WORDS OF ADVICE
A word about apostolic succession versus democratic procedures.
All the ministries, including the five-fold ministries of Ephesians 4, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, etc. are necessary to complete the Great Commission and, of course, to pioneer into all 4,000+ Omega Zones. This has been true from the time of the first Apostles and Prophets appointed by Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit (He doesn’t anoint those whom He hasn’t appointed) (Ephesians 2:20). Since Jesus breathed on the first apostles and “commissioned” them in John 20:21, every spiritual generation has prayed and received Holy Spirit guidance in selecting the next elder, apostle or prophet etc. Since the ones gathered at Antioch (Acts 13:1-4), prayed and sent out Barnabas and Paul, there has been no break in the chain of apostolic succession to the present generations. Although many remained unknown by most, they were always there. And although some were called “apostle” by man’s titles, it was not necessarily so. This biblical model is why we commission in missions today and why churches ordain pastors.
Note that Jesus prayed all night before He appointed the 12. One of the most important things we do in leadership is prayer, appointment and commissioning of leaders. No one can appoint himself/herself to leadership; it comes with influence (which is extended by others, not taken), fruitfulness, and favor with God and man.
But a word of caution here regarding apostolic missionaries. Apostles are called to found something new. In other words, they are pioneers. They pioneer new strategies, new locations, new movements, new movements within movements, and much more. But every apostle needs the prophetic, for spiritual accountability. Like wet concrete needs forms around it and steel girders within new foundations, so the apostolic gift needs the humility to make room for the prophetic. They also need the grace and humility, at a certain point of establishment, to release others with the next ministries in sequence for their roles of evangelizing, teaching, pastoring, administrating, serving, giving, extending hospitality, etc. An apostle without humility to release others can easily become a dictator, trying to micro-manage at the present location, instead of championing the next vision, bringing new diversity, or by moving on to one or more new locations, depending on his/her God-given capacity. If we lose our visionary apostolic pioneers we lose growth, which means we start to die. But with constant new vision, we can have the next 50 or 100 years as a movement of fruitfulness, as the Lord tarries.
A word about diversity in eldership teams, as led by Holy Spirit
The Bible begins with these five words, “In the beginning God created….” Creativity is not only what God does, but who He is—a creator God. We, made in His image, are finite creators (pioneers/missionaries). God (“Elohim” in Hebrew) is plural, as He later says in Genesis chapter 1, “Let us make man in our image…male and female made He them.” Yet, Jehovah, He is one. God therefore is unity—infinitely so—yet diverse, i.e., three in one: a Triune Godhead.
We too must be in unity within an eldership. Elders must have proven character, according to 1 Timothy and Titus. Eldership teams should have a diversity of gifts and callings. We recognize and have both genders in leadership; we have rich diversity of ethnicities, languages, tribes and nationalities as in Revelation 7:9; we have both younger and older “spiritual elders” which should not be determined by age alone. These are the things that should determine Eldership. Some cultures exclude other ethnicities or women in leadership, including eldership. But Galatians 3:28 tells us, “In Christ there is neither male nor female.” The mission call is to disciple nations, including transforming cultures in areas that are not according to scripture. As the younger generations mature, they should be “given a place at the roundtable of leadership.” Paul said to young Timothy, “let no one despise your youth.” And he also told Timothy, who was young in age, to appoint elders!
Expansion (versus transition) at all levels is for multiplication via discipleship and to “fill the earth” (i.e., occupy every Omega Zone) Genesis 1:28. Watch at large YWAM gatherings, to see who “sits on the front row’” eager to learn, versus those who are involved in side meetings during scheduled times of gathering. This is often an indicator of who has concern for “the whole” versus their own little kingdom. Scripture warns about those that separate themselves. It’s important that we don’t misjudge others actions—there are legitimate “side bar” meetings as well that are for the good of the whole. But if an individual only focuses on his/her personal interest and ministry and does not embrace and carry the whole, they should not be appointed to a role of elder, no matter how charismatic their personality may be.
As a visionary pioneer, I have always needed the prophetic ministry of my wife Darlene, Joy Dawson, Jean Darnall and many others. Darlene is a pioneer discipler that bridges between me and the YWAM community, helping to “translate” me to the people and the people to me. She is the one that creates community. She is a team builder, which is key for expanding from pioneering into multiplication. Without Darlene, YWAM would never have been established. Although we were married three years after YWAM was launched, she is acknowledged as the “co-founder” of YWAM, because without her, YWAM would not have been truly established and have thrived.
It is a joy for Darlene and me to continue pioneering in certain areas within YWAM, as well as beyond YWAM into the broader body of Christ. Our greatest joy is to see younger pioneers take the vision farther and higher than we have ever done. They are the visionary pioneers that will fill the earth—the empty Omega Zones—and they are the multipliers that will disciple others to establish the new pioneered OpLocs for “fruit that remains” in all the Omega Zones.
In His service,