The career path God has chosen for you is one that is glorious and very rewarding, yet it is fraught with pitfalls and his/her ability to
function effectively in the leadership of the Church.
In this study we will deal with what has become known as the “ministerial gulf.” The term itself is not found in the Bible but the
principle itself is very clear there. Let’s consider Jesus and His earthly ministry. First of all, we see Him gather about Himself
twelve men who are hand-picked to follow Him and assist Him in ministry. These men are called disciples. But they are set apart by
Jesus from the literally hundreds of other disciples. We see this vividly revealed when He would pull them aside away from the
crowds for special times of instruction and intimate fellowship. This separation between this select group and the masses is what
we refer to as the ministerial gulf.
The ministerial gulf must be clearly understood by those who are called to the fivefold ministry lest it become yet another source of
pride or elitism. This gulf does not presuppose these chosen ones are better than those they lead. Nor does this assume they are
more loved or in some way more favored by God. The only thing this gulf is intended to accomplish is to help preserve God’s
leaders in order for them to fulfill their Kingdom calling. The ministerial gulf is something that is not to be perceived by the masses;
therefore, this subject is one that will not be preached from your pulpit. When this happens, mistrust and other evils are given
place to in the minds of the ones who perceive them to be “left out.” The servant of God must go to great lengths to insure
openness with the flock and provide easy access by them on the part of the sheep.
How does the ministerial gulf help to preserve the leaders God has chosen for His Church? Familiarity breeds contempt, someone
once said. Even though this phrase is not biblical, it is nonetheless true. When followers are too familiar with their leaders, there
is a strong possibility of breakdown of respect and thus a breakdown in the overall effectiveness of the Church to carry out the
plan of God. So, to help avoid this breakdown, God has ordained there to be this spiritual gap that helps to maintain the honor He
desires for His leaders to have from His sheep. Leaders are quite human and are given to just as many flaws as those they lead,
this we know. These flaws have the potential of undermining the credibility and strength of Church leaders, if the followers see
those flaws. When people know of certain things in the lives of those who are called to lead them, they may refuse to receive from
them, which become problematic since that separates the followers from the powerful anointing God has for them.
The ministerial gulf is breached when the leader becomes too transparent with the followers. On the surface this may seem as
though we are contending that leaders live in hypocrisy. Of course that is not what is being taught here. We are merely instructing
you leaders to find personal and intimate friendship outside of your own sphere of authority. To confide in those you lead is folly.
In Jesus’ hour of greatest testing, He did not confide in His disciples. He admonished them to pray with Him and to stand in faith
with Him, but He did not sit them down and open His feelings to them. He opened those feelings only to the one in authority over
Him – His Father.
One consideration in this matter has to do with sins in the life of leaders. If the pastor sins, for example, and it is a publicly known,
then it is right that he confess to that sin openly. There is healing in that kind of honesty. But, when the sin is hidden and/or
personal, the proper correction (by those over him/her) is to deal with the matter behind closed doors. In this way, the credibility of
the servant of God is not jeopardized and he/she is able to continue in ministry after appropriate restoration. If this sin gravely
jeopardizes the overall well-being of the church, the correction is carried out in the presence of all the Elders. The reason for this
is to help cement the gravity of the situation in the minds of all who lead, as well as, the need for a personal life of holiness.
Let’s give thanks to God that He has set in place wonderful things like this to help us do what He has called us to do. Indeed, He
loves we who lead. He is marvelous in our sight.