“And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers…” Ephesians 4:11 (HSCB)
Many are saying the way we look at church is about to change. By about a lot! Over the coming decade much is going to shift around the way the church looks and operates. The church is stepping into fresh five-fold leadership, with a call to impact its city and region, not just gather people into a building. Local churches will operate in partnership with each other with apostolic oversight. We’ll see revivalist churches, who have a focus on souls and conversion, shifting to reformist churches, who focus on changing society and culture, as well as reaching the lost. We will shift from church growth and church mindedness to kingdom advancement.
Our current model for church is quite deficit. Our model has pastors as the leader of their church. This is what seminaries and denominational structures have encouraged. Most times these pastors are teachers as well. So, the pastor/teacher is the prominent leader in churches today.
If a pastor is also an evangelist, there is often a stress on the congregation to be more than simply comfortable, as they are pushed to reach out into the community. When the pastor has an evangelistic gifting AND the congregation doesn’t buy into it, this pastor will probably see himself moving on in the near future. After all, sheep like to be comfortable, secure and safe. Evangelists challenge the comfort as they invite “unconverted” into the gathering.
When prophets lead the church, the sheep may feel they are always called to press deeper (not necessarily a bad thing). When prophets lead, it is an intense, but awesome ride! Prophets lay the heart bare and are always calling us deeper into greater obedience. When Apostles lead the church, there is a definite sense of mission and ownership of the city. But people may not feel cared for. When pastors lead the church, they think in terms of MY church, that’s why the church must be built upon apostles and prophets (Ephesians 2:20). Pastors look at their flock, but apostles and prophets have macro vision, and they see the city, the unity of congregations working together.
Apostles are concerned about training, equipping and deploying, not simply growing a big church or their people. Kingdom mindedness involves getting salt and light into society. Church thinking focuses on great Sunday meetings, and holding onto their members. Yet only with kingdom mindedness will the church impact society at every level! The new/old model of church that will emerge is one where pastors/teachers are no longer the primary leaders on the church, but are a part of the leadership team which is also comprised of apostles, prophets and evangelists.
Ask God to raise up these five areas of leadership in our city. Ask Him for a greater humility among the leadership of local churches to be willing to stand together and impact our city as a whole instead of this piece meal impact that we do through our individual efforts. Pray that this new/old model of church would be embraced in our city and that Athens Georgia would be awakened, saved, reformed and transformed!