As I have studied spiritual fathering and being a spiritual father for about 20 years, I can quickly see the benefits of this for the sons and daughters being developed. I see the great need in the Body yet so many in need of this are sitting under leaders that have no idea of what spiritual fathering is.
The Lord has led me to start a new school in the fall of this year that is to be both a ministry school and a school of fathering. I oversaw a ministry school for 13 years and I knew this had to look different. As I looked around, I didn’t see a model so I have had to work through many things to put together a school that trains for ministry but has fathering within it. We won’t be charging for fathering but for the training part of the school. I am really excited for the school to begin and I see a more solid Biblical pattern for training leaders than ever before. This is leading me to write this blog.
I don’t want to just turn out students; I want strong and true sons and daughters. I know the approach is relationship based and is not forced. Our current models of training leaders is to send them to school, train and equip them with knowledge and some opportunities, and then send them out to do ministry and establish new works. My heart recently broke when a young girl who was in a school of minsitry I talked with was crying out for a father to speak to her. You guess it I was the one and it was fantastic. I realized for all our training we are still not touching the real heart issues needing to be shifted. Yet, as I look at the early Church, there is no real Biblical pattern showing forth the training of five-fold ministry. There is no pattern on how to form a prophet, apostle or any other grace gift. It appears all the emphasis we place on these graces is not as important in the early church. Perhaps we have missed something.
What we do see though is the training of sons and daughters. We see spiritual fathering and sons and daughters responding to that fathering. We also see those same sons and daughters being given responsibilities from the fathers and assignments to complete. We see them laboring along with fathers and knowing their hearts. I wonder if the reason Jesus only appointed apostles and spoke of them was because all true apostles are fathers. We know that the apostle’s role is also to father the future leaders. Of course we see the best dynamic unfolding with Paul and Timothy. Timothy moved from his son ship to be a leader in the Ephesus church. Along the way, Paul’s heart was reproduced within him and Paul’s voice was heard through him to the Corinthian church as he delivered and read the letters to them. Paul was forming a future apostle by forming a son.
Could the recognition of false apostles and prophets that Paul talked of be more about them having no real father than trying to be something they are not? At least, some of them? True fathering can easily be seen in a leader’s life. Look at David after defeating Goliath. King Saul asked a simple question of Abner, the captain of the host, “Whose son is this youth?” (I Samuel 17:55) He knew it took a certain type of father to form a certain type of leader.
Paul was adamant with Timothy about his lineage. He told Timothy he saw the heritage in Timothy through his mother and grandmother. Then he told him to look for faithful men who can teach others also. He never told Timothy to go train five-fold leaders. Paul actually never gave a single example of training fivefold ministers but all he taught can be applied to sons. He did tell him to find those qualified as faithful and from those, create sons who will teach others! This sounds like a Biblical pattern of raising five-fold ministry gifts.
I have come to a conclusion that we have created five-fold ministry by more of a worldly pattern with the giving of knowledge in schools of ministry. By knowledge, we define giftings and to a large degree, callings. We set people into the place of five-fold. Some make it while many struggle or even fail. Many were never ready but their schooling says ‘you have graduated or are ready’. Then from that foundation of knowledge, we try to form fathers from five-fold leaders who were never really sons. I believe the more Biblical pattern of forming five-fold leaders is to father them first, to pour life experience in with the Biblical knowledge. Then from the depths of fathering, the gift will be seen and recognized. The father would release the sons and daughters into ministry. In other words, five-fold giftings, which are really graces, should be coming forth from fathers. By having true sons and daughters doing ministry, I believe we would see a tremendous impact with ministries and the face of Christianity would appear very different.
I know this is a tremendous paradigm shift of the current approaches and way of training. We have defined so much by Greek and Hebrew language instead of the Kingdom language of heaven. Perhaps the real “equipping” needed in the Body is not just the knowledge of Truth but application of Truth coming from fathers who have made that Truth a part of their life. In other words the equipping is really spiritual fathering! If that is the role of the five-fold, then how can the five-fold father equip the Body without them first being true sons and daughters?
So my premise of this blog is to announce my own paradigm shift concerning training leaders and what is really expected from sons and daughters. I, like William Penn as the nation was being formed, am starting a “Holy Experiment” in a new way of raising sons and daughters and five-fold leaders in our school this fall starting in Sept. If you’re interested in this forerunning, pioneering school, you can find more information on our FaceBook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1468560813402697/.