching came through hands-on field trips and through student self-discovery. Lecturing, via the sermon, has been the teaching technique of choice by the church who covets their pulpits. Although informational, this technique left no room for discussion, rebuttal, or inquiry. Unlike Jesus, who took walking field trips with his disciples to experience everyday kingdom of God principles, I was instructed, through the sermon, how to do those principles, but they were never modeled by the preacher since I only saw him on Sundays standing in his pulpit often wearing a garb he never word any other time during the week.

Teaching middle school students for 40 years, I have witnessed that middle-schoolers prefer peer acceptance and peer pressure over the academics, for at that age they are purely social creatures hunting for their identity. Being a teen is all about “peer acceptance.” What you remember about 8th grade is not the academics but the “relationships” you built. You remember your bf’s, best friends, your favorite teachers, and who were the bullies. High School is all about being relational, so much so that high school alumni meet every five years for class reunions, not to review the academics, but to reminisce the “good times” they had relationally.  Relationships are also important at the college level where frat and sorority parties and tailgating on weekends out weight the academics.

Then why hasn’t the church recognized the importance of peer-to-peer relationships? Instead it opts for the academics of correct doctrine and theology taught through lecturing sermons over building relationships among peers. Even at the seminary level, intellectual knowledge of theology and doctrine trump the teaching of relationship building with future congregations. The believer will never become the clergy’s academic equal peer.

Unlike seminary training, Jesus walked with his disciples, built relationships while talking to them when going to Jerusalem to celebrate festivals and feasts, picking grain in the fields, breaking break, feeding 5,000 at one time then making them collect the spoils. He took them with him to wedding receptions and dinners hosted by tax collectors! He never founded a rabbinical school of higher Jewish education. These “uneducated and untrained” disciples loved the social life with Jesus! He included the in Passover meals, walked with them through the Garden of Gethsemane, prayed with them, and even led them to the Cross. It was there they decided to flee leaving Jesus to face the Cross alone.

 Jesus never encouraged his disciples to earn a B.A. or B.S. Degree in Religion, nor prepare them to become “clergy”. His disciples earned B.A., “Born Again” and B.S., “Born of the Spirit” Degrees by accepting Him as their Savior at Passover and accepting His Holy Spirit to be their teacher at Pentecost. To Jesus “accepting” and “receiving” is all relational!

 In Acts 4: 8 & 13, Peter and John are labeled “uneducated” and “untrained” by their religious superiors.  These leaders recognized them as having been with Jesus. It was this “relationship” with Jesus, not an educational degree that gave these men “confidence.”  Jesus promised His Holy Spirit would speak through them when they were interrogated. “Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them…” Peter, who before Pentecost, was rash, inserted foot into his mouth, now when being led by the Holy Spirit spoke with confidence and authority.

What qualifies one to become a five fold Peer2Peer teacher? His willingness to listen to the Holy Spirit and be obedient! The way he reveals what he has seen and heard makes him a teacher. Every moment can now be a teachable moment! No formal classes, courses, lectures, or sermons are needed, only hands on, everyday practical applications of kingdom principles is needed. Everyday can be a personal field trip with the Holy Spirit.

It is humbling to realize that the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ is the teacher, and that Spirit can arise from one’s own soul like a gushing well of living water since the Spirit resides in every believer. The Holy Spirit is the “revealer” of “Spirit” and “truth” as promised to the Samaritan woman at the well. These gushings, these teachings, these revelations bring life.

Let me make it perfectly clear: The five fold Peer2Peer teacher must be grounded in the Word, both written, the Logos, the Bible, and the living, the Rhema. Jesus, the Word, became flesh and dwelt among us. He, the Logos Word became the Rhema Word according to John 1.  When the Logos Word was fulfilled through Jesus, “It was finished”, so Jesus returned to the right hand of the Father to intercede for these new saints. In His place was sent the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Logos Word, to become the Rhema, active living word, in every believer in Jesus Christ! Everything a five fold teacher teaches is grounded in the Logos Word.  It is the goal of the five fold teacher to make this Logos Word become a living Rhema Word through faith in Jesus Christ. This is done through relationships; this is done through “experiencing” Jesus Christ.

 The book of Acts records what the apostles “experienced”, what they “witnessed”, when they followed the Holy Spirit. It begins with Peter teaching in the Temple after Pentecost, sharing Old Testament scriptures to ground believers in the validity of this new “experience” that they were having in Jesus. The rest of the book records what the apostles witnessed, seen, and “experienced” as the Holy Spirit went from just being the Logos Word to manifesting Himself as a Rhema, or living, Word in their own personal lives!

 The five fold Peer2Peer teacher is not to be called “Rabbi”, or Pastor, or Professor, or have a title, but is a common, everyday believer in Jesus Christ who is willing to be a vessel in Jesus to allow His Spirit to arise from within themselves and invest kingdom of God principles in other fellow believers! Matthew 23: 8 (NIV) records: “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. We Christians are not to have titles or offices, but have a relationship with one Teacher, the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ, as equal peers, equal brothers, members of a Priesthood of Believers!


Shepherding In A Five Fold Peer2Peer Relationship

The Five Fold = Peer2Peer Relationships – Part III

Ephesians 4:15 - As a result, we are no longer to be children tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming, but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head.

After ten hours of intense labor contractions, a decision was made to have a Cesarean Section. Since completing Child Birth Classes together, I was allowed in the O.R. to witness the birth of my first son. With his birth, the job of the Obstetrician was finished; he was now placed in the hands of a Pediatrician who would monitor his growth as a baby, a toddler, and a child with the goal of keeping him healthy.

There are parallels to the five fold. With a spiritual birth, the evangelist’s job is done, for he majors in birthing. A spiritual pediatrician is needed to nurture this newborn’s growth in ”the knowledge of the Son of God to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ,” and to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head.” Obstetricians and pediatricians perform two entirely different functions. The same is with the evangelist and shepherd. It isn’t that the evangelist doesn’t care about a new convert; it is that he is just driven to win the lost. His passion thrusts him immediately toward finding another lost soul to save.

What do we, the church, do to these “newborns”? We baptize them “into the church”, make them “church members”, and indoctrinate them to our theology in a “New Believers Class”. Seldom are they taught what it means to be “baptized into Jesus’ death and resurrection”, or being a member of “the family of God”, or how the Holy Spirit “will teach you all things and remind you of everything I (Jesus) have said to you.” - John 14:26 because He resides in your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Just as the building of personal relationships as peers was important in the evangelistic stage, the building of personal relationships as equal peers in Jesus is monumental in the shepherding stage.  “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” – Galatians 3:26-29

In the natural, my son grew in size, weight, and strength over the years. Developmentally, he did certain things as an infant, a toddler, an elementary school age child, adolescent, etc. with each year of growth. Spiritually, it is different, because you only grow if you, personally, choose to grow. Some people choose to stay as spiritual infants.  Paul recognized this with the Corinthians, “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” - 1 Corinthians 3:2

As a young adult, my son desired to have a man of God other than his father or his pastor from our local church to stand beside him and shepherd him, someone he could relate to as a peer and respect. All our church could offer was a “men’s mentoring” program which basically was a book/Bible Study on the topic of “5 Steps In Becoming A Godly Man”. He was not looking for a good Christian book read, but for another male peer to walk in faith with him, modeling the spiritual walk in Jesus. He was seeking a I Timothy 5:1 man, “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers.” There were no takers to my son’s challenge.  He has suffered greatly because of it.

Every evangelistic church must have a spiritual nursery composed of common believers whose passion it is to nurture newborns in the faith and be willing to walk with them in their spiritual walk as Jesus did with his disciples. The church needs true elders by spiritual age who are willing to walk with new babes in Christ, who are willing to put up with their failures by extending grace, who are willing to “carry their cross” when their burdens are to heavy to bear, and who are willing to invest in other’s lives by “equipping them for service” then releasing them to walk on their own. Like teaching your own child how to ride a bike, you must be able to run along side them until they get their spiritual balance, then release them for their own free flight!

I believer that there are common believers, like you and me, whose passion is to serve Jesus through nurturing and caring for others as “spiritual parents”. I have written a book, I Was A Stranger And…, about Joyce and Morgan Ilgenfritz who have taken in over 350 people into their home to live for a month or longer over a 35 year period. Their passion allowed them to become spiritual parents to over 350 people of all ages from all around the world. The Ilgenfritz’s aren’t pastors or on a church staff. Morgan, an electrician, and Joyce, a nurse, are everyday parents who raised four children, all who attended college. Living by faith was their testimony. They required everyone who came through their door to be a member of their family. That acceptance proved to be the open door.

Pastoral shepherding in the five fold process is about Peer2Peer, the building of relationships with people, equals, peers in Jesus walking together in faith, building up one another in the Spirit, encouraging one another in times of difficulty, believing together for a supernatural God to move, and praying together and watching God answer those prayers in practical ways.

Shepherding is the process of teaching an individual, a newborn believer in Jesus Christ that this walk isn’t just about them, but about others too!  It is about becoming a family, a family of God. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” There is the power of “two” in the Peer”2”Peer process of the five fold!

Evangelism In A Five Fold Peer2Peer Relationship


The Five Fold = Peer2Peer Relationships – Part II

1 Peter 2:10 - Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

                  I have a simple definition for “worship”: Worship is “the act of giving back to the Lord what one has already received from Him.”

                  An evangelist’s most coveted prize is his salvation. God’s grace cannot be earned; it’s a gift paid for by Jesus’ death on the Cross. What better way to worship God than to “give away” one’s salvation to another? That is the passion of an evangelist! There is no greater satisfaction to an evangelist than giving salvation to another!

                  The church has spent millions of dollars on evangelistic events on television, radio, and mass crusades in stadiums and outdoor rallies with what results? Dr. Anthony Compolo addressed a rally in my hometown asking the audience how they accepted Jesus. A large majority acknowledged that it was through one-one-one relationships with other believers. The most effective method of evangelism still remains the one-on-one encounter with people of faith who had built relationships with people seeking faith.

                  Peer relationships and peer equality are vital in sharing the gospel. A “better-than-thou” attitude or a “cleanup-your-act-to-be-accepted” speech is never received well. A sinner is more apt to accept grace from a sinner saved by grace because he/she can identify with both being sinners as common ground of equality.

                  The Facebook generation understands the importance of “acceptance”. Being “accepted” as a “friend” is the key to social interaction. Being a “friend” gives one an equal voice. Hitting the “like” button means “acceptance” and often “approval”. What starts out on Facebook as shallow communications builds with each entry, each post, each picture, and each “like”. Only after a considerable time of sharing does one finally listen to another’s belief system. Only then can the “friend” now accept or reject the offer. That is also how the gospel works.

Today’s churches have it backwards by inviting someone into their building rather than reaching out to them, telling them they must clean up their lives, follow the church’s doctrines, beliefs, and social codes before being accepted into church membership. This gives the message of rejection before acceptance. Both social networking and presenting the gospel first accept one as an equip peer where they currently are and builds relationships before opening up in sharing one’s belief system.  When they embrace this new belief system, it is the Holy Spirit who will convict, producing change.

The church can continue to promote its bull horn, hell, fire, and brimstone street evangelist or dooms day prophets handing out gospel tracts, or it can embrace, equip, and release ordinary believers in Jesus to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, built relationships with their neighbors and work colleagues accepting them as peers, and watch the Holy Spirit convict with power and compassion. Peer2Peer evangelism is about people accepting people, people recognizing people as peers, people sharing and receiving faith from one another. It’s all relational. It is not about church programs or offices.  It is about “sharing” Jesus and “giving” them Jesus when they are ready to “receive” Jesus.  Rejoicing begins upon the “”acceptance” of both parties in Jesus, for now both are equal peers as brothers and sisters in the Lord in the family of God.

    “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” - 1 Peter 2:10

 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.” - Romans 9:26


Introduction to Peer2Peer Relationships


The Five Fold = Peer2Peer Relationships – Part I

Matthew 18:20 - “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

                  The five fold is not just for the professional clergy and staff but is for every believer in Jesus Christ. It is just believers serving believers because “Where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Wherever you have peer-to-peer relationships in Jesus, you have Church! You do not need a pastor, a hierarchal church structure, or well-organized program; you just need another believer by your side as a peer in Jesus.

                  If the purpose of the five fold is for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ, then the five fold is all about peer relations of service to one another to build up the Priesthood of Believers and bring unity of faith as well as help each individual believer to “grow up” into a mature man in the fullness of Jesus Christ. It is not about programs or an institution. It’s about people “serving” people!

                  It is about giving and receiving from one another.  Paul said,  “I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.” - 1 Corinthians 7:7 The five fold is all about giving out of your passion to Jesus and His body, the Church, and receiving from other’s diverse giftings and passions in the body.

                  In the next series of blogs we will look at each passion of the five fold and how it effectively serves the body of Christ, the Church, when its believers are in a peer-to-peer relationship.


A Biblical Narrative: Consensus Can Be A Difficult Journey

Consensus And The Five Fold – Part V


Coming to a consensus has not been easy; ask the children of Israel while they were in Egypt and even after their Passover.

Biblical consensus occurs when one hears from God. Moses heard from a burning bush telling him to “Let my people go”. He became obedient and left with a message for Pharaoh, but after 500 years of bondage, the mindset of the Israelites was not quite ready to receive such a message. They first agreed with Moses, but after Pharaoh’s demand for more productivity at the local brickyard, they now have to get their own straw, and they began to question Moses’ directions.

After all the plagues, Pharaoh grants them their freedom, and it appears that they are finally having a consensus, going the right direction, the same direction: out of Egypt.  Consensus waivers when they get to the Red Sea with the Egyptian army heading in their direction! Consensus is strong when the only option becomes the Red Sea dividing into dry land for an escape route before them. They again moved in the same direction.

Moses gets another word, the 10 commandments plus is told that they should go to the Promise Land!  All are with him until the wilderness becomes known as the “Wilderness of Sin” and the Israelites become known as “Children of Disobedience”, and they are forced to walk in circles because of doubt and unbelief. Because they were not “obedient” to the Word of the Lord and pulled together to go the same direction, all but three would die in that wilderness and never enter the Promise Land. Only until Israel was finally spiritually united believing they had a consensus to “take the Land”, that the “battle was the Lord’s” did God allow them to again move forward in unity as they crossed the Jordan, fight the giants, and defeat their enemies.

As I said in an earlier blog, to have a consensus you: 1) first, have to allow God, the Father, Jesus, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to be in total control. God calls the shots; we are just obedient to His directions; 2) each believer, though diversely different from one another must “lay down our lives for the brethren”, individually and corporately; by 3) submitting in service to and from one another, giving away our giftings to serve others, and willingly receiving the giftings from those so diversely different than from ourselves as equal peers in Christ. If we do these three things, there will be a “consensus”.

God had to lead the Israelites through the dessert: 1) to teach them to hear from Him, trust Him, and be obedient to Him and His Word; and 2) to make these people become “God’s people” by learning to serve one another and prepare them to move forward, in one direction, for upcoming battles. Today, God is still leading his believers, His people, through wilderness experiences to teach them: 1) to hear His voice; trust His Holy Spirit, and be obedient to Him and His Word; and 2) make them “God’s people, a Priesthood of Believers, peers and equals in Jesus Christ so they can serve one another and receive one another to mature individually into becoming Christ-like and to unite corporately as a Body, a family, a Church.

Yet, like the children of Israel, we to would rather rely on institutions, on empires, on what is traditional and routine for us rather than listening to the voice of God and have a consensus to move the same direction towards the promise land. As a Church we are fragmented, divided, sectarianism rules, division persists. We are known for shooting our own even when wounded. Like the children of Israel in the dessert we resist forming a Holy consensus of becoming obedient, laying down our lives for one another, and moving in the same direction.

Consensus has not been easy for the Israelites nor for the Christian faith because it demands obedience, allowing the Holy Spirit to be in control, and trusting the Holy Spirit. It demands laying down our life for the brethren, unconditionally serving them, washing their feet no matter how dirty they may be. Consensus looks like an art the first century Church practiced but has been lost. With all this division consensus does not look like a reality, “but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) I am convinced more than ever, that “consensus” is the way God governs his Church. That is why he has established his kingdom, his government on His Son Jesus, for “the government shall be on his shoulders.” His divine will is to govern that kingdom, His Church, through consensus. The Church will hear the voice of the Lord, be obedient to it, and move forward in the same direction. Come on Church; let’s reinstitute consensus as our form of government.



Can A Five Fold Congregation Govern Itself?


Consensus And The Five Fold – Part IV

What results would the church get if it recognized and released the five fold passions of its believers in its congregation and allowed then to govern a church body towards a consensus? This would not be a democracy where majority rule reigns, nor a dictatorship where a top down leadership directs all calls, but it would be where the passions and giftings of every believer would be needed to birth, nurture, ground, revive, and oversee the will of the Father through the leading of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ toward a consensus of the common good. Sounds more like the first century church!

When the will of the Father is expressed through his Son, Jesus Christ, by the voice of the Holy Spirit, a consensus of direction can be established. Somebody driven by an evangelistic spirit would champ at the bit to “birth” the consensus reached by this group. Another would want to “nurture” it toward maturity, while yet another would make sure it is grounded in the Logos Word, the Bible. Another peer believer would want to activate that Word into a living Rhema Word, all under the supervision of a believer who sees the big picture, yet releases everyone else’s giftings as peer equal to complete the consensus that was reached by the group. This process of building consensus is the “building up of the body of Christ” producing “unity” corporately and “maturity” individually.

 “As a result, we are no longer to be children tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.” There would be no division caused by doctrine, no trickery through church politics, and no scheming. Instead there would be unity, purity, and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

 “We are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” WE NEED TO GROW UP, and that is the purpose of the five fold, to help believers in Jesus Christ GROW UP, become Christ-like, God-ly, a MATURE MAN by “equipping the saints for the work of service” and then by RELEASING them!   You cannot lose your job in the five fold because it is not a job; it is a believer’s passion. You are not “replacing” yourself. You are “replicating” yourself; you are multiplying. You are investing (laying down our lives for the brethren) to equip them, your peers, your brothers and sisters in the Lord, in their walk of faith in Jesus.

Then there will be consensus in the Body of Christ, the Church as “the whole body being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies (as peer believers in Jesus), according to the proper working of each individual part (through the five fold passions and giftings), causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

That’s the power of “consensus” through the five fold.


The Effectiveness Of Consensus In The Five Fold


Consensus And The Five Fold – Part III

Question: How do you get a consensus from five totally different passions, drives, functions, and points of view?  How can five become one?

Answer: 1) Allowing the Holy Spirit to be in total control; 2) each believer “laying down his life for the brethren”, individually and corporately; by 3) submitting in service to and from one another, giving away ones giftings to serve others, and receiving willingly the gifts of those so diversely different than from ourselves as equal peers in Christ.

How: Through consensus!

Consensus comes through the process of “giving” and “taking”.  Not only are we to “give” to one another, but we must also learn how to “receive” from one another.  This unconditional giving and taking can build a rich relationship of becoming equal peers, equal brothers and sisters in the Lord, from once shallow friendships. A person driven by the passion for evangelism needs brothers and sisters who are pastoral to nurture him/her, who are teachers to ground one in the Word, who are prophets to bring life to the Word, and who are apostolic to “see over” one’s welfare individually and as a group. This five fold process brings an unique form of accountability unknown to the modern church because it is built on a give and take relationship between believers built on trust: the willingness to receive and yield to another’s point of view diversely different from your own while giving support from your own gifting.  This gives all the confidence to move toward in the same direction together.

Consensus comes through relationships rather than positions. When a believer learns to die to self and is willing to lay down his/her life for their brothers/sisters, recognizing them as equal peers, they can begin to respect and trust one another rather than appose one another and always be defending their position. Diverse points of view can actually be productive, by creating a diverse support system around one’s own particular gifting.  In a peer believer five fold leadership model, no one is the “head” or “ultimate leader” as in a hierarchal structure, for Jesus is the head. No one gifting or passion dominates over another, not even the apostle’s. Any of the five fold giftings may rise and take leadership in any given situation and the other four will follow, not oppose, by standing in support along side them, not above or below them in stature, giving them a more diverse, unique gift that can produce a far different outcome than what we are use to today. This supportive attitude brings consensus. The pastoral/shepherd driven believer may rise with a “nurturing” solution, while the evangelist may have what is needed to “birth” the process while the teacher “grounds it in the Word” releasing the prophet to “activate” that Word into a Rhema, living Word, while the apostolic driven believer just sits back and “sees over” what the Holy Spirit is doing and how He wants it done through obedience. The group arrives at a consensus. The process may be totally different the next time if the process began with a prophetic word which sparks an evangelist to birth that word, the shepherd to nurture it, the teacher to ground it, and the apostle to release the leading of the Holy Spirit to bring yet another consensus, another resolution, another move of unity in the same direction in agreement with each supporting one another.

Consensus comes through accountability of the willingness to serve and be served. When someone serves you unconditionally for a long time, you naturally trust them, not because they have a title or position, but because of the relationship that has been built between the two of you. If you have faithfully served them, they trust you; it is reciprocal.  It is easier to arrive at a consensus when the parties involved have faithfully served and trusted each other through Christ-like relationships.

Consensus arrives when all these diverse passions and points of view point in the same direction, toward Jesus, the Head, and being obedient to the Holy Spirit to set that direction. Does the outcome of this group bring glory and edify Jesus is the standard. The bottom line remains “Who do you trust?” Is your full trust in the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ? No matter how irrational the steps may look that you must take to be obedient to the Holy Spirit, can you trust the Holy Spirit to lead you through those steps? Is your wisdom, rationale, or intellect greater than His?

Consensus’ goal through the five fold is “the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain the unity of faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”  If we truly follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and are willing to “lay down our lives for the brethren” by unconditionally serving and receiving support from one another, will that not be “building up the body of Christ,” reaching an “unity of faith,” and personally growing toward become “a mature man in Christ, becoming Christ-like and God-ly? This “fruit” produced by the five fold is exactly what is needed to arrive to a consensus.


The Need For Consensus Among The Five Fold


Consensus And The Five Fold – Part II

Ephesians 4 introduces us to the five fold: ie. apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd, and teacher.  All five are gifts he gave to men, believers in Jesus, that are very evident in the first century Church. I define the five fold as “passions and functions” in every believer in Jesus that “drives” or “motivates” them toward service to build up the body of Christ, to bring unity in faith, and to develop Christian maturity. Unfortunately, the institutional church has categorized them organizationally into “titles” and “office” of leadership held by church officials, which was not their original intent. They are “gifts” given to “believers in Jesus Christ” that become their passion driving them toward service.

Historically, when each is predominately emphasized individually, division has become its fruit, for they have been given as a “body” ministry to produce unity when used together and to bring maturity in being Christ-like. Although they are five different passions with five different functions, they have been created to support, serve, and receive from one another. They are “Body” gifts to equip the saints for service and to mature them into the image of Jesus Christ.

All five are necessary in the development of a believer’s spiritual growth.  All five are necessary in the creation of a healthy, growing, spiritually active church. All five perspectives, passions, and points of view bring diversity to the Body of Christ. Every individual believer and every local church needs an evangelist for birthing, a shepherd for nurturing, a teacher for making the Logos Word become the Rhema Word, a prophet to hear, discern, and be obedient to the voice of God, and an apostle to “see over” what the Holy Spirit is already doing and directing, not “overseeing”  by micromanaging. The Holy Spirit, who indwells every believer, must always be in control, for He gives the comfort needed to nurture growing Christians towards being Christ-like, the teaching to reveal Truth, the clarity to hear the voice of God and be obedient, and the discernment, wisdom, and direction to bring it together. The five fold is all about listening, yielding, and be obedient to the Holy Spirit.

If the five fold can be so divisive, how can it ever bring unity and maturity? Jesus told his disciples, “With men that is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26) Unity and maturity can come about by: 1) first, allowing the Holy Spirit to be in total control. He calls the shots; we are just obedient to his directions; 2) each believer, though diversely different from one another must “lay down our lives for the brethren”, individually and corporately; by 3) submitting in service to and from one another, giving away our giftings to serve others, and willingly receiving the giftings from those so diversely different than from ourselves as equal peers in Christ. If we do these three things, there will be a “consensus” among all the diverse parties present and a direction of unity drawing the group towards it.

Let’s examine more closely how consensus is the key to the effectiveness of the five fold in our next blog entry. 


What Others Say About The Five Fold And Supporting Scriptures


Consensus and the Five Fold – Part I


Do you believe that God still uses the five fold ministry? If so please explain your answer.

Of course He does. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:11-12 that God has given His gift to the body of Christ, apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry until we all attain for the unity of faith. The five-fold ministry is sent by God, people that are true bonafide apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are to equip the saints so that the body of Christ, at large, is doing the work of ministry, evangelizing the world, caring for the hurting, healing the hurting and reaching this world for Jesus Christ. We’re going to do that, five-fold ministry people are going to equip the saints until we all attain to the unity of faith. Until we finish the work God has for us. Then, God won’t need the five-fold ministry on this earth any more.― Gregory Dickow Ministries

@ http://changinglives.org/tabid/2623/Default.aspx?cat=Five%20Fold%20Ministry



October 6, 2012|6:18 pm

One day a lady criticized D. L. Moody for his methods of evangelism in attempting to win people to the Lord. Moody's reply was "I agree with you. I don't like the way I do it either. Tell me, how do you do it?" The lady replied, "I don't do it." Moody retorted, "Then I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." .― Greg Stier, The Christian Post @http://www.christianpost.com/news/the-best-method-for-sharing-the-gospel-82820/


                  If you are a new believer, you have recently accepted that you were born with a sinful nature which separates you from having a full relationship with God and from having eternal life after this earthly life. You believe that Jesus died for your sins and have verbally confessed that He is Lord ( Romans 10:9-10).

As new believers, you need to know some basic foundational principles as you grow in your new life as a Christian.  .― One Flock One Shepherd Ministries, @http://ofosm.com/ministries/new-believers/


Teaching Scriptures:

Titus 2:7-8 - Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Proverbs 22:6  - Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Luke 6:40 - A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.

1 Peter 4:10 - As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:

Psalm 32:8  - I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.


In 1Corinthians 14:31, Paul wrote, “For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted.”


“While it is safer to start a church in the West, it may actually be simpler to plant one in Iran. Go to a church planters’ conference in North America, and you will hear about budgets, programs, marketing campaigns, and the need for a good worship set. Attend a conference for Iranians, and you get a very different picture. They’ll talk about starting by sharing Christ with friends and family, gathering new believers for a weekly Bible teaching and fellowship, and then encouraging and praying with them to go and share with their friends and family.”.― http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/articles/index.php?view=article&aid=33252 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called to one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES,

And HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”(Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?  He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all heavens, so that He might fill all things.) And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

As a result, we are no longer to be children tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming, but speaking the truth in love, we 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 4:1-16 NAS


Question: Can The Principle of “Consensus” Be Taught?


 “Consensus” Through Family Interaction

My dad told us that as a child he had been taught, “Children should be seen but not heard.” When visiting his grandparents, he and his brothers and sister were instructed to sit around the table quietly and only talk when spoken to or questioned by an adult. Seldom were they ever a part of adult conversation, and never were they part of decision making. The “Poppa” ruled the house because he was the “head of the home”, and “Mamma” ran the house because she was “the neck that could turn the head” any direction that she chose! There was no consensus in those households, only parental dictatorship. As a child, you were expected to only do what you were told or face discipline.

As a dad, my house was different. During the evening meal we sat around a round table conversing. My wife told us of the challenges and triumphs of her work day as a painter and wallpaper hanger. My children talked about “school”: bonding of friends, the breaking up with others, and the comical events of the day. My daughter told of new gymnastic moves she conquered, my son what rudiments he could drum, and my younger son telling what guitar pieces he mastered. All shared the excitement of upcoming concerts, gymnastic meets, church youth group events, and painting and wallpapering experiences. These were noisy times, for it was part of moving forward as a family. Silence usually signaled a problem or a hurt feeling, certainly not the respect and dignity their grandfather had often shared. These times around our table taught us to support one another, show interest in other’s activities, and a time to pull together to map out strategies so that all could participate in individual efforts as well as family events.

These efforts were tested in 1993 when my wife and I were invited to go to South Africa during the demise of apartheid as part of an United Methodist Lay Witness Team for a sixteen day trip from Johannesburg to Capetown. Since this invitation effected every family member, I called for a “family meeting.” After my wife and I shared the facts with the children, we wanted to hear what they thought. Unanimously they thought we should go on the trip even though it would mean they would have to alter their schedules for twenty-one days. Everyone shared how the trip would effect them personally, yet there was a consensus that we move forward and go.

As a family we prayed, and we began to see those prayers answered: checks came from friends to financially support our trip; the school district allowed me to take a twenty-one day “Sabbatical” from teaching for educational travel; and our friends who had six children of their own agreed to add our three to their family for three weeks. While we were on the trip, our children prayed for us daily, and the trip became “life changing” for all of us individually as well as a family.

Now, as adults, our children are vastly diverse, more independent, each unique, following different paths on life’s journey, yet as a family we are still close. They learned that family is important! Even during challenging times, we still seek consensus on how to support, aide, and give direction to each other on life’s journey. While other families fuss, feud, and debate bringing division, our family has “learned” that consensus may not come easily, may surface pain and conflict, yet we as a family can still move forward with positive support for one another. “Consensus” is a process that can be taught and learned by families.

The same is with the family of God, the body of Christ, the Church. Today’s church could operate through consensus if it were willing to give everyone a voice, validate everyone as a peer in the group, a member of the Priesthood of Believers, and work toward a common direction that will produce positive results for the good of the group. Maybe, just maybe, instead of being an organization, the church needs to return as an organism, a family, governed by consensus, just as it was when it was birthed at Pentecost.