If we make the microchurch an entity unto itself as the ideal, then we will have marketplace leaders who will call their businesses churches, their employees their congregations, and have them tithe to their businesses! Marketplace leaders need ecclesial fivefold ministers (Eph. 4:11) to equip and shepherd them, and they regularly need to come up for oxygen and hear what the Spirit is saying to and in their local churches!
4. Commissioning Marketplace Leaders With Ecclesiastical Titles
I believe that each of the fivefold ministries will reproduce marketplace (and ecclesial) leaders after their own kind. Thus, an ecclesial apostle could quite possibly reproduce marketplace apostles who will never be in full-time church ministry.
However, I do not think giving politicians and marketplace leaders titles that are understood and used in the nuclear church will do them any good in their callings. Some in our movement commission “apostles of government,” “prophets of economics,” etc. in which they bestow a fivefold title upon them. I think this is fine if necessary, but only if the marketplace leader is connected relationally to a local church and/or ecclesial apostles who are discipling them, and the commissioned marketplace leaders are also equipping the saints (the criteria found in Eph. 4:12).
In many cases these marketplace leaders don’t even see themselves as separate from their local churches because they are so intertwined with the life and leadership of the church. However, if we just theoretically open a door for giving ecclesial titles to marketplace leaders without qualifying it with the criteria of having a nuclear church connection then many of these so-called marketplace apostles and prophets may also fall into the microchurch error of substituting their place of business for a local church and/or set up themselves as equal or superior to all ecclesial ministers, resulting in thinking the local church is irrelevant.
In conclusion, many good people disagree with my conclusions. We have to leave room for more discussion as we grapple with finding solutions regarding the role and nature of the church in culture. Many of the forerunners in the body of Christ regarding evangelism and outreach have come from a parachurch mindset and have not framed their mission with the centrality of the nuclear church.
Of course, much of the blame lies with a dormant and self-focused nuclear church, which opened the door for nontraditional approaches to ministry. I believe we need to have a balance between the two: We need healthy local churches that are kingdom focused and not building their own empires in the name of the kingdom of God! We need to go from church-centric to kingdom-centric. But being kingdom-centric also means having a strong nuclear church that is the ground and pillar of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15).
Finally, many marketplace leaders I know with the strongest apostolic and prophetic calls upon their lives do not consider themselves disconnected from the local church but only extensions of the local church in their spheres of influence. Local church pastors should disciple these marketplace leaders with a biblical worldview and then defer to these marketplace leaders regarding how to specifically apply scripture to their fields of expertise in culture. This decentralization would give both ecclesial shepherds and marketplace disciples a great working relationship and give us the functional balance we are looking for.
At the end of the day, we may disagree somewhat in terms and methodology, but we all desire His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven!
Joseph Mattera is overseeing bishop of Resurrection Church, Christ Covenant Coalition, in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can read more on josephmattera.org or connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.
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