Pastoral Leadership

So we’ve all heard of the five-fold ministry of the church via Rick Warren.  Lately I’ve been considering five-fold leadership, as in Ephesians 4:11-13:

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Today I read this article that added to my conversation:

Are we asking our leaders to be and do too much? by Sam Radford.

The other day, I also read this article by Alan Hirsch:

I’ve known several churches who have changed their ministry style to coorelate to the five-fold ministry to the church.  Did God give us less evangelists and apostles?  Or do we just not use them well, so they have funneled themselves into being pastors?

I’m not actually calling for change.  I know I’ve kind of shied away from people who called themselves apostles, prophets and evangelists.  Quite frankly, it meant to me that they didn’t fit in my paradigm very well, and weren’t interested in fitting.  They were usually kind of scary, and often didn’t really seem to hear from God as much as they liked to hear their own voice. (Wow that sounds harsh when you put it that way, but that is blunt honesty for you.)

I’ve known a few great evangelists though.  These you can tell from the signs following.  I think that God has given us real prophets, apostles and evangelists, but they don’t have good mentors, they don’t know how to develop their giftings, and there is no viable place given for them in the church – we don’t know what to do with them – therefore they don’t know what to do with themselves; and they become pastors…or maybe deacons.

So, I’m working on our paradigm.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but our paradigm isn’t working so well.  We are not teaching people to hear God’s voice, we are teaching them to conform to a standard of society – our society.  I want to figure out what paradigm I need to help people actually hear God’s voice and respond to it.  Hearing God’s voice will transform their lives.  More than teaching them how to live, I want to teach them how to hear.

If you talk to the older saints, they will tell you that you learn to hear God by “tarrying at the altar.”

Robert Jeffress has the same cry on his heart.  He doesn’t come from my theological background, but his heart cry is the same – he seeks to see people’s lives transformed not through changed structure, but changed hearts.  To this form, he wrote the book Clutter Free Christianity.  I’ve been reading it this week.  I have a free copy to give away – just email me at the link in “about me” on my blog, or you can buy it here: at the publisher’s site.

I learned to hear God’s voice first by listening and stepping out in faith on what I heard.  Later, after I was baptised in the Holy Spirit, it became easier, but the basics were still the same: listen, walk in faith (or obey), wait for confirmation.

In a world that is screaming with words, we have silenced those in the church that can most help us change our paradigm and, at the same time, we need to teach people how to truly listen and hear God’s voice.


One Response to “Pastoral Leadership”

  1. Rhoda Berrios Says:

    I agree with you on a need for a shift in paradigm. This is something I recognized a need for years ago, and has contributed to the rebellion I have had against organized Christianity for most of my adult life. I am not proud of this but knew for my faith to survive I could not stomach anymore “country club Christianity.” Christianity is defined by “The Great Commission.” Which means, you have to “Go into the world.” Conversion is about changing the hearts and minds of people, not their economic stratus, their zip code, or their clothing labels.

    We have been lucky to have found a good church with a new young pastor who is boldly leading his congregation through a paradigm shift. He started with leading the congregation through 22 days of fasting and prayer. He was influenced by the book “Fasting: Opening the door to a deeper, more intimate, more powerful relationship with God”by Jentezen Franklin.

    His second step was to do a month long series on worship based upon, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” and the concept that God breathed His breath into us and it is our responsibility to breath it back to him in life-style praise and worship. It was great! And from what I’m seeing in the congregation, my life, and in my spouse, it is working. This may be a good model to start with.

    I do believe there is a lack of a real demonstration in the church of the 5 Fold Model of Ministry seen in the text you quoted. I believe the roots of this problem stems from church history. Do some study on evangelicalism in the United States, specifically looking at the different Baptist movements, and you’ll see what I mean. We can go further back than that, but that’s a good place to start.

    However, in the Charasmatic Renewal of the 1970’s there was an attempt to add the roles of Prophet and Evangelist to church ministries. It was not met with much success. I think this goes back to Old Testament Studies with Dr. Darrell Hopson at Northwest. A prophet is defined by, “The Word of the Lord came to me and I spoke.” That’s a pretty personal experience and, as such, difficult to quantitatively qualify. Also, it is good to note, that true prophets are often not well-received and are viewed as being a little bit wierd or a little bit crazy. Not an easy job to fill when you’re trying to support a wife and a couple of kids. Jesus himself said, “A prophet is not received in his own country.” Which may explain why people who hold this particular calling aren’t seen a great deal.

    Regarding evangelists: the nature of evangelism is wrapped up in the Great commission and going into the world means not sitting in the church being too concerned about things like light bills and Sunday School. When evangelists are on staff it is often viewed as a waste of money because, if they are trully doing their jobs, they aren’t around. Secondly, evangelists have this unconfortable tendency of bringing the unlovely and inappropriate people into the church. Which leads us back to our social network approach to Christianity and its country club style.

    I, for one, will know that the paradigm has shifted for my pastor and his congregation when our services are peppered with meth addicts, and alcoholics – reaking of their addictions – and all they are met with is the pure love of Christ.

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