Church Is Like A Sandwich

Church Is Like A Sandwich

Posted on 28. Apr, 2009 by in Re-Imaging Church, Kingdom Notes eZine, Kingdom Structure

Apostolic Note Vol 3, No 4   (PDF Version)

Suppose it is lunchtime and you are starving: you enter your favorite sandwich shop and place your order for that super deluxe dagwood special. As your sandwich arrives, you immediately realize something is wrong: the first clue – you are looking down at a pile of lettuce, no apparent bread. Upon closer examination you notice the whole sandwich is structured wrong, something like this: relish on the bottom, butter, a slice of bread, cheese, another slice of bread, the meat, more butter then the lettuce.

Your attempts at returning the sandwich meets with a dumbfounded look, the server cannot understand. All the ingredients of the sandwich are there, why would you want to return it? Well the answer is obvious, the structure is not right, how can you even pick it up to eat it?

Much of North American christianity is like this messed up sandwich: we may have the right ingredients, but the structure is incorrect. Looking at the churches of today, we find any number of ministry offices in multiple configurations; bishops, elders, deacons, apostles, prophets, teachers, ministers, evangelists, overseers, missionaries, etc – all arranged based on historical or organizational traditions. Unfortunately, we find that the result is a church body revealing limited dominion or authority of Jesus.

In 1 Cor 12:28, Paul gives us a skeletal structure for the church: “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of ….” I believe in understanding the basics of this text, we can come to a more biblical model that will empower the church.

The following is a very basic breakdown* of this verse and it’s significant components:

  • First notice –“God set” – This structure is His idea. It is His prerogative to place members (ministry gifts) within the body.
  • Second – the words “first,” “secondarily,” and “thirdly” mean a place of rank, influence or order. So – God has chosen to set an order in the church: first apostle, second prophet, thirdly teacher.
  • Third – the words “after that” mean thereafter or then, indicating something was to come or happen after the preceding structure.
  • Fourth“miracles” were expected to follow the order. The word here is dunamis, which in most other places is translated power; it means inherent power, strength or ability. So the expected consequence of correct structure is to have the inherent power of Jesus IN the body (church).
  • Fifth“then gifts of” is the same word as “after that,” meaning there is a natural consequence to having the inherent power; that is “then gifts of…” or the demonstration/manifestation of the ministry gifts.

When the church structure is in order: first apostle, second prophets, thirdly teachers, we can expect the inherent power of Jesus to be present. Since He is now within His correctly structured body, empowering it, we can expect the natural consequence to be the demonstration of ministry gifts.  This manifestation then results in the church being the authentic representational image of Jesus.

Food For Thought – Is the lack of miraculous demonstration in our churches because we do not have a correct biblical model?

*Obviously space prohibits the full presentation of study here. Much of this material is summarized from our series on re-imaging church (apostolic structure).

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8 Responses to “Church Is Like A Sandwich”

  1. Rizzyvoe

    28. Apr, 2009

    Very interesting post. I have two questions: 1. Where does pastors and evangelists fit into the structure? 2. How is this structure manifested in the body? Is it manifested in the way we treat these offices, in the way they perform in local worship, etc.. We know that Apostles lay the foundation reason why they are first, many have interpreted that to mean they establish different ministries, or ordains a new ministry. So again how is this structure manifested?

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Schmaltz

      28. Apr, 2009

      Very good questions. Obviously an in depth presentation cannot be accomplished via blogs. These questions are answered in our 12 lesson series on Re-Imaging and the subject of the book I am currently working on. With that said, let me simply states some answers w/o the scriptural documentation.

      First. The 5 or 4 fold gifting listed in ephesians are not in a set governmental order like 1 Cor 12:28. These are a listing of gifts.

      Second. The role of a pastor is shepherding: feeding, caring for flock to keep healthy and reproduce. This translate to basic guarding and discipling a local assembly. This function is written of in the framework the function of elders. It appears the shepherding (pastors) should be a plurality of elders in an assembly with the governing gifts (apostle, prophet, teacher) as oversight.

      Third. The manifestation. Wow. Such a big picture. In short, The gift of apostle provides the big picture vision and lays the foundational direction. The Gift of prophet confirms and gives guidance and further direction. The teacher is responsible to break it down in bite sized pieces. The elders lead the flock day by day down the foundational road the governing gifts have established.

      I assume this opens up a lot of other questions. I am attempting to give summary apostolic notes covering these as time goes buy. Hopefully I will finish the book and the other resources available that will furnish the details.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

      Reply to this comment
  2. Rizzyvoe

    28. Apr, 2009

    Thank you for the response. You are right, It has the juices flowing and I love when I get that hunger. Not to worry though, I love the quest and God has never failed to open doors when I knock! I look forward to the book and would like to know how I can get the Re-Imaging series. Until next time blessings upon you and the awesome gifting God has placed within you.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Steve Smith

    31. Jul, 2009

    Good stuff, my friend. I love the analogy.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Todd Theissen

    04. Sep, 2009

    Great thought…my question, As you state: after that,” meaning there is a natural consequence to having the inherent power; that is “then gifts of…” or the demonstration/manifestation of the ministry gifts.
    Does the presence of these gifts mean that you have the structure correct? Or does that lead some churches into thinking they must be correct since there is demonstration/manifestation, even though they are out of order?

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Schmaltz

      05. Sep, 2009

      Todd, I think it is only human nature that when we have a little of something, to think we have “it all.” Spiritually, I believe it is those who are truly hungry for the things of God that will allow Him to reveal just how much they do have.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Rick Larie

    04. Feb, 2011

    You are right on !!! The entire body of Christ needs to SEE this. Only one problem, a lot of Pastors might have a huge problem with this in that they will no longer be in charge- calling all the shots. God is about to turn the church upside down, and put everything in HIS order – so he might manifest himself to the world. I believe if Pastors would submit truly to this Governmental order, that Gods glory would be reveled.
    I also believe that God will raise up the ones that do, and use them as a living testimony to the rest of the body of Christ .Brother Martin – YOU ARE A BLESSING TO THE BODY !!

    Reply to this comment
    • Martin Schmaltz

      04. Feb, 2011

      Rick, thanks for the comment and kind words. I believe God is transforming the paradigm of church at this time. He is raising up a group, dare I say generation, of kingdom focused leaders. Those who are hungry for a true demonstration of Jesus and His kingdom.

      Reply to this comment

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