Major Kingdom/Apostolic Articles
The Emerging Church Government - Ron McGatlin
One of the characteristics of the emerging small groups of "called out ones" is the great diversity of the local groups. All the cells of our human bodies have similarities yet they are very diverse and arranged uniquely according to the needed function.
Autonomy in Christ leads to diversity. -- Leadership focused on one human leader or group of leaders prevents diversity.
No matter how much an earthly "spiritual" headship tries to create diversity it is almost impossible. The institutional church has clearly demonstrated this. Many church leaders have never developed the reality of serving small groups but are focused on establishing and leading them. This ties the groups to them or their organization and autonomy becomes a casualty in the process.
Please bare with me. I am not critical of the church that is yet in process of reformation. We (the church) have fought for several hundred years now to come out of the dark ages into true reformation of Christ in us. As layers have been restored to us through reformation men have camped at each layer and continue to serve as a bridge from one layer to the next. This is needed to bring the stream of humanity in a moving Body of Christ across each bridge on to the next place of formation.
However, there are a few who are consistently carried by God into the next freshly revealed part of His purpose for His people. These are those who willingly risk it all and lay aside the limitations of the past along with all of their personal life desires to take the next step in the supernatural march toward God - the step that goes beyond where we have been and requires another birth and another renewed mind. At 70 years, 49 of those years seeking to serve Him, I have experienced and continue to experience many new births and must strive to renew my mind again.
One of the many restored layers is the prophetic. The emphasis on prophetic of the past decades in now a bridge to the next place of formation for those who are moving on toward the edge of reformation. All of the layers still function and are useful in the Body and must be visited by those coming up the road of God but to remain at any of the many layers, although useful, will stop personal progress toward the edge of what God is bringing forth.
One of the major factors is the practical application and usage of the gifts involved in each layer. Men have consistently erred by adding some impurity of motive into the mix leading to abuses and lack of quality production in the kingdom. This emerging next layer has within it the potential of eliminating the problem condition of mixed motives.
Intimacy in the love of God - personal connection and overpowering visitations of His presence are cleansing hearts as lives are destroyed and everything once valued is removed or discarded until only one true God remains in our lives. We are made ready through this death to experience the purity of true holiness that will enable the manifestation of the resurrected Christ in His Body on earth. This is probably the most consistent factor in all the cells or small gatherings.
So where does autonomy and diverse function enter this picture and how will it be brought forth in the emerging gatherings of called out ones in homes, businesses, parks, churches and wherever?
In recent years there have been highly successful cell churches of various models. Keep in mind that all of these have been occurring in the time of the church emphasis age which is coming to a close. They have functioned well in the structure of the institutional church and will continue to do so. But they are not the model for the emerging gatherings of called out ones. Looking to these models and reproducing them may yet be a plan of God in certain areas and among certain people in this time as a bridge toward the next layer.
The coming gatherings will arise even while the institutional church and the many bridge churches and ministries continue. But the gatherings of called out ones will not be ruled by any of these. Who will rule and who will guide the emerging gatherings that God will cause to arise like grass in a field?
THE EMERGING CHURCH GOVERNMENT
Contrary to the beliefs and practices of the institutional church, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers do not rule. These are God's tools through which He serves the gatherings. These play a vital role but were never intended as ruling offices. They are servant tools. Of course, we all know and have said that Christ is the head of the church and these are to represent Him. They must represent Christ in their function but they are not offices to represent Him in ruling over the LOCAL gatherings of God's people.
Again, PLEASE bare with me and catch the distinction in this important concept of the next layer of the government of God.
There is no longer to be clergy nor laity, we are all to be becoming Priest and Kings as Christ is formed in us by the Holy Spirit. There is however those who are mature and those who are less mature or immature. Any of these may have any of the five service gifts and may eventually fulfill their calling in them as they become mature well formed tools in God's hand to serve the Body.
A Biblical word for the mature ones is "elders". In every gathering there will be elders. Forget what this word meant to us in the passing institutional church and think of it as a spiritually mature person. Elders autonomously rule each gathering of called out ones. Elders may posses any of the five servant gifts just as any of the less mature ones may as well. Some elders will have gifting as Apostles, some Prophets, some Evangelists, some Pastors, and some Teachers but all who poses these gifts are not necessarily elders (mature).
Local gatherings of called out ones are ruled by local mature gifted "elders". The immature yet possibly gifted ones participate to the level of their maturity. The big distinction is that Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher are gifts and job descriptions NOT PEOPLE. Elders or "mature ones" are PEOPLE. However people may be referred to by their gifting and calling.
Elders will be recognized without effort and will be placed by God through the leading of the Holy Spirit. They will not be pushy leaders but will have a deep humble love of God for the people and will carry the presence of God. They will have intimate connection with the people of the group and will know them and their needs personally.
How do elders rule the gatherings and what then is the part of the highly gifted mature Apostles, Prophets, Teachers and other servants?
No person nor group of persons on earth will have the right to make decisions for the gatherings. Christ Jesus is the only head of the Body and the only one with the authority to make decisions for His maturing Bride.
How do elders rule if they must not make decisions? Making a decision implies the practices we have used in the institutional church of intellectually exploring the need and the possible solutions and choosing one or perhaps in a bridge church seeking a prophet to give us a word of direction. The prophetic word can be helpful to the immature who are not accustom to intimately relating to God.
Elders (mature ones) will have the Spirit of Christ formed in them by the Holy Spirit and they must intimately relate to God to hear and see what God has already decided and then represent that into the group. The true Head has already decided and we must only find out what He has decided and represent that decision. Therefore, elders have no occasion to figure out what to do next - no decisions to make.
The government of God on earth is without a headquarters that establishes and appoints into the gatherings. The elders representing Christ are the headquarters of heaven on earth in each autonomous gathering.
There will be mature elders with the gifting of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, or Teacher who will be mobile in the government of God. They will never poses or rule gatherings but will move from gathering to gathering as directed by God.
The elders of a group will receive and unction of the Holy Spirit to call for a certain gifted "servant minister" to come to their gathering or collective gathering of several groups. At the same time the "servant minister" will hear from God to go to this certain group or groups. The mobile "servant minister" will come with the part that is needed by the group. The group may then call for another "servant minister" as directed by the Holy Spirit when another part is needed. No particular mobile servant will be able to claim the group and all will know that Christ only is the true head of His real Body.
There may also be those occasions when the elders of a group have gone astray and some perversion of God's plan for the group is being brought forth. The Holy Spirit may direct a "servant minister" with the gifting of Apostle or Prophet to go to the elders or the group without previous invitation but with some level of acceptance of the elders to bring a clearly loving word of correction and restoration.
There will be massive gatherings of many groups coming together in large rented buildings or stadiums or outdoors in large parks or commons or town squares. They will not come to see a certain personality but will be drawn by the Spirit. Thousands and hundreds of thousands will come to praise and worship God with their whole hearts. This will spawn the great harvest as multitudes are touched by the miraculous demonstrations of the love, power, and glorious presence of God.
Lots of Love,