Paradigm Shift: With Them, Not Under Them
What does a church leader look like according to the blueprint of Jesus’ ministry and the church of Acts? This is a question that I have been walking through for several years.
This post will make some mad because it is going to address one aspect of the paradigm shift that is beginning to take place in the church. The purpose of writing this is to help you transition during this paradigm shift and not get left behind. Trust me when I say that this is not even the tip of the iceberg; it is essentially a snowflake.
For some time now, I have been commenting on how many of the well known leaders in the church are going to miss this move of God because it is completely off of our grids. It is something we have never seen or heard before. Even ones who are prophesying about “revival coming” and are contending for it will miss it because God is moving in a completely different way than we think. It is so “out of this world” that these same “revival leaders” are going to call it demonic witchcraft because they cannot comprehend it through the lens of a religious system. The “big names” are going to look like children when the “no names” are promoted.
I will not get into that topic on this blog, but I am bringing it up because it is a part of this leadership paradigm shift that we are beginning to see take place. We are on the verge of the greatest leadership shift in all of church history, and it is not going to come the way people think. If we thought the Reformation was a massive historical movement (and it was), then what God is doing now is incomprehensible.
The Lord has been speaking to me consistently about leadership shifts taking place these last couple of years, and the frequency has increased recently. This has been a word that many others have heard as well. Although it is an incredible thing what is about to take place, it is also a sad moment in history. Some of the very same people who are prophesying about a leadership shift taking place are actually prophesying about their own removal and do not even know it.
Their removal of influence will be a several fold event. Yes, it will be because they do not understand what God is doing and are operating in old wineskin/religious mentalities and structures, but it will also be because of a skewed ideology of what church leadership is suppose to look like. (I will upload a video soon explaining in more detail these other things. Again, this blog is only to briefly address one of the issues).
Are you ready for the concept that is going to cause many leaders to miss this move of God? Are you sure? I know it will make you angry, whether you are a minister or not. It will not even sound like a big deal to you because it is the norm of what the church believes. It definitely will make prideful ministers angry because God is done with prideful leaders, and he is raising up his Samuels and Davids to confront the Sauls. Here we go.
The concept that will cause people to never step into their fulfilled calling and will cause well known prophetic leaders to miss this move of God is the religious concept of “you are under my ministry” or “come under my authority” or from the viewpoint of someone not in leadership to say “I serve under you.” ……….yup, that’s the killer right there. Let me explain why.
In studying the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles, there was never this mentality that "you have to come under my authority." The leaders led by example in humility, among and with the people. They were not "over" the people, but led in servanthood authority "among" the people. We are under the headship of Christ (Colossians 1:8). There can only be one head, and his name is Jesus, not your pastor who thinks he/she is your head. That is actually not a biblical concept, but yet it is ingrained into most of the church as the norm.
According to scripture, not tradition, the 5-fold ministry is set in place by God to equip the saints for THEIR calling and maturing (Ephesians 4:11-16), not to build a church program to fulfill the vision of a pastor. So the question is, “Whose vision are you fulfilling?” Are you fulfilling God’s vision or someone else’s? Do not misunderstand me here. Of course a local congregation needs an overall vision for their assignment and what they believe. There is a big difference in a group vision versus jumping through hoops to do solely the vision of the pastor (maybe I can explain better on the video). Then again, what we think the local church is suppose to look like is about to radically shift as well.
I cannot tell you how many people I have seen never step into their calling because they are afraid of “being in rebellion” by starting their own ministry. Sure, there definitely are rebellious people that do not want any accountability and want to do their own thing. But I am talking about legitimate, strong leaders who God has handpicked for a time such as this. These people cannot go through the religious protocol of the church system because they are called to change it. The church cannot handle the John the Baptists, so they literally have nowhere to turn. Those are the ones I am talking about.
Before you say, “This is rebellious!” (that’s the religious demon in you because this is all about submitting to greater intimacy to the Father to walk in oneness with him and freeing people up to do what God has called them to do) the 5-fold ministry is set in place to bring clear vision, discipline, and accountability to each other and to the saints. Paul even addresses in 1 Corinthians 1:12 the rebellious spirit of how people will only follow certain leaders. He even says people will use the excuse of “only following Christ” as a means to live in rebellion. I firmly believe this is true and often talk about how we see some of the most greatest rebellious acts happen when people begin a sentence with “God told me.” However, we also see many people miss what God is doing when they hear others say “God told me” because forerunners will see, hear, and walk in things before everyone else will. Because you are a forerunner, many times people will not understand what God is doing in your life. Just to rustle things up even more, the function of the 5-fold ministry is beginning to transition as people are maturing in their sonship and will be able to operate in any function that they need to function in because of their deep intimacy with the Father. ….moving on.
The way church leaders are suppose to operate is to do life with the saints. You are not “over” people, you lead them by being with them. This is exactly how Jesus’ ministry was. He operated in such great authority and in all spiritual gifts/offices (because he is the Son, just like we are his sons), but he did it all out of humility and among the people. The problem with saying “you are under me” is that you view people like you are above them or expect them to owe you something, whether you do it consciously or subconsciously. No, you must look at them as your co-laborers and family. Yes, they may not be called to a 5-fold gifting (maybe not in the context of a congregation but maybe in the world that looks completely different than it has ever looked, which is exactly what is about to take place in this shift), but they are still leaders growing in maturity to be sent out to fulfill the mandate on their lives.
A true leader allows a give and take in a relationship. You pour into others and walk in a mutual respect, not a dominance over someone. That is how “mentoring” is suppose to look. We are doing it wrong, friends. Yes, respect the church leaders and listen to them (when they are right), but leaders also need to listen to others as well. Just because you are “anointed by God” it does not mean you always right, but at the same time you cannot be persuaded by the opinions of people, only God’s (see the tension we have to hold?). We are ALL anointed kings and priests! Learn to stay in your lane and do what God has called you to do while you are pouring into others.
This is another aspect I will talk about later, but the entire structure of the church is about to change, and I mean the protocols, Sunday morning things, buildings, etc. What you have seen the church look like all of your life is not how it is going to look like in the near future. It is going to begin looking, sounding, operating, and governing like heaven.
Christ is your covering, but allow yourself to be corrected and disciplined by leaders and fellow saints that love you. It is time for us all to learn to walk as sons of God and to encourage one another. A gathering of the people of God will not have programs. It will be a gathering where the people say, “Father, what is the assignment you want us to do today? How can we legislate heaven on earth in this gathering? We just want to lean into you more today.”
© 2016 All Rights Reserved by Daniel Bodkin