As we stated earlier, if we want a fresh anointing or fresh move of the Holy Spirit, God demands that there be constant change. Let’s continue on with the rest of the ministry gifts.
The word deacon means servant. The deacon position is an honored one of servanthood. Deacons are not supposed to be part of the presbytery, but they are dedicated Christians who serve the elders and the entire congregation. Read 1 Timothy 3:8-13 and Acts 6:1-6.
I Corinthians 12:28 reads: “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” So here we see God’s order for church leadership. It says:…first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, and various kinds of tongues. God has appointed a particular design for His church.
Eberle states in “The Complete Wineskin”: “The first in the order of authority are apostles. In the Early Church the apostles appointed elders as overseers, made decisions for the whole Church, and oversaw individual congregations.
“Prophets are second. Today, most churches that accept prophets place them in submission to the pastor. This is unscriptural, and it grieves the Holy Spirit. When the prophets in the Old Testament speak to the shepherds, they demand submission from them (for example, see Ezek. 34:1-10). In Acts 13:1-3 the prophets and teachers at the Antioch church send out Paul and Barnabas without any pastor involved. This does not mean that every prophet has authority over every pastor; however, a prophet who is a part of the presbytery, and who is accepted as a prophet to the church, does have authority over a pastor. (It is worth reiterating here that some senior ministers currently being called ‘pastor’ really are anointed as apostles; in that case a prophet should submit to their ‘pastor’.) First Corinthians 14:32 tells us that ‘the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets’. Therefore, prophets must submit to each other. Also, since they are second in authority, they should submit to directives from apostles.
“Teachers are third. This category does not include every Sunday school or Bible study teacher. We are referring to an office recognized by the church whereby an anointed teacher is placed among the presbytery. Notice that it is the teachers who are with the prophets when they send Paul and Barnabas to the mission field (Acts 13:1-3). Teachers must be submitted to apostles and prophets, and yet be willing to work alongside other teachers.
“Miracle workers are important as the fourth level of authority. Miracles often are used in the New Testament as confirmation of God’s authority. Paul and Barnabas justify their position by ‘relating what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles’ (Acts 15:12). Who is going to argue with a person through whom God does miracles? An elder with a gift of miracles is to be recognized above those with lesser anointings.
“The fifth gift is that of healing. In the same way that miracles are confirmations of God’s authority, so also is healing power.
“The sixth gift is that of helps. Although the Bible does not describe this gift, I will explain how I understand it. I do not see helps as the servant position in which Christians clean the church, run the nursery, or do carpentry. It would make no sense to place that type of gift above administrations. I see this gift as the anointed position in which a person stands alongside and serves, in a very personal way, an apostle or prophet. Most true apostles or prophets need a helper, much like Elijah had Elisha as his servant. That helper needs to have authority in the church, and especially over the administrations, because the helper knows personally how to serve the needs of the apostle or prophet. An example from the New Testament is Tychicus, whom Paul describes as ‘our beloved brother and faithful servant’ (Col. 4:7). Paul sends Tychicus to the church at Ephesus (Eph. 6:21), to the church at Colosse (Col. 4:7), and to the church at Crete (Titus 3:12) in order to carry his letters and to give further instructions. Tychicus ministers under Paul’s authority, and hence he carries authority over many of the other elders he visits. This is the ministry of helps.
“Administrations is next. This title is also interpreted as ‘leader’ or ‘one who governs’. It refers to a person who is not only gifted at organization, but who is anointed for delegating responsibilities and directing groups of people. Paul writes to Timothy about those ‘elders who rule well’ (1 Timothy 5:17) and says they should be considered worthy of double honor. It was the administrators who ruled over the practical ministries of the local church. They had authority under the apostles, prophets, teachers, and those with gifts of miracles, healings, and helps.
“The final gift is that of tongues. This is the least of the gifts in authority.
“These eight gifts delineate God’s order among leaders, or elders, in the local church. It is helpful to note that in 1 Corinthians 12:28 Paul assigns a definite order to the first three gifts—apostle, prophet and teacher.—and he even gives them numbers. But he does not give numbers to the gifts of miracles, healing, helps, administrations, and tongues. Instead, he simply lists them by saying, ‘…then miracles, then gifts of healing…’ (italics added), and so on. Paul’s use of the indefinite ordering for these last five gifts implies that we should not assume a strict descending order. We do recognize the apostle, prophet, and teacher as first, second, and third, respectively, but the remaining five gifts are not necessarily positioned so definitely.
“We also should note that the first three gifts—apostle prophet, and teacher—stand out in a distinct manner. In other Bible passages we see these three gifts specifically being named among the church leadership. Christians with gifts of miracles, healings, helps, administrations, and tongues may or may not be part of the presbytery. The three highest gifts definitely are among the presbytery.
“In 1 Corinthians 12:11-28, we are told that the Holy Spirit places us in the Body where He chooses, and that He has chosen to place apostles first, prophets second, teachers third, and so on. This is the pattern of authority evident in the Early Church.
“…The order of authority is determined by anointings ‘among the elders in the presbytery’. A Christian who has received a gift may never have held an eldership position because of a lack of spiritual maturity. Paul gave Timothy clear guidelines for choosing elders on the basis of Christian maturity, stability, and proven character (1 Timothy 3:1-7). If a leader had fallen short in his own life, he never would have received a position of authority among the presbytery. It was not enough to just be appointed by the Spirit. Proven character, plus an anointing, established one’s authority.
“Imagine now a church with all eight authority gifts. Let’s say this church has an apostle who was sent directly by God to accomplish a specific work. Let’s say there are one or more anointed prophets who could identify attacks of the enemy, correct the congregation when it got off course, confront sin, and speak the Word of God with power. Let’s say there are several teachers who are able to impart truth and break bondages off the people; that there are leaders with the gifts of miracles and healings, helps ministers serving and relaying directives from the apostles and prophets, and administrators overseeing every practical aspect of the ministry; and that there are several other leaders, filled with the Spirit of God, who are bathing the church in prayer. Picture such a group of leaders seeking and serving God together. Can you imagine how that church would be? The gates of hell could not prevail against the anointings working together. Those are the kinds of elders you would like to call on if you were sick (James 5:14-15). No wonder the Early Church ‘turned the world upside down’ (Acts 17:6, KJV) in a few short years. That is the concept of team ministry that God first established in His church.” (Pgs. 60-64).
There needs to be a reformation. We need new wine. Our old wineskin must rip! Most churches and denominations today need to change. They have put people in chains by restricting the various anointings. Where they were started by apostles and prophets, today administrators and pastors lead them. In many churches today the senior minister tends to eliminate all those with anointings different than his. If a church or denomination is run by an administrator, they train every one to think in impractical, goal-oriented ways. Prophets and evangelists, in particular, are made to feel uncomfortable and pushed out.
Two-thirds of all churches today in America have fewer than seventy people. The reason is that they are led by a pastor instead of an apostle. The pastoral anointing establishes a certain kind of intimate relationship with a small number of people. The pastor can only care for about fifty people. In the New Testament church, pastors did not function as the head of the church. Rather they functioned in their God-intended positions as shepherds. They lead sheep under an apostle or under a prophet. Pastors today, instead of caring for the flock, are heading up building programs, recruiting ushers, and doing administrative work. Hundreds of thousands of anointed pastors across the United States have been bound in the traditional concept of what a pastor is, thinking that they can single-handedly do all that the apostle, prophet, teacher, administrator and other anointed ministers should be sharing. If the pastor is the head of the church, then 10, 20, or 30 other pastors cannot arise in the same congregation, because he restricts their ministries. Only an apostle or a prophet can oversee pastors. We need apostles over Bible schools. When you have administrators in the offices at denominational headquarters, you will always have pastors holding the local leadership reigns in churches. A prophet will always be faced with a tremendous, immovable mountain. An apostle will have no place to declare “I have been sent to start something completely new”. The evangelist will be restricted, required to attend at least four years of Bible school, and never allowed to follow the Holy Spirit as freely as Philip did. And the average Christian will be taught just to sit in the church and fit in with the administrator’s overall goals.
Eberle states: “We need the higher anointings. God’s greater works require His greater gifts. The original apostles in the Book of Acts were accused of ‘turning the world upside down’. Would twelve men with the anointing of pastor have had such an impact? Hardly! Why didn’t God choose a teacher to send to Nineveh instead of the prophet Jonah? Because a teacher wouldn’t have had a chance at bringing a city to its knees! If Philip had been like the average tongues-speaking Christian today, do you think Samaria would have been shaken in a few days (Acts 8:4-8)? Of course not! Is there a pastor in America who could have filled the shoes of John the Baptist? Not without receiving a prophetic anointing. Send one of our seminary graduates to Africa, and he or she may learn the language this year, win a dozen natives next year, and in a few years possibly have a church of about two hundred people. Instead, let’s send an apostle like John G. Lake, who in the early part of the twentieth century was responsible for thousands of souls being saved in Africa. If we were to study the moves of God in history, we would see how God always used leaders anointed as apostles and prophets. Those are the anointings that we need in church leadership today. We won’t have God’s power without them.
“It would be impossible for God to pour the new wine of His Holy Spirit into our present-day church structures. God doesn’t do it because it would be disastrous: everything would rip! It would be like pouring a bathtub full of water into a cup; you just cannot do it. So long as we hold to the present structure of the church, limiting ourselves to the ministries of pastors and administrators and clinging to our traditional concepts of how the church leaders are to function, there can be no mighty awakening in our midst. Our wineskins cannot hold the new wine.” (Pgs. 109-110).
Once administrators are running an organization, the wineskin has become relatively inflexible. Ephesians 2:20 tells us that apostles and prophets lay the foundation. When they are gone, the foundation does not change. With an administrator at the head of a ministry, the greater anointings are restricted. Jesus said that no one can rise above the level of one’s leaders (Luke 6:40 and Matthew 10:24-25).
Administration is one of the lesser gifts, and thus, it is difficult for apostles or prophets to rise under administrators. If an apostle steps out with God-given instructions for a radical new direction, the administrator’s smooth-running programs are disrupted.
Those with the gifts of miracles and healings have little place in the world of administrators. In trying to further their own goals, administrators may use evangelists or prophets, or those with gifts of healing. But, administrators rarely understand, submit to, or fully release those people for ministry. Neither administrators nor pastors have the wisdom or spiritual power required to release the greater anointings.
When administrators are in charge, the focus of ministry becomes whatever is practical, efficient, or financially feasible. Direction comes not so much through inspiration, as through reason. Much practical thinking replaces great faith. The movement of God is transformed from a flowing, spiritual body into a mechanistic organization. Because they are not apostles or prophets, they are incapable of hearing God’s message as apostles or speaking out as prophets. They are not God-empowered to do the greater works. Their gift is for organization, and their minds are program-centered. This is the anointing of an administrator, and this is how the Spirit of God works through them.
True Anointing & True Apostles
Returning to Eddie L. Hyatt in his “2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity”: “Montanus was born in Phrygia during the first half of the second century. At one time he may have been a bishop. Although a convert from paganism, as a Christian, he was orthodox in his faith accepting all the books of the Canon as well as the Rule of Faith. He was ‘distinguished in working signs and miracles’, and even his enemies admitted that ‘both his life and doctrine were holy and blameless’. Montanus was concerned about the growing formalism in the Church and the increasing moral laxity of its members. Around A.D. 172, therefore, he began to reassert the importance of the supernatural ministry of the Holy Spirit and to insist that Christians practice a morally strict lifestyle...The qualifying factor for ministry in the Church, according to Montanus, was possession of a spiritual gift rather than appointment to ecclesiastical office...This emphasis on spiritual gifts brought Montanus into sharp conflict with many church leaders who contended that the newly-developing ecclesiastical office held preeminence over any spiritual gift...The threat of Montanism to the authority now invested in the ecclesiastical office caused the Church to grant even more authority to the bishop thereby accelerating the process of institutionalization. Whereas the affairs of the first century Church were directed by a group of elders who were also called bishops or overseers, the churches were now under the control of a single individual for whom the title bishop was reserved exclusively. Also at this time, the bishops began to be looked upon as the successors of the apostles...This institutional trend brought a sharp division in the Church between clergy and laity, a division unknown in the New Testament Church. The criteria for teaching and leading ceased to be the calling or gifting of the Spirit, but was instead, ordination and appointment by ecclesiastical officials....The Church’s reaction to Montanism contributed to the now rapid disappearance of spiritual gifts...The freedom of the Spirit was being replaced by ceremonial ritual and ecclesiastical order. The final blow to the charismatic character of the Church would come with the conversion of Constantine and the Church’s acquisition of earthly affluence and power...The conversion of Constantine in A.D. 312 marked the beginning of the Church’s rise to earthly power and the end of the charismata as part of its life and ministry. In A.D. 313, Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, a decree not only permitting freedom of worship to all inhabitants of the empire, but also granting special favors to the Church. As a result, the churches began to be frequented by those seeking the political and social advantages that identifying with the Church now offered...Constantine also initiated the building of facilities to accommodate the religious gatherings of Christians. Prior to this, believers had met primarily in homes. Constantine, however, erected buildings in which the Church was to meet...The elevation of Christianity to official status as the religion of the empire brought a political cohesion to the Church it had previously not known. A universal system of church government began to emerge, and it soon became clear that it reflected the prevailing political pattern of the Roman Empire.” (Pgs. 25-37)
It is abundantly evident that the early church was Pentecostal/Charismatic, operating both in the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of Ministry. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are a mandate to be qualified for the gifts of Ministry. When the institutionalized church formed under the pagan, Constantine, he united the offices within both the state and the church, corrupting the church and the offices within the church. Consequently, the gifts of the Holy Spirit were no longer operating in most church leaders due to their lack of holiness and, at times, their lack of conversion.
Men like Peter, James and Timothy were anointed as apostles, and the Bible never refers to them as pastors, even though they led local congregations. 1 Timothy 3:3-7 tells us that from mature men within a congregation elders were chosen by an apostle to oversee a church. The primary responsibility of the elders of a church included protecting the flock from false doctrine and teaching the congregation what is true (Acts 20:20-30 and 1 Timothy 5:17). In I Peter 5:1-3 Peter wrote: “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” We see in the Scriptures where some apostles stay in a church for their entire lives, while others moved on. For instance, James was the apostle who continued to oversee the work at Jerusalem. Peter continued ruling over the church at Antioch for many years. The apostle Timothy appointed elders over the church at Ephesus, but he remained there for years overseeing the work of the elders who were directly under his authority.
Next, let me point out the pastoral need for a spiritual head. I have observed that every pastor who is really anointed as a pastor draws spiritual strength from an apostle or prophet. Whether or not pastors will admit it, they read the books, listen to the teaching tapes or radio programs, and receive whatever strength they can from strong leaders. Every pastor will die spiritually without an apostle or prophet to whom he can look. The apostolic or prophetic influence upon pastors must not be minimized. Let’s open our eyes and look in our Bibles. Who are the heads of the local churches? The apostles were. Where were the pastors? They were not in rulership positions. In Acts we get the impression that the believers were meeting in many homes. Each city had a team of elders, including an apostle, prophets, teachers, and so on. Under that leadership there were numerous smaller groups carrying on more personal, intimate ministries. These groups were led by those anointed as pastors. There was not just one pastor for a church, but many working among the congregation.
Are you willing to break free from the mindset developed among traditional churchgoers today and begin to accept the New Testament structure?
Blessings & Shalom
WMI is now focusing on the following 42 nations: The United States, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Philippines, India, Jamaica, Honduras, Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, Burundi, The Congo, Iran, Sweden, Norway, England, Russia, Germany, Finland, Austria, Poland, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Yugoslavia, Romania, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Turkey. In these countries we are trying to saturate the nation with the prophetic warning through articles, newspapers, radio, television, etc. We encourage you to study the prophecies on many of these nations on our web site at www.worldministries.org. They will help you know how to pray for each nation. We need intercessors in and for these countries.
© 2002 World Ministries International