Friday, June 1, 2018


Peter Scazzero's work, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality is spot on for contemporary churches and ministries. Radically, our churches, in the African American religious experience especially, should wrestle with the inquiry of how emotionally healthy is our spirituality? Relevant to the question of faith and emotional wellness is the need for discipleship development in the area of emotional health.  Modern believers struggle with pressures of  transitioning  a new christian life, separating biblical truth from years of cultural practice and living with a saved soul and unhealed emotions. Many try to perfect spirituality through religion while ignoring the condition of their emotional lives. Emotions, are natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood or relationships with others. The role of the Holy Spirit in emotionally healthy spirituality is to equip the believer with tools to integrate heaven and earth within one's soul- producing a transformed life in spirit, soul and body.
Emotions play humongous roles in relationships. As practitioners of faith, we must not only celebrate the salvation of the soul, but advocate for its healing.  The nature of our emotions are mirrored in the those we choose to do life with.    Whether personal, professional or in  community, we attract what we are or are not.  I'm convinced that our emotional health maybe a reflection of God's importance to us. He is only as important to me as I am to myself.  We project our  soulish intellect, emotions and will  on God. There are times that the concept or reality of  God is senseless to us emotionally, illogical cognitively or irrational behaviorally because we only discern Him from our current state of reality. 
Developing our emotional intelligence requires the ability to grow our awareness and standing firm on our foundational beliefs. Emotional intelligence is sharpest when we choose to slow down our lives and discover ourselves and rediscover God's grace which empowers us to live in unity with Him.
Church people deal with real life in real time.  Their struggles are more emotional than spiritual. Sure, we can theorize that all our soulish issues of will, intellect and emotions emanate from demonic strategies designed to dwarf our spiritual growth. But we have to admit that a majority of our life issues come from a hole in the soul. We pile our emotional baggage on top of an undeveloped spiritual life and find ourselves living imbalanced and empty lives and ultimately, leave the church.  
“What went wrong? They were sincere followers of Jesus Christ, but they struggled as much as anyone else with their marriages, divorces, friendships, parenting, singleness, sexuality, addictions, insecurities, drive for approval, and feelings of failure and depression at work, church, and home. They saw the same patterns of emotional conflict inside the church as outside. What was wrong with the church?” -Peter Scazzero
I believe the church is the living expression of the kingdom of God fully equipped to facilitate God's forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation between God and man and man with man. Some church goers and infrequent attenders quit on their faith. Their expectations of faith compared with their current realities aren't equal.  Disappointed and frustrated with life on life's terms in and out of church causes many to leave the faith dejected and others to stay but passively participate. 
These struggles of emotionality and spirituality have existed since the fall of man in the garden of Eden. Struggles create suffering in the emotional man. The physical man will carry out the emotional man's desire if his spiritual man is not strong.  Emotional maturity coupled with biblical instruction strengthens the spiritual man. The soul and body should follow the spirit's leadership. Too often, this is not the case. Once we are properly aligned: spirit, soul and body we will live in peace and harmony with God and humanity.
We'll explore this subject and other aspects of being emotionally healthy through a eight week course by Peter Scazzero later this fall. Our hope is to lead others into deeply trans formative relationships with God by developing our emotional wellness.  Scazzero's contemplative spirituality of slowing down and being with God will be our first step. I invite you to join us.  
Many people are afraid to disrupt their life rhythm with reflective meditation and purposeful inactivity.  It forces them to sit in life and make assessments of their emotional health and emotional community. Its not pretty. Sorting through comparisons, disappointments, missed moments and stuff will recall past difficulty and demand present solutions.  I challenge you to ask the hard questions of how did we arrive at our current emotional station and is our emotional community healthy? 
What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the space of life? Specifically, what's its role in our emotional wellness?  The baptism in the Holy Spirit is designed to equip us with physical discipline, emotional wellness and spiritual authority for life's effectiveness.  We all need to deeply reflect, contemplate, slow down and be emotionally aware in order to be spiritually healthy. 
How emotionally healthy is your spirituality? 
Let's talk about it.
Leave a comment

Tuesday, May 15, 2018


And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame out of the midst of a bush: 
and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, 
and the bush was not consumed. 
Exodus 3:2

I often think about moments. Moments are brief periods in time, exact points or the appropriate time for doing something. Moments are manifestations of specific opportunities exactly timed and aligned to our unalterable purpose.  We underestimate the power of a moment. We've become so busy concentrating on "what's next," that we dismiss, downplay and get distracted from the important  memories and lessons that moments provide. Cherish every moment whether tragic or triumph: the moment you fell in love, experienced heartbreak; your first kiss, your first job, a graduation, wedding, having children, or even a simple family moment playing a game or laughing hysterically... Moments can be so powerful that they alter the universe based on what you decide to do with that moment. 
In the Old Testament, Moses maximized his moment while leading his flock in the dry, mountainous region of Horeb.  Scholars believed shepherds seldom took their flock more than one day's journey from their camp.  But Moses was at least two days' journey away when he wandered into a distinctive moment that would forever change his life. Distinctive moments call us powerfully into our future purpose.
Moments happen all the time so it can be difficult to notice distinctive moments. Bushes burnt in the desert often so Moses had to pay close attention to notice a bush burning but not being consumed. Sometimes we miss the subtlety of distinctions. We assume that all moments are the same. We take moments for granted. What is ordinary becomes extraordinary because of a distinctive moment.  
Like Moses, we have distinctive moments that will change the course of our lives and possibilities if we only will take time to notice them. If Moses missed the moment at the burning bush, his moment at the Red Sea wouldn't have happened. Don't waste time criticizing or complaining about the moment you're in. Instead savor it, because you'll only be where you are for just a moment.  Believe that the moment you're in now is where God put you to set the stage for your next moment. 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

A Reflection on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 50th Anniversary of his Assassination

“O God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home!”
Isaac Watts
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 117

Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?
In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., isolated himself from the demands of the civil rights movement, rented a house in Jamaica with no telephone, and labored over his final manuscript. In this prophetic work, which has been unavailable for more than ten years, he lays out his thoughts, plans, and dreams for America's future, including the need for better jobs, higher wages, decent housing, and quality education. With a universal message of hope that continues to resonate, King demanded an end to global suffering, asserting that humankind-for the first time-has the resources and technology to eradicate poverty.

Fifty years after Dr. King’s assassination in this Black History Month we find ourselves echoing his prophetic question:“Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? Automation and globalization is replacing human beings in the marketplace. Technology makes our antiquated methods of making a living the “good ole American way” inefficient, antiquated and obsolete.

Gentrification (the process of renovation or improving a district so that it conform to middle class taste) of urban cores in major cities and paramount communities have forced seniors and generations into short sales or foreclosure. The changing the complexion of predominately black neighborhoods based on the rising economic resources available to the affluent have left these marginal communities in need of decent affordable housing, quality education with focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) to ensure better jobs, higher wages and a chance to rise above the median income for those living in poverty. Fifty years later, we still demand, like King “an end to global suffering, and the eradication of poverty.”

Fifty years later, we notably can point to more black elected officials in our community but not enough to make a majority for transformational change in our communities. We can celebrate more of our children have college and advanced degrees than their parents who struggled to ensure their future gave them opportunities, here to fore, denied to their parents and grand and great grand parents. We have an educated community living with their parents because of a gross lack of employment opportunities in their respective communities.  Our credo nationalism which promotes the idea of American purposefulness has been replace with a blood and soil nationalism that doesn't represent the best of our immigrant built country.  Celebrity has been replaced for legitimacy.
Income inequality of women, black women, minorities and immigrants is a brutal reality faced by heads of households on a daily bases. Racial and political violence continues to rise with varied outcomes of justice. Van Jones, a CNN commentator said,“if you’re an immigrant committing the crime, we have weak policies, if you’re Mexican, we need to build a wall, if you're African American, we need more prisons and draconian laws, if you’re white we extend our hopes and prayers.”

The social justice agenda must be the focus of Black History moving forward.
Diversifying boardrooms with people of color and gender is social window dressing to
appease the socially exasperated while continuing the latent polices of racial
exceptionalism, nativism, isolationism, xenophobic practices and hoodless“new market racism.”

The challenge to this generation for Black History Month is to gain strength from the
tenacity of our iconic patriots while forging a new trail of justice and equality for our peers.
Our celebrated upward mobility has created internal rifts within Martin’s beloved community
because everyone does not feel the weight of freedom or success.

Today's challenge to our church is from the New Testament account of St. Matthew 17:1-5,
8-10.  Make our mountain revelations of spiritual revelation and empowerment our current valley realities. As we endeavor to #BeWithHim, it is so we can be with them! Our heavenly revelations and deep meditations of God, like in the text must see Christ transfigured and his church empowered to heal the community that is vexed with a historic, cultural and systemic diseases. 

Lets end our annual trips to our past for 28 days in February.  Reflections on past accomplishments without having ground breaking modern accomplishments in the areas our forefathers trod is a glaring example that we may not be as free as we think we are.  Our world, not the black world, our entire world is sick. Suffering from the diseases of greed, power and hatred which are symptoms of godlessness. Twenty years of massacring children from Columbine to Sandy Hook to just a week ago, 17 students and adults at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Guns and gangs have been killing inner city youth for more than fifty-years and we still have not provided credible leadership or practical solutions to these tragedies. Our ministry, today, is not on the mountain top of transfiguration, it lives in the valley realities of cellophane congregation beleaguered communities who struggle with life on life’s terms! 

We are mandated to make better communities than King, Ghandi, Marcus Garvey, Malcom X, Stokely Carmichael, Benjamin Mays, Ralph Abernathy, Medgar Evers, Dorothy Height, Ella Baker, Diane Nash, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Dubois, Thurgood Marshall and A.Phillip Randolph, Fannie Lou Hamer and President Barack Obama!

After Jesus had a mountain top experience, he went to the valley to deal with those
whose reality was different then His revelation. Like Jesus, the church cannot stay on
the mountain top, ascend to greater revelations of God without having that revelation
serve as the healing balm for our people’s valley realities.

So let’s reflect on the iconography of our past luminaries with great admiration and celebration. But like the fertile land of the imaginary kingdom of Wakanda, in the movie Black Panther; lets externalize our internal value and show the world our better selves! We must celebrate modern Black History makers like: Dr. Wayne Glasker for more than 20 years, Glasker has taught African American History at Rutgers University in Camden. Barbara Wallace is the town's current mayor and her husband John E. Wallace is a former associate justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court. Brandon Byrd, Founder of Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats, Ayanna Howard, Ph.D, Founder and CTO of Zyrobotics, Ray Coogler; director of the power movie Black Panther, Dr. Charles Moore, Bernard Worthy, CEO of Loanables, JR Reynolds and Natalie Davis emerging playwrights.

I summarized, the looming contemplation of the movie Black Panther was crystallized in the last line of the last scene. The little boy playing pickup basketball in Oakland after seeing the Bugatti space ship ask T’Chella who are you? The premise of the film wrestled with the idea of what might Africa had been if it wasn’t stripped and raped of its natural rich largess by the East and West.

These provocative questions must be answered by today’s emerging servant-leaders in our, faith, community and political arenas! Black people should ask ‘who are you and what might we be if we would move forward, stay focus and avoid distractions! Our faith gives us one-third of the answer, the other two-thirds is found in our individual fortitude to make history and not just reflect on it. Who are we and what might we become if not for self-sabotage, error, culture and fear of our unrealized possibilities.

The Black Panther movie is a well produced epic feature in the DC Marvel franchise; celebrate its accomplishments but demand more of ourselves to make our communities non-fictitious thriving communities. Attaching our heritage and the realities of a Fannie Lou Hamer to characters in a comic book shames our ancestors and belittle’s their sacrifice in the struggle and ultimately relegates our historic experience to comic book. 

Rightly so, King T’Challa facilitates economic development, exchanging hopeless Oakland ghetto pick up basketball playing kids to potential heroes of their generation by using modern technology. Celebrate the accomplishment of the film, admire their record breaking global incomes but remember, not one dime of the $400 million dollars made in its 4 day opening repairs roads, rehabs housing or improves our feeble educational system or provides needed health care. 

Distinctively thinking? It’s the digital world of  Wakanda not the reality of segregated Mississippi.

Thursday, May 3, 2018


The purpose of ministry has its origin in people. The center of ministry activities is at the heart of serving people and ensuring their life needs are addressed. People must be equipped to spiritually handle life struggles. Ultimately, people must be better because ministry exist. If soul business is our business, then how's business? God's heart for ministry is reflective in our passionate purpose to serve, aid, comfort, protect and commune with His creation. God is all about people and his church should be as well. 
It is unfortunate that certain ministries have moved from a people focus to a person focus. Digital ministry graphics tend to misrepresent the actuality of ministry not found in cyberspace. We aim to attract people to events, services, ministry launches and celebrations without genuinely inviting them to transforming experiences.  It's disheartening that ministry marketing subliminally highlights the importance of people as a focus only to treat them as menu add-on.
Symptoms of an expired shelf life in ministry is when its focus is on individual investment instead of community benefit.  Any individual, no matter their title, rank or station should not be allowed to alter the purpose for which ministry service is purposed.  God's crowning achievement of creation is humanity.  He wasn't satisfied with Adam being alone, He created Eve.  Adam and Eve created family.  Families create societies and global communities. God places a sovereign premium on people. The world for which He planted in His son in death and resurrection boast of a cornucopia of hues, shapes, sizes and uniqueness of over six billion people!  God loves people and His church must prioritize God's heart for people at the center of its ministry mission.  
People who serve with passion purposefully are the pathway to effective ministry. The goal of ministry is about people. People in worship, people in service, people in community so these people, become the people, that turn the world upside down! 
Leaders who love people are passionate. Passion means suffering. Suffering love,  is a distinction that links us to the heart of God for the people of God.  The lack of suffering in leadership is evident in diminishing ministries.  Habakkuk was a suffering leader with authentic passion for people. He unlike most leaders today lived in the suffering of those he been selected to serve.  Contemporary leaders are challenged with emotional deficits so that they need to be more grand than great.
Dispassionate leadership is displayed by those who live with emotional deficits. Those who are detached from people and their living space emote servitude out of their personal need for therapy more than their need for ministry.  Moses, a passionate leader who was intrinsically connected to the pain of those suffering in Egypt.
Distinctively thinking, people may be better served by leaders who are intentionally connected to congregational and community pain. Being passionately real, relevant and relational is a necessity for today's ministry.  Passionate leadership is derived from suffering not energy.  Jesus showed himself alive after his passion (suffering), thus making him the model passionate leader who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities.  We then are called to serve people with passion by understanding their suffering. 
Leaders who need to be seen, served and needed will turn off contemporary young adults who demand servant-leadership and not self-centered leadership.  Our distinctive challenges are to overcome conflict while building communication and developing  consistency in order to eliminate individualism, territorialism and factionalism. Isolated and insulated leaders propagate fiefdoms and not kingdoms. 
Today's leadership team is selected for the sole support of the Senior Leader, and, not for the people. We're misguided in ministry because we have forgotten our ministry purpose, therefore we make ministry petty. The speed of the leader will set the pace for the speed of the team in visioning and strategy. The leader is charged with enriching the team and creating clear communication channels. When the leader and leadership establish process syncopation with people, passion and purpose the end result is sustainable vision around big ideas which have people as its focus! 
The pathway to effective ministry begins with people who are served by distinctive excellence. Ironically, effective ministry is defined by and concludes with people concentrated focus who positively respond to passionate leaders who creatively live out their ministry purpose consistently.  The building blocks of ministry is primarily the approach, reception, development and acknowledgement of the people who live in the ministry space we create. Passionate demonstration of ministry is the energy-work necessary to build momentum and establish purposeful continuum of the stated ministry goal and vision.
Distinctively thinking, our rapid return to a people first ministry approach will align the leadership model,  sharpen the organizational focus, direct corporate resources and create a ministry experience that cannot be replicated. Distinctive thinking ministries are committed to elevating people's expectation, passionately pursuing purposeful leaders who will intentionally implement the visionary plan effectively.  Remember, people are more important than projects and ministry more important than money. 


Thursday, May 25, 2017


What is a ministry of distinction? Distinction is defined as "a marking off or distinguishing asdifferent".  In today's climate and culture of church it important for local assemblies to identify and promote their "distinction".  We are aware the Lord Jesus gives to his disciples "the great commission" which will establish the kingdom of God in the earth and delegate the church as the only legal authority to implement that mission.

Creating a "counter-culture" is the mission of the church in order to provide for fallen man an alternative choice for eternity.  Each local assembly is then charged with marshaling forces to promote, promulgate and produce the life of the kingdom in the earth!  Our current generation is far removed from the formation of moral, social and ethical standards our parents and grandparents embodied.  Today's sight and sound generation is enamored with a anti-authority, anti-God and anti-church mentality that demands immediate gratification and visual stimulation to satisfy their social media overload.

As the church becomes younger and less religious; our ministry underwent strong consideration as to our relationship, relevance and long term strategy to win "this generation".  How could we hold fast to our fundamental pentecostal tenets and infuse them with a contemporary message of hope, love and transformation and package it to a disinterested culture?  Our answer?  Create a "BLUE WATER" ministry that would have a three dimensional and relational appeal to this generation, repackage our fundamentalism in a practical application to life and celebrate our diverse ecumenical heritage with bold presentation. Blue Water is a real, relevant and relational ministry.

Blue Water is our response to probing questions of relevance, connection, community and fulfilling the great commission in the 21st century.  We have no allusions that this is a "one size fits all" ministry methodology; but is our answer to celebrate difference in a traditional denomination and walk out our apostolic mandate to become the "new face of COGIC" building a ministry model of exceptional member service, ministry professionalism and living in the law of difference.

Our ministry philosophy will provide a backstop for young professionals seeking relationship with Christ but not with the circus they call "church".  Blue Water ministry blurs the lines of traditional church from practical empowerment through dynamic preaching and teaching and relevant worship.  Blue Water has both a academic and marketplace proof source in the context of transforming organizations. Our application is purely ministerial and relational to those we seek to encourage, inspire and inform as we build a transformational enterprise in a disinterested culture.

Welcome to MLB MINISTRIES...a BLUE WATER MINISTRY!  Jump in, the water is BLUE!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


One (Divided) Nation

The Presidential elections of 2016 have confirmed that our nation, though purported to be “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,”  is, in fact, one divided nation under God. Politics, ideologies, philosophies, and theologies along with numerous ism’s, classes and schism’s have eroded human civility and simple kindness.  

I intentionally muted my voice during the election tumult so my words wouldn't be reactionary, emotional or misinterpreted. The well being of my beloved community is at stake. If it were best for me to be silent, if my words weren’t helpful in the socio-political discourse, then, as my mother taught me, “If you have noting good to say, say nothing.”     

I kept my political preferences under wraps and out of the public square. I value friendships I’ve experienced, relationships I am deeply vested in, and friendly, diverse fellowships with which I associate. I know good people and professing Christians have expressed their socio-political views which are, in some cases, starkly different than my own. Now that we have a President, whether or not of our preference, it is certain we have a fractured and divided nation. Vicious campaigning, accompanied by personality degrading and overall vitriol, expands the fissure of the inane and insane.

This national schizophrenia is symptomatic by expressed ideology, selective demography and nationalistic philosophy. Those spitting out political proclamations from progressive, conservative, liberal, independent or pragmatic camps must grapple with the unforgiving reality that life is complicated. We are not alone in the world. Life is not lived in campaign slogans, but in neighborhoods. Foreigners are my next door neighbors and ‘those people’ are our co-workers, siblings, firefighters, police officers and military personnel. They have families - immigrants who forged a new world for their posterity against threats and realities of genocide, religious persecution, and the unquenched thirst for freedom which gives them human rights to the pursuit of life and liberty. 

Metaphorically, the divided nation played its election song in sharps and flats. Our democratic process should and must reflect the fusion of its spotted history, troubling present, and optimistic but uncertain future. We’ve denied the sensibilities endowed to us by our creator, and chose to allow personalities to take precedent over policies. We insulted the framers of the constitution by ignoring our origins and commitment to be a global refuge for the huddled masses. Our way of life is a gift as much as it is a responsibility. There are many nations who are not so privileged. Our diversity makes us a superpower. We’ve belittled the diversity of our great nation by giving our darker angles a bull horn to promulgate a separatist doctrine, a doctrine that will be defied by global despots and tyrants who turn on their own people. Our Christian faith teaches that it was an outsider (Samaritan) who gave assistance to the traveler who fell among thieves. The incited seeds of resentment have been sown among social classes. Race, origin and gender politick-ing with alleged foreign interference, alternative facts, fake news, name calling and shame gaming has made our electorate skeptical of any truth. Neither side, neither candidate represented the best of our nation, and yes, ashamedly and admittedly, we've all been bamboozled.

America hasn't achieved a post racial mentality in its post modern era. We’ve failed to lift concern above clamor. Our bright city on the hill is on life support. Our new president and his former contender shoulder equal blame for executing the political nuclear option on the country both claim to love. These well heeled, mutually flawed individuals will survive the war they fiercely contended in; however, the stain on our national profile, the death of our national and moral soul, and the impact on our collective psyche is incalculable. 

The campaign has been like watching mom and dad get a divorce and drag the kids into the fight to choose sides without either recognizing the painful impact on the family! Winning at any cost is very costly. We’ve not turned a new page in personal politics; we’ve written a new book on viciousness.  We've started a new chapter on dirty dealing and unrelenting despicableness for the sake of victory. Principles vanished in the face of politics, friendships faded in the glare of yard signs, and churches conflated religion and rule of law. Thus, we seem to be irreparably conflicted and defined by our political iconography.

Who wins? Not the nation that had lofty ideas of a “republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and JUSTICE FOR ALL?”  We've decided, instead, through an election whose voice was louder, whose campaign was better, but not whose lives matter. Elections have consequences. We will live with the irreversible outcomes of this election, while praying for the success of this administration and the restoration of our beloved community.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Very Reverend Matthew L. Brown, Th.D.
March 15, 2017

Overseeing vs. Looking Out
The Role of the Post Modernist Overseer in The Lord's Church

The word "overseer" (Gk. episkopos [ejpivskopo"]) is used a limited number of times in the New Testament, but it has significant implications for a proper understanding of leadership in the church. The Urban Dictionary defines "looking out" as being cool. Additional cultural derivatives de-escalate into derisions meaning to "look out for oneself".  Thus, the plight of the role of the post modernist overseer in the Lord's Church. Amid a reformational flurry of ordinations, consecrations, pastoral appointments, and episcopal and apostolic elevations, there is a dearth of qualified servant leaders available to fulfill the doctrinal, ecclesiastical and ecclesiological mandate of stewarding emerging clerics. The present cultural wars, observed in the church, disconnect religious leadership and congregational membership in the most irreparable manner and have negative impact on the spiritual health of the church, deteriorating rooted theology and confusing celebrated worship, while marring the experience of Christ in their respective communities. The disconnect between episcopates and pastors exists in the absence of active overseers whom, by cultural coercion, seek to look out for themselves instead of overseeing the flock of God.

The Acts of the Apostles provides rudimentary education on the biblical expectation of the overseer. The noun episkopos can be interpreted as overseer, guardian, bishop. While I contend the title is more of a task than a position in the church, its meaning in post modernity within our ethnic culture is woefully misrepresented.  Titles and tasks, or tasks and titles (as it should be), are strangely interwoven and yet diametrically opposite in practical demonstration. Paul's charge to the church in his farewell was to remind the church leaders, or elders, to take primary leadership as the pastor among the other elders in the local church.  James fulfilled the role of overseer in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:13-21). His responsibility, as is every overseer's, is to watch out over the flock and nurture them to a healthy existence.  The task of the overseer can only be accomplished satisfactorily if the overseer first "take heed to themselves."  Paul's full impartation  and subsequent commission is to provide self-care in conjunction with congregational care for the whole flock. The task includes feeding them the word of God and committing or rendering their lives in protection of the flock from ravening wolves. The title of overseers suggest that the task has been performed with critical approval of practical guidance and government of the flock. The Apostle Paul greets the bishops and overseers in his epistle to the church at Philippi (1:1), recognizing their general leadership responsibilities (bishops) and recognized positions of service (deacons or elders) before it came to be described as a specific office recognized by some Christian traditions. 

The kerfuffle of task and title since the designation of specific offices within the church has migrated to our present dilemma. To what point is an overseer eager to serve without compensation, renumeration, over exaggerated visibility, or reputation? The prerequisite of such servant is the willingness to serve as a bridge between the bishop and the pastor in order to advance the kingdom of God in their respective communities. The overseer must manage the dynamic tension which exist between serving and ruling. Bishop Eric Garnes poignantly ascribes the overseer as the second chariot.  The appointment of such needed "middle managers" is necessary for the construction and efficiency of the bishop's ecclesiology. The relationship among the overseer and bishop in our cultural modernity requires full execution and implementation of authority and submission. Both tasks, which define each title, must reside in the office to which they have been so appointed. Looking out for oneself without overseeing the task at hand has created a disjunctive within our religious order. Costuming and title bearing seems to be replacing authentic leadership and sacrificial service, leaving our emerging clerics desperate for resourcing and developmental leadership. The overseer must provide, at the middle manager level, best practices to advance ministry, scholarly contributions to knowledge, and creative strategies for pastors and ministry leaders who desire to fulfill their pastoral mandate. Overseers must lay the organizational and commercial  ground work for the pastor's success to free the bishop to minister, to Pastor the pastor, and foment the vision of the work in that community.

The role of the post modernist overseer is to blatantly reject the tenets of the emerging church, rebuff the notion of ascension without merit or portfolio, and defend the organic call of servant leadership. Overseers are not closet despots awaiting the demise of their leader, nor should they be opportunist who serve at the convenience of their life schedule or designated hobby.  Overseers must resist temptation to attention addiction and seek not to serve to fill an emotional deficit created from some other life disappointment.  The task is too vast, the need is too great, the resources are too scarce, and the training too long to invest in persons who revel in the business of the holiness hustle, and not the compulsion of kingdom ministry.  Looking out for one's self diminishes the sovereignty of God percolating your gifts for future assignment. We serve to serve, not to be seen or rewarded for our personal ambition. The internal struggle, which feeds overseers to outshine their bishops, is typical of those who seek material success without being significantly missional. Bishops, beware of the functional overseer who values the platform you provide more than the relationship you extend. Elisha's words and works were missional. Gehazi's  service to the prophet was marginal and material, fueled by self ambition. This servant's service culminated in the transfer of a disease rather than the anointing from his mentor.  He voided his candidacy to extend prophetic service to others because you can't transfer to others what has not transformed you.

The biblical, moral and ethical qualifications require righteous parity in each aspect of the overseer's life. The personal, public and professional life of the Servant's server is to be above reproach. Self care, family care and public fidelity to spouse and family shields them from unwarranted attacks of the enemy who attempts to thwart the objective of the kingdom as expressed in the life of the church.  New comers to salvation and ministry, or spiritually undeveloped volunteers need not apply to this privileged position. It takes time to learn scripture,  build one's reputation, create healthy relationships within ministry and establish the trust of one's leader.  The overseer's priority to serve effectively must always be larger than one's platform on which to serve. The privilege of the task is greater than the costume of the title.  

Our nation is experiencing unprecedented change. Cultural shifts are voluminous while technological advances have catapulted us into uncharted seas of relationship and meaning. The servant's role, more specifically, the role of the post modernist overseer, must cling with clenched fist to the purity of service, fidelity of leadership, passion of spirit and selflessness of task to the service by privilege and not obligation. Pouring water on the hands of the prophet gives us the distinction of overseeing the flock without looking out for ourselves.