This Leadership Business

Perhaps I might share some overall impressions.

Some years ago now, a brother in The Lord made a plea for us to “…overcompensate by not using the word “rule” which will lead many to misunderstand the term and thus interpret it as controlling. Instead we should use definitions such as “lead,” “guide,” ‘care for,” “watch over,” etc. that will keep us focused on serving God’s people.”

Many of us can appreciate this need to “overcompensate,” as coming from so much abuse of authority in what’s been calling itself “church.”

My brother had gone on to say,

“We all know these forms of bondage are practiced in various degrees of severity among us and that these issues have been discussed for several years now. Jay, you say ‘With the revelation from The Father of Christ and His cross, we can set the captives free, the gates of Hell don’t stand a chance against us. The sons of hell, the Satanic gate keepers have been completely disarmed.’ Suppose I am in one of these “churches,” how are you going to set me free? Where will I go if I leave the “church” I am currently in? I believe we need to go beyond speaking in generalities and start pointing to specific solutions. This is not an exercise in head knowledge but a real time crisis among God’s people. Many suffer in silence as we speak but what solutions can we offer?”

I responded:

“Certainly I can hear your pain, and the pain of all those who suffer at the hands of ‘the children of the slave woman.’ I would like to suggest another possibility than ‘overcompensation,’ however. Your following paragraph reminded me of something, which, I think is very important in this connection:

He had written:

“My main plea to you that begs for a response is please give me specific day to day examples of what authority over the ministry and authority over the church (God’s family) means. Does authority over the ministry mean controlling how a church service is to be run? Is the minister to control every aspect of the church service (who speaks when, who plays what instrument, what is taught, what is studied)? If authority over the ministry means any of those things then the family members are directly affected. Does ministerial authority extend beyond the ‘service’ or meeting and continue on when the building doors close? If not then what does authority over the ministry mean? Does it mean deciding where to travel to preach the word and who to bring with us? If so, does not every man who is led by the Spirit have the opportunity to have the Holy Ghost speak to him on these matters and not just ‘apostles’?”

My response:

“Our model, much like that of Luther, remains too religious, too ministerial, too institutional, too programmatic. The result of all of this is that our language has been destroyed. It has become too loaded. There is too much jargon, too much lingo, all of it loaded, all of it tending toward exclusivity and isolation. God The Father is more than willing to speak the language of those he is trying to reach. We, on the other hand, are inclined to speak the language of the already reached.

God The Father had already spoken through the law and the prophets, but more recently, He has said, in effect, ‘in other words, ‘Jesus.’ I would add that, God The Father still wants to say what He has already said, but in other words, and he wants the other words to be us – how we are and what we say. And the reason that He needs to say, ‘in other words,’ is because the words already used, have not yet reached those that God is trying to reach.

God has already spoken to them, about the invisible things of Himself, through the things created. That’s already enough to leave them without excuse but in His mercy God is willing to say it all again in other words through us.

In the old creation, He has revealed to the created things how he does life. Now in a new creation He is doing life once more, and we already know how He does life, and that is the model, not all of the religious edifices and structures that we have set up.

We know what elders are from life, and that is the way we ought to understand them for new life as well. We know how God nurtures life in the old creation, and that is the way life should be nurtured in the new creation as well.

But until we begin to live this out in relationships that Jesus has done, relationships that Jesus has revealed to us and is sustaining in us, we have very little to say, if anything, to a world which has long since lost track of how to get along with itself. In other words, I have no business trying to call God’s people out of Babylon, until I am manifestly living somewhere else. The People of God need an alternative place to live. I call that place, ‘relationships that come from God.’ They can be found from house to house, in the Spirit. God wants to nurture people in households, not in institutions. Healthy parents do not try to make retards out of their children for the sake of parental ego gratification. This is so clear as it has been worked out in the things created, that we truly are ‘without excuse,’ Romans 1:20.

For 1700 years, the church has been more a display case for the male ego, than it has been the revelation of the life of God’s Son. In an old creation place, God wants to superimpose only one new creation place, not two or more. Once we let go of that geographical constraint, all hell breaks loose, and that is what we have, and we have it in the name of the Lord. May I say, ‘This should not be.’

He responded:

“So, yes, the sheep of God’s pasture want to be one but not with the goats. It is unfortunate that the word ‘unity’ sends such warning bells in my mind but I believe ‘unity’ is an integral part of the great deception ‘that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

I continued:

“As for unity, there are, at least two kinds, one is Spiritual, and the other carnal. Let’s not throw out the spiritual because of the threat of the carnal. There is only one, “where I live.” That is true for everyone. Let’s not offer two or more alternatives, in the same place, that is a violation, not a manifestation of God’s heart. If you can separate the goats from the tares, you are doing well, but unfortunately the tares are left to grow in the same field as the wheat, at least until the time of the harvest.

My next-door neighbor may be an abusive parent and husband or wife, but that does not give me the right to have him thrown out of town. It is enough if I can live in, and model a redemptive alternative in my own house, without dictating how he or she behaves in his or hers. I am now speaking of spiritual households. A household is one thing, a “church” is quite another. Lets not get the two confused, and lets not allow the fact that the body has many parts to be an excuse to dismantle the Body and call the parts the whole.

Finally, when I speak of elders, I am not speaking of old creation years of age, but rather New Creation years of age and service. I believe that it was Paul’s concern for Timothy that people not look down on him because he was young in old creation years. The fact was that Timothy was mature in New Creation years, and in The Lord, that is what counts for something.”


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5 Responses to This Leadership Business

  1. George Dunn says:

    A resounding and timeless AMEN! Here is wast I hear, It is not prudent, nor in the long term possible to put New Wine into old wine skins..they will burst! The old worldly paradigms…the old worldly concepts…the old worldly institutions…the old worldly verbiage cannot contain the new wine of the spirit. it needs to go!

    The old ‘leadership” – lording it over – corporate pyramidal – top down – authorized – paradigm “CANNOT”…I SAY CANNOT – contain, hold, be a repository for the new wine of the Spirit. No matter how hard we try to reform, update, modernize it…IT WILL NOT DO!

    The phrase “authority over the ministry and authority over the church…must be thrown out…It is NOT a vessel crafted by the Lord. There is no OVER…over implies that there are those UNDER. Leader implies there are those who are”followers”….We are called to follow Christ…AND…as Paul would write…we are to be imitators even as those exaples we have in the lives of men are imitators of Christ.

    Let’s abandon all such nonsense and press on to maturity.

    Thanks for this reminder, Jay.


  2. ,(in other words) seem to work best for both parties.I don’t talk like a king james book.I talk in laymen terms. It seems the more sincere.more direct. The arrow comes closer to the mark.It gives my non saved friends a chance to think for themselves, and make there own choice which they are responsible for…”Free will is a gift given to us all” In other words listen to people from where thier at and answer from your own experience with Jesus. I really dig the diolog going on here Please keep me in the loop.It helps me out too.

  3. Ron says:


    Decided to check you out because I’m considering attending the Searching Together conference/get together. In doing so I came across this post and decided to add some thoughts on the subject of leadership.

    Western style Christianity is fixated upon the politics of the world and has adopted many of its patterns, including leadership. This obsession has plagued Christianity for at least 17 centuries and only serves to empower temporal politics while sabotaging the teaching and life of Christ, His Kingdom and the politics of His Kingdom.

    Christ did not lead from the center of power (Jerusalem or Rome) but from the margins. He was born into a marginalized part of society and lived His life out within that framework. Here are some snippets from an article by Len Hjalmarson entitled “Leading from the Margins” that far exceeds my ability to articulate.

    Leading From The Margins
    “The legacy of Constantine and of the Enlightenment gave us a church of the center, a church allied with the dominant forms of economic, intellectual, cultural and social life. This dominant text was marked by compromise. The church made claims to certainty, but also had to accept responsibility for certitudes in support of the empire. We ended with compromise, and rationalization of the Gospel that was “worldly wisdom,” devoid of life and power…
    In this postmodern transition we are increasingly suspicious of the scripting of reality that has been transmitted to us by a church immersed in culture. We are becoming aware that the most faithful expressions of kingdom life are not at the center, but at the margins of society, and that power subverts faithfulness. We shouldn’t be surprised; it has always been so…
    Many Christians (over the past centuries) have found ways to dissent from the coercive measures necessary to ensure social order in the name of Christ. What we are saying is that in the twilight of that world, we have an opportunity to discover what has and always is the case – that the church, as those called out by God, embodies a social alternative that the world cannot on its own know…
    As ministry decentralizes.. moves to homes, malls, pubs.. the internet.. fractal networks and reduced structure… and as we move away from positions and roles and titles to functional leadership, we are learning to lead from the margins.
    Greater numbers of people are providing leadership today because they are leading from unusual places. They often lack resources and formal training, but are willing to risk responding to the call of God in their lives. They often lack the legitimation of established structures and well-funded organizations, but they have the approval of God.
    While this movement to the margins is outwardly a shift in position, it is also a shift in the locus of authority. The choice to abandon worldly status is clearly articulated by Mark Strom in “Reframing Paul,” as a call to a new social reality: “Academic, congregational and denominational life functions along clear lines of rank, status and honor. We preach that the gospel has ended elitism, but we rarely allow the implications to go beyond ideas. Paul, however, actually stepped down in the world. Paul urged leaders to imitate his personal example of how the message of Jesus inverted status…” He refused to show favoritism towards individuals or ekklesia. The gospel offered him rights, but he refused them. Christ was not a means to a career. Yet the agendas and processes of maintaining and reforming evangelical life and thought remain the domain of professional scholars and clergy. Their ministry is their career. Dying and rising with Christ meant status reversal. In Paul’s case, he deliberately stepped down in the world. We must not romanticize this choice. He felt the shame of it amongst his peers and potential patrons, yet held it as the mark of his sincerity.
    Where once leadership was seen to come from the front, from appointed persons in defined roles, from paid professionals, and from the few to the many, now leadership often comes from the one walking beside us. Instead of the Wizard, it is Dorothy who has wisdom. Instead of Aragorn or Gandalf, it is Frodo whose obedience may be the fulcrum for change. The implication is a relocation of authority and the disentanglement of leadership from authority. We won’t attempt a definition of leadership; rather I invite you to come along on a partnership in discovery. We are searching for wisdom from the margins.
    “Fresh expressions of the church will come from the margins of society, where they will radically reshape both our understanding of the church and the gospel”
    As we live out new ways of leading faithful communities,
    •Instead of leading from over, we lead from among.
    •Instead of leading from certainty, we lead by exploration, cooperation and faith.
    •Instead of leading from power, we lead in emptiness depending on Jesus
    •Instead of leading from a plan, we lead with attention
    •Instead of leading as managers, we lead as mystics and poets, “speaking poetry in a prose flattened world” and articulating a common future
    •Instead of leading compulsively, we lead with inner freedom
    •Instead of leading from the center, we lead from the margins.”

    In case your interested, the full article can be found at

    Hope to see you at the get together.

    In His Peace,
    Ron Cabay

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