Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

12 September 2009

Paul vs Apollos... Wineskins... Giftings... The Church... really a cornucopia of fun

"You must get along with each other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common. You're all picking sides, going around saying, "I'm on Paul's side," or "I'm for Apollos," or "Peter is my man," or "I'm in the Messiah group." I ask you, "Has the Messiah been chopped up in little pieces so we can each have a relic all our own? Was Paul crucified for you?

Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It's not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages.

God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him."

Apostle Paul from 1 Corinthians 1&3

It's vital for the life of a functioning body of ministry for us all to understand our gifts... our ministries... and be confident how we fit into "the body". Because it's only when we're OK with ourselves that we can fully release others to be who THEY are too.

What has been happening since Paul was roaming the countryside putting out fires in church's... is that people of like-gifting tend to clump together. And if that gets out of whack, it leads to...

Prophet 1: "those pastoral people drive me nuts... hearts bleeding all over the floor. What a mess. Not a backbone in the bunch"
Prophet 2: "Justice baby. Let's just call down the fire and be done with it. Dang"
Prophet 3: "here here... this church is a mess. Let's see what the minor prophets would have done... hmm... burn it to the ground eh? Done"

Ever heard that conversation? It goes the other way too.

Pastor 1: "That Apostle just doesn't care!
Pastor 2: "Does he EVEN realize how often I've visited Mrs Buzzbubble? I made her a casserole... A CASSEROLE!!! Has he EVER made a casserole??"
Pastor 3: "(Weeping) This church doesn't care... the spirit has left the house. I'm taking my people somewhere where they can't be hurt by those monsters"

The truth is, that our gifts are designed to give us different motivations. And they are designed to leave us in need of each other. They only work if they are functioning together and under willing submission to each other. Check out Harold Eberle's church design from his fantastic book, "The Complete Wineskin".

It's such a Biblical model for a healthy structured church. But for it to work well... it's dependent on each person, not only playing their role... but actively supporting the others to play theirs. The apostles and prophets lead to be able release a ton of pastors and evangelists in their ministry. And the groundswell of pastors and evangelists (to be able to function with freedom and anointing) need to trust and bless the apostles and prophets and teachers. And that only happens with intention.

It happens by really getting to know each other, being in committed relationships as a team together, AND even submitting ourselves to each other to make sure that the health of the whole is kept as a priority.

God loves the church. It's his bride. The fact that we get a chance to be a part of it is an honor. Of course it's tough. And Augustine was right when when he said,

"The church is a whore but she's my mother"

But is it possible that it was all part of the design so that we can learn to contend for God's Kingdom to come on earth as it is in Heaven?

"I have long pursued her as a harlot and a whore. There is none that can replace her though there are many who will try and though some may be her bridesmaids they can never be my bride. You cannot care for me with no regard for her if you love me you will love the church."
Derek Webb

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