One of the most ignored or tolerated sins of the church is the sin of SCHISMThe formal separation of a church into two churches, caused by differences in opinion or belief. I have been a part of splits and, let me tell you, they are messy. No, messy is too nice a word. They are downright destructive—demonic. And, sadly, both sides usually are convinced they are on God’s side.

Too often a disgruntled assistant pastor or lay leader feels he can do a better job than the pastor. He promotes his cause through gossip. Once his movement has enough steam he leads a coup against the senior pastor or starts a new congregation. Paul calls this “building on someone else’s foundation.” (Rom. 15:20) It is also called rebellion, divisiveness, self-promotion, pride, gossip and more.

The fruit of schism is broken relationships. I have seen families split into two over congregational divides. I have seen lifelong friendships come to a halt. That is the demonic part. A spirit of division disguises itself as righteousness or godly boldness. It feels right. You’re taking a stand. But rarely does the fruit of the split justify the pain it causes.

Yes, there are times to take a stand against a pastor or leader of a congregation. Sometimes, you might even need to warn people to leave:

  1. Sexual immortality or other chronic sins (theft, habitual dishonesty).
  2. False doctrine (to be clear, that means it goes against what mainstream evangelicalism considers broad orthodoxy, not just against your opinion).
  3. Cult-like tendencies of control over the lives of the members.
  4. Gross ineffectiveness—and, in this case, I would expect that you would have a group of elders who had already appealed to the ineffective senior leader.

Jesus Loves Unity

God puts a high price on unity. It was the thing that Yeshua asked the Father to establish in the body in John 17.

Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.(John 17:11)

Paul rebukes the Corinthians for establishing cliques, and equates division to destroying the temple of God! And then, he warns them about what God does to the person who destroys His temple (i.e. causes division):

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. (1 Cor. 3:16-17)

What if two leaders simply can’t work together? It happens, as we will see with two of our heroes. Sometimes, it is even God’s way of moving someone out in a new direction. The question is: do you have the humility and love for the body to do it in a way that causes the least damage to the congregation. If you are the junior in the relationship, then it is incumbent upon you to walk away. When we seek to take others with us, it is often because we don’t trust God to lead us in a new direction. We take people with us, so we can still have a congregation. We can easily disguise it, even to ourselves, as taking a stand.

Even Paul was Part of a Split

Leaders are, by nature, a little strong-willed (read: hardheaded). We tend to think we are right. Even Paul and Barnabas had sharp disputes that put an end to their ministry relationship.

Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. (Acts 15:36-41)

The issue was simple. John Mark left the team in the middle of their mission. Barnabas, who is more of a pastor in his gifting, has mercy on Mark and wants him to join them. Paul, who seems more prophetic in his calling, takes a hard line. If he abandoned us once, how do we know that he will not abandon us again?

This is such a big deal that they go their separate ways. It does seem that Paul and Mark worked out their differences, as Paul refers to him later in life. Through this example, though, we can learn from Paul and Barnabas how to disagree and, even separate, in a godly way. They did not let their split affect the churches they had planted or the people in them.

Who has the Spiritual Authority?

When they first started out, Barnabas was the lead apostle. But, very shortly thereafter, Paul became the primary leader. When they separate, Barnabas goes to Cyprus with Mark to minister to the believers there. Cyprus recognized Barnabas as their spiritual father, as it was one of the first places they visited. Paul takes Silas and visits the churches they had planted after Paul was the lead apostle.

They respected each other’s apostolic fathership. You’ll notice, there is no book of Cyprus from Paul. He had no authority to write it, as Barnabas was the father. Paul only wrote to churches that he planted (except for Romans and there was a reason!). Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you have to break with another leader, the easiest way to know who needs to walk, is to ask, ‘Who has the authority here?’

I Almost Caused a Split!

I almost made this mistake after I first moved to Israel. I had a disagreement with my pastor—and there did not appear to be a solution—and wanted to start another congregation. Of course, if I did it in the same city, people from my former congregation might be tempted to follow. Some had already expressed interest. I felt completely justified (We always do!); even though it went against everything I had learned and had taught. But I was deceived! I was completely unjustified. So, we had a disagreement. It didn’t come anywhere close to the four reasons I stated above. In the end, thanks to godly counsel, we shut down our little group. A few years later, I reconciled with the pastor and, today, we have a great working ministry relationship.

And what is interesting is that by humbling myself—not what I wanted to do—God opened an amazing door in another city with far more influence than I had before. But it didn’t happen until I committed to not start a competing ministry.

But, sadly, all over the world, splits are winked at when, in fact, the historic church looked at the sin of schism as a serious violation. We would do well to take it more seriously as well.

 

 

 

 

 

192 Shares

I love the morning. There is something new, fresh and amazing about a new day. It is a gift from God. I want to share with you three awesome things about morning.

1. Fresh Manna

Yeshua, when He taught His disciples to pray, said that we are to ask God for our daily bread. Surely this means provision. God has promised to meet our needs. After many years of seeing the faithfulness of God, I rarely panic over provision. I used to…for sure. But that is for the immature. When your relationship with someone grows, so does the trust factor. If someone has been faithful to you for ten years, you know he can be trusted. It is the same with our Father.

But, this is more than just filling our stomachs. God wants us to ask him for spiritual bread,as well. We get a picture of this from our ancient examples, the Israelites. When God introduces manna, He starts by saying this: “I will rain down bread from heaven for you.”

Wow! God will rain down bread for us. What a promise! But did you notice that the Israelites were expected to collect the manna every morning? Moses told them that “no one is to keep any of it until morning.”When they did, it was gross, full of maggots, and inedible. The point is that we cannot live on yesterday’s manna. We need to seek God daily for our spiritual sustenance.

2. Mercies are New

Each morning the mercies, or compassions, of the Lord are new. This is what we are told in Lamentations. This entire book is about the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem. It is a sad book. God has judged His people. But the author doesn’t leave us hopeless. God will not judge us forever—His mercy, love and compassion is renewed to us each morning.

It doesn’t matter what happened yesterday. Maybe you did something stupid. Maybe you sinned. You didn’t want to, but, perhaps, you gave into temptation. Yes, it was wrong. Sin is gross; hideous in the eyes of the Lord. But, as Peter says, “Love covers over a multitude of sins.”(1 Peter 4:8) While we don’t make light of sin, neither do we limit the ability of the blood of Yeshua to forgive us.

Lift up your head this morning. Confess your sin and receive the cleansing of the Lord. John gives a great promise:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

3. Joy Comes in the Morning

There is no question that God gets angry. Sometimes He is angry at us. Hebrews tells us that His discipline is an extension of His great love for us. What kind of good father doesn’t discipline his child?

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. (Heb. 12:7-8)

Don’t let His discipline get you down. If He disciplines you, He loves you! And there is more good news.

For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Ps. 30:5)

His anger is quick, but His blessing, favor and smile over your life lasts forever! Yes, you may spend a night weeping, but that weeping will lead to sweet victory in the morning.

In this context, David is under attack. His enemies want to kill him and it looks like they might succeed. In addition, it appears he is suffering from an ailment (v. 2-3). When I think of weeping through the night,it is not only because of the Lord’s discipline. It can be for many reasons. You might be under spiritual attack and need to intercede through the night. Maybe you are praying for healing from a sickness. David was – God heard him and healed him.

Maybe you are fighting a temptation. Often temptation comes at night. Most sexual sins are committed at night. Partying happens mostly in the evening. I remember being at a sales convention when I was a car-phone salesman in the late 1980s. At night, there were cocktail parties. Everyone was having fun. I was in my room trying to figure out how I would provide for my new wife and baby. Depression and oppression attacked me. I wanted to go to the parties and drink with everyone else. I wanted to fit in. But I sought the Lord. The next day, I had a great spiritual breakthrough that lasted for many months and I learned how to fight off the lies of the enemy. Had I given in I would not have learned and joy would not have come in the morning!

So, there you have it! Three reasons that mornings are awesome!

Bonus: Yeshua always got up early in the morning to spend time with His father. If He needed that time, then surely I do!

 

 

 

 

 

138 Shares

by Moti Cohen

A few months ago, my good friend, Ido (a new believer at our congregation) had to give a speech in the framework of a course he was taking. During his speech, he decided to share about the process of deliverance he had experienced at Tiferet Yeshua. Even though de did not mention the name of Yeshua, it was clear that there would be people from the audience who would ask him for more details at the end of his speech.

Noa, who was visibly Orthodox, approached Ido after his lecture and began asking him questions about the congregation and what he meant by “deliverance.” Ido joyfully told her about his faith in Yeshua and invited her to come to the congregation.

First time in Tiferet Yeshua

Noa came to the congregation and loved learning about Yeshua. She loved the praise and worship—it is so different than the repetitive liturgical singing in the synagogue, where every aspect of the service is dictated by a strict, traditional format. Slowly, Noa began to understand that faith in Yeshua was not a “foreign import” but, rather, a faith that is firmly rooted in Judaism, that all of the first believers were Jews and our faith is based on the Hebrew scriptures and the New Testament—a book also written by Jews.

Discipleship

Noa began a discipleship course I lead, which delves into the fundamentals of faith in Yeshua, such as Yeshua’s sacrifice, repentance, Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures, the importance of studying the Word of God, and, finally, the importance of water immersion.

Interestingly, Ido joined some of the lessons and even took part in discipling Noa. Although he is a relatively new believer, it is clear that Ido has a gift for evangelism and discipleship. For me, it was a very special experience to see a man, who just recently became a disciple himself, lead someone to faith in Yeshua and begin discipling them.

The First Prayer from the Heart

It is important to understand that for religious Jews, praying means reciting prayers written in the prayer book called theSiddur. In Orthodox Judaism, prayer is central and important, but there is no such thing as simply talking and communing with God through prayer. Every prayer in Orthodox Judaism is written out in a pre-prescribed format, determining when and what one should pray throughout the day.

Religious girls are exempt from some of the mandatory prayers that observant men must pray throughout the day. However, every morning when Noa woke up, she would recite the prayer “Modeh Ani,” a prayer thanking God for waking up in peace. After each meal Noa would pray “Tifilat Mezuman,” thanking God for food. There are many more prescribed, mandatory prayers in Judaism, some of which are profoundly beautiful, but none of which come from a personal, spontaneous heart-cry to God.

At Tiferet Yeshua, Noa was exposed to a different type of prayer, one that she had never experienced before; having only ever read prescribed prayers from the page. Noa loved how we prayed in the congregation, but she did not succeed, at first, in praying spontaneously. However, all that changed during one of our services. Towards the end of the sermon that day, the entire congregation divided into small groups in order to pray about a number of topics—and also to pray for one other. Noa was in one of the groups and really enjoyed hearing the spontaneous, personal prayers that people in her group prayed. When her turn came, she simply opened her mouth and, for the first time in her life, began to pray directly from a heart overflowing with love. She was overjoyed that God had given her the ability to pray a personal prayer from her heart!

Praise God! One more Israeli knows how to petition heaven!

Baptism

Last week, we went to the Jordan River near Tiberias where Noa would be immersed in water. She was so excited about this special day. Ido came with us, along with two cars full of witnesses. It was important that Ido immerse Noa with me because he was the one who led her to Yeshua. We explained to Noa that at the time of baptism, we identify with the death of Yeshua, signifying the death of the old man, with all his lusts and sinful desires. And, as soon as we come out of the water, we identify with the resurrection of Yeshua from the dead (Romans 6: 6) and begin to live, by the power of the Holy Spirit, a new life (Romans 6:4).

Noa proclaimed that she was dedicating her life to the Messiah of Israel, Yeshua. She thanked God for her new salvation and went into the water. It was a powerful and holy moment, and there was a strong presence of the Holy Spirit at the time of her immersion. God filled us with joy, which was a sign to us of how happy He was that this “daughter of Zion” had made a decision to follow His ways. We sang and prayed together and returned all the way to Tel Aviv with great joy and peace in our hearts.

Moti Cohen is an Israeli believer and serves as the assistant pastor at Tiferet Yeshua in Tel Aviv. He is also on the leadership of Katzir, Israel’s national Messianic youth ministry. 

 

2K Shares

What’s the difference between the Pope’s inner circle and the typical “spin team” of a politician? Sadly, not much.In what I can only label as clueless, tone-deaf and heartless, Cardinal Blaise Cupich, head of the Archdiocese of Chicago,says the Pope doesn’t have time to focus on priests raping little boys, because he has more importantthingsto deal with, like the environment and immigration.

To be clear, the issue he was indirectly referring to was the raping, or molesting, of more than 1,000 children and those studying for the ministry.  His remark was directly connected to the accusation from Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò that “Pope Francis not only disregarded sexual abuse allegations against Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, but promoted McCarrick and sought his counsel.” (Daily Wire)

Here is “Father” Cupich’s exact quote:

“[The Pope has] got to get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the church. We’re not going to go down a rabbit hole on this.”

Sadly, the mainstream media has been mostly silent. This Washington Postarticle focused almost entirely on the accusation that the accuser of Pope Francis has a hidden agenda, and ignored the most important issue: The Pope may have known about the perversion of Cardinal McCarrick and, not only did he do nothing to stop him, he promoted him.Whatever Archbishop Vigano’s motives are, the accusation is stunning and must be investigated.

However, Cupich has other plans: Stone the messenger and ignore the message. If they can discredit Archbishop Vigano, then they will not have to answer allegations against the Pope.

Taking a page right out of the ‘Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi handbook’, Cupich pulled out the racism card, claiming, “Quite frankly, they also don’t like him because he’s Latino.” The Pope is 100% Italian, not Latino!But why let the truth get in the way of a good smear?

Growing up Jewish, I didn’t have a great understanding of the Catholic Church. But I always had great reverence for the Pope. He transcended politics. He was sort of super-humanin my eyes. It is stunning for me to see how much things have changed. I am not sure what is more shocking: The Pope covering for a pedophile or the discovering that he has a team of henchmen to spin the accusation. It seems that the Pope’s inner circle is no different than the inner circle of any two-bit politician.

The press is complicit in protecting their beloved pontiff. The Daily Wire’sBen Shapiro has sought to shine the light on this cover-up:

It’s pretty astonishing. So several years ago, obviously, when the media started to delve into all of the sex abuse allegations against the Catholic Church, there was a great deal of enthusiasm, I think rightly so, in the press, for investigating all of that. But now that Pope Francis is at the head of the church and they like Pope Francis more than they liked Pope Benedict, in the left-wing press, suddenly they have to rush to Pope Francis’ defense over these allegations. And The New York Times ran one of the worst headlines I’ve ever seen today, talking about how as the allegations against Pope Francis mount, conservatives pounce. Conservatives pounce? How is conservatives pouncing on sex abuse allegations the story?

Yes, the story is not that the Pope may have aided and abetted a pedophile, but that conservatives are upset about it (insert incredulous look here). Leftist media outlets appear less than enthusiastic to attack their favorite pope. He is soft on homosexuality, concerned about global warming and for open borders. They love him! He is not your daddy’s pope.

The Pope seems to embrace liberation theology, where Jesus is not seen as a savior in the sense that He died for our sins, but He is a savior in that He leads a rebellion against oppression. Except that He didn’t. He actually rebuked His followers who wanted to rebel against the Romans, to focus on the more important issue of sin and redemption.

Liberation theology, espoused by Louis Farrakhan, Palestinian Protestants and left-wing socialists, finds inspiration in the ancient Israelites, as they stood up against Pharaoh. (It is ironic that anti-Semitism and liberation theology go hand-in-hand.) Jesus is their Che Guevara, leading the fight against oppression.

Progressives see Pope Francis as an ally. But now that it appears he may have covered for a serial rapist, the left-wing media is in a quandary—investigate to find the truth or ignore and crucify the accuser? Instead of shining a light on the papacy, they are attacking the Archbishop Vigano. Sadly, the Pope’s inner circle is nothing more than a bunch of politicians with funny hats. Oh that we would have more heroes like Vigano. How wretched to be one of the Pope’s intimidators, tasked with spinning his gross misconduct.

 

244 Shares

I was recently in the boardroom of a well-known ministry. I was only there to visit a friend who had a meeting there. Every chair was the same and there were no nameplates indicating who was supposed to sit where. When one of the board members of this ministry walked in and saw my wife sitting in the CEO’s chair (which again, looked like every other chair), he flipped out in fear—“Move quickly before [name of leader] walks in. He/She will not be happy to see you sitting in his/her chair.”

He didn’t mean to be rude, but his fear of offending the leader, even though he was a board member (and therefore an essential leader in the ministry) paralyzed his normally delightful disposition.

Jezebel and Eunuchs

Jezebel (and insecure leaders in general) surrounded herself with eunuchs—disempowered men, meant to serve her. New Testament leaders are to surround themselves with empowered men, meant to serve the Lord’s purposes for the people of the congregation, not neutered men. Jezebel ruled by fear and intimidation, surrounding herself with people who would say what she wanted to hear and do her bidding. A New Testament leader creates a warm environment of love, and surrounds himself with people who will speak the truth.

I have been in congregations (and seen many more) where there were no other five-fold (Eph. 4:11—Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers) ministers, other than the leader. Everyone else on staff was there to support the leader. Elders were for show only, had no real authority, and had no intention of challenging the senior leader. As a result, years would go by and anyone with a genuine gift for leadership would move on to another pasture, out of frustration. There was no room for multiple giftings, such as we see in the book of Acts. The ones who stayed long-term were either yes-men—spiritual eunuchs—or those with hidden agendas.

I understand that some ministries are not built to make disciples and raise up leaders. Some traveling ministries minister to groups through teaching or empowering, and a support team is needed. But, even in the case of the great evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, as he got older, he began to mentor young evangelists in a yearly gathering and, ultimately, choose his successor, Daniel Kolenda  Long before Bonnke would retire, he was pouring into him so he would be ready when the time came. And, before he chose Daniel as his successor, he was surrounded with powerful five-fold preachers like Peter Vandenberg.

New Testament Government

In so many congregations, when a new leader is needed, they have to look outside for a pastor. In denominations, they call the district superintendent. A young man, sometimes fresh out of seminary is chosen and sent to the congregation. It is very unnatural and often unsuccessful. The kingdom of God is built upon relationships. And, ideally, the congregation would have a relationship with the new senior leader long before he is installed. But, most often, the former leader never identifies or raises up his successor.

The model of government that we use at Tiferet Yeshua (The Glory of Yeshua) is based on the Acts 13 model of team ministry.

Now in the congregation at Antioch there were prophetsand teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen … and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. (Acts 13:1-3)

Here we see not merely a senior leader making every decision, but a leadership team made up of the different gifts that we see in Ephesians 4.

So Messiah himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastorsand teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up… (Eph. 4:11-12)

On our team, we have an evangelist/teacher (me), two with pastoral gifting, another evangelist and our overseeing apostle, who is also what I call a prophetic teacher. As the senior leader, I choose to greatly rely upon our apostle to help me lead. He has kept me from making silly mistakes. I am so grateful for our three elders, two of whom are very pastoral. Moti will meet people and patiently listen to their needs. And he is a servant. If someone is moving, Moti is there to help. Gil is so good at helping broken people rebuild their lives—both in terms of inner healing and in building systems of accountability to break old habits. And David, who leads our young adults, is a real evangelist, always reaching out to unbelievers.

No Rubber Stamp

When I became the lead pastor, I was not previously one of the elders. Prior to this, I was involved mainly in traveling ministry from Israel and writing. But, once I was asked to assume leadership, I went to each one of the present elders and told them, “If you are going to be an elder, you need to have teeth. I am giving youteeth. I am not looking for a rubber stamp, but for your true opinion and discernment.” My goal was to make sure they knew that I wanted to keep them empowered and continue to build a strong team of elders, as did the senior leader before me, Ari Sorko-Ram.  I was not seeking “yes-men.”

Now to be clear, there have been a few times that my flesh regretted that decision because they embraced my commission. Over the past three years, we have butted heads on a few occasions where I thought, “It would sure be easier if they just let me do what I want to do.” During those times, I remembered what my friend, Steve Erickson, once told me:

You can build faster by yourself.
But you can build further as a team.

Sadly, many congregations function on the word of one leader. Often, he feels that he is the visionary and no one has a direct line to God like he does. But what he fails to see is that his “direct line” is filtered through his emotions, wounds, pride, impulsiveness, immaturity and often, a lack of practicality. That is why he needs true men of God around him to help him discern. Not to constantly tell him no, but to help filter out all the parts that are not of God in order to see what the true vision—God’s vision—is.

And, in our case, it has all been for the good of the congregation. While I did not always get my way, I am confident that in more than 95% of decisions that had to be made, we made the right decision. Elders need to know that it is safe for them to disagree with their senior leader and the senior leader needs to invite this. If you are reading this and you are a senior leader, you know this is true—you know this is biblical. But it takes real faith to believe that these other men are really there so the ministry can succeed. It’s not that they are there to hold you back.

No Other Structure for Government

That is the lie the enemy will feed you—they are holding you back. You could do so much more, if you could just break free of their shackles. And you may be tempted to get rid of them, but you would be going against the given order for congregational government.

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, (James 5:14)

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you (Titus 1:5)

Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. (1 Timothy 5:17)

Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. (1 Timothy 4:14)

There is no such thing as New Testament government, without having a team of elders. We do not find any one-man shows in the book of Acts. Even Paul submitted to the apostles in Jerusalem, when they told him to make a sacrifice to stop the rumors that he was teaching Jews to forsake Moses.

And there will make mistakes—like I said, 95% of our decisions were right. But, on the few occasions where you arrive at the wrong conclusion, the implications are minor when compared to the blessing that God will pour out on your team, for seeking to work as a team in covenant unity. God blesses unity.

How good and pleasant it is

when God’s people live together in unity!

It is like precious oil poured on the head,

running down on the beard,

running down on Aaron’s beard,

down on the collar of his robe.

It is as if the dew of Hermon

were falling on Mount Zion.

For there the Lord bestows his blessing,

even life forevermore.(Ps.133)

Even Apostles are Submitted

My primary overseer, Asher Intrater, serves not only as an elder, but also in an apostolic role over our congregation. When we embarked on this journey, one of the first things he told me was that if we are ever at an impasse or if I feel he had sinned against me: “Here are the names of the two men to whom you can appeal.”

Now I have known Asher since 1985, so there was already a deep foundation of friendship—a key pillar in successful team leadership. He has been a faithful mentor to me since I lived with his family in 1987-88—right up until I was married. But still he was making it clear that he, as the “apostle” is accountable to others. He is not a king, but a servant. And he has been an amazing example to me.

And these were not mere words. Once, we had a difference of opinion in direction. We tried to work it out between us but we were both strong on our position. At his insistence, he asked me to appeal to Dan Juster and Eitan Shishkoff—the men to whom he is accountable. He has served with them for nearly 40 years without division. This is so uncommon in the body of Messiah, where, so often, independence wins out over unity. When these two men sided with me, Asher submitted without hesitation. At that point, it wasn’t a matter of who was right and who was wrong. It was that the proper procedures were followed and the rest was in God’s hand.

My point is that elders/ leaders:

  1. Must lead as a unified team.
  2. Must be accountable.
  3. Must be empowered to disagree (without fear of reprisal or dismissal).

Restoring Your Manhood

And if you find yourself inheriting elders who had been in a Jezebellic relationship with the previous senior leader, your job is to restore their manhood. Remember how Jezebel died? Jehu rode into town and called up to her balcony:

“Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. “Throw her down!” Jehu said. So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot. (2 Kings 9:32b-33)

Biologically, these eunuchs would never get their manhood back, but, spiritually speaking, Jehu restored their manhood by giving them an opportunity to stand up against the one who dominated them and kept them in fear so many years. I can’t imagine the courage that it took for them to throw their master down to her death, but, when they did, the power of that spirit of intimidation was broken over their lives. We will speak more on this in the chapter on overcoming intimidation.

The royalsenior pastor is not a biblical model (or the royalcouple), where people idolize their senior leader or the senior couple. Often congregations like that revolve around the personality and gifting of the senior leader—as he goes, so goes the congregation. If he falls, many fall. People seek power by getting close to the “royal couple.”  People play politics, just as they do in Washington, to gain the leader’s favor. That is not a community. That is a show, based on the senior leader’s ability to entertain, manage and control.

A community is built upon the principles in the New Testament—worship, fellowship, outreach and the word of God. In such a community, the elders must be empowered. There is no place for spiritual eunuchs. As we move forward, we will share ways to become free and learn to speak the truth in love.

If you are a pastor and have been using fear, manipulation or guilt to control your board, it is time to change. Yeshua raised up leaders; he did not manipulate them to get his way.

If your elders are powerless rubber stamps for you to get your way (which can often be connected to expense accounts and perks), then it is time to restore their manhood or find new elders who will govern with integrity. If you are building your own kingdom, then this will be very hard. If you are seeking to partner with Jesus for His kingdom, then nothing could be easier.

If you are an elder or leader who finds yourself trapped in an unbiblical system where you have no authority to really govern, then you need to consider leaving. If your leader gives out favors based on what he gets out of it, then you need to confront the system or leave. Yes, it takes courage! But what is a leader, if not someone willing to take a stand for righteousness? It is time to restore your manhood!

34 Shares