On Church Leadership (an email exchange with Sándor Abonyi of Hungary) – Pt.2: “Possibilities and Solutions”

Sándor replied to what I shared in Part 1 with the following email and attachment:

Dear David,

I am very grateful for your valuable thoughts.  I agree on that basically.  I would like only to reflect on that shortly and share a few of my thoughts from another aspect.

I have attached my description.

Blessings,
Sándor

Attachment:

A Few of my Thoughts about Leadership

I agree with you on all of the things in your letter, which is a short study summarizing the main questions and specifying their rank.

I see theoretically everything is OK. Some of my pastor brothers said to me: the FORM is NOT IMPORTANT, that is a second priority question.

Let me share some of the practical things from my life connected to this question.  I am originally a machine engineer and worked more than 30 years in the development area.  We had to know the theories.  That was the basic thing.  We had the possibility to realize a theory in many ways, and all ways had to work.  I worked in a multinational company with more factories in different countries.  In the different factories they carried out different solutions to the same problem.  A few of the factories needed to be closed because of NOT enough efficiency.  After these experiences came the question: to find out the best practice.  Sorry for the comparison, BUT I think the situation in the churches is similar to this.  This is the CONTENT and the FORM question.  I see that the CONTENT IS OK, BUT one FORM hinders the efficient working and another FORM helps it.  The forms are NOT SOLUTIONS, but are only POSSIBILITIES.  I see the FORMS like frames.

In my practice as a believer, I had a pastor over me.  I had a mandate to be a pastor BUT I laid it down and worked in plural leadership through more than ten years.  We kept the total gathering on Sunday morning in a rented room and house groups in houses during the week.  Later we worked without renting a room and gathered only in houses too.  We tried all FORMS and I collected and analyzed the experiences.

Mt 9:17 says: „Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.”

The Church – as I see the situation – tries to work all over the world within „old bottles” (in the frames of the Old Covenant).  From what Jesus says, I see this would be a priority question:

The first step has to be a RIGHT BOTTLE (as a POSSIBILITY only).  After that, GOD will be able to fill new wine into that.  If we are waiting for a big awakening, having church buildings and single pastors, and don’t have houses to gather in, in this case we are waiting for God to fill new wine into old bottles (structures).

We tried to realize a new bottle (FORM) as a frame during the past years in these things:

  • plural leadership
  • gathering in houses.

Many others said to us we are totally different from other local churches:

  • we had vision continuously.
  • there worked more spiritual gifts.
  • There were visible the signs of prophet, teacher, evangelist…gifts.
  • we have done many things in other ways than others.
  • This FORM is working only in the Spirit and humility. Without it there will be confusion, which is a warning: the leader is NOT the Holy Spirit, and they need to go to the Lord.

Plural leadership gives the POSSIBILITY for elders to practice humility and obedience and to get practice in the moving of the prophetical spirit.  The plural leadership FORM shows the fact that JESUS is HEAD over them.  We can show forth our Lord and King, NOT the way it is with other people who have an earthly “king.”  I think this is an important question.  In this way we can make our invisible King visible to others, NOT similarly to the way it is in the world.

Comparing this to the one pastor system:

  • One pastor presents a FALSE FORM, deceiving others with this.  It would seem for the people as if HE would be the HEAD.  This results in believers having a baby syndrome.  The pastor needs obedience from all of the people in the church.  His missings have a big effect.
  • One pastor cannot confront himself and he can work in a human way too.

We learned through gathering in houses:

  • The people don’t have the POSSIBILITY to be hypocrites and the sins will become visible.
  • Love needs to be presented in a very practical way.
  • Everyone has the POSSIBILITY to practice his/her gifts…

Of course we had many missings and were not perfect……

I see the churches today are:

  • Temple (church building)
  • Pastor
  • and Bible concentrated ones.

The first churches in the first century didn’t have Bible (New Testament), only a few letters if there were problems, and had no one pastor, BUT the Lord was within them by the Holy Spirit.

I see after that there were big problems in the churches:

  • Many believers are not born again and there are no disciples.
  • Leaders are corrupt in many things.
  • The sin and holiness question is a not an important thing…..

I tried to present a few of my thinkings in order for you to see my idea.

I hope you understand my thinkings written by my not perfect English.

The FORMS are only as POSSIBILITIES and not solutions, according to my vision, but are important, and we need to apply RIGHT FORMS (best practices) waiting for the RIGHT CONTENT (new wine) to be able to keep it on an efficient way.

What do you think about this aspect? This is a little bit of a different approach to things.

Blessings,
Sándor

~ ~ ~

My reply to these thoughts along with Sándor’s response back will follow in Part 3.

~ ~ ~

Related posts and pages:

On Church Leadership (an email exchange with Sándor Abonyi of Hungary) – Pt.1: “The First Button”

Of Wine and Wineskins (3D post)

The Greatest Among You (3D post)

The Headship of Christ in the Gathering of the Church

About David Bolton

Following Him who is the Way; Learning of Him who is the Truth; Living in Him who is the Life. - John 14:6
This entry was posted in Christ-Centered Gatherings, Christ-Centered Restoration, The Ekklesia, The Headship of Christ and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to On Church Leadership (an email exchange with Sándor Abonyi of Hungary) – Pt.2: “Possibilities and Solutions”

  1. errollmulder says:

    Thanks brother Sandor. My experience exactly, after 10 years of organic house churches under the functional headship of Jesus. We have not even bestowed the title ‘elder’ on folk but have, in a very natural way, accepted the shepherding and teaching of those manifesting the character of elders. We found that the title ‘elder’ can potentially lead to pride and a sense of office rather than servanthood, because of traditional church baggage. That is not to say that we look down on those who use the term ‘elder’ in their groups, it’s basically just how it happened and works in our case.

    By the way, my Hungarian is no where as good as your English! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Geno says:

    I was in a former Soviet Union country in the mid to late nineties, doing “missionary” work.

    I wound up having a home-fellowship group of around 40 people, among whom there were approximately six who wanted to pursue the things of the Lord in a real way.

    I used to simply “head out”, at various times, to different places, with anywhere from one to three of these people and it was truly mind-boggling how the Lord would guide and direct us, orchestrating incredible “divine appointments”, evangelistic encounters, healings, clashes with demonic powers, etc. I believed at the time that the Lord, after years of my wandering around the barren wasteland of western “Church”, had brought me in to the promised land.

    By the way, I functioned as more of a facilitator than a leader, shepherd or “pastor”, although I’m sure the others saw me as more of a leader or teacher.

    Back in the U.S., in Knoxville, TN since the early 2000s, I have sought, in different ways and times, to connect in a real way with believers, inside and outside of the organized church. The best and most I have entered into has been some good and interesting “discussion”, with no entering in to any practical reality of what I like to call “the real thing”.

    My encounters and connections with “house churches” and their leaders or founders, has been marked by the typical efforts of one man, in subtle or obvious ways, to be the leader or head, regardless of how good the discussion of the “things of the Lord” may have been.

    I have given up on the prospect of “finding” others who desire to pursue the deeper realities of what life in the Lord could and should be. I know this sounds judgmental and cynical, but that’s where I’m at.

    Any hope I have at this stage for walking out a genuine life in the Lord with others is based on the idea, “If and when the Lord wants me to have this, He will orchestrate it and bring it to pass.”

    Sorry for my rambling. I just felt like doing it here, for reasons I don’t really know.

    Like

  3. Lloyd Bowden says:

    Very interesting reply, which I completely agree with!

    Like

  4. David Bolton says:

    Geno, your “ramblings” I can relate to. “The real thing” takes others who are similarly pursuing “the real thing” so that there can become a community of “real thing” seekers. That, for some reason, seems to be the rarest thing to find in most places and cannot simply be manufactured. “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” (Ps.127:1) A number of years ago, after laboring with this endeavor and that, I felt the Lord’s will for us was to “pull in the oars, hoist the sail, and wait for the wind to blow.” I believe that is similar to what you are saying. The only thing that I’ve continued to do is sow seeds, knowing that the increase is fully in the Lord’s hands. In the end, I believe He is looking for simple faithfulness to His revealed will. His word to those who are faithful to the end will be “Well done, good and faithful servant…” (not necessarily “Much done…”) Abraham is held up by God as a model of faith and faithfulness. When you look at his life, however, what did he really have to show for it all? He had a son, born by the power of the Spirit, and yet all the nations of the earth have become blessed through that one fruit of his life. Abraham also lived in tents in the promised land his whole life, a nomad, looking for a city that was the work of God’s hands and not mans. Many, I would say, are following in his footsteps today. Don’t loose hope, brother, it is through barrenness that God’s greatest works are accomplished! The Lord’s ways are not man’s ways!

    “The One Who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” (1 Thess. 5:24)

    Thanks for sharing, brother, and stay the course!

    Like

    • David Bolton says:

      Geno, after reading your comment and replying, I went to my inbox and found the daily email of “Open Windows” by T. Austin-Sparks. Today’s offering seemed appropriate in light of our comments. The link to the page is here: http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/openwindows/003390.html
      Blessings!

      Like

    • Geno says:

      David,

      Thanks for the encouraging words and willingness to engage about these matters with a weary soul.

      The thing I have found most deflating and discouraging is this:

      Before going overseas, I knew, for years, there was MUCH MORE to life in the Lord than what I saw and experienced in the western “church”. I annoyed and badgered lots of people about this, but it was all coming out of what I saw in the word… not from much first-hand experience.

      Then, when I went overseas, and began to see and experience “the real thing”, in a natural, organic way, I guess I believed I had crossed over to the land flowing with milk and honey.

      Returning to the states, I’m more frustrated than ever because I actually tasted and experienced what life can be like when HE is guiding, leading and moving things and people according to HIS will and purposes.

      I’ve made some efforts to engage and connect with others since returning to the U.S., but don’t really have the heart, thinking inwardly, “What’s the point?” since it always seems to end up with good “discussion”, at best, and never seems to end up in practical realities and LIFE.

      I’ve even wondered at times if I’ve been cast off or abandoned.

      I don’t want to go off into another rant. Thanks again for engaging.

      Like

      • David Bolton says:

        Sometimes the Lord gives us a taste of the “promised land” so that we have faith to believe Him for it and then to hold that ground by faith, even in the face of discouragement and delay. Think of how Joshua and Caleb must have felt as they explored the promised land and came back with a good report and some of the fruit of the land. Then they had to wander in the wilderness for forty years until the initial unbelieving generation passed away and a new generation was raised up who would go in and possess the land. After all those years, they then led the charge…and possessed their inheritance. I believe that God is raising up such as these in our day as well, and yet the testing of faith can be most trying! You may be encouraged by the lyrics of a song that the Lord gave me (as a gift) when I was preparing to teach on the book of Joshua years ago. The link is here: https://christcenteredchristianity.com/expressions/original-poems-song-lyrics/were-going-up/

        I pray that you are strengthened and encouraged knowing that there are others in this battle as well! We’re going up!!!

        Like

  5. Sandor says:

    Dear Erroll,

    I am very glad you have similar experiences. Regarding the elders I agree with you totally. Similarly to you we had no elders at the gatherings in Houses as well but when we gathered as a local church (all people from all houses) there were appointed elders which is absolutely biblical how Paul appointed elders in each towns too. This is not a pride question but an obedient question to the Word. We can be prideful because of thousand things but that is our daily struggle to overpower it by the Holy Spirit. We didn’t handle our eldership as a title or office being simply mature believers with more experiences accepting by the flock.

    With Love Sándor

    Liked by 1 person

    • David Bolton says:

      Thank you Sándor and Erroll for sharing from your experiences. It adds much weight to this discussion. I agree with you both on the danger of titles. I once posted the following tweets along this line: “Jesus told His followers not to use honorific titles when referring to religious leaders. It’s right there in red and white!”, also, “You never see ‘Apostle Paul’ written in Scripture, only ‘Paul, an apostle…’ Paul knew who he was, but he didn’t capital “A” title himself.”, and finally, “With titles come en-title-ment. Jesus said, ‘…not so among you…’ Luke 22:26” As you’ve both shared, titles can be an enticement to pride and tend to set up a false stratification within the Body. When our paradigm shifts to that of the Kingdom of Christ, leadership is understood on the “descending horizontal” (“follow me as I follow Christ”) rather than the “ascending vertical” (as in “lording over”, and “loving to have the preeminence.”) Only when the “I will ascend” spirit is taken out, can the Body function in unity, order, mutual submission, and mutual edification under Christ’s Headship! That is what the Lord has called us to. Thank you both for being living examples of that! All blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

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