The most interesting aspect of our leadership here at Wellspring at the Cross is how it originated, in a context not of a group of believers seeking to start a church but of disciples seeking the headship of Christ. We were an unencumbered gathering, un-agendized, freely and simply enjoying the Lord in prayer and worship.
Joie Pirkey had been for years prophesying that Christ was not being allowed His headship in the church, and so, at our home at 815 Jefferson Street in Little Chute, WI, this group of disciples sought Christ’s headship. Prophetically among us the Lord continued speaking and leading and effecting His headship and design. What we became cognizant of was that ministry rightly expresses itself on the basis of the giftedness of the body as the Lord apportions it (1 Corinthians 12. 11). Having this mentality, as I had some months later begun preaching weekly, we also came to recognize that church leadership as giftedness also is apportioned by God, and the Lord was about that business, the business of His headship’s design “, …that in everything he might be preeminent” (Colossians 1. 18). It was because of the particular nature of the various gifts of persons among us that we recognized that the Lord was putting in place what is found in Scripture, the design for church leadership:
Ephesians 4. 11-16
“ And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love”.
Dealing with Our Own Armor
We are very intentional about realizing the design that Christ intends, “flushing the defilement ” of ourselves of aspects of experience, belief, and practice that are recognizably “defaults” of religion and instead “holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God” (Colossians 2. 19). This dynamic makes necessary for the sake of headship the putting off of “armor”, those preventatives that have protected us from the vulnerabilities of becoming like Jesus, cross-carriers for the sake of the Father (Matthew 26. 39).
We meet and pray on Wednesdays, ministering to the Lord; and He ministers to us. In these times of prayer and worship the Holy Spirit ministers to us the understanding and direction that we so need to follow well. It is a humble time of dependence and unity, the children of God before God our Father receiving His will to accomplish His work (John 4. 34). Invariably I receive from these meetings the basis for that which I am to preach on Sundays, that which builds in the body the design of Christ’s headship, “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2. 20, f.). In this context we realize the effect of the gifts of the Spirit, that they are for the common good (1 Corinthians 12. 7).
Organic verses Organizational
As to ministry to the world, it is clear that much of the American church has not been content to be the people of God to the extent that what we offer is who He is. Instead, we, more than not, develop Christian “products” for Christian consumption, facilities and programs that market and promote a preferred mongrel of consumerist Christianity not of the headship of Christ but its obstacle. The result is an encasement of the life of God by the papier mâché of spiritual idolatry. That of which I speak is the difference between what is institutional and programmatic over and against what is organically spiritual of Christ Himself. The latter will make an impact on the world indirectly as the consequence of the Life in disciples that are functioning members of the body of Christ; the former will make disciples of what is cultural, that which is as much our creation as a thing made of papier mâché. This He will burn but His life will survive: “Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done” (1 Corinthians 3. 12, f.).
Douglas Pirkey, Apostolic Minister of Wellspring at the Cross[/column]