Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘five fold’

The further I walk with the Lord, the less inclined I am to offer an opinion. Indeed, everyone has an opinion, and I doubt that mine smells any better than anyone else’s.  The scripture encourages us to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God, and so I try to remain focused on the things He’s speaking at the present time.  Because of this, I’ve never really written much about the “five-fold ministry”.  Though I’ve heard and seen a lot of teaching on the subject, the Lord hasn’t spoken directly to me about it until very recently.  To that end, I wanted to share the things I felt like He showed me.  This is in no way intended to be a comprehensive overview, in fact, it may actually spur more questions than it answers.  But I feel as though there are some strong words of caution within, and so I offer them for your consideration.

 

Part of what makes this subject contentious is the issue of authority. Western ethos in general, and American culture in particular, seems to have a love / hate relationship with authority.  Within Americanized “Christianity”, it is not uncommon to see either strong rebellion against any sort of limitation or boundary, or to have people exalting those in leadership into positions God has reserved for Himself.  Some will get up and walk out of the room, while others will likely bow down and worship a mere man (or woman).  Without a doubt, neither of those responses is appropriate.

 

Despite the tremendous freedom we have in Christ, it is difficult to argue that there should never be titles, ordered structure, or positional authority. The scripture clearly states that He has called some to be apostles, and prophets, and teachers…, and He sets about an order within marriage, the family and the church.  The fear of all these things is rooted in what men have historically done with these positions and with this authority.  The current landscape of “Apostolic” and/or “Prophetic” ministry” hasn’t done much to dispel those concerns.  Too much personality, too little character.  Lots of networking, not much community.  Way too much sensation, and way too little transformation.

 

Jesus made the Father’s intentions clear when He told us that He is the vine and we are the branches. No more bloody sacrifices, no more annual visits from the high priest, and no more middle men.  After attempting to walk with them in the garden, and trying to speak to them from the mountain, and wanting to be their King from afar, He would finally have the direct connection that He always desired.  With the perfect sacrifice of His Son, who was both King and Priest, He tore the veil that separated them, and made them a temple of His Holy Spirit.  Now His sheep would know His voice, they would listen, and they would follow.  And He would give them an anointing that would teach them all things.

 

This priesthood of the believer is what Paul envisioned as he spoke of Christ being the head, and of a whole body, made up of many parts, which is supported by every ligament. As each one stepped into their fullness in Christ, they would come to maturity as the body of Christ upon the earth.

 

It was with these points as a backdrop that I felt like the Lord began to speak to me.

 

Paul clearly states that the purpose of the five-fold ministry is to help equip members for service, and ultimately to build up the body of Christ. It is meant to undergird and support the priesthood of the believer.  These ministries are in no way meant to replace, or diminish the headship of Christ, or the leading of the Holy Spirit for each individual believer.  Ministry that infringes upon this relationship has overstepped the bounds of its authority.  Indeed, “The friend of the Bridegroom never steps between Him and His Bride”.

 

Much of the confusion related to apostolic ministry is gathered around the notion that apostles are intended to become something like CEOs of the church, and that is a distortion of the truth. While the Lord has given apostles an important role, it is a very specific role, and not intended to give them limitless authority.  He has not ordained them to become brokers between Him and His children.  The body of Christ will only become fully functional when every member is directly connected to the head (Christ Jesus), and empowered and led by His Spirit.

 

The hallmark of a genuine apostolic grace is humility. It is only when knowledge encounters humility that it can become wisdom.  Without humility, knowledge simply puffs up a man.  Paul spoke of how this calling will “expose the motives of the heart” (1 Cor. 4).  In that same vein, I sensed the weightiness of these issues, the stricter judgment that comes with this role, and the resistance God feels toward the proud.  Even those who are called, and have a pure heart will have to resist the people’s penchant for wanting an earthly king, and be diligent in ensuring that none of His glory is found buried beneath their tent.  Functioning in this role will demand more than just wisdom and experience, it will require a supernatural grace.

 

I was also reminded of Paul’s warnings about “deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ” (2 Cor.11) and sensed that there are many who have simply placed this mantle upon themselves. Some have become notable for their extensive “networks”, but the Lord says that they are drawing people to themselves instead of to Him.  I felt like the Lord showed me that in the infancy of this move He is being patient, but that there is a coming age of accountability.

 

Finally, I sensed the Lord say that the first century church is not the model for where He wants to take His Church, and that though we see them as being particularly fruitful, they never walked in the fullness of the things He ordained for them. As in all things, Christ is our model, as He walked in perfect fellowship with both the Father and the Spirit.  It is His desire to do abundantly more than we could ever ask for, or imagine.

Read Full Post »