Last time I said I had more to come on the topic of “Overseer” and, I do. 🙂
If I left this topic at this juncture, I would do you a disservice, and not really give a comprehensive critique on how church’s misunderstand Biblical governing. I have met superb board members who understood their role as a deacon – which is defined in Scripture as overseers of non-ministry issues including areas of expertise they have like administration, business, finance, investing, building, building programs, maintenance, policy making, management.
NOW I ASK YOU – are not THESE areas incredibly important? You bet!
Now there are many church structures that actually hold to the Biblical model of overseer (bishop, shepherds/pastors of the flock) and deacon (non-ministry directors and leaders) all in one group that, for important legal matters in the USA, all function as the “BOARD” and have “BYLAWS” and “PROCEDURES” and have to legally operate in certain standards.
It is my opinion that this is more than enough “accountability” in the church without removing the Biblical mandate for spiritual leadership from the OVERSEER calling and OFFICE.
But spiritually speaking, the deacon calling is subservient to the OVERSEER calling.
Whenever you have people who personally do not have the calling of an OVERSEER start taking authority AS AN OVERSEER, they are out of alignment, and just as much in error as I would be if I walked into a room full of doctors and “took control” even though, I have never been to med school and I do not have a license to heal.
There are many “board run” churches that think they are in God’s will, and 95% of these are out of God’s will and under His judgement. It comes down to this – you want to control Israel, then you better be MOSES! And what I mean by that is what I have said above – have you personally been called to lead the church? Do you have that inner confidence that your life is a life, both personally and publicly, where your desire is to always walk in the Spirit, and look for the spirit’s leading in your decision making and you have learned how to rely on the Holy Spirit as your provider? If so, then YOU ARE MOSES! Then lead like MOSES!
Our Lord learned obedience through what he suffered. If you think you are so SMART, or ACCOMPLISHED that you don’t need any of this preparation, then I would never, ever join in anything with you, and would never put my family under the leadership of someone or some group that does not rely on the Spirit in similar fashion. In fact there are psalms where David prays and proclaims the very same – that he will not fellowship with a brother or sister that does not walk in the spirit’s leading, anointing and power.
And here is the KICKER – you know why David said he would not do that? Because people who are in charge of David do not like David. They get jealous of David. They throw spears at David. They hate the respect and honor people give to David, and like Saul, quite frankly, they are jealous that people do not treat them the same way. And the stupidity of the whole thing is this – they COULD HAVE THAT HONOR TODAY, if they would just start living like David chose to live. Oh, but they are too proud for that.
See my point?
I was a New Pharisee, you see. In some ways that New Pharisee still lives in me!! My life goal is to rid myself of him more and more. So I know what I speak. And I am telling you, the church today we are allowing 90% of what we do to feed that New Pharisee within us! That is why we are the only nation that is not keeping up with the birth rate in terms of the spread of the Christian faith. We spend 95% of the world’s resources, on what? US! Our honor! Our kingdoms! OUR CHURCH.
No. This is God’s church. Let your hands free of it, if you know what is eternally coming to you if you do not.
And remember, Pharisees were not originally bad people, they were the BEST PEOPLE! That’s right. Can I remind you that the Apostle Paul was once the Pharisee of Pharisees – SAUL! (Not King Saul, of Old Testament fame – who was the one so jealous of David that he made it his life’s goal to kill David and rid the earth of David. Unfortunately, Saul was also David’s king. Wow. Messed up. And on more than one occasion, it was the Philistines – the swarn enemy of Israel, that protected David from Saul and his men.)
Now this does NOT MEAN that anyone who is not paid, full-time staff with the title of “pastor” is eliminated from this calling of OVERSEER. Like I said, if someone is found to be of mature faith, ministry experience and personal ministry preparation, and the church leaders feel a calling on their life as an OVERSEER, then with a brief prayer of dedication and commissioning, that individual can be honored as an OVERSEER (Must have 1 of the 5 fold ministry overseer gifts found in Ephesians 4) and be both available to be voted in when the opportunity comes for board nominations, and also either paid part-time as an official pastoral staff leader, or simply affirmed as a volunteer pastoral staff leader. But almost always, that OVERSEER person would be brought into the staff shepherding of the senior pastor (bishop) of that flock; certainly that SHOULD be the next step.
Again, Stephen comes to mind. Officially he was a deacon. But obviously he progressed to a prophet if not teacher and evangelist and could easily serve as an OVERSEER on a local church level.
Some full-time paid staff who have a title of pastor are also very gifted in business, management, building and maintenance. They also operate in a DUAL calling.
Some deacons on a church board could also operate as a volunteer or paid minister, and actually be asked to shepherd a segment of the congregation. AKA – serving as an under shepherd “Pastor of Music, Seniors Pastor, Singles Pastor, Youth Pastor, Children’s Pastor, Hispanic Pastor, Asian Pastor, Urban Pastor…”
I think the most wonderful thing in the world is when a successful businessman serves as a deacon on a church board, and begins to feel a calling to serve as a shepherd or OVERSEER. (This is always accompanied by a deep sense of personal unworthiness and humility. If it is GOD that is doing the drawing. If someone is trying to assert themselves to this role – then they usually have to use pride and manipulative actions to try to achieve the same. Again – terrible. Many do this. They are attracted to power, honor, authority, and they want it. This is never what is happening in the heart of a legit man or woman who is being called by God. Just FYI)
You know – I would rather have the reluctant leader 99 times out of 100. Because once all the silly, self-centered vain motivations for leading are stripped away, no one would choose to lead in their right minds because of the difficulties and fires it will surely bring them. The only RIGHT MOTIVE is the same as Jesus told the 12 – you must deny yourself, pick up our cross and follow me.
Basically Jesus said, do it if it kills you.
Lead for me. Lead like me. Let me so fill your soul, spirit body that it is almost like I (Jesus) am leading myself, just from your body, mind and soul.
Now THAT is what I call, Spirit-led living.