Jesus bestowed leaders upon His kingdom to prepare and position its citizens for assembly into His building, body, and bride.
They are listed. There is no “and others” to the list or mentioned in any other place. Deacons are not leaders. Elders are the same leaders as listed here.
Everyone is a leader in the kingdom because the kingdom represents the leadership influence of Jesus Himself. Within the kingdom, however, these eldering leaders are positioned “over” because they have oversight. It is positional in the sense of perspective, authority, responsibility, and accountability.
Within the five kingdom leadership dynamics, there is no hierarchy by title, but there is definitive (by definition) difference in the roles of leadership. For example, a shepherd cannot “apostle” even when he is apostolic. The apostle’s role, by definition of authority, responsibility, and accountability, has greater oversight than a shepherd.
Beware the simplistic insistence upon false equality. There is none possible where the King defines the roles. There is not “I am better and bigger than you” in this equation. There is none of that in the entire kingdom! That is beside the point. (If that is all you can talk about, you have a problem with authority. Admit it. Quit it. Stop changing the subject all the time.)
Beware the false equality that “I’m OK and you’re OK” so we can go along to get along and eat pink cotton candy all day. Smoochie smooch! We will have some real fusses if we are passionate enough to represent Jesus. If you think being like Jesus means you never get angry, we are glad you are not the leader.
The five kingdom leadership dynamics function together. Prophets and apostles are foundational and operate in tandem. Teacher train. Evangels announce. Shepherd protect and provide.
Kingdom Context, Please
To understand this leadership dynamic, you have to step outside modern church-anity and look at kingdom culture. Otherwise, you are hammering the whole thing into something designed for a different leadership paradigm. You cannot make this leadership fit the modern church. It will never match. It is not church leadership. It is kingdom leadership.
That is why turning a church into a Kingdom Center is impossible. It never works because it never happens. It becomes a hybrid. It changes both structure and leadership dynamics to fit something in between that satisfies enough people that a ministry still exists when we clear the smoke and debris.
To lead as an apostle, you have to produce an apostolic people, apostolic leaders. You produce apostolic prophets, teachers, evangels, and shepherds. Otherwise, you create division. For example, you breed shepherds who want to be treated like sheep if you do not produce apostolic shepherds. They will stare at wolves instead of protecting sheep from them. (This is precisely what modern shepherds do.)
To lead as a prophet, you have to produce prophetic people. Since apostolic people are prophetic, the apostolic people readily mature prophetically. To lead as a teacher, you have to produce teachable people. Since the apostle and prophet produce apostolic and prophetic people who are teachable, your job is all about maturing people who stay instead of run off to hide under the balcony at a seeker-friendly forum.
To lead as an evangel, you have to produce evangelistic people. To lead as a shepherd, you have to produce sheep. That is a cultural behavior, not a professional skill. Sheep is a behavior. Evangelism is a behavior.
A shepherd cannot lead a kingdom nor an Ecclesia. He can lead sheep until they mature enough to feed themselves and protect themselves. Shepherds cannot lead warriors, chefs, and restaurant managers. Sheep do not stay sheep if they are part of an apostolic matrix. The metaphor cannot hold them in eternal “baaah.”
We are moving from apostolic restoration to apostolic reformation because apostles and prophets can read blueprints. We are in the next phase of this kingdom reset. In the Roaring Twenties, we will re-pioneer kingdom culture, apostolic order, and apostles and prophets will function at the foundational level.