In kingdom culture, the relationships are already designed and defined by God. The roles of leadership in those relationships have clearly designed and defined responsibilities that also clarify the authority of the leaders.
To restore kingdom leadership dynamics, we restore kingdom. To restore kingdom as the operational basis for these leadership dynamics, we restore kingdom culture.
We must abandon the idea that we can make kingdom operate in church culture, family culture, or adapt kingdom to any natural culture. The kingdom culture comes from the King, and allegiance to the King means living that culture alone.
Jesus says, “Seek as primary priority the kingdom of God and His right behaviors.” This priority comes at the expense of seeking all the other stuff. It means allegiance to the King and His behaviors prepares and positions us to receive all the stuff. It does not mean we create a subculture, commune, or community based upon the natural culture. It means we establish His culture, the kingdom culture.
False Equality and Rebellion
In contrast, some popularized thinking leads people to the odd conclusion that church operates completely on the level of friend with friend, as if “friend” is the dominant relational dynamic. It is not.
Friend is not described as the dominate relational dynamic of the kingdom culture. So, kingdom culture cannot be founded upon that basis. Kingdom culture begins with submission and obedience to the King, continues in obeying the King’s cultural principles, processes, and protocols. Beginning with modern church-anity and its various relational dynamics can never lead us to restoration of kingdom.
This creates false equality and Korah rebellions against God’s order.
Korah says, “Moses, you and Aaron take too much upon ourselves. All God’s people are holy.”
Moses falls on his face at this level of rebellion, knowing full well the King he meets with in the tent of meeting is not going to take this as a matter of friendship. False equality is a direct attack on the Sovereignty of God.
So is this modern pandemic of false equality. It undermines kingdom culture, fathering leadership, apostolic order, Bible norms, blueprint building, body operations, bride adornment, and produces relational confusion. It leads to odd forms of “church” based upon odd relational dynamics. It stresses individualism at the expense of kingdom.
Note: Jesus does not say, “Begin with getting what you want, and kingdom will meet you there.” He says that you forsake the “what I want” part of natural life to make His kingdom and culture a priority. This primary priority eclipses “what I want” so well that it disappears. Then, the King provides all that I need upon a new basis of relationship with the King, through the kingdom and its culture.
Community and Culture
The church-anity assumption that community is the goal pretty much explains why kingdom is no longer a primary priority for modern believers. The goal of kingdom is oneness with the King; the goal of community is some form of commonality based upon what people seek. Like it or not, modern seeker-friendly approaches are not new. They are the natural consequence of previous community-based definitions of “church.” They are residues of the church growth movement.
The goal of church-anity is community with some form of “spiritual family” dynamics. I put that in quotation marks because “family” in a spiritual sense does not have a design and definition that resembles kingdom culture in church-anity. The family sense of kingdom and the family sense of modern church-anity are not in the same family, so to speak.
We do not have no mandate to form a community. We have a mandate to establish kingdom and kingdom culture. Community as a first order of business seeks friendships. Culture as the kingdom foundation seeks leadership roles so that kingdom influence flows within the kingdom in ore for the kingdom influence to flow into the cultures of the world.
Community is a byproduct. Friendship is a byproduct. The kingdom has community. The kingdom has friendships. Yet, in the kingdom I cannot be friends with another apostle while at the same time ignoring his or her apostolic assignment. I cannot begin with “friend” to interact with them or any other person in the kingdom. In the same way, I cannot make spiritual children my friends in the same sense as “friend” is used in the Bible. The leadership dynamics of fathering and friendship are not the same.
My best friend is my wife, Ruthanne. Still, we do not begin with friendship. We begin with kingdom covenant marriage. If we begin with friends, we do not end up with oneness unless we abandon “friends” and redefine “friendship” on the basis of God’s design and definition of marriage. Marriage arrives with God’s design and definition of roles, and they are not friends. Nor are the “friends with benefits” as a very confused modern culture finds interesting. Our friendship could never have weathered what our covenant has!
A community-based churchanity allows for the free flow of friends in, though, over, within, out, and beyond. It allows for zero commitment, no submission, little obedience, and very limited accountability. Any stress at all, and the friends ghost. They simply disappear and you wonder where the people who said they loved you went. People just go away with no thought of the ghosting except “I want to.”
No kingdom in that! If that’s what you see as “kingdom,” you haven’t read the Bible.
Moderns celebrate the very thing that empties kingdom of its influence in the earth! The ideas espoused do not bring the whole of God’s people toward the goals of God. It is exactly opposite of “seek first.” It is “what I want” first.
Jesus began with a kingdom relational dynamic of discipling. He began maturing apostles. He hasn’t change this approach. The early Ecclesia responded to that dynamic, and the earliest responses of believers to it were immediately productive. They devoted themselves to the apostolic didache, became shareholders of the apostolic order, socially interacted at meals, and prayed the apostolic prayers. [Acts 2:42]
When the believers move away from this order, they immediately begin to lose kingdom culture and shift toward community. The end result loss of apostolic order leads to friendship based interactions without submission to kingdom culture. This produces lawlessness. Lawlessness requires stronger leadership, and the people received dictators. The inclusion of relational dynamics that led to the darkness of the Middles Ages are the direct result of a failure to live in kingdom culture.
I know that people will immediately say that bad leadership and dictatorial leaders led to the dark ages, and I would immediately agree. Apostolic order is not dictatorial, but that is the assumption of people demanding a return to the very thing that require the Reformation! They assume what Jesus designed and defined as kingdom culture normal should be avoided! They buy the idea that because generations fought it, even welcomed dictatorial leadership instead of it, that it is something no longer valid. They are so wrong! The idea that generations fought it has nothing to do with the Bible principles that reveal it. We need to submit to the King’s apostolic order as His design and definition of kingdom leadership. To do that, we need to restore kingdom culture.
Apostolic order assumes kingdom and kingdom culture. Apostolic order assumes the King has blueprints, and the leadership of the kingdom prepares and positions productive people to produce purpose those blueprint designs reveal.
The community-based approach creates false equality, false entitlement, false expectations and leads to lawlessness, thus requiring dictatorial leadership to tame the monster. All forms of community and friendship based approaches to kingdom end up reshaping and redefining “church-anity” for another round of everything but what Jesus wants. The very thing avoided by rejecting apostolic order, perceiving it to be dictatorial, is the result of rejecting it.
We do not currently have a kingdom culture upon which to base an apostolic order. We are very close to assuming that the restoration of kingdom leadership dynamics has been a flop. We do not see them operating at the foundational level, so they are much less effective as they currently attempt to operate.
We see apostles and prophets leading church-anity, and we are getting a bit ill watching that turn into dictatorships. So, we are moving toward community-based models to avoid the one-man show, “set man” mentality. At the same time, we continue to beg for more! The entertainment value of our conferences shows a deep demand for more of the same with new faces: “We now have our own big boys and girls! We’ll show them! We choose our own heroes!” Actually, we do not choose the leaders of the kingdom. The King does.
We are endangering the mini-movements with this failure to restore kingdom and kingdom culture because the conference-based, hype-filled, high-level experience addiction we use to feed the momentum can never produce the needed level of experienced leadership. The kingdom leadership needed to establish kingdom and kingdom culture cannot function without kingdom culture.
If you allow people to attend schools with no measure of moral, financial, or spiritual accountability, just a high-five for a good word, good job for a prayer for healing, and a wow did you see that gold dust mentality for validation of God’s approval, you will feed lawlessness. Without the kingdom relational dynamics, you are not producing kingdom leaders.
We are moving ourselves toward a Charismatic Woodstock.
Signs that Reveal this Trend
- A new call for smaller, “house church” forums.
This call will be made so that we can continue with friendship-based interaction. We can design and define our own relational dynamics, and just have a really good time together with no reference point to transforming nations. Since the words, “house” and “church” are neither one properly understood in the Biblical context, really odd and unbiblical norms will be accepted. With all kinds of Bible thumping going on, people make wild claims about the early church and how God really wants it, missing the theme of kingdom as if the word never appears in Scripture.
“The early church did it this way!” will be the ridiculous cry. Ridiculous because it ignores the Bible, supplies no evidence that the early church had twelve people in a modern American domicile doing what each one thinks Holy Spirit tells them to do. The impact of this trend will be toward natural family dynamics, meeting the needs of people who suddenly experience something broken families did not provide. In scope of ministry, the leadership will be defined by friendship, and the kingdom will not be established. The fact that born in the spirit people who are part of the kingdom meet together in some form does not even approach the meaning of ekklesia. Some even espouse “two or three is a church” and claim to have started thousands of micro churches. As if that could be a kingdom concept of ekklesia.
- To break the back of “big church” and “pastor dominated” regional leadership, a cry will be made to shatter the hold of dominating ministries with “we are all equals” like a church-anity hippie movement of free love. “Wear some flowers in your hair” themes will mean something to people who embrace this, as if symbols and “cool” things will change the world. They will be filled with hope, engaging together in their own forms of a VW van, smoking a joint.
The idea will be that we need to return to leadership based upon friendship and personal potential, “stop giving money to God”, “stop supporting “full-time” ministry”, and “stop getting caught in all the trappings of big church.” We will be exposed in exaggerated forms of self-designed and self-determined ministry. Some books that misinterpret everything the Bible says about “church” will be popularized. People will be encouraged to just have a nice little American life and live in community with some other believers they choose to be friends with. There is so little kingdom in that that the Great Commission can be personalized and individualized. People will experience supernatural peace in these settings because they are their own source of spirituality. Nothing new here.
- No dynamic for the blueprints of apostolic order to lead larger groups is currently available because we have failed to move from the accumulation of kingdom leaders to the maturing of kingdom leaders.
We were enamored with proving there were some for twenty years. Now, we collect apostles and prophets more than mature apostles and prophets. With rare exception, we do not engage in discipling, accept approaches to leadership that are foreign to the King, ignore kingdom leadership dynamics, and invest in magic wand hype to create larger groupings.
We network. Misunderstanding alignment and how alignment relationships work, we even assume that a bigger network means more successful leadership. People suddenly discover that they can be magically prepared and positioned just by getting stuck in an elevator with one of God’s generals. The pandemic of conferencitis fills people with delusions of grandeur, as if the goal of kingdom is a platform for them to have conferences just like the ones they were in. “How to Be a Conference Planner 101” is the most popular course in supernatural school. But a video camera and show the world your healing, prophetic, and touching people anointing. Hit and run for Jesus.
People make bold statements like: Jesus never ministered in a building. As if anything that happens in a building cannot be the highest form of ministry. Or, “the early churches didn’t have any money” so we should receive offerings. As if Jesus didn’t have any money or people caring for His personal needs. (As if the Bible doesn’t exist.)
Conferences are moments to confer. They are not kingdom incubators. They do not produce what experience alone can produce. They allow for cross-pollination and collaboration. They are valid aspects of kingdom, but they do not produce leaders. They don’t even mature leaders that much. They update them and expose them to current thinking. However, that should never occur at the expense of people’s present assignments and alignments.
Conferences should be for leaders to confer more than immature people to assume. Conferences do not disciple, father, prepare, or position.
When the best of the best show off the best of their best, and thousands of naive people are led to believe this will be their futures because it is the new norm, disorder abounds. With no discussion of the experiences that produce such champions or the process of preparation and positioning, attendees are hyped by the moment. Mentioning reality would diminish attendance. The simple fact that 1% of the people in the conference are even called to that leadership role escapes the crowd.
So, the thousands of believers who should be prepared and positioned to function in serving together in a spiritual ecosystem capable of influencing the cultures of the earth are running about trying to find a place where they can have the microphone and live their dreams. The King, they assume, can’t wait to help them become superheroes.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
The blueprints for kingdom culture remain on the shelf, gathering dust. Not one in a thousand can even stand still for the question of “what does our region look like transformed?” let alone begin to answer that question. They are more interested in betting their website and FB page up and running to show the videos they made of their “I’m almost as good as the conference speakers now” presentation.