|Know Your Place
By Bishop Randay Barnett
Jesus has sent each of into the world to be His representative on the earth and to continue the ministry Jesus began. Several
key passages of Scripture** reveal the plan of God for it. Our task is to remain consistent with His creation and be careful not to
add our own thoughts and ideas to it. If we will do this, the results will be marvelous.
I Corinthians 12:12-31 is a good place to start in this study. The over-riding thought Jesus reveals to us from this passage is
that there is only one church. Unity seems to be a very important thing to God since we are all baptized into one body and are
individually members of that body. We are all made to drink of one Spirit who is our very life. It is important to note that Paul
emphasizes the equality of the body parts meaning that each is vital to the overall composition of the body and none is
insignificant. What an amazing thing this Body is!
I like the comparison Paul uses as he teaches us about the spiritual Body of Christ by comparing it to a human body. Like a
human body there are many body parts (members) that comprise it, and of course we know that each member has a distinct
function. Verse 18 is an important key for us; it says, “…God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He
pleases.” (NKJV) From this statement there can be no question as to the Mastermind behind the design of the Church.
Let us consider the concept of God’s Master Plan for His Church. He has not delegated to us the right nor the power to design
His Church (or churches) any way we like. He prescribes where each member will be placed and has established the distinct
purpose for each. This would seem to me to mean that Jesus, who is the Head of the Church, may dictate who does what and
where each one is to be and how each one is to function. The only choice each of us has is whether or not we fill the role for
which we were created. Such thinking counters the manmade system that now exists in various churches and church groups
that feel empowered to determine positions and roles of leaders and members. I must question such methods as voting to
install or remove leaders, committee actions that determine who fills what positions, dependence upon carnal qualifications
such as education, credentials, or longevity, etc. It seems clear that Jesus alone should handle these decisions.
Self-appointment is also a serious problem in the Church. This exists both in the Eldership as well as in the pew. I cannot
number those whom I have encountered who call themselves reverend, bishop, pastor, apostle, prophet, evangelist, etc. who
are not. And, as a former pastor of a local church I witnessed on many occasions lay people who desired to fill certain positions
to which they were not called such as Sunday School teachers, department heads, or pulpiteers. The truth is this: Jesus is the
Selector, not you or me. How does He make such selections? He uses those He has installed over designated spiritual spheres
to know His will and choose people accordingly. This function would include pastors who lead local churches and apostles who
lead apostolic spheres.
One of the glaring errors rampant in the Church of today is the lack of knowledge about the five ministry offices. (Ephesians 4:
11) This lack of knowledge has produced generations of ministers who do not know their place in the Church. Evangelists and
prophets are trying to pastor churches! Pastors and teachers are out on the “revival trail” trying to function like an evangelist!
Apostles have long passed their appointed time to lay down pastoral duties of local churches and fill their God-appointed role
as apostles who oversee apostolic spheres. (II Corinthians 10:12-18) It is time for us to know our place!
The five ministry offices listed in Ephesians 4:11 comprise the Eldership (leadership) of the Church. How is it that so many
“leaders” are led by governing committees and Boards comprised of people who are not ordained by God as Elders? Those
who are supposed to lead are not doing so, and those who are to be led are trying to lead. It is time for us to know our place!
There is some good news, however. The good news is that there is a new generation of believers who look a lot like Joshua
and Caleb. These saints look only to the Word of God; their hearts are so turned toward God that they are able to hear the voice
of the Holy Spirit. These are radical Christians who will restore the Church to its original design. Many will be young; however,
not all will be. I know of men and women of God who are genuinely committed to the purity of the Word of God and are willing to
endure whatever ridicule or persecution that may come. It will take that level of commitment, especially within the ranks of the
fivefold ministers whose peers will counter them because they are engrained in the manmade organizational model rather than
practicing the apostolic model for the Church.
The Church will get it right. The real people of God – the saints – will develop in their understanding of the Bible as it relates to
such things as Church structure, leadership, positioning of body parts, etc., and the results will astound you! It will look just the
first century Church – signs, wonders, miracles, explosive numerical growth, and the glory of the Lord being seen and
experienced by all as we return to the simple, yet dynamic model Jesus established for His Church.
May I exhort you to personally start right where you are right now? Ask God to reveal to you what your place is in the Body of
Christ, and then be willing to follow His leading to fill it – no matter what. Set aside any fear or reluctance to be obedient to God
regardless of circumstances or negative responses by others. Submit yourself to the one God has set in place over you to
guard your soul and help develop you spiritually. Know for sure which local church is the right one for you. And, fivefold
ministers, seek out the right apostolic covering under which you can flourish and grow and prosper and be extremely fruitful.
Know your place.
Receive my blessing as you follow the Spirit’s leading.