2 Kings 2:9 (ESV

9When they had crossed, Elijah
said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me.”

In theelisha great prototype ministry example that we have in the Scriptures between Elijah and Elisha we notice something very important that is oftentimes missed. I have read this passage literally hundreds oreven thousands of times but recently when reading it something jumped out at me very powerfully. As Elijah comes close to the conclusion of his ministry on the earth he asks his spiritual son and associate a question that is asked of someone who’s been faithful to you, “ask what I shall do for you before I’m taken from you.” Elisha’s response is so often quoted and yet the meanings often missed. Elisha’s response was that he wanted a double portion of the “spirit” that was on his father Elijah. Many in leadership and ministry have interpreted this as having a “ministry”, platform, organization, in other words stuff that is twice as big, twice as successful etc. But that is not what Elisha asked for, he asked for a double portion of the “spirit” that was on his spiritual father. Elisha did
not ask for the stuff he asked for the spirit!

Over the years many of us in leadership have pondered the question why is it that we have very few modern examples of natural or spiritual sons who were able to take to the next level the ministry that was handed down to them by a great leader. We have to realize the spirit that was on the leaders to be able to take the territory, build the church, reach the masses and build influence for the kingdom of God. Without the same spirit the “sons” cannot build upon the “fathers” platform let alone be able to sustain it.

Too many young “sons” say they want the spirit that is upon their “father” but really what they are wanting is the stuff. You cannot have stuff without the spirit because you will lose the stuff that your father strived to gain in the kingdom. We see that when Moses was doing ministry solo rather than raising up those that shared the burden, the Lord spoke to him and said that He would take of the “spirit” that was upon him and put it upon them (Num. 11:17). What did it mean for them to have Moses’ spirit? Yes of course is meant the anointing that was on him but also the way he thought, the way cared and loved the people, his values, his priorities and his heart. To want somebody’s anointing and stuff without these other values simply makes us “gold diggers.” I think it is possible that we can start seeing a generation that is able to inherit and double what was given to them because they have the “spirit” of the father and not just his “stuff.”

FATSO is the acronym that I’ve used all my years of ministry as a grid for those that catch my attention and demonstrate capacity for leadership and promotion. The acronym simply stands for: faithful, available, teachable, Spirit led, and obedient. After all these years in ministry and leading at different levels I have learned that the acronym serves true no matter the size of the church.

But here’s the biggest issue for me, the other day I was taking a walk and thinking about what is it that catches my attention about certain individuals that I want to promote into greater leadership? The one word that came to my mind was, “capacity.” In other words can this person lead? Can they lead more things? But before they could lead at a higher level – they have to qualify for the first letter in the acronym… The F! Faithful! Faithful simply means showing up, being there, being consistent, being “countable.” As I am writing this scrolling through my mind is the picture of individuals that I would love to give leadership to, to promote, and eventually see come on my staff. But the problem? They don’t show up, they are not consistent. So much potential, so gifted, so charismatic, but yet not even an F….. When you’re not faithful you’re not even a FFFFF, so how can you be a FATSO?

There’s people that if they simply consistently showed up to things they will be noticed, they will be promoted. One leadership teacher said, “90% of success is simply showing up.”

To the gifted, to the talented, to the charismatic this may not seem like a big thing. But Jesus said if you’re “faithful” in the “small” things you will be put in charge over much. This is like what the Scripture says that many are called but few are chosen. So let’s work on the F…. And then from there we could work on the …ATSO.

One of the things I am naturally drawn to is to observe human behavior and particularly leadership and organizational behavior.  Over the last many years we have been transformed by the Holy Spirit in this present of move God.  I personally was touched in 1993 as a student at Oral Roberts University by the ministry of Rodney Howard-Browne around the same time when the Toronto blessing outpouring began.  We as a church have been in this move of God since August of 1999.  This outpouring as been transforming and has “ruined” me for sure!  As a student of church history and revival I am not shocked or surprised by the overemphasis of certain truth or teachings, it happens in every revival and it almost seems like the overemphasis is needed in order to bring a balance.

One of the truths that I have seen overemphasized in recent years is the “grace culture” teaching.  In a nut shell it states that in order to bring people into their God given potential and purpose there must be a culture that is grace filled and has a revelation of the Father’s unconditional love and acceptance.  Let me stop here and say that I wholeheartedly believe this and teach it.  I don’t want to get into all of the areas of overemphasis here in this blog but I want to limit it to the area of leaders and leadership.

The misapplication of the grace truth that I am seeing more and more is that of not  recognizing that “grace” and Leadership trust or appointment are not the same thing.  The New Testament holds those in leadership to a higher standard and conduct.  Here is a partial list from Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus: blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous,  one who rules his own house well with his children in submission, not a novice, has a good testimony among those who are outside, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, lover of what is good, responsible steward, just, holy, self-controlled, and hold fast to the Word.  Now of course how each one is measured and applied changes from leadership culture to leadership culture, but the point is that there are standards that are set for those who are in leadership that are not set necessarily for those who are not yet in leadership.  What that means is Grace is applied the same for all since we are all believers first but the consequences of and or application is different for those in church leadership or aspiring to be in leadership versus everyone else.

For example one of the requirements of those in church leadership is to “have a good testimony among those who are outside.” This means your reputation, business dealings, your interactions and reputation with those outside the church including your personal conduct with the opposite sex etc.  If the leader does not have a good reputation with those outside the church they cannot simply say, “I now repent of that” and continue in leadership or be promoted to it.  Repentance in this realm has to do with restitution, longevity and proving out their lifestyle and conduct.  This is not a “legalistic” approach or burden, it is simply the requirement of Scripture in order for those who lead in the body of Christ to lead with integrity, character and effectiveness.  Grace and forgiveness is never the issue because God is always forgiving and restoring.  In my observation churches that have an extreme “grace culture” never are truly thriving or fruitful and multiplying in any significant way. I believe the reason for this is simple,  fruitful leadership must be biblical leadership.  To truly lead in the fruitful manner that God intended for us to function and in Apostolic authority we must follow God’s pattern for leadership.  Most importantly leadership is not about methods but about the person that God is forming and using.

My attempt is not to put a heavier burden on those who are already carrying the burden of leadership but to simply give us some things to think about and remember no matter how great that message sounded at the conference, we always need to come back and line it up with biblical truth.  Peace.