Sunday, November 18, 2018

Territory (7) Fivefold Ministry

Under the Modern Church Model, dependence on professional pastors squeezes out the other ascension gifts. A pastor-leader is the chief executive of a large church, so the other gifts have to operate under him, or move outside the church. Prophets and Evangelists struggle to find a place in the church, because the pastor-leader is uneasy about giving them too much freedom. They are expected to be subordinate to their pastor and submit to his control, which constrains their ministry, whereas in Ephesians 4, they seem to be equal. The pastor’s wife often becomes the prophet to the church, because she is trusted by the pastor-leader.

Many prophets and evangelists are forced into travelling ministries, which is dangerous because they lose accountability to a body of believers. They move on before the consequences of their ministry become clear. Their ministry gets centred on meetings, when their role is to build up the body of Jesus. Of course, they continue to dependent on pastors for opportunities to speak at church meetings, so they have to be careful not to rock the boat too much.

An apostle is a leader who pushes out with some other followers of Jesus to expand the territory of the king by establishing spiritual stronghold beyond the existing one. In the Modern Church Model, this role does not exist, so “super pastors” or “regional leaders” are often given the title “apostle”.

God wants to push the fivefold gifts back down into the body of Christ, so it may grow up fully into Jesus. A team of leaders with balanced giftings who have submitted to each can join and knit together the body is in unity with every part doing its share. One elder will be a prophet, another will be an evangelist and several will be pastors. Working together in unity, they can help the body to grow by edifying of itself in love.

Multiplication of Leaders

As God brings in his kingdom by taking territory for Jesus, he will need a huge number of new leaders. Unfortunately, the Modern Church Model has been ineffective at developing new leaders. Most attendees are trained to sit passively and watch the pastor-leader ministering. Many will find a role in assisting with running a church meeting, but few will discover a five-fold calling. A few will get to preach, but it will be rare for a person to get to be a pastor-leader. This approach cannot produce the leaders that are needed to support a rapid advance of the gospel and bring in the Kingdom.

If each of the leaders of a body of believers has strong relationships with a dozen followers of Jesus will grow to maturity quickly. The prophet will release vision and ensure that issues are sorted out keep. The leaders with a shepherd’s heart will solve problems and encourage people into their callings. The leaders will replicate their ministries in those that they are discipling. The evangelist will teach them how to share the gospel and heal the sick.

When their existing stronghold is secure, the leaders will send some of their number out as apostles to push out to establish another spiritual stronghold for Jesus. Potential leaders will have discovered their calling and be ready to step and replace those who are sent out. This multiplication of ministries is essential for the advance of the Kingdom of God by taking territory for Jesus.

Spiritually Vulnerable

The Modern Church Model is vulnerable to spiritual attack. Once the leaders of churches lived in a house on the same site as their church building. That had problems, but it was a spiritually safe place to be, because the spiritual powers of evil had no authority on the land belonging to the church.

These days, pastors-leaders prefer to live separate from their church and their people, so they can have a private life. Because they live in isolation in the world like other Christians, the spiritual powers of evil can concentrate their attacks on the pastor-leader overwhelm him by diverse attacks. If they can divert him or disrupt his family, they constrain his entire church
The pastor leader of a large organisation/church will be frequently tempted to slip into manipulation and control to keep their church on track. This gives the spiritual powers of evil a point of entry to attack the church.

The spiritual powers of evil can use persecution to shut down the Modern Church Model. The most effective way is to arrest the pastor-leader and lock the church doors. This would cripple most modern churches. However, they do not have to go that far. Political powers can control the preaching of the pastor-leader by placing particular topics off limits. History shows that most pastors will comply with the requirements of the political authorities to retain their status and authority.

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