Some of you say, “I am a follower of Paul.” Others say, “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow only Christ.”
These verses support for three or four scenarios of leadership perspectives.
- I follow no one but Christ.
- I follow no one at all.
- I follow whomever I choose.
- The leader who baptized me has a claim on me.
First, these verses do not support the idea that we all follow Christ on an equal plane with all other leaders. Paul is specific about this. The idea that “I follow only Christ” is as dysfunctional as “I follow Apollos.”
Second, Paul do not say “I follow no one” and makes that clear in the foundations discussion that follows.
Third, Paul is specific about not following the leader you choose.
Fourth, Paul will clarify that a spiritual father is not the person who leads you to Jesus or baptizes you.
Paul clarifies kingdom leadership. He begins with the King. The word “leadership” is not a prevailing Bible term. It is a modern English word. Leadership dominates the Message because Christ and kingdom dominate the Message.
Paul describes leadership in 1 Corinthians with building metaphors. Paul describes leadership in body and bride metaphors in Ephesians. Paul describes kingdom in everything he writes.
Here, he speaks of kingdom leadership functions in architectural context. Christ the foundation. Paul the foundation. Leaders building upon the foundation.
- Paul does not paint a picture of each individual building his own building. Paul does not paint a picture of each individual deciding to be a window or door or brick. Paul does not paint a picture of each of us walking away with kingdom blueprints. He does see us building whatever pleases us. Paul does not paint a picture of each of us building what Christ wants us to build.
Paul sees Christ as a Cornerstone foundation that sets width, height, and breadth. Paul constructs all from Him. Paul builds by blueprints He gives. Paul does not build it all. Every other leader with blueprints builds from Christ’s point of reference. Every other leader builds from Paul’s foundation. Every believer builds his person blueprint purpose into that schematic.
He says this results in everyone belonging to Christ having all they need. If we follow this process and protocol, all that Christ provides is available to us. If we choose a faction, we limit what is available.
“All things belong to you” is a kingdom condition.
In other words, kingdom culture provides each citizen access to the kingdom resource. The distribution is consistent with individual assignment, but kingdom provision is available.
Fragmentation or division within the Ecclesia means kingdom resources fragment. We have something someone else needs, and we lack something only someone else can supply. When we demand more than is ours, kingdom division becomes kingdom limitation.
Immaturity and Insecurity
The comments Paul makes about the cause of this division reveal two characteristics. Immaturity in seeking identity in human leaders. Insecurity in seeking supply from human leaders. Leaders are not sources.
Leaders are not spiritual DNA sources. Leaders share. Followers take a share and hold a share. Leaders who clone are Pharaohs. “Leader as resource” limits trust in Kingdom supply.
Reaching to leaders for identity distorts the identity of the leader. Reaching for provision from a leader limits the supply from the King.