The Priesthood of All Believers and Church Leadership

God has always worked through leaders in the lives of his people. From the beginning, as soon as God had a people, he raised up leaders amongst them through whom His redemptive purposes were accomplished. We had Joseph, Moses, Samson, David, Solomon, the Kings of Israel, the prophets and the priests. Jesus Christ came as a priest in the order of Melchizedek. He came as Prophet, Priest and King – the ultimate anointed one.

In the Old Testament only some people were anointed by the Holy Spirit. Prophets, priests and Kings were all specially anointed by God. You could not function in these offices without the anointing from God.

In the New Testament, it says in 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen generation, a Royal Priesthood”. Peter is writing to all believers, not just the leaders. In Revelation 1:5,6 it says, “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and made us kings and priests to God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” In Revelation 5:10 it says, “You made us kings and priests to our God”.

We believers all now have an anointing from God, according to 1 John 2:27. If we are truly in Christ, we are priests. We have a ministry to offer spiritual sacrifices to God, and to reconcile men to God, by pointing them to our High Priest, Jesus Christ, and His great sacrifice for our sins. We are also kings, in the sense that we may exercise spiritual authority over the works of the devil and even to some extent over the things on earth. And we can all prophesy according to our faith, as the Spirit of God leads, by the prophetic anointing poured out upon all flesh (Acts 2:28,29).

Now if this is so, how do we work together? Normally, the priest or the prophet or the king had his sphere of authority from the Lord. He could work in that sphere and it was fine. If he stepped outside his sphere, he was judged by God. King Saul wanted to do the ministry of a prophet when Samuel delayed, and as a result he lost the Kingdom. But where are these boundaries today, and what should be the attitude of church leaders to the anointing and ministry of priesthood and so on that God has put in the congregation?

It is the reponsibility of leaders to truly show where these boundaries are. This requires an enormous amount of wisdom and humility. It cannot be achieved by simply plugging the church into a kind of canned ministry program.

I have noticed that the gifts of the Holy Spirit have been virtually driven out of many of the pentecostal churches today. Pastors tend to want to keep these gifts out of the main church services, which are the ones where we raise the money. They also tend to want them out of the cell groups as well, by dictating the program and format and teaching of the cells to the point where we no longer require the development of leaders who know God and His Word but rather obedient “facilitators” who can just plug into a system. These facilitators are trained to “connect” people relationally so that they will come to the main facility and hear a special class of “anointed” ministers who will collect the tithes and offerings for the next building program expansion. This is all very well except that it really falls short of the glory to which the Body of Christ is called in these last days. It might be a good starting point, but I’ve noticed the tendency has been to move AWAY from empowered lay leadership towards a army of disempowered and docile lay facilitators who have know need of the power of the Holy Spirit to fulfil their role.

The tendency has been to create a special class of ministers, the clergy who should rule over the laity, in matters of the church. Roman Catholic theologians, to get around the implications of the priesthood of all believers, have invented a term, “common priesthood”. This is the priesthood that all their members supposedly have, and what it means in practice is that they are not “priests” like those who have taken the sacrament of “Holy Orders”. But nowhere does the Bible say that Jesus made “common priests” out of his saints. He only made Royal priests, not common priests.

The Pentecostal mega churches have created various “levels of leadership”. Everyone is supposed to be submitted to those in higher levels of leadership if they want to operate in a ministry. This may be fine, but one thing is sure – many of those at the top are spiritually blind and full of sin. Furthermore, they are unaccountable to their own congregations. How is it that so many prominent ministers have been moving amongst their fellow “apostles and prophets” for so long without the vilest of sins being rebuked in their lives? Where is the spiritual discernment of those who would claim the right to shut down the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in “their” churches? I fear lest we are moving into a second century church paradigm, in which that which is apostolic is being replaced and subverted by that which is merely episcopal (or pertaining to bishops). We are starting to follow Ignatius rather than the Apostle Paul, and we should know that this path leads directly to Rome.

There are therefore two extremes we can fall into. One is the rejection of strong leadership and the rejection of any church structure with more influence than a small home group. Such groups may or may not practice the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but they never seem to grow. The other extreme is the creation of religious structures based on business principles alone, in which we have things so well worked out that even if the Holy Spirit was to leave we would be able to carry on quite well without Him. There is a third way. We can embrace strong leadership, pray for it, and yet learn to operate supernaturally with God. If we are leaders, we can seek to create opportunities WITHIN THE CHURCH for believers to learn to move in and operate in their gifts in a significant way. It is a RARE person who can rise above the stifling atmosphere in most church cultures to truly move supernaturally in the “marketplace”.

I believe that the home groups are the best place for spiritual gifts to learn to be practiced. It is also a place where people can learn to be LEADERS and not just facilitators. Such groups need to be MODELLED by those who profess to be called by God to EQUIP the church. And we need to develop the skill of encouraging people to speak from God whilst simultaneously being able to learn how to improve their operation of the gifts by listening to correction. And shutting people down and leaving them down is not what I am referring to. This is not equipping, it is stripping.

What do YOU think?

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About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

Comments

  1. Robert Montgolf says:

    I think you are dead on,The Priesthood of all Believers .
    The problem we have here is america is way to worldy.
    We have people come over here and they like it here.
    because no one has a standard except their standard.
    even the christian that have standard dont even live it.
    We have had about seven mininster leaving churches because
    they were doing things that they told other people not to do.

    Christian that go to church maby wednesday and saturday and
    sunday and people listen to them talk for two hours then
    everybody gets up and goes home.

    Oh they pray sing songs and do what they think is worship
    to God but God knows their hearts are far from him.

    My brother goes to a church down the road and i have ask him
    hundreds of times why havent you received the holy spirit
    science you got saved.

    He has no answer for me,most of the people in the church
    have the holy spirit,but no gifts of the spirit operate there.

    I also informed him he has demon spirits setten on him,he said
    why i pray to god all the time,i couldent have them on me,I am
    a christian besides that.

    I ask him you say you pray to God he said yes,Then i ask him
    does he speak to you also.He said no hes in heaven he cant.
    Well then i said why pray if god dont answer.

    I informed him he never will till you receive the holy spirit.

    We had a lady down the road she had a daughter went on a vacation
    to aruba island, She was bar hopping and ended up missing
    This girl mother claims to be a christian even said she raise
    her christian.She never had sex.

    She had a web site thousands of christian were praying for her
    Daughter.This woman was offering 220,000 for info leaden to
    where her daughter was,And 1,000,000 dollars for the safe re-
    turn of her daughter.

    The holy spirit inform me her daughter was dead.This lady is
    a baptist.She said she was not going to believe her daughter
    was dead untill God told her she was dead.

    This women will never find her daughter,but she could get her
    daughter back alive.
    Thru the operations of the gifts of God and his power.Her
    daughter was just 18 was going to be a doctor.

    Here is a good example of no Royal Priesthood in operation
    in her are the church where she goes.

    Making money is more important than operation in the kingdom
    of God.

    There is one man over here,Do you know what he does?He cast out
    demons raise the dead cleanse the lepors.He is a minister in mexico
    working with indians who live up in the mountains of mexico.
    He deals with witch craft all over the place.
    These people have never heard of Jesus Christ.

    His name is Paster[ David Hogan]He has preached in the white house.

    On the west coast of America we have California on the East coast
    we have washington and New york with a 90 foot Idol Liberty, setten
    in New York bay.

    REVELATION 18.CHAPER 18 VERSE 4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12
    vERSE 4
    And i heard another voice from heaven,saying,Come out of her, my
    people,that ye not partakers of her sins,and that ye receive not
    of her plagues
    Verse 10
    Standing afar off for the fear of her torment,saying,Alas alas,
    that great city! for in one hour is thy judgement come.
    Verse 22 and 24
    And it goes on and on.

  2. The Apostles and the Prophets are no longer wanted in the Pentecostal denominational churches. It is the Pastor that “rules the roost” and no one better get in his way. I have seen in the last three churches that I was a member of over the years, that the Pastor had his group of “yes men and women” who would rubber stamp anything he said he has received from the Lord. If I operating in my office as a Prophet said anything different, I was immedately told, You have missed God on this one, because all the other prophetic voices AGREE WITH ME.”

    The congregations were groups of people who many had never read their Bible through one time since their conversion. Pastors know that and know that they can say, “The Bible says such and such…” without ever giving a text, and the congregation doesn’t look it up or even bats an eye. They don’t care! They come for a few songs, a sermon and giving their money for the services rendered.

    The majority of the people that come to “church” each week DO NOT really love the Lord and seek to daily form a long lasting relationship with Him. They are not reading their Bibles daily. They are not praying daily or even asking the Lord to bless their meals. They don’t know what their spiritual gift are or even care to learn. This is WHY the Pastor has such power and authority in the local churches, the people truly are like “dumb sheep” being led around by their proverbial noses. This is WHY there is no major discernment in the local bodies of Christ, because the true prophetic voices have been silence!

    I am not welcomed in a church as a member usless I am willing to jump through all their hoops and will join the group of “yes men and women” who the Pastor surrounds himself with. I fear the Lord more than that. I don’t get along to go along or to get to “minister” in the local church.
    True Apostles and Prophets are “church out casts” today.

    Prophet Martin Young

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