Transitioning to Five Fold Leadership

Many people have come to believe that the present system of church government/leadership just does not work and there is nothing anyone can do to fix it. This may be so, but just how does a church transition from a Hierarchical Church Leadership Model to a Theocratic Five-Fold Leadership Model? I believe the Lord has shown me 4 simple steps or stages.

Body Ministry

In the first stage a church goes from one dominated by ministry from the pulpit and platform to one which will allow and even encourage the function of Body Ministry. How to do that? Instruct and encourage a free flow of the Gifts of the Spirit in the services. Loosen the sometimes super-tight reins of control. Let people share what God has placed on their hearts and train and release them to minister to one another. Let God be God.

“Releasing” the Five-Fold

In the second stage leadership will not only encourage Body Ministry but also recognize those called into a Five Fold Ministry/Leadership function/office and “release” them to serve in their ministry within the Body of Christ. Pastors lead small groups and care for the flock. Prophets are given room to share a “word from the Lord.” Teachers give and lead classes on topics the Lord has placed on their heart. Evangelists draw in the lost and minister in the miraculous in the church meetings and in the marketplace. And those with an Apostolic anointing do their best to see that all of this takes place.

Those who have
lead the church
into this dimension
have taken a bold,
courageous,
and wonderful step.
They are to be
commended.

I am greatly encouraged to see more and more Spirit-filled churches reach this level of maturity and growth into the pure purposes of God. Those who have lead the church into this dimension have taken a bold, courageous, and wonderful step. They are to be commended. But as wonderful and courageous as it is, it is just not far enough. Church can be made so much more enjoyable, and leading a congregation can become so much easier.

“Working With” the Five-Fold

In the third stage a major paradigm shift takes place as local church leadership sees that the idea of “releasing” Five Fold people is an inadequate and hierarchical concept, especially since God has already equipped and released them. The local church leadership (usually inaccurately and un-biblically called “pastors”) realizes that the old hierarchical church model is not just inadequate; it is an old and unbiblical wineskin that can never contain the New Wine of a fresh move of God. They get tired of having another “wave of the Spirit” sweep through with great services, amazing miracles, wonderful signs and wonders, a series of renewal/revival meetings, all to die down once again in a few weeks or months. They finally see that these fresh moves of God are sent to do more than breathe new life into an old assembly. They see that they are ultimately sent to bring restoration of the Government of God to the local church. The church has come out of Egypt but has been held captive in Babylon for far too long.

Babylon represents all hierarchical systems of church leadership. Yes, God was with the Children of Israel while they were in Babylonian captivity. But that season has come to an end. People are tired of it (sick and tired, actually) and more importantly God is tired of it. He is trying to move us on, or should I say bring us back to the Promised Land of our rightful inheritance.

This shift
in thinking
from “releasing”
to “working with”
the Five Fold
is monumental.

This shift in thinking from “releasing” to “working with” the Five Fold is monumental. It means that leadership no longer functions as top person in a hierarchy where any other Five Fold person is to “submit” to their authority or be fit into the local church structure under them in any way. No, God is putting together a team where each person functions in equality and at this stage leadership works “with” them, listening to their input, and ministering side by side.

Trust

Through stages two and three relationship and trust has slowly but surely been developing between leadership and the Five Fold. Leadership came to see that these people are not there to do any damage. Things worked well when they were “released,” in fact they worked very well. Then the move of God’s Spirit was made even better when leadership went from “releasing” to “working with” them. They simply wanted to use their gifts for the building up of the Body. Maybe something good, even great, could come of all of this after all!

And the Five Fold begin to believe that they really can function in their proper place in the local church. Maybe this is not just another situation full of broken promises that will end in frustration and failure and the need for yet another season of rest and restoration. Each dares to believe that neither will hurt nor betray the other.

Real Five Fold Leadership

Now the local church is ready to move into the fourth and final stage. The leadership model itself is changed. The church is no longer led by some person or persons erroneously called “pastor” or “pastors,” not even one who is willing to work with the Five Fold. No, the church is now lead by an Apostolic Team of those called to Five Fold Ministry/Leadership, all having equal say, equal input, together hearing the voice of God and coming to a consensus as to what He is saying and where He is leading. The person formerly called “pastor” has loosed the reigns of control, no longer even using that inaccurate and inadequate word to describe himself. He has stepped into a higher calling of true leadership and exercises an Apostolic role of oversight and authority, functioning in a mutually submissive relationship with the rest of the team. Now the church can operate according to God’s original design.

Outpouring and Ingathering

Time after time I have seen God try to institute this in the local church. A fresh move of the Holy Spirit hits a church. They enjoy lively services with delightful times of refreshing in the Holy Spirit with wonderful worship, signs and wonders and miracles, souls getting saved, the gifts and callings of God in evidence, and people coming from far and near. Among those who attach themselves to this move of God is a select group of people. Many of them are former “pastors” and leaders, men and women of God who once led a church but who now sit in a pew, ministering from time to time when the Spirit of God moves or opportunity allows. Others are people who have a “ministry.” They are teachers, or prophets, or evangelists. They have come because God is gathering them together.

But they have come to do more than just enjoy church and enjoy God in church. Once again God has gathered them together to give the local church leadership a chance to move from a traditional “church” model into a living dynamic expression of the Kingdom of God. (The Kingdom of God is a place where God is King, and God is not “King” unless His form of church government is in place.) They have been gathered together that they might ultimately become part of an Apostolic Team. Again, as I have explained, this will happen as they are first “released” to minister in the renewal/revival setting, then move on to “work with” the local church leadership, and finally they become the local church leadership and the former church leader now leads this Apostolic Team which together leads the church.

I long to see this happen. In order for it to actually come to pass the person leading the church needs to:

  • see what God is trying to do. That he has brought these Five Fold individuals to the church to do more than enjoy the services, participate, and minister as the Holy Spirit leads. The leadership needs to see that the whole purpose of the move of God is to establish the Government of God.
  • recognize the great gift that God is bringing to their church and focus on coming into relationship with those with leadership gifts whom God has gathered together.
  • fully and completely surrender the pastor’s staff and pick up the Apostles rod. They must stop trying to “pastor” the church and instead become the leader of the team that leads the church. It is impossible to do both. I said it is impossible to do both. It is impossible to operate in the old hierarchical Babylonian system and the Kingdom of God at the same time.

Amazing Transformation

When the church moves from her present form of church government/leadership to a Five Fold model several wonderful things will happen.

  • Ministry and Leadership will become easier and more enjoyable than it ever was before.
  • There will be an explosion of signs, wonders, and miracles. These great works of God are really an expression of the Dominion of God in the natural realm. They are a manifestation of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God cannot fully and freely function when the government of God is not in place. Apostolic Five Fold Teams are God’s way to govern His church.
  • No longer will the New Wine be lost time and time again. It takes a new wine skin to hold the New Wine. The move of God will not just come but will stay and the people of God will go from glory to glory.
  • Fresh revelation will transform the church which will then transform society. But “church” as we now know it will never accomplish societal transformation. That will happen only when we move from a “church” model to a Kingdom model. We have been guilty of trying to make Jesus Lord of the city when we have not allowed Him to be Lord of the church! When His government is not in place, Jesus Christ is NOT Lord among us, no matter how much we sing and proclaim that He is.
  • And, to be blunt, there will be fewer stupid mistakes. Under the traditional leadership structure there is limited wisdom. That is because God simply will not give it all to one person, or two. Rather, He has placed a vast storehouse of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in the hearts and minds of his Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. And He refuses to shift that from the team He is gathering together to the one or two people who now lead “church.” When they function together as equals, each can contribute their insight. No wonder God hates the way things are now being done. It is amazing He visits us at all. It just shows His amazing Love for his sometimes wayward children.
  • And finally, when all Five are in place the saints of God can be fully trained, equipped and released in their gifts to minister as God sees fit. After all, according to Ephesians 4:11- 13 this is what Five Fold Leadership is all about. “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (NIV) Clearly it takes more than just having a “pastor” to accomplish this.

Friend, it is clear to all who will see that the saints of God are called to do more than be warm bodies on the dead wood of a church pew; faithful, tithe paying, offering giving people who look right, think right, act right, and who are “in church” every time the door are opened. They are meant to come into their own destiny and to so have the mind of Christ that they are able to make their own mature decisions about life and living. We are all called to do “works of service” in the authority and power of the Lord Jesus Christ as full grown sons and daughters of the Most High God.

I commend those local church leaders who have served God by serving His people. The ones with whom I have worked and worshipped have been wonderful people who are simply doing the best they can with what they have and know. Their hearts are pure and passionate for God and His purposes. God wants them to see what He is trying to do when He brings all these Five Fold people together. Because they are passionate for His purposes He wants them to see beyond the good meetings and sometimes wild services and amazing manifestations, to see beyond all the fun and excitement and receive a revelation of His ultimate intention. After all, it is impossible to act on what you do not know and have never been taught.

Ingathering . . . and Exodus

But if we do not see or hear what God is saying about the Five Fold and we do not move ahead into the purposes of God we end up with discouragement and disillusionment in the pew, and struggle and strain in the pulpit. Slowly, one by one, Five Fold people begin to leave. Some of the best and most gifted often leave first. It simply is no longer working for them, and most of them don’t even realize why. Their hearts are discontent because in the will of God they are destined for more. And the leadership watches as good people begin to wander away, and they too wonder why. After all, were not these sometimes broken “former leaders” welcomed and “released” to minister? What more do they want? Were they not received with love and open arms?

Churches that were once centers of revival/renewal/refreshing/refilling can slowly but surely lose it bit by bit as the potential Apostolic Leadership Team is broken up one person at a time. Finally, those not called to leadership but called to simply be part of a true Biblical church also begin to leave, often broken hearted and wondering, “What was it all about anyway.”

God Doesn’t Give Up Easily

But when it comes to His plan and purpose for His Church, His Beloved Bride, God can be quite persistent. He doesn’t give up easily. After a while He tries all over again, perhaps in another place led by another man or woman hungry for a move of His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit shows up; it’s party time again. People come from the north, south, east, and west; hungry people, broken people, needy people, God loving people, divine adventurers, people afraid to hope but too hungry not to. And once again, scattered among them is a select group of men and women called by God but frustrated in that call. Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, all whose hearts are looking for an Apostolic leader who will see God’s ultimate intention, realize that these people are an amazing gift of God to the church, hear the call, seize the opportunity and draw together an Apostolic Five Fold Team to lead God’s people out of Babylon back to the Promised Land.

I live in hope.

This is God’s Ultimate Intention for Renewal/Revival

In recent years there has been a fresh move of God accompanied by signs and wonders and great joy and even times of laughter and hilarity in the Holy Spirit. And along with the joy of the Lord came a revelation of the Father Heart of God.

These have been glorious times. Knowing God as our loving Heavenly Father has transformed both our hearts and our worship experience. But I am convinced that as wonderful as it has been it is but God’s way of preparing us for His ultimate intention. Not until we more fully saw God as our Father could the definitive revelation of the Father Heart of God be manifest in the church. That revelation is expressed in those with an Apostolic anointing. The Apostolic shepherds the Family of God with the Heart of the Father and leads the Five Fold Team God has gathered. And together they provide true Biblical leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ.

I am declaring that the Renewal came to usher in a Revolution. A Revolution happens when one form of government is replaced by another. God has no desire to revive, restore, renew, rejuvenate, resuscitate, revivify, repair, revamp, refurbish, revitalize or refresh the present hierarchical, monarchial and Babylonian organization we have come to know as “church.” Rather, He has sent a fresh move of His Holy Spirit to replace the old wineskin with true godly church government/leadership through Five Fold Apostolic Teams. This, my friend, is His ultimate intention.



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