Gifts and Leadership DO Exist
Switzerland 2009 - Conversation about leadership and helping others grow, captured in progress…
I have lots of courage to speak up if I need to. If a brother is sharing, you can help fan into flame the vision that he has and if the vision is off a bit, you help refine it. And you realize that many things affect how a person thinks about something, including their experiences and the bad pizza they ate last night. : )
So, you talk with them and help refine their thinking, but in the end they have as much right and responsibility to speak up as you do. “When revelation comes to the second, let the first one sit down” (1Cor. 14:30). There’s no platform for someone to be the official person who speaks. Maybe I’ve spent ten hours in prayer and I have something to share in a meeting. Or maybe I just watch and I pray for everybody else. Somebody else may have something to say, but everybody won’t be sharing the first thing that pops into their mind. That would be a little nutty and strange. In 1 Corinthians 14 it says, “Two or at the most three prophesy.”
Here is a good example to help you understand that. Suppose one brother starts talking about an understanding he has of faith and how he applied faith in his workplace in a special way. He saw God do something miraculous. Another brother then shares a similar experience. Another brother shares a song that he just happened to write in the last week about faith (and these brothers hadn’t spoken at all together about it until now). Maybe by now we’ve been together for three hours, and what I’ve prayed about for ten hours has nothing to do with what these brothers have been sharing. In that case, I’m not going to change the subject! Jesus has already spoken. I’m not going to say, “Oh Jesus, I just want to interrupt You and say something that I’ve been talking to You about.” No! This is His day and His time. My time may or may not come. Maybe during the last twenty minutes of the third hour, something really touches me and is related to what I’ve been thinking and praying about. Perhaps I share that but it doesn’t have to happen that I say anything at all. You watch and see what’s happening. You follow the Life, even as to who speaks and who’s doing the teaching.
Hebrews 5 says, “You all ought to be teachers by now, but you’re still babies.” What does that mean when we’re not all teachers? It means we’re all babies. That certainly wouldn’t be very good. “You all ought to be teachers by now, but you’re still babies.” I’d certainly need to get the “green mask” of “I’m the official boss, teacher, pastor” out of the way so that everyone can be a teacher. That doesn’t mean people are going to jump up and start teaching. That means that my gift might be to help equip them for works of service, so they’re no longer infants tossed to and fro (Eph. 4).
For example, suppose a dozen brothers start talking at a restaurant during lunch and one of the brothers shares something that’s been pretty special to him. Later on I might say, “You know what? That was very important. Hold on to that thought and cherish it. That was really good and we need to talk more about that.” I might encourage him on the side as an equipper because gifts do still exist. Leadership does still exist, but it exists to free others not to replace others.
So I pull that brother aside and say, “Tell me more about what you were thinking. Have you considered these couple of scriptures as they relate to what you were saying? Because what you said was perfect and exactly what Paul meant and that’s also what Lynda was saying last week. This is the same thing and it’s really good. Write that down and let’s talk some more.” Then it builds and builds and I might encourage that brother to share it with everybody. If they hesitate and say, “Well…I don’t know if I can…” I’ll say, “So what? Do it anyway,” because, “You all ought to be teachers by now.”
Jesus gives some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some teachers, some shepherds and some evangelists (Eph. 4). Some, but not everyone. Are all apostles? No. Are all prophets? No. There will be certain anointings that are especially powerful and clear, but there’s also a place for, “You all ought to be teachers by now.”
There are a hundred brothers and sisters where I live that know everything I’m telling you right now. Perhaps they can’t say it as well, but that’s because not all are teachers. Not all are apostles. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t know it and don’t walk in it. They just can’t articulate it as well, but they are free to do so if they need to. If they’re visiting in another city with some other saints or they’re with biological family members, they will find a way to say it. They may not say it in a profound way but it’s a fire in them. If that fire is there, you’ll find a way to say it.
What if someone says that other brothers should contribute to what his vision is for the church?
Instead of it being “his vision” he should let others have their own vision and he should support them in theirs. That way, it’s not revolving around one man but it’s revolving around Jesus and Anointing. It’s about following the Life. Let people follow the Life and peace. Let them share the vision that God gave all of them so it doesn’t have to flow through a one-man narrow passageway.
For 24 years, I’ve refused to be a narrow passageway or a cork in the bottle through which everything has to come. But I do take a very active, passionate role in doing what my gift is. It’s not less but it’s more, because now I’m in people’s homes. First Thessalonians says, “House to house, night and day with tears,” helping them to be who they were called to be as a Kingdom of Priests. It’s helping others explore their gifts so that Jesus can use them in the midst of His people—not just in meetings, but in their daily lives.
“The poor you will always have among you” (Mat. 26:11). You’re always going to have those who are weaker and those who are less mature. You mentioned the possibility that someone in a certain situation may be mentally disturbed. Wherever you are there will be weaker vessels that you cover and treat with special modesty. With others you are patient with them as long as you can be, but there’s a point where you’ve got to say, “Go do something else.” There’s a dynamic to it.
You mentioned that every seven years, every molecule in the body is replaced. Your human body is organized but at the same time you’re always changing. Is it organized according to a formula? Or is it a form that’s organic and has a certain appearance at any given moment? Obviously appearances change. We all used to be good-looking, right? : )
I will keep coming back to this theme of starting from that place of Organism and meeting in the Spirit—following the Life. Everyone born a second time is like the wind, the pneuma of life (John 3:8). “Rivers of living water gushing from the inner man to all who believe.” “You all ought to be teachers by now.” You are starting with those principles which is such a rare thing. I’m embarrassed and it breaks my heart to say this, but how could something so fundamental to Christianity—the very Life of Jesus—be foreign to Christianity? That doesn’t make sense to me. The Life of Jesus is foreign to the vast majority of Christianity. That’s insane, that’s terrible.
Is this an opinion or an observation you’ve had?
It’s an observation, yes. People all over the world and most of Christianity function based on a form of godliness that denies power (2 Tim. 3:5). And they are even missing most of the godliness too.
It’s not even a form of godliness but mostly a form of ungodliness. They use the vocabulary and they say, “Lord, Lord,” but He’ll say He never knew them (Mat. 7:21-23). “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but I never knew you.” And He even gave us the odds that, “Few will be those who find it.” (Mat. 7:14)
It is true that most of the Christian world—not only in the United States but in Europe and Asia too—rely on something other than the person of Jesus in their daily lives and in their approach to “church.” It’s an alternate life-style with a philosophical infrastructure of belief system. It’s not a passionate love affair with Jesus.
Apollos, Timothy, Titus and Paul were in Ephesus for a period of time—the quality of people was amazing. But in Revelation 2 it was Ephesus that had lost their first love. “I’m about to remove your lampstand—your right to be called a church. I’m about to remove that from you unless you repent. Go back to the place you were and recover your first love.” Most of the Christian world today is Laodicea—lukewarm. Or they are Ephesus where they’ve lost their first love.
With you all, it’s clear that your heartbeat is Organism and the Person of Jesus Christ and listening to Him as if He is Alive. The tomb is empty—Jesus isn’t in there! He is Alive and so we can actually listen for His voice. We can actually allow Him to be Head of the Church, not figurehead of the Church.
Yes, that’s right.
He’s not just the teacher of principles that has died and gone away, but He’s the Living Head of the Church. It’s such a rare thing in the Christian world to find people who believe that. That’s what was so attractive about wanting to get to know you guys more—you actually live as if Jesus is Alive and you make your decisions that way. That’s cool!