In the NT the focus shifted to THE SON OF GOD. The SON of GOD did not have one disciple but a TEAM of disciples who became a TEAM of LEADERS. Jesus did not raise up His leaders one by one but sent them out TWO BY TWO.
AGAIN I SAY TO YOU, IF TWO OF YOU AGREE ON EARTH ABOUT ANYTHING THEY ASK, IT WILL BE DONE FOR THEM BY MY FATHER IN HEAVEN. FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED IN MY NAME, THERE AM I AMONG THEM.” MATTHEW 18:19-20 (ESV)
Why have we Pentecostals gone back to OT thinking by looking up to this or that MAN of GOD but neglecting the principle of TEAMS of DISCIPLES? Why do we put anointed preachers and pastors on a pedestal but we do not do what Jesus taught and did? HE SENT THEM OUT TWO BY TWO, not only the 12 but also the 70.
At the Last Supper we see Jesus preparing His chosen team of leaders for His departure at the cross. They argue about who would be “the greatest.”
Clearly they were confused because Jesus had not appointed ONE SUPREME LEADER who would take over after the SON of GOD returned to Heaven. Jesus never did because Jesus pioneered a new model of leadership which most of us have still not understood very well.
But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Matthew 23:8-9 (ESV)
Then in Acts we see Peter emerging as the front man but not like Moses in the OT. Peter was the first among equals, the leader of a team of leaders.
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, THEY WERE ALL WITH ONE ACCORD in one place. Acts 2:1 (NKJV)
And THEY WERE ALL filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:4 (NKJV)
Paul is often seen as the supreme stand-alone MAN of GOD like the OT heroes but this is a dangerous half truth.
Paul travelled from town to town and planted churches wherever he went but in one major city he only won a few individual converts. What was different about Athens? PAUL WENT TO ATHENS ALONE. Everywhere else Paul had at least one travelling companion and spiritual partner according to THE SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLE OF THE TWO BY TWO.
Why do so many pastors leave the ministry? Why do so many newly planted churches only last for a limited time? We have based our churches on a wrong understanding of the Bible, the Old Testament idea of one man leadership.
Pastors have been taught in Bible college not to make friends with members of the congregation, to be like the lonely captain of a ship, accountable only to God and not to his brothers and sisters, except fellow pastors, who are wrongly understood to be a separate and higher class of Christians.
So many pastors crack and burn out under this unreasonable burden, never designed by God.
In Acts 3, we see how a crippled beggar was healed at the gate of the Temple.
Seeing Peter AND JOHN about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, AS DID JOHN, and said, “Look at US.” And he fixed his attention on THEM, expecting to receive something from THEM. Acts 3:3-5 (ESV)
If a fellow believer asks you if you have a pastor and you don’t have one, they think you are in rebellion. However, no one asks if you have a prayer partner or a spiritual co-worker. How have we developed this unbalanced understanding?