Christ in humanity is a true expression of family. This is the testimony of the true church. The church, the body of Christ, is a testimony of God’s family. I believe that leadership in the church is really a role of family. It is an expression of dads, moms, brothers, sisters, husbands, and wives revealing the fruit of love through manifold expressions of family. It is not an organized structure, a socialistic or capitalistic society, an expression of business, or some purposed ministry. It is a family that can be seen in various forms of structure, expressed in socialistic and capitalistic ways, purpose driven through kingdom business ventures, and revealed in various expressions of ministry. The apostle Paul wrote that Jesus and the Church is really a testimony of a husband and a wife. That husband is the masculine expression of Christ’s family and that wife is the feminine expression. These two attributes together reveal the nucleus of family. Paul began by revealing three things that a wife is must do concerning submission to her husband.
Ephesians 5:22-24 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
In these verses the wife is to submit to her husband as the church does to Christ. She is to submit to him in everything. Under the paradigm of the curse of the fall this is a recipe for disaster. The curse of the fall left the wife bound to a condition of worry and pain, a desire for her husband, and a situation where the husband rules over the wife. Under the paradigm of the fall these words are words of a curse and not words of blessing.
Genesis 3:16 To the woman He said: “ I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”
Whereas the curse left the wife with a temptation to fear death, a suppressed identity, and bondage under dominant control, the blessings of Christ have brought an activation of life, a facilitation of life, and a release of life to the church in her fullness. This is the life given to the bride of Christ through the headship of Christ. This is the life of the body revealed as the feminine expression of mankind in Christ. The masculine expression is seen as that which activates life, facilitates life, and releases life in the full expression of the family of God.
Ephesians 5:25-29 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.
Godly leadership in the church must not dominate or control. It must seek to activate, facilitate, and release the members of the church to the true testimony of Christ’s life within them. The masculine expression of God is that of protecting life, while the feminine expression of God is that of being a life-giver. The verses in Ephesians reveal that there are three aspects to protecting life. The husband is to:
Love as Christ and give himself for her
Sanctify and cleanse her with washing by the word
Present her to himself a glorious church
These are the very things that Jesus did for us. Husbands must do this for their wives, and the leadership aspect of Christ’s government must do the same for the church. To love and to give as Christ, is to provide and supply the needed resources for life. We love Jesus, because He first loved us. Church members will love leaders, because leaders first love them. New Covenant leadership seeks to provide each member with whatever is needed to bring them to faith in Christ. They do not rule them through natural tactics that promote fear that leads to bondage. They seek to activate each member to the faith of life and function in Him.
Leaders must sanctify and cleanse church members with washing by the word. This is the ‘rhema’ (GSRN 4487) word. These are God’s words from their mouths. This is not the letter of the Law, but Spirit-words of life! This sanctification is one of protection and shelter in the Spirit. Leaders must seek to facilitate the identity of each church member. They seek to help each member find their identity in the Father of lights. Only by this can they be the true light of Christ in the church. New Covenant leadership doesn’t seek to force church members to find their identity in them, they facilitate members to find their identity in Christ.
Leaders must seek to present church members ‘along side’ them as a glorious church. This is a leadership role of propagating and expanding the destiny of the church. This is the ‘release’ of every member to his or her role in ministry. New Covenant leaders don’t seek to control church members. They seek to release them for the purpose of Christ’s kingdom in the earth. The Greek word for ‘present’ in Eph. 5:27 is the GSRN 3936: “paristemi, par-is´-tay-mee, or prolonged paristano, par-is-tan´-o; from GSRN 3844 and GSRN 2476; to stand beside, i.e. (transitively) to exhibit, proffer, (specially), recommend, (figuratively) substantiate; or (intransitively) to be at hand (or ready), aid”. As you can see, this is everything but dominant control!
In order to lead in this way, every member of every leadership team must be empowered by God’s Spirit of Might. They must seek to love God and people more than ministry. Prickly things cannot distract them. Obstacles, obstructions, circumstances, challenges, or other desires cannot deter them from leading with a love for God and for His people. New Covenant leaders must be empowered by the Spirit of Knowing. They must increasingly know the communion of the Spirit and of the saints. New Covenant leaders must also seek to be led by God’s Spirit. They cannot be circumstantially ruled. The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord must empower them to have an awe of God and His plan for every member entrusted to their leadership.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson