A leader becomes increasingly specialized as he matures in leadership.
Modern preparation extends the scope of learning beyond that which education assumed in Bible times. “School” concerned itself with preparation to do something. Discipling was not much different.
If one wished to be a scribe, you was discipled by a scribe. If one wished to a priest, a priest became the mentor. If one looked forward to a trade, the discipler was doing that trade.
When Jesus asked men to follow Him, He was inviting them into a specialized training for a very specific life’s work. He was not discipling lawyers or doctors. He was discipling apostles. It was a specialized course of study, so to speak.
As the disciples matured into apostles, they become increasingly specialized. They were going to live “all in” as special representatives of Jesus. They were not ever going to fit back into their precious lives. They didn’t lose their skill sets from previous training. They became so specialized that those could not be priorities.
It wasn’t a sin for Simon Peter to go fishing. It wasn’t a sin for Matthew to involve himself in investments. It wasn’t a sin for Luke to practice medicine. It was a matter of priority of purpose.
Modern Leadership Preparation
If we fail to see the kingdom as a culture, we fail to lay foundations for the specific roles each kingdom leader fulfills. We create a paradigm in church-anity of a pastor-led ministry, and the pastor needs to fill all the roles of kingdom leadership. We make no room for specialization unless we operate in some form of team ministry.
We force feed a general leadership response upon leaders without the spiritual capacities to fit the role and fulfill the responsibilities. We hire people to fill our weaknesses but do not position them as leaders.
Elders as Specialists
The word “elder” includes two fundamental meaning: expertise and experience. It speaks of specialization. It assumes that someone has reached an observable level in that specialization. It has no meaning that includes generalization.
It does not assume a person is a jack of all trades but master of none. It does not consider a generalist available to respond to all people for all needs. It assumes a developed expertise that includes the tests of leadership in that specialization.
No other group of people can fit this assumed role like kingdom leaders. They are the five aspects of the ministry of Jesus. They represent Him in the kingdom to prepare and position the Ecclesia. They have the specialization, at the higher level of experienced expertise.
Since Paul established kingdom and Ecclesia formed in the places where kingdom culture was operational, the experts with experience he appointed as elders represented him in leadership. He gave them specialized roles. They answered to him at the same scope of his assigned authority. He never walked away with the idea that this Ecclesia was no longer his responsibility. He expected and received reports.
But, the elders he placed had specialized expertise. It was the assumption of preparation and positioning in that time. It remains so in our time.
Prepare and Position
Every kingdom citizen has specialization in their spiritual resume. Paul makes this clear through the metaphors of Ecclesia and discussions of the operational integrity of the spiritual eco-system.
We want to prepare people in answer to their demands so they can position themselves. They will blame God for the decision in order to trump any leader’s input. This is dysfunction to the extreme.
Our present training systems have no mechanism for preparing and positioning because they assume generalization will best serve the demanding constituency. What do people want? is the first question, not what does God want?
The kingdom culture never assumes that people can choose a general preparation in order to determine at a later date what they intend to do in the kingdom. The King determines that. He begins at the creation of the individual, and His assumptions carry through to calling, charismatic gifting, and Providential pathway. He is in charge.
So, the preparation and positioning of kingdom citizens within the eco-system is a leadership process that responds to and represents the King. Destiny is not a whim. Destiny is tied to purpose.
If we have a deficiency, we have failed to prepare people properly.
“But, I Want to be an Apostle”
The first premise of people who want to be an apostle is the error we could identify with the question, “Who is in charge?” People wish to assume there is a high office that cancels accountability to other people. They want to be in charge.
This means they are unprepared. They cannot be positioned where the King created them to be because they resist positioning. They wish to negotiate for a position they think provides power and control.
Let us be clear, anyone who is controlling is not functioning as an apostle. An apostle is in charge, but not in control. The apostle has blueprints. He is not in control. He is responsible to see that no one else is in control but the King. He is in charge to limit the control of out of control people.
People created to be lungs who want to be ears rebel. People created and prepared to be a brick wish to be doors. People created and prepared to be a sleeve wish to be a crown on the head of the Bride. Someone in charge says, “No.” This is not control.
God is not in control. God is in charge. His representatives are not in control. They are in charge. If God were in control, things would be complete. They are not.
A New Paradigm of Preparation
At present, our preparation is dismal in approach to purpose. We have schools with nothing but generalization as a goal. We do not have fathering leadership in our preparation process. We do not have any intention of positioning even though this is the responsibility of elders.
We teach people to do everything without a thought of expertise and experience that leads to living in personal leadership. It leads to living without leadership.
“Filling the Earth with prepared people.” [Duh]
It is not possible to prepare without discovery and discernment of position.
This leads to a systematic superstition about mantles, successors, anointing, and calling. Paul had no successors. Paul had inheritors. Many people were required to fill Paul’s empty place. They were not taking Paul’s place. They were expanding Paul’s assignment.
Jesus didn’t appoint Simon Peter as His successor. That is ridiculous. That is laughable. That is stupid. Jesus could not have a successor. No one in the kingdom does.
Jesus has inheritors. The inheritors have leaders. The leaders are elders.
The reason you find your DNA where Jesus sends you reaches back to His guiding your steps. It is the positioning of your discipling and fathering that leads to the positioning of your life’s work. You find your connection to purpose where Jesus assigns you. Reject that, and you are wandering about in waste.