Fathers – I believe in fathers, both spiritual and natural. My own father’s discipline was a source of comfort and strength. Memories of my childhood and the things he taught me on the ranch are precious; you can read the story in a prior newsletter, Kings and Fathers. As I matured into my teens I resisted his authority on occasion and instead of increasing his control, he had the wisdom to simply cut me a wider swath and increased my responsibility.
I had a spiritual father who led me to the Lord (Bob Hagstrom). And, when I was first involved in a church, I cherished the fathering I received from our staff of pastors. I was steeped in our local church hierarchy, covering, submission, authority, apostolic covering, etc. I think it’s appropriate that churches and pastors oversee the flock. Pastors are strongest in their organization if they pastor their own churches from a sense of being “sent” not just by God, but by their pastoral or apostolic covering. I know it’s all been abused, but I’ve felt the healthy side as well for 16 years in our original church where I grew up spiritually and for 13 years after while I was the senior pastor of two church plants.
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. Acts 20:28 NIV
Note: if you would like to read an article with all the verses that go with this great debate, Steve Hill has written a balanced and strongly worded article entitled Spiritual Covering.
In the marketplace – A change occurs when we reach a level of maturity to pursue our own hearts desires and enter a career or business in a different mountain. Although we still attend church, our hearts are really in a different mountain. If we carry an expectation that we should be “sent or covered” in the same sense of “church ministry” we’ll be disappointed. Church pastors, apostles and prophets can’t substitute for pursuing your dream in another mountain.
Practical Limitations – Although 5-fold ministries can “cover” their flock and other pastors in their organizations, they simply don’t have the expertise or the wisdom to advise a business man. Let me take this thought a step further. Most of the attempts I’ve seen by church ministries to organize or oversee initiatives in the marketplace have failed: many with disastrous financial consequences. The distinction between priest and King is a healthy one for now.
The Priest / King distinctive – You may hear pastors and apostolic ministries take positions that we can be both priest and King. It’s not true and it’s a concept that can lead to some unhealthy control issues. It causes Kings to look to men for their affirmation instead of finding the dream in their own heart.
Let me explain three caveats… As a King you can minister in any of the 5-fold gifts in the marketplace. I can be prophetic, pastoral, evangelistic, and apostolic as the need arises in my own sphere of influence. That’s what I was equipped to do! …in church! (Eph 4:11-12) As a King ministering in the marketplace, I personally prefer to avoid the titles to honor those that do carry them in church.
It’s also true that pastors can function in some Kingly areas. I know of one pastor who was elected mayor of a city of over 100,000 people. Others have business or investment interests. I think that trend is healthy and Kings can help them take some of those steps. However, pastors and church apostles are not generally qualified to “send” Kings beyond imparting the concept of Releasing Kings. Their ministries cannot be viewed as an organizational hierarchy for Kings or a spiritual covering. Nor should a church or apostolic ministry be a primary network for Kings. They just don’t have the wisdom or the anointing to do that.
Will pastors and Kings ever work together? Yes, often. One of my goals is to help plant 100 churches primarily by providing the financing for a pastor who will “cover” them. Our conference in the Ukraine was through a large pastoral network and it was organized by a pastor. Several pastors attended and they loved it. The sense of working together but in different mountains was wonderful.
Apostolic Covering? – You will still hear “apostolic covering” suggested as a way for priests to exert some level of blessing or influence or control in the marketplace. Whether it is real or imagined, I simply want to free you from the guilt of trying to stay under that influence. Your spiritual covering is Jesus. You need to focus on the desire he’s placed in your heart, get involved in your mountain, and stop looking at “covering” through your rear view mirror.
What you do need – People in the marketplace do need a network of peers, coaches and mentors. You just won’t find them on the church staff. People who are successful, influential and prosperous in the marketplace (Kings) invariably have a strong network of support… they value that support so highly, they usually pay for it!… coaches, accountants, lawyers, trainers, estate planners, partners, employees, affiliates, contractors, bankers, etc. Even their social time is often spent with some fraternity or social network related to their mountain. Kings enjoy what they do, have fun with the people they work with, and give and receive ministry right in their very own mountain.
I have two mentors for day trading and the reason I try to “submit” to their advice is because my success depends on my ability to learn from them. They have no interest in controlling me or adding me to their hierarchy. In fact, they are both extremely generous and gracious. They are serving me and they don’t really need to or have to. People that have been successful in their own dream nearly always love to help others fulfill their dreams. Making other people successful is a huge driver in the marketplace. It fuels both profits and ministry.
Note1: I hope you won’t conclude that pastors are “controlling.” They generally are not. They want your best and their only (occasional) mistake is trying too hard to get you there by taking initiatives that God has really called you to carry on your own.
Note2: I’m trying to articulate a position in a minefield. Please send me your comments so I can update the article and be as clear as we can about what the Lord is saying about covering. What I’m hearing for Kings is very simple, “I am your covering.”
John and Sue