Today I am going to further address the issue of New Covenant governors. In these next series of blogs I will specifically expound upon some of my personal convictions concerning what is often referred to as “five-fold ministry” or what some prefer to refer to as “four-fold ministry”, since some lump the ministry of the teacher and the pastor together as one. My convictions are not so much about whether there are four or whether there are five equipping gifts in the body of Christ, but rather how those nouns activate verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and things of action in the attributes of the body of Christ. Just as we are all human beings and not mere human doings, the body of Christ is a testimony of being and that is what inspires all of its doing in life.
Before I begin I must remind us of the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. The Old Covenant was a covenant of the knowledge of good and evil. It was not God’s choice, but man’s choice by choosing to value decisions of doing as more important than a trust relationship with God and a testimony of being. The knowledge of good and evil is all about decisions of right and wrong and it has little to do with a value of life. We can blame Adam, but we have all had thoughts that amount to seeing life as a matter of right and wrong decisions. We often value the knowledge of good and evil more than we value life. We think that the worst thing that could happen to us in life is to be wrong, so give us enough information about good and enough information about evil so we can choose good. However, it never really works out good in that thought process. In as system of the knowledge of good and evil we need the knowledge of good, but it leaves us short of finding life. It is called the rule of law and conscience. Law and conscience can never really change us they merely control us. The purpose of law and conscience is to say to us there is a God and He is good, but it never changes our true nature and thus we are bound by them and not transformed. The New Covenant is one of grace and truth. It is the testimony of God’s grace that transforms our nature to become a true testimony of truth. It is not merely knowledge of good, but the empowerment of a relationship with the One who is good. The result is that we become good! There is more that I could say in all of this, but I have said this to present that the purpose of equippers in the body of Christ is that of serving the New Covenant and not the Old. The equipping ministries in the church are not meant to focus on the knowledge of good and evil. They are gifts sent to activate grace and truth! They are sent for the purpose of the being of the body of Christ and not merely the doing of the body. As leaders we are not sent to teach people the knowledge of good and evil, but to reveal to them the power of God’s grace.
2 Corinthians 3:17, 18
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
Remember our illustration of the governor on an engine. The governor on an engine doesn’t make the engine run. The design of the engine and the fuel supplied to the engine make it run. The governor on an engine is a regulating device that assures that the supply of fuel to an engine results in uniform motion as well as a limiting of speed in order to make the engine more effective for its workload. That device doesn’t give power to the engine; it merely gives proper focus to the operation of the engine. It is the design of the engine and the fuel supplied to the engine that causes it to be empowered. The governor is simply a directional device to assure the engine accomplishes its greatest purpose. God put the hunt in the hunting dog. The environment of the hunt activates the inherit nature of the hunting dog. God put His grace in the body of Christ. Leadership doesn’t make the body live, grace does. Leadership in the body of Christ is part of the design of God in the church that is given to cause each corporate expression of Christ to have a proper focus and connection to fulfill the purposes of God in the earth.
Proper governors in the church make the government of God effective for work. A governor causes the power of an engine to produce more effective working power. A governor makes an engine effective for work. The government of God is the Holy Spirit and the life of the Holy Spirit in the church. He is the personal connection as God and with God for each member of the body of Christ. The governing of God is within the body of Christ. It includes the expressions of headship and body members.
Jesus gave these gifts for the equipping of the saints: Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. They are not gifts for individuals, but individual gifts given for the profit of the maturing of all believers.
The body of Christ contains the attributes of Christ in His character, nature, way, power, and authority. Like Jesus, the body is apostolic. It is “sent” by God to bring glory to His name. The body is also a source for “sending” life to the world. I believe the apostolic equipping gift is a noun sent to activate, facilitate, and release the “sending” actions and attributes within the design of the body of Christ. An apostolic ministry is one that will send forth other ministries. An apostolic spirit is a sending spirit.
The gift of the prophet should ultimately activate the prophetic testimony of the church. A prophet doesn’t just prophesy; he or she activates a prophetic spirit in the body of Christ. I define prophecy as the testimony of God speaking. God speaks and life happens! The prophetic equipping gifts activate, facilitate, and release God’s voice in the church. The result will be an increase of God’s life in the church and to the world.
The gift of the pastor should activate the members of the Body to care for one another. It is an Old Covenant practice to expect the pastor to be the one who provides all the pastoral care for the members of the body of Christ. The pastor is not the priest of the people. The five-fold ministry is not the priesthood. Every believer is a priest.
An evangelist should not only evangelize, they should activate an evangelistic spirit in the believers. The passion and compassion of Christ should manifest with attributes and actions of reaching the lost and a revealing of God’s miracle power of grace.
The equipping gift of the teacher is not meant to teach as teachers did in the Law. They are not the revealers of principles and truths, but the activators of the Mentor Christ and the connection of truth through a grassroots discipleship reality within the body of Christ.
I will continue more in my next blog, but for now please consider the importance of the attributes of the church. The work of ministry is more important than the mere equipping of ministry, but the equipping is necessary to raise up the body of life!
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson