Saturday, October 16, 2010
127. Francis Chan, Mark Driscoll, Josh Harris and APEST
I don't usually blog about high profile people, but I couldn't help but put my two cents in on this one. I heard about this discussion between Driscoll, Chan and Harris a while back, but I just stumbled on it tonight on the internet. As I listened to Chan, I resonated with several things he said about the poor, suffering, being motivated by love....but I also heard Driscoll looking for some balance in approach to poverty vs. wealth, simplicity vs. complexity etc. What seemed odd to me is that they both looked on what Chan was doing as though it was sort of ....odd.
There is a deeper, underlying impulse going on here that I think could bring clarity to the pathway Francis Chan has chosen. After spending a significant amount of time studying Ephesians 4, I have come to the conclusion that everyone is gifted with all five of the APEST giftings, but each person has each of these giftings in different measures. That is, each person has a primary, secondary tertiary etc. In my opinion, after hearing Francis Chan speak and reading some of his writings, Chan is gifted as a prophet, with some obvious teaching gifting thrown in the mix. I don't know the guy well enough to know which is primary and which is secondary etc., but it is clear that he is extremely God focused, he calls people to a higher standard, he energizes the community and often talks about his experiences of encountering God in dramatic ways. He is unique in this way, but not so unique that he is all by himself. There are countless other people in the body who have this same thing going on, they just do not share the same platform and exposure as Chan.
When Harris started the session, he responded to a comment Driscoll made by saying "It the whole King dynamic." This is, I assume, he is describing Driscoll from the typology that I have heard Driscoll use of describing leaders with the one of the metaphors of Prophet, Priest or King. Honestly, I struggle with this because the way I have heard it explained, it sounds like a recycled version of the "E-Myth" book. It sounds good at first (to some), but for me it just muddies the waters at precisely the point we need clarity on functions in the body. It is short and sweet, but Jesus did not give the church a three-fold ministry, he gave it a five-fold ministry.
We have a five-fold description of the functions people play in the body in Ephesians 4. If we would stick with the scriptural template of APEST, then it wouldn't be so bizarre that Chan is distancing himself from the established community and diving into a highly incarnational form of ministry. He is a prophet, and this is one of the things prophets do naturally. They help the church become incarnational by incarnating the values of God in tangible, concrete, often dramatic ways. If we understood the Ephesians 4 ministry matrix, we would be able to see how natural it is for Chan to be going in this direction, and instead of questioning the trajectory of his ministry and trying to some how align it with other well traveled trajectories, we can celebrate it and learn from it, be inspired by it and empower it.
This interview is a classic case where a thorough understanding of APEST would helps us appreciate and affirm what we see happening in a high profile, obviously very prophetic teacher, in stead of scratching heads and thinking something is amiss. What is amiss, I would say, is that the church had a very limited leadership structure for Chan to occupy....pastor/teacher....and all this time, in Chans own words...he knew something wasn't right. Its not that the whole church isn't right. What isn't right is the narrow, pastor/teacher leadership structure that forces prophets like Chan into a one size fits all mold of preaching to the established church instead being on the frontier and doing what they do best in the frontier. Praise God Chan has the courage to step out and follow the calling and gifting that Jesus gave him when He ascended on high and gave gifts to men. Chan is modeling to us that we have to have integrity in our gifting and calling. He is an inspiration and encouragement to me, as I too had to leave the pastor/teacher monarchy and move out into the frontier to follow my calling to function apostolically. (Although, it would be nice to do that with the same access to resources that Chan has. Just being honest =)
I am doing some writing with Alan Hirsch and Mike Breen on this very topic of APEST and we hope to broaden the churches vision of the inherent, Jesus-given giftings in the body that provide the focus and trajectories for ministry expressions. It is my hope that this material will help alleviate some of the confusion and contention that naturally surfaces when we try to retro-fit an existing five-fold dynamic in the body into a two-fold leadership/organizational/ministry structure.
Posted by Tim Catchim at 1:23 AM