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    Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    Jesus View On Church (Pt. 5)

    Paul does give a charge to both men as to what they are to focus on. This gives us the role of the lead pastor of a church. This is where we see leadership and authority in the Body. Paul outlines a lot of directives in 1 Timothy 4:1-16; 6:11-21 about what Timothy (and in my mind all lead pastors) should be about. Once such directive is for Timothy to: “Until I come, devote yourself to public reading of Scripture, to preaching and teaching…” (1 Timothy 4:11).

    The Christian and Missionary Alliance fits more of the Presbyterian mode of governance, which is from what I can find the most Biblical way to govern the church of our Lord. Authority within the church body is given to the Senior (Lead) Pastor to preach the Word, teach the Word and lead the church with the Vision God has given him. He is the leader seeking out what God has for the congregation in which he leads. He is the upfront leader. Also, within the church the congregation brings forth names for the election of elder, deacon and overseer who have all the qualities laid down by 1 Timothy 3.

    Within the C&MA, there is also higher oversight than simply within the church alone. This keeps the entire church body in check. The constituted authority laid down by the C&MA is thus: The National Office, District Office, and Local Church. The local church is overseen by the District Office in which it finds itself, the National Office then oversees the District Office. These are amazing checks and balances that allow the church as a whole to function better than if it were a single standing church. This ensures a flow of healthy living for all churches, pastors and leaders within the C&MA. Are there still issues? Yes! However, this system of governance allows for less.

    In 1 Corinthians, Paul describes how the church is the Body of Christ and how just as in a normal human body, there are many parts that do different things, so it is with the Church.
    Some have different gifts than others and it is this that allows the church to function best.

    Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts. And now I will show you the most excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:27-31)

    This to me is the relationship among the members of the church. We are all one Body, given to different gifts, but we all operate under the same Spirit, which is the Spirit of God. Even the Pastor is under this Spirit, so his leadership is headed by Christ, just as ours is. Christ is the head of our churches, not man. We have a governance to check and balance the men in control, but ultimately we are the Bride of Christ and his to lead, we as pastors are simply stewards. This is how members interact as a singular body, we recognize the headship of Jesus, realize we all have different parts to play, and then seek out what it is Christ has for us to play out. The leader gives the call to a vision, the elders, deacons and overseers lead the vision and the members seek out from Christ where their giftings fit into making the vision that has been set before them come alive!

    Members are the engines to the car, while Christ is the driver. We are what God uses to get His will done on earth. The pastor is the head lights that God turns on to show the vision (which is the road), because Christ knows the road, we just need Him to turn on the headlights so we can see where God is taking us. We all have a part to play in this grand Body constructed by God, we just need to seek out what part we are to play.

    The way the C&MA is governed is one of the main reasons I chose to work in the Alliance. We as a denomination have skillfully set up governance that allows Christ to be the Head, whilst others can find their place in the narrative of this life. Running the denomination with a missional focus and giving each individual district and church the freedom to do that best where they are is amazing! Most denominations make standards not only on what the mission is, but how to get it done, which causes problems for different areas of the country because modes are different everywhere. This I believe the C&MA has taken from Paul’s motto: “be all things to all people”, all the while continuing to maintain the great call of Matthew 28:18-19!