Organic Leadership... JESUS' HEADSHIP!
Thursday Morning, March 16, 2000
Questions from California today: Would you talk some about church structure and leadership models? The world system makes us punch the time clock. We have to deal with their structures in the work place, and everywhere else. Are you saying that we should reject ALL “structure” in the world—or is there just a difference in how we should function with external “structure” in the church, in order to please Jesus? And how should we view the Old Testament?
The World System’s Methodology
Did you know that NEVER in the New Testament and the sixty years of Scripture contained therein... is anyone called “Pastor __” or Reverend or Father or any such title? WOW did Paul miss his chances to do so! There is no chance whatsoever that, by today’s standard, Col.4:7-14 wouldn’t be filled to the brim with titles! And yet GOD doesn’t permit it, so Paul and the Bible don’t do it. Consider Romans 16:3-16 honestly. Religious humans today would have written this with twenty-seven titles, in this one section alone!
Never once in the Bible is there a “pastor” running any church or the main speaker or boss of any congregation. Paul, Peter, James, John - none of their letters to churches ever addressed or mentioned any “pastor bob” or “father o’conner” or “reverend jones.” There was NO SUCH SYSTEM in the days when men knew Jesus and walked in His Spirit, or the letters to Churches in Galatia or Ephesus or Philippi or Bithynia or Pontus would have been addressed to “pastor jones” - or the letters would at least refer to such a thing as “your pastor.” But shock of shocks - IT IS NOT IN THE BIBLE! Men made it up.
The Gentile system (that Jesus said we must NOT use in the Church) is filled with authority pyramid structures, programs, gimmicks, marketing, psychology, advertising, titles, schedules, meetings, etc. Jesus didn’t do any of that. HE is the Church and our “model”!! That stuff is clearly not Him! : )
“As many as are led by the Spirit are walking in Sonship.” “And everyone born of the Spirit is…like the Wind!” : )
Specifically, regarding “leadership,” He was very, very clear about it: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. NOT SO WITH YOU!”
Yes, the fallen “work” world can use those third dimensional tools (being “on time,” meetings, committees, motivational tools, fund-raising tools, leadership pyramid structures, budgets, and the like) to exist, live long and prosper. Oh, if they want to do that, that’s fine! They wouldn’t survive any other way. Any “organization” that must maintain its existence and cohesiveness by such externals is only proving its lack of involvement by God. Those “tools” are fine for the heathen and their systems. (There is an allegorical e-mail about “dimensions” that you may want to refer to, also.) God acknowledged in Genesis 11 that certain external, worldly principles are, in fact, useful if you want to build a Babylonian tower, and make a name for yourself. But those are not the tools for a Kingdom that is “not of this world.” Wrong tools. And it doesn’t take a genius to read Genesis 11 and see how God feels about building that way. Bricks instead of stones is just man’s way, isn’t it?
The Bad Translations
Frequently, we get confused about “leadership” and other topics when we think of the English translations of the Bible as being “THE BIBLE.” I’m sure you know that the Bible was written in Koine Greek, not English. And, you may find this hard to believe, but folks who live in the “system” cannot translate words that they don’t understand. The pillar and foundation of Truth is the Ekklesia, the Church. And if a person has never experienced the Life of the Church described in the Bible, of daily, sacrificial, devoted living as “One Body”—“bearing one another’s burdens,” “confessing sins one to another,” “from the least to the greatest”—how can they describe true Life in a Bible translation? When men translate into their native language, they very frequently translate it in a way that reflects their experience, not the truest translation of the Greek that the Bible was written in.
For example, the word “deacon” means “servant.” That’s it! To those to whom the word was written, it was not a title of a congregation’s third-tier religious leader on the organizational chart! It wasn’t a committee that had regular meetings to decide about lawn maintenance and parking lot stripes and fund raising banquets. To the ear of the Greek, it was simply a servant with specific chores to do. It was NOT a religious word or a title for a religious office. (The word “office” referred to could be defined as being the “official” automatic anything amongst God’s People, whether in a house or an institution.) If we’ve made it a religious word, we have abused the Scriptures and mis-represented and mis-applied the idea to Christianity. By contrast, in Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3 the word “deacon” in English translations does not even exist in our world EXCEPT as a religious role and office. The word meant nothing of the kind to those ears that heard it when it was written! It was a common word. No religious title or connotation whatsoever! What a difference! To understand it properly, we’d have to be the FAMILY that they were, with “a hundred mothers, brothers, sisters, lands, possessions, and persecutions!” then we’d know what it meant.
There are many words like this that are mis-translated, and therefore seem to encourage the system to continue as it is. The word “pastor” is very poorly translated, and could never have been translated as “pastor” if there were not an ulterior motive for doing so. It is not an honest translation of the Greek word, and is entirely misleading. You can’t build an organization around a word and an idea that does not exist in the Scriptures. “I know! Let’s just add the word to the English Bible and then everyone will think it’s okay to have one of those as a local boss!” Not good!
Of course, there are Gifts and roles in the Body of Christ (Eph. 4; Rom. 12; 1Cor. 12; 1Tim. 3; Tit. 1). That’s very different, though, from what happens in the normal church-world thang. An “official this or that” is NOT God’s Way. And YES, it matters!
Here is the REAL issue:
The Difference Between Samuel and Saul!!!
That is really what we are discussing, when you get right down to it.
We’ve discussed this before, but it is essential to understand—if we’re ever going to see the Church live in her full Glory, and for “the Bride to make herself ready” for the Return of the Groom.
Samuel was an organic “king.” He had no title; he had no official role. People needed him, but he was not the official anything!
Saul, on the other hand, was an assigned or elected “king”—which GOD said was an abomination! Saul was the official, titled guy-in-charge. Bad News!
Samuel was a man of God who people desired to be involved with—based solely on his current walk with God. It wasn’t an office that Samuel “held.” Others could be raised up and used by God similarly, and Samuel could easily have been “sat down.” It was a day-to-day walk-with-God issue, not some official anything! GOD WILL ONLY HAVE IT THAT WAY.
When God’s people built the world’s way, “as the other nations,” God’s response was “It is ME they are rejecting.” That is a REALLY big deal! So, Gifts, tasks, whatever…sure! But bosses who call the shots? Wrong-ola. With a title and an office and an official paycheck, such a person could easily be walking far from God, but their role and title continue. NO WAY! Roles and gifts are only to be ORGANIC, not hierarchical.
When the thought of setting up an organizational chart system of assigned leaders was under discussion, Jesus said, “Not so with you!”
And titles? Jesus commanded us to “Call no man…Pastor _____, Rabbi _____, Father _____, Brother _____, Elder _____, etc.” Titles are WRONG. Period. Why? First of all, because Jesus forbids them. Is He really Head? Is He Lord? “If you really love Me, you’ll obey what I say.” He said, “Don’t do it!” Second of all, Jesus knew that titles and offices would solidify a Saul kingdom, rather than the Samuel kingdom that He had authored. The Samuel kingdom is organic leadership—brothers amongst brothers—(Mat. 23:8-14), as in a family, rather than an organization! Samuel “leadership” is the only Kingdom, the only kind of Church where JESUS truly can remain King, rather than sharing His Glory and His Headship with mere men! Asking one of several Samuels for help with something they See more clearly than you can currently see (whether maturity limitations on your part, or Gift limitations on your part)—that’s healthy. Having someone that is “in charge” in some official sense—is deadly. That is Jesus’ Role, alone.
Did you know that NEVER in the New Testament and the sixty years of Scripture contained therein... is anyone called “Pastor __” or Reverend or Father or any such title? WOW did Paul miss his chances to do so! There is no chance whatsoever that, by today’s standard, Col.4:7-14 wouldn’t be filled to the brim with titles! And yet GOD doesn’t permit it, so Paul and the Bible don’t do it. Consider Romans 16:3-16 honestly. Religious humans today would have written this with twenty-seven titles, in this one section alone! And yet God’s heart is that there be no titles on mere humans. None. Luke, the scientist, writing a faithful Spirit-inspired thorough history of the first thirty years of the Church of Jesus Christ, reported ZERO titles. Oh, except for twice that a Jew was referred to as a Jewish “brother.” Twice in the entire Bible! But only to a Jew. Never once was a Christian referred to by any title! Wow. Is that weird, or what?! Maybe Jesus meant it - when He forbid titles.
Add to this obvious Biblical point, that never once in the Bible is there a “pastor” running any church or the main speaker or boss of any congregation. Paul, Peter, James, John -- none of their letters to churches ever addressed or mentioned any “pastor bob” or “father o’conner” or “reverend jones.” There was NO SUCH SYSTEM in the days when men knew Jesus and walked in His Spirit, or the letters to Churches in Galatia or Ephesus or Philippi or Bithynia or Pontus would have been addressed to “pastor jones” -- or at least refer to such a thing as “your pastor.” But shock of shocks -- IT IS NOT IN THE BIBLE! Men made it up. Martin Luther wanted catholic priests to be able to get married and become protestant priests or preachers or ministers or pastors. But in the Bible THERE WAS NO SUCH THING as a man “running a congregation” with a “title” and the “official decision maker and official teacher” or “automatic bible teacher” or “automatic meeting leader” or “meeting planner” or “worship leader.” It is totally a manufactured idea that is nowhere in the Scriptures. The men who defend such practices have to resort to insulting and scare tactics and “warnings” and very illogical arguments to defend positions that clearly did not exist in the churches of the Bible.
Gifts, apostolic co-workers such as Timothy, Epaphras, Titus, Aristarchus, and others, certainly are present and essential in the Body of Christ. Shepherds and “Olders” are surely a Biblical possibility, in plural, in a local assembly. But a “pastor” with a “title” as boss and choreographer and automatic religious talker and centerpiece of the Body of Christ in a local church -- no way. The Bible never shows any such thing to be possible or ever true. “When you come together EVERYONE brings a word of instruction, a song, a prophetic thought... and when Revelation come to the second, let the first one SIT DOWN.” Glory to God in the Kingdom of Priests, the Body of Christ, where the Spirit gives His Gifts to ALL in whom He lives. Let them be FREE 24 hours a day, in every setting and situation, at every given moment, to be used by God, or Jesus the Head is being usurped by mere men. Jesus is ALIVE and IN His People -- let’s let the Head be the Head! Don’t, out of fear or ambition, push Jesus aside with man-made gimmicks and structure. GOD said “They are rejecting ME” when a “system” was set up to create a “king of the church” environment. “It is the same now.”
What in the WORLD are men thinking -- to do what God forbids, and the Bible demonstrates did not happen? In most of today’s religious world, Jesus is usurped as LIVING Head of His own church by “Father __” and “Pastor __” who totally dominate the religious world and virtually every congregation. Can we really call “Christian” what does not obey Jesus? “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” Maybe it’s time to turn a lot of things around that have been long since ignored, forgotten, or over-ruled by the traditions of men, the praise of men, and the control of men? In reality, the thing humans do, often actually dethrones Jesus... and that is yucky.
“I must decrease, that He may increase.” This is going to be REALLY COOL when we actually DO this His Way, and see the Fruit of it! :)
To appeal in a difficult situation to some who are obviously “over you in the Lord” (Heb. 13:7ff), or to be corrected by such, or anyone—that is a good thing. It is not “spiritual” to say, “I don’t need anyone but Jesus.” GOD said that if you are really “baptized into the Spirit,” then you must be totally connected to His People. You must have a sense and a way of life that says to others, “I HAVE NEED OF YOU!” Independence (the “I only need Jesus” and “I’ll make my own decisions—me and Jesus are enough” version of “independence”) is not even close to being “spiritual.” It is very weak and disobedient and unproductive. If we don’t “discern the Body,” we are in big trouble with God.
To work together in mutual submission with other Gifts and those who will give an account for your soul (the Samuels God puts around us)—that’s a good thing. But, in organic Life, those people can change from day to day and situation to situation. You won’t be “assigned” to some certain “cell” or “leader” or any such thing. There won’t be any limitations other than seeking Jesus and His Counsel on the Highest possible plane, on one’s knees and in His People. God can use different ones as their various Gifts and levels of maturity are useful to Him at any given time. “When revelation comes to the second, let the first one sit down!”
In an unBiblical structure (which is offensive to God, as He said to Samuel), then someone is “the official leader” of my cell group or my congregation or parish, or the whole papal universe. This “vicar” role (“substitute” for Christ), whether in a cell group, “house church,” a religious facility congregation, or a galaxy…is destructive, disobedient, unfruitful, and evil. If JESUS is still Head of HIS Church, then Samuel (organic) leadership will permeate the Life of the Body of Christ in a hundred forms, emanating from whomever is walking closely with Jesus and is needed in that time and place (some more or less visibly), with no titles or expectations or controlling. In a Samuel environment where JESUS is permitted to be Head, there is no org chart and ironclad pecking order or assigned bosses or speakers or “worship leaders” for meetings or “cell” meetings or programs. GIFTS and maturity (Jesus currently expressing Himself) will “show the way” as to how we’ll go. There surely will be authority, but it will be the authority of Anointing and Life, not of expectation or title or office or knowledge or personality or reputation. Samuel, not Saul. Internal “drawing” of Life towards the voice and thoughts of Jesus flourishing in His People day by day, situation by situation is how He works through the “treasure in earthen vessels”—not some counseling appointment or sermon by a hireling or titled official holy man of the congregation. The sheep KNOW the Shepherd’s Voice.
If Jesus is truly Head in any time the Saints are together, whether at home after dinner, or when “the whole church is together” (1Cor. 14), ANYTHING can happen. Everyone has “considered how to spur one another on to love and good works” (if they are in Touch and walking with their Messiah), and they are watching and listening and willing (not trying to be seen or heard—just willing). Everyone has come “with a word of instruction, or a song…” If Jesus is Head, in reality (rather than a figurehead, as A.W. Tozer often was heard to say) there are no expectations of some particular person or persons that everything must revolve around. There are no “automatic speakers” or anything that would be even a tiny bit difficult to “pre-empt” by the HEAD, Jesus! “When Revelation comes to the second person, let the first person, who is teaching SIT DOWN!” Maybe there’ll be someone with revelation, maybe there won’t be. Perhaps a few particular people are typically more filled with the Spirit than others (Acts 6, etc.), or are more visible due to their particular gifts than others. That’s fine. But to not build in such a way as to make it possible and even easy for the Spirit of Christ Jesus to speak through whomever He desires, WHENEVER He wishes—this is USURPING JESUS’ HEADSHIP by bad building practices. This would be Saul, rather than Samuel.
And beware of the “invisible infrastructure” that can sneak up on us when we are making a transition from religious tradition and shallow external form—to Reality. The “invisible pastor” still orchestrates and manhandles and controls. He does this, perhaps out of fear that things won’t go well without him. Or he may do this because others are not being responsible Priests, and he feels like he’s got to bail everyone out. He may do this because he is determined that things not be an “embarrassment” to Jesus. He may do this purely out of habit, or because he doesn’t know any better. He may do this because he desires attention or financial security, or is ambitious. Perhaps he didn’t get to be the pastor in his old environment, but now that he is liberated and in a “house church” everyone can plainly see how spiritual and right he is. The “invisible pastor” in the “invisible infrastructure” has lots of reasons for trying to control things—but it’s not because he is being sought out as the most anointed person that anyone knows (like Samuel was). He simply is wearing his nametag with his title of “pastor” inside his jacket now, instead of outside where it could be seen. He is pretending to not be the pastor, but like the puppeteer, he is pulling the strings even still—while hidden backstage to make it seem like the puppets are acting on their own. This is Saul in disguise—not Samuel!
Samuel is needed and desired and useful beyond words to God’s People. Don’t think he is not needed and that Christianity is supposed to be a generic committee vote environment! Check out your Bible, and you’ll see this from Genesis to Revelation. “Generic Christianity” is a curse that God sends on people that are proud and disobedient! (Isa. 1, 3, 5). But the many Samuels (day to day anointing on whomever is available to Jesus in the purest way) do not need or desire to make the decisions or orchestrate anything “backstage.” Samuel is available when needed, but desires no involvement in anything for himself. He is drawn in because of his special Gifts, essential to God’s People’s health and prosperity. Saul, on the other hand, was born out of people’s laziness and fear and apathy and unwillingness to stretch toward God and trust Him.
Samuel “equips the saints for works of service,” while Saul ensures a place for himself as focal point (by any number of interesting ploys). Samuel is “like the wind”—drawing attention to JESUS; while Saul draws the attention to himself—loving to be titled or called in respectful ways, and loving to hear himself speak.
I hope that is helpful in answering the leadership-related question, for now! And as for the last question…
Behold, All Things Are NEW!
Regarding the Old Testament/New Testament, I wasn’t totally sure what exactly you were asking. The Old Covenant was “for our learning” and shows us the types and shadows and visual aids that allow us to know God’s Heart and Mind. We cannot be justified in any way by anything in that Covenant, of course. And surely animal sacrifices and temple worship (Jerusalem is the only authorized place for a temple) and the like cannot be considered part of the Christian Covenant. Since one can’t have part of a Covenant (a “contract,” if you will) without the entirety of it, we best not think of the Old Agreement as something to be pursued at all, unless we are also willing to go back to animal sacrifices. Not to mention the fact that that Covenant could not bring about the forgiveness of sins, so it did not truly resolve the real problem anyway!
Suffice it to say, the Old Covenant is “obsolete” according to the Hebrews writer—and a death warrant if we try to embrace it, according to Paul. It has its place as a “schoolmaster” to show us our deep need for the Covenant Man, the second Adam, Jesus. Yesu DID keep the Covenant and fulfilled it absolutely and completely. Then, as we “hide our lives in Christ,” we become swallowed by His fulfillment, His Righteousness, and His pleasure to the Father—all of this apart from any merit whatsoever on our part! “The Father loves the Son.” And all of those clothed with Christ, those who have truly died with Him in His death, now stand without blame before the Father!
We look to the OT for guidance as to the personality of our God—the same yesterday, today and forever. We want to see His value system, and to learn and experience the riches of Aaron’s staff that had budded, the hidden manna, and the tablets of stone! (Heb. 9:4-5). These are for us, “upon whom the fulfillment of the ages has come”! But the OT is not a Law for us. Jesus is our Sabbath Rest (Rom. 4; Heb. 4, 5, 7, 9, 10; Col. 1-2). This is very rich stuff! YOWZA!!!