“The priest did not say, Where is the Lord? And those who handle the law, did not KNOW ME.” Jeremiah 2
Reading lots on an emergence of true apostolic leadership. The focus I keep getting is to see the church as the habitation of God, and leaders as being responsible for helping to make people into this habitation.
There is little talk of new structures or networks, and more of how God forms His Son inside of His People. So much more emphasis on His Ways and talk of who God actually is, and how He is forming His Habitation or Dwelling. So there is this shift in all the prophetic literature from how men make church, to how God is forming Himself within His People. This is a much more creative and spiritually charged discussion, and is more like overhearing heaven, than a board meeting. To overhear these words, is to start talking Ephesians and Revelation–it is to actually get to know God just by overhearing those who have been above and are starting to get parts of how God is forming His church within us.
There is also a much greater emphasis on His Actual Presence than ten years ago, especially among those who are trying to help form leadership. This is exciting to me!
In Jeremiah’s word, the actual Presence of God had moved out away from their religious practices. They no longer knew the true knowledge which flows from His Presence. The priest, or leaders, who were to carry His knowledge, no longer knew His Face.
And the prophets, alongside them were delivering messages from lesser sources than The One Most High. Both were still functioning–priest carrying knowledge, and prophets carrying messages from the heavens, but both had lost contact and intimacy with His Actual Presence!
Why have your fathers traveled FAR FROM Me? God asked through Jeremiah. At first, they “went after Me”, but gradually, they drifted far away from actual intimacy with Me, and in doing so, actually made idols of their own leadership abilities!
If we are to see true leadership emerge, it will be preceeded by intimacy. You cannot lead by strategy or information–but only by re-formation (actually growing Christ in people), but by having Christ more fully formed in yourself, and then helping form HIM inside of people. The building is people. Until formation of Christ becomes prioritized over doctrine, strategy, methods of church growth etc, we will not see the fullness of what God wants to bring in our day.
Where we are headed is a place where all leadership has the priority of being a habitation for Christ firstly, then being part of Him being formed in people. This will have very little to do with outer structures or frames, though many unique ones will be birthed; it will have to do with the focus being The Head. It will be much less about our ideas of church structure, and much more about speaking from Him Himself and out from that intimate position. Many who have been called leaders but who do not have this spiritual focus, will be seen to not be walking in His Authority. Many who knew the law, will be brought back to WHERE He IS!
For “those who handled the law, did not KNOW ME”. We must come to know Him first, and then lead from that place. If that is not our primary focus, we won’t be able to move forward with our own plans. If He does allow us to do so, it will not bear true fruit! The garden of intimacy must actually be the place we lead out from. Many great leaders who have the ears of man, will topple until low enough to enter His Gates, and come to KNOW Him.
A key in the earlier part of this word Jeremiah got, was that in her youth, Israel, “WENT AFTER” God. There is a time for going after Him which I believe is coming for many who have been in church leadership in this past season. Many will be asked to step down from positions in the institutional church, and pursue God alone, so that they might be made ready to serve Him in the times to come. This is less a demotion and more and re-motioning into His Actual Life!
We MUST know WHERE He is, and be seated with Him, growing up into Him in order to wear His Authority in the days to come! If many are not being protected in their current positions, it may be for the same reason that God lifted His protection from His Children in this passage fo scripture–when Israel was holiness to God, disaster came upon all those who offended her. When this is not happening, it can become clear that we are not in that position of holiness with God–that place where we are “going after Him”. I’m not saying that all lack of protection comes from this, but many will suddenly feel unprotected in the days to come, until they come more fully under His Canopy of Intimacy and Grace.
Many of our seminaries no longer have this focus of forming Christ in people. If they did, many of the structures would loosen to allow The Spirit to make deeper relationships required for Christ formation among and within His People. We will see many of these training centers become nearly spiritually dead, so that they might fall into the ground and be a seed for true training centers of the Spirit, for the formation of Christ within His People. This will be less about man made frames, and more about God formed relationships and creative structures flowing out from these authentic relationships.
God is able to form His Son in His People, but He is much more creative than we are! And we will see many sorts of frames used to birth Himself within us! But first, leadership must actually return to prioritizing knowing God and being formed IN CHRIST, so that they can receive designs and patterns from Him Himself–this is especialyl true of those now called apostolic leaders. Leadership is about to get much more “spiritual” in this sense. Much more time in heaven, and a bit less on earth for a season. Paul was lifted up for an indefinate period of time (including his time in the wilderness) that Christ could be formed in Him–this is leadership training–allowing God to form His Son in us, so that it is His Actual Son who is leading!
The primary concern for coming leaders will be that Jesus have His place to dwell FULLY in His People, starting with ourselves!