Throw Others the Keys
This principle of sharing your lives is one that you understand already, so let’s take it into church leadership as well. In your daily life, and in many ways even in the meetings, the Spirit of God is allowed to govern. The life and the peace of God governs. In many ways that’s true for you all. But you still have a little bit of carry-over in other ways, like having the “official person” give the sermon. Everyone is allowed to comment on it or affirm it, or they can even oppose it if they want to. But still there is an “official giver of information.”
He might get some of that information from other brothers—in fact, he told me yesterday that he does. That takes a certain amount of trust, but it takes even more trust for the parents to look the children in the eye and give them responsibility. They are children, and I understand when you say, “Oh, I don’t know if we’re ready.” That’s true in most places where we have talked about these things—most aren’t ready. That’s partially because parents who have very small children have had to make rules and that’s all they know is rules. When a child is five you do make rules, right?
You might start off like that, yes.
As a child grows older, you will have to give him more and more responsibility. When he’s sixteen, it might be time to show him the car keys. Ohhh no! It’s frightening to show the car keys to a sixteen or eighteen-year-old, isn’t it? : )
What are car keys?
Ohhhh, CAR keys!! : )
Yeah, that’s scary, isn’t it? : ) Well, in the New Testament the twelve apostles of the Lamb and then Paul, the thirteenth, threw the car keys to the children when they were ready. When it was time, the leaders backed off to see what would happen. They jumped in to help steer when they needed to, but their gift didn’t mean they were always to be the ones driving the car. Their gift was to keep as many other people driving the car safely as possible—safely. That was what you were wondering about when you said, “Are we ready to drive the car?” And you thought, “No, we’re not ready yet.” The gift of apostle is more to equip the saints for works of service than it is to do the works of service.
He knows that.
That’s what he speaks about all the time.
He said the ministry is not here to do the ministry but to get the church into the work of God.
Well, yesterday we gave him a little jesting and warmth and love and said, “Throw the car keys to your children. Don’t give sermons telling the children to drive and then take the keys and drive away! Throw them the car keys and then back off. Reach in and take the wheel when you need to, because you do have a gift. So I’m not telling you to disappear.” There is leadership, but it’s the leadership of helping make sure everybody can drive the car, especially the ones that ought to be. Maybe others in the car are doing others things and that’s fine too. Not everybody will drive the car. Not everyone will speak publicly to 1,500 people. They don’t need to, don’t have to and shouldn’t. One shouldn’t think of it that way. It’s not a DEmocracy where everybody plays an equal part. It’s a THEocracy where God gets the say-so.
This is a dangerous thing to say because I love and trust the man, but I would say that it’s not entirely a theocracy because he still is the one who decides who speaks. God doesn’t decide who speaks. It’s not a theocracy even though what he says is very often from God, and people get to reflect openly with a microphone as to whether or not they believe that it’s from God. So I do compliment him, because that is very courageous and unusual to invite others to comment openly.
He handled that situation with that young brother with grace and wisdom yesterday. I respected that. And I respected the young man for his courage to speak up. I watched him as he walked back and up the stairs. He didn’t just walk out the door and leave. I applauded him in my heart and thought, “Bravo, he can learn. That’s excellent.” He had the courage to speak and the courage to be corrected. Both of those things take courage. So I applauded him for going back into the crowd instead of walking out the front door, which I wondered if he would do.
I saw him very late when I went to the car at about 9:30, and he was still there. I was very pleased.
You were glad to see that, too? : )
Yes, I was.
That’s good. I would have given him a hug if I could’ve found him, but I never saw him again.
So like I was saying, it’s not a matter of just telling people over and over, “The Lord says we all ought to be teachers and I’m to equip you for works of service. The Lord says that.” Well, the Lord does say that, but if I keep saying it over and over and over, I’m actually removing the chance that anyone will do it by the very fact that I’m constantly saying it.
If a father says on a regular basis, “Everyone in the family should be doing this. Everyone in the family should be doing this” and then he goes and does it all himself, no one else will be doing anything. He then talks more about it again, telling people what everyone in the family should do. After a while, everyone gets used to that process and pattern of existence. They get very accustomed to how that works. Then they begin to focus and listen more for the quality of what’s being said (which is a fine thing to do because the quality is good), but they get comfortable not actually doing what he says. He has said it so often and also the format doesn’t allow others to actually do much of what’s being told to them to do. Then they start to substitute.
They substitute the fact that they can make comments on his sermon. That’s good because it’s rare. It takes courage on everyone’s part. But let’s take it one step further. If we have the courage to allow comments, why not allow, “When revelation comes to the second, the first one sits down”? Why not that, rather than the first one stands up for three more hours to comment on the comments, but it all still goes through him?
Did you say that to him?
For a shorter time than we’ve been talking right now, but yes, we talked about all of these principles. And again, I can only say these things truthfully from the heart with the greatest of compliment and admiration in my heart that you all even care about these things and are living them in greater and greater measure already.
Do you know of another group in all of Europe that is open to the Spirit on the level that you all are? We know a lot of Europe and I don’t know of anyone. We know of people here and there—living rooms full of people like in Romania and other places that are open to all of these things. But as far as a large number of people that care about the leading of the Spirit—this is a beautiful thing. I admire this. I’m only speaking of building on to what you all have already been doing. I’m not contradicting it. I’m just encouraging you to continue the journey a step further.
And again, he was very warm. Maybe he was a little perplexed like, “Okay, I’m thinking of what Jethro said to Moses, and how that’s been working out for us so far….” Yet I know he has unrest in his heart that so many people are still children. All I’m submitting for consideration is that as a father, instead of bringing good sermons about the family of God, he could be house to house, night and day with tears. He could take the hands of the children and then pull them along. He can sense the gifts that are in people and then drag them into that place of productivity and fruitfulness. Maybe they are kicking and fussing as they are dragged, but he says, “You can do it. You can, and I’ll be right here to grab the wheel, but you need to drive the car.”