Monday, September 03, 2012

Church Governance (26)

The elders of a church must have balanced giftings.

Each elder will have one of the ascension giftings and all of these ministries should be represented in the eldership of the Church. One of the elders will be a prophet. One will be an evangelist. Several will be pastor-teachers. Some will need the giftings to be sent out as Apostles. All these ministries must be functioning together in unity for a Church to grow to maturity and unity.

Every Church must have one elder who is willing to ask the tough questions and ensure that there is an emphasis on holiness (prophet). Every Church needs an elder who has a passion for the lost and a gifting for sharing the gospel (evangelist). A Church also needs elders who can help new Christians grow to maturity and ensure that all members remain united (pastor-teacher). Every church needs at least one elder who is outward looking and adventurous (apostle).

A Church without a prophet is like a body with only one leg. A Church without an evangelist is like body with one arm. A Church without several pastor-teachers is like a body with no heart. A church without an apostle will become inward looking. If any of these giftings are missing from a Church, it will be unbalanced.

The ascension gifting do not relate together naturally. This creates a problem, because people with different giftings and personalities often do not get on well together. Most leaders find it easier to work with people like themselves. The strength of balanced leadership comes through elders committing to work with people they would not normally get on with.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 outlines a set of attitudes enables people with different personalities and giftings to work together. Elders who love each other will be willing to submit to each other. This is the key to their unity. Submission is hard to people who seeking power and control. Submission is only possible for people who love each other. Love is not easy, but if elders cannot love one another, they cannot expect Church members to do so. Commitment to love at the top will spread love throughout the body.

The best example of this unity is the Trinity. The Father said about the Son, "Listen to him". However, Jesus said he could only do what he saw the Father doing. He also said it was better for him to go away, so that the Spirit could come, but when the Spirit came, he gave glory to Jesus. Each member of the Trinity has absolute freedom and authority to exercise their perfect ministry. Yet each one honours and submits to the others. No one is in control. The Trinity demonstrates how three persons bound together by love can work together shared leadership.

To manifest the full glory of the Trinity, the church must have shared and balanced leadership. A church will be strong, when it is lead by a team of pastors, prophets and evangelist who are one, just as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one. They will be united by submitting to each other. Their submission will be powered by love.

Balanced leadership requires elders with diverse gifting to submit to each other in love. When love and submission are absent, one person tends to take control and dominates the others, or the leadership is paralysed by mistrust, division and bickering.

Ephesians 4 is not a description of high level ministries or an organisational structure; it is a description of how elders with complementary, but conflicting gifts can work together to strengthen the body of Christ. Paul was not concerned about giving status to church leaders, but ensuring that every Church has a balanced eldership.

One person cannot be Jesus. It takes at least four elders with different giftings to fully represent Jesus and accomplish his ministry.

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