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Trickle down effect doesn’t work among the church?

Posted by on Jan 5, 2012 in blog links, spiritual gifts | 4 comments

Trickle down effect doesn’t work among the church?

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, then you know that I link to several older posts each day. I’m encouraged when someone responds to these old posts or thanks me for them. I sometimes struggle with when to continue discussion on those old posts and when to let new comments stand.

Anyway, Arthur at “The Voice of One Crying Out in Suburbia” recently picked up on one of my older posts and used it as a jumping off point for his own new post “Ephesians 4:11. It is not all about you.”

As you might guess, Arthur’s post is about Ephesians 4:11, and the gifted individuals listed there: apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers.

This is part of what he says:

Focusing on just the “specially gifted” in the church with faith in a theological “trickle down effect” has proven catastrophic for centuries… Every person in the church has something to contribute and teach to others in the church, not just a few at “the top”…

[W]hen Ephesians 4:11 is read in context it is not about pastors or “leaders” at all. It is about the entire church, working together and edifying one another, becoming mature together.

Ah, yes, it does make a difference when we read Ephesians 4:11 in context, especially with Ephesians 4:16 – part of the same sentence.

Nope, the “trickle down” effect is not the way the God works through the church.

But, in one sense, Ephesians 4:11 IS about you. It is about how God has given YOU to the church so that he can work through YOU to build up his church and to help others carry out works of service.

What a difference it makes among the church and in the world when “each part is working properly”…


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 1-5-2012

    You also cannot take Eph 4:11 in isolation from 1 Cor 12 & 14 & all the other “gifting” passages in the NT. It should be obvious from 1 Cor 12 in particular that ALL believers are gifted by the Holy Spirit. Problems occur when the church (either a local body or the organic body of Christ) focuses on leadership gifts or sign gifts (therefore 1 Cor 13 & 14) for example. I actually believe it should be a “trickle up” effect within the church.

  2. 1-6-2012


    I think you may be right, especially when we consider what Paul says about those spiritually gifted people who seem less important to us. (1 Corinthians 12:22-25)


  3. 1-11-2012

    Great point. I’ll be starting a series soon about characteristics of organic vs. mechanical order. A trickle down effect can only happen in mechanical organizations where power and participation are static and locked in positions. In organic order, power and participation are revolving; flowing through the members of the body as the life within it carries it through it’s movements.

    It’s tough because it requires a complete mindset shift, but it might be described as a “revolving trickle” :).

  4. 1-12-2012


    I’m looking forward to your blog series!