Professionalization without democratization
(a 'chief' danger' of the 21st
What are we getting at, here?
There’s been a hyper-professionalization of western
Christianity that strays from biblical norms and thus warps
biblical Christianity and hampers the advance of the great
commission (we are not here against the pursuit of excellence,
effectiveness, and efficiency).
How does it look?
In Ephesians 4:11-16, Paul explains how the ‘ecclesia’
– the called out – are meant to operate.
11 He endowed us
with the apostolic, the prophetic, the evangelistic, and the
counseling and instructive, 
12 to prepare ‘the sanctified’, to kick
up dust in a flurry of activity for their labours, to
construct and build up Christ’s body,
13 until we arrive at unanimity in
action on our convictions and a proper recognition of God’s
Son, in consummate adulthood, our stature measured by Christ’s
14 Then, we will no longer be
speechless and simple-minded, every new instruction blowing
us, surging and conveyed around, into the fraudulent
craftiness and trickery of human deception.
15 We will speak truth, with affection,
and in so doing
grow in every way like Christ, who is
16 Christ fits and holds together every supporting
joint, each part playing its part causing the body to grow,
building herself up in goodwill.
How has that looked in practice?
It has normally looked like the first three roles that
Jesus gives – apostle, prophet, evangelist – being ignored.
And it has looked like the separation of the fourth
role into two separate, professionalized careers: ‘pastor’,
and teacher. And,
yet, that’s not what it says.
First, the word translated ‘pastor’ is
everywhere else in the Bible translated ‘shepherd’.
We have a general idea of what shepherds do.
With a lot of patience and energy, they care for their
apply the rod to correct and the staff to direct, and they
protect their sheep from all manner of threats.
But how do people today see ‘pastor’?
From a neutral perspective, ‘pastor’ is typically
assumed to be the (male) vocational Christian leader of a
local body of believers.
We’re guessing that the opinionated perspective on
‘pastors’, coming from people who don’t follow Jesus, is much
So, to be clear, ‘pastor’ as vocational
Christian leader is neither a biblical position nor
strategically beneficial (because of the negative connotations
of non-participants and the enervating effect on the
Second, we have teachers.
While this role is often conflated with ‘pastor’, in
that ‘pastors’ typically carry the microphone on Sunday
mornings, there is some respect for teaching within
conventional modern western communities of believers.
A lot of respect.
In some kinds of Christianity, the sermon is the focus
of the weekly gathering (to clarify, this is not meant to be
the case in The Salvation Army, in which the ‘prayer meeting’,
also known as the appeal, is the climax of every meeting).
To recap this bit, we typically, these
days, ignore apostles and prophets and evangelists and magnify
‘pastors’ and teachers.
Here’s the rub: The Greek in the text
includes shepherd and teacher together.
They aren’t even the ‘fourth’ and ‘fifth’ of these
roles Jesus gives ‘the called out’.
Combined, they compose the fourth.
So, biblically, there isn’t such thing as a ‘pastor’ or
a teacher. There
is a role that combines both functions.
So, think for a moment of what role in the Body of
Christ involves shepherding and teaching.
Do you get it?
Disciplers are disciples who disciple others.
They shepherd and teach them.
They are not necessarily, and not for the most part,
They are like you and me – bi-vocational (in that they
carry a day job and also fill this role as discipler).
Well, first of all, let’s pay some attention to the
apostles, and prophets, and evangelists.
Let’s identify and welcome and nurture and attend to
And let’s identify the disciplers and
magnify their role in the Body.
This involves downsizing unbiblical roles of ‘pastor’
and teacher (as currently understood and normally activated in
Democratization in this sense leans
away from clergical and ecclesiastical professionalization
into the role of the amateur – the opposite: ‘amateur:
“engaging or engaged in without payment; nonprofessional”.
Here’s the origin of the word ‘amateur’: “mid 18th
century: French, from Latin amator ‘lover’, from amare ‘to
We are mobilizing the people of God and
deploying them as apostles, prophets, evangelists, and
disciplers out of LOVE.
It’s a wildly different operating Body
didomi – Strong’s give, endue (endowed)- endue- definition:
endow with a quality or ability, originates in late Middle
English ‘induct into an ecclesiastical living’; tous = the
(‘the’ as in ESV, NLT); poimen = shepherd; AV Translation
count – shepherd 17; pastor 1; shepherd definition – person
who tends and rears sheep; verb – gives guidance (counseling)
didaskalos = instructor (instructive); (apostle, prophet,
evangelist, and shepherd instructor are nouns in the original;
they are rendered adjective here to smoothly accompany the
definite article that precedes each and the verb endue)
[‘endued’ verb tense aorist active indicative]
= preparing, equipping, complete furnishing (prepare); aigon =
sacred, holy (‘the sanctified’); ergon = work, toil, labour
(labours); diakonos = attendant, servant; HELPS – thoroughly
raise up dust by moving in a hurry, to kick up dust as one
running an errand (kick up dust in a flurry of activity);
oikodomen = building, architecture, edifying (construct and
build up); somatos = body
 katantao =
meet against, arrive at, attain (arrive at); henotes =
oneness; Strong’s – unity, unanimity, agreement (unanimity);
pistis = persuasion, credence, moral conviction (action on…
convictions); epignosis = recognition (properly recognise);
aner = man; Strong’s – distinguish an adult man from a boy;
used generically of a group of both men and women (adulthood);
teleios = complete; Strong’s – brought to its end, finished,
perfect, consummate (consummate); metron = measure (measured);
helikia = maturity, age, stature (stature); pleroma –
fullness, a filling up; Strong’s – a ship inasmuch as it is
filled – manned - with sailers, rowers, and soldiers, the body
of believers… ; Chandler – complement, as in crew being the
complement of the ship; HELPS – even super abundance
 nepios =
not speaking, simple-minded (speechless and simple-minded);
kludonizomai = surge (surging); periphero = convey around
(conveyed around); anemos = wind (blowing); didaskalia =
instruction (instruction); kubeia = gambling; Strong’s –
deception, defrauding (deception); anthopos = man-faced
(human); panourgia = adroitness; Strong’s – craftiness,
cunning (craftiness); methodeia = traveling over, wile;
Strong’s – cunning arts, deceit, craft, trickery (trickery);
plane = fraudulence, straying from orthodoxy ; Strong’s –
straying about (fraudulent)
 agape =
love, goodwill; Strong’s – affection, goodwill, love,
benevolence, esteem; HELPS – moral preference (affection)
epichoregias = supply (supporting); energeian = operative
power; + metron = measure (playing its part); poieo = make
(causing); heautou = him or her (her, following the other role
of the people of God as ‘bride’); agape = love, goodwill;
Strong’s – affection, goodwill, love, benevolence, esteem;
HELPS – moral preference (goodwill)