A couple of years ago, Jerry Cook came and spoke at our
church. Jerry is one of my ministry
heroes. For the last 30-plus years he has been a mentoring presence in my life
through his writing and teaching. He has
also functioned in this mentoring role to many others throughout the Body of
When Jerry was with us he also ministered to the pastors and
leaders in our region of Southern Oregon.
This was a full and abundant time sitting under Jerry’s teaching gift. In between our meetings Jerry had lunch with
Jan and me.
At some point in our lunch, I began to process leadership
with Jerry. In our conversation, Jerry
made a statement that caused me to stop and re-process how I lead and represent
God’s Kingdom. Jerry said, “I never took a position that had me
representing an organization to pastors.
I always wanted to remain on the other side of that line so I could represent
pastors to the organization.”
Our lunchtime conversation continued on to other subjects,
but part of my mind set up camp around Jerry’s comment about the line. I wanted to personally process Jerry’s
comment later so I could glean all the wisdom available from such profound
As I began to think about what Jerry shared, I realized he
was not saying that a religious organization is somehow wrong or that those who
serve in any official capacity are suspect.
What I came away with was the realization that whether we serve in some
official capacity or serve in the deepest and distant trenches of ministry, we
all serve a higher reality – we serve the King of a Kingdom and His purposes.
Personally, I am honored to serve in an official capacity in
the Foursquare Church. I have always
danced with the line Jerry described. As
I brought Jerry’s comment into my own role, I began to realize this line must
be moved beyond all of us and positioned at the feet of Jesus.
The moving of the representational line – beyond all our
serving and leading roles – is critical, if trust is going to be experienced in
our ranks. If pastors realize that those
who serve in leadership positions over them will yield to the higher good of
God’s Kingdom – even at the expense of organizational survival – they can begin
to trust that leadership at a deeper level.
If those who lead understand those in the ranks of ministry also want
the higher good of God’s Kingdom, they will not have to be protective of
organizational survival at the expense of Kingdom advancement.
The line Jerry talked about was a line about trust. Each of
us must discover where that line of trust exists in our own lives and ministry
and ask ourselves why it occupies that position. The position of the line of trust can move back
and forth throughout the different seasons of Church life depending on the level of our
corporate health at a given moment.
Our conversations and relationships can be inhibited based
on where our line of trust exists. The farther the line of trust moves away
from the feet of Jesus – toward us and between us – the more we will discover
our relational dysfunction. As each of us desire to become more relationally
healthy, the most noticeable evidence of that health will be the direction in
which our line of trust is moving.