Posted: 01/29/2009 at 12:04pm
The Shift in Leadership – “Leadershift”
By Ron McGatlin
Headship and Leadership - These are two similar words but with distinct differences that are very important to us in this day of major shifting in the church and the world and especially in the governance of the kingdom-age church (the ekklesia). Briefly stated the difference is that the word “headship” implies supremacy and the word “leadership” implies function.
Here is a dictionary definition of the two words:
headship n. the position of head or chief – leadership, supremacy.
leadership n. the position or function of a leader – an act or instance of leading – guidance, direction - the leaders of a group.
The current kingdom shift in leadership involves exposing and correcting a significant error in leadership practice of the passing institutional church age. The deviation from God’s design for His church may seem small, but it has had a massive impact upon the church and the world.
This particular error is much more in practice than in doctrine. Probably most anyone in any branch of the many streams of church would affirm that Christ Jesus is the Head of the church. However, the forms and workings of much of the church are not actively attached to Christ Jesus as supreme leader. In the day-to-day practical reality of operation within the institutional church systems, the headship of Christ Jesus is replaced with human organization and structure.
Currently many of the fresh kingdom-age models of relationally based church are struggling to be free of the leadership errors of the past. New styles, formats, and venues bring a fresh sense of release and excited participation of the people. There may also be a sense of empowerment as the gifting of the individuals are potentially further released in the groups.
However, if there is not a full correction of the headship and leadership distinction within the group, there will be a lack of the fullness of power, love, and wisdom that should be coming through the full participation of the fully attached Head of the church, Christ Jesus. The groups may sooner or later disband, or there may be a constant excessive coming and going of participants as the people seek elsewhere to satisfy the innate hunger in their souls for fellowship in a group with the real headship of Christ.
How will the headship of Christ Jesus flow into and govern the Body, and what part do the human leaders of a group have in governance?
The supreme headship of Christ flows from the throne room as spiritual substance of God. We need to recall at this point that God is Spirit. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one Spirit God of all creation in heaven and on earth. Christ Jesus has an earthly body but ascended to the throne, was seated at the right hand of the Father, and subsequently returned to earth as a “life-giving Spirit” (the Spirit of Christ) to indwell believers by the Holy Spirit.
1 Cor 15:45: And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
It is through the Holy Spirit that the supreme headship of Christ is connected to the Body or the group individually and collectively. The headship of Christ is not for only the human leaders. Every person has the right and potential to be carriers of the Spirit God in their bodies, and in so doing, become connected to the direct supreme leadership of Christ Jesus. This is the treasure in earthen vessels.
2 Cor 4:7: But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
What then is the purpose and value of human leaders? I am glad you asked. The short answer is to help people become fully connected to the Head. This involves a number of things. One of the first parts is helping the person to be born again spiritually and then helping them to grow up spiritually. Each person must have their human spirit made alive by the Life-giving Spirit in order to communicate with Spirit God. Leaders are to disciple them to Christ Jesus. Thus one of the functions of a leader is nurturing people into spiritually mature people who know Christ and can intimately relate to Him and communicate with Him by the Spirit. Obviously the leader himself must be spiritually mature and connected to the throne by the Holy Spirit.
Since being connected to Christ Jesus involves the Holy Spirit, an important part of leadership’s nurturing is helping people to be filled and saturated in the Holy Spirit. There is a measure of the Holy Spirit involved in being born again, and there is a further work of being baptized in the Holy Spirit without which it is not possible to intimately relate to God and experience the fullness of direct headship of Christ Jesus.
Group or Body Leadership
Another part of the function of human leaders is to collectively employ the gifts of God to move as shepherds in front of the group offering themselves as examples of overcoming by the power of the Spirit. This will usually be done in groups by a plurality of leaders as opposed to one person.
All of the functions of human leadership are to be one hundred percent the work of Christ Jesus, the supreme Head, working by the Holy Spirit in spiritually mature leaders.
Human leadership is temporary. Those who nurture function in an individual’s life until the person is spiritually mature. As this happens the relationship changes to that of mature brothers walking in the Spirit together. Those who served as fathers become respected brothers to the mature sons connected directly to their Father through Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit.
Gifted leaders of a group or of a larger portion of the Body are to function until the group or Body is spiritually mature. At which time the brotherhood is all walking in the Spirit and being led directly by the supreme Head Christ Jesus joined fully to the group or the Body by the Spirit and each believer flowing in the priesthood and exercising their gifts. For the whole Body of Christ, this is obviously a work in process that will be completed in the future as the kingdom of God is more fully functioning on earth as it is in heaven.
This is very distinct from the continuing lifetime hierarchal rule of pastors and leaders of the man-driven institutional church systems of the past. The clergy / laity system that has been in place for centuries should not continue in the maturing kingdom-age Body of Christ.
Gal 4:19: My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you.
Eph 4:11-15: And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head; Christ.
The Body of Christ has entered a new season this year 2009.
The season of the shift in the worldwide Body of Christ from two millennia under tutors (human headship) to moving into the direct headship of Christ by the Holy Spirit has begun. God is raising up groups of apostolic leaders to model the kingdom age church reality to the body. These works are not yet perfected but are on the move and worthy of our investigation and participation.
One such group goes by the name Life-messenger and is located in Melbourne, Australia being nurtured by David Orton. Leadershift is their designation for part of the ministry with impact reaching leaders in many nations. A semiannual Leadershift gathering is scheduled for March of this year. To learn more about Lifemessenger and how to get connected please go to their website. www.lifemessenger.org
Edited by Moderator on 01/29/2009 at 12:30pm