It’s been a busy few weeks here, but I’m finally back to begin my response to the next question about organic church life.
Q: How does leadership work?
My response will come in 3 posts, starting with a discussion on finding the mind of Christ.
Until coming into organic church life, that’s really not a phrase I ever said or often heard. If I did hear it, I really didn’t understand it. Yet, it’s all over the Scriptures and it’s at the core of spiritual leadership.
I Corinthians 12 is a beautiful portrait of the Bride of Christ, the Body, the Church. “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (v. 13). It is a diverse body. Full of a variety of perspectives and gifts. He’s given us many parts, yet one body (v. 20). In each of the members of the body, He’s deposited Himself. His spirit has mingled and mixed with ours, and He’s made us One Life. There is no division (v. 25). What is for one is for all, and just as our physical eye cannot function in the world without the rest of our physical body, so can no member of His Body function apart from others.
“Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. […] For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:12-13;16).”
I’ve read these verses SO many times in my life. I missed something though. I read it with my individualistic westernized/American perspective. When I read the word “we” I read “me and you.” That may sound like the same thing, but it’s really not. “We” is “US together” and “together WE.” Together, we – the ekklesia, the local assembly of the Body of Christ – find the mind of Christ. The many members each bring a piece of His mind, and together we find the fullness of the mind of Christ.
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:1-8)
This is how it happens. We complete his joy by being of the same mind, Christ’s mind. We are a new creation, the Bride. We share One Life, that is Christ’s Life. We have the same Love, who is Christ. Through Love, we come together in full accord and with Christ’s mind… a mind that is bigger than any individual can find on their own. We come together with humility, listening to each other, and counting others as more significant than ourselves, and seeking the interest of the Whole – the One Life. This One Mind is OURS (not mine and yours – OURS – us together) and we find it as we empty ourselves at the cross, becoming a servant. We find it as we daily choose to die to ourselves and take up the cross of Christ (Luke 9:23-24). We find it as we lose our individual lives, to gain His life as the Body of Christ – His expression on the earth today, many members united under One Head.
In organic church life, we’ve discovered the beauty and the essentiality of recognizing the piece of His Mind contained in each of our brothers and sisters. We seek after it in each other like treasure. We together explore and discover where the Head, Christ, is taking us as One Body. We are united in the same mind and the same judgment, which is His.
“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)
And so, we seek to agree, to come together in unity – not in the flesh, but in the Spirit.
Leadership is realized in a lot of practical and beautiful ways as we share His Life, with this as the constant underlying source.
Next week, I’ll share some examples of the practical and beautiful ways we’ve seen this happen. The following week, I’ll look at some church history on the subject of leadership.
In case you missed them here are links to the previous posts in this series:
“How would you define the organic church that you’re a part of? [Click here if you missed it]”
“What are the goals, purposes, strengths, and weaknesses of organic church life/Body Life? [Click here if you missed it!]”