I once heard someone preaching and they said, “there is no CEO anointing/gift mentioned in the bible”. Of course, they were talking about how larger churches often have a figure like this on staff (often times the senior leader or pastor), and they were disparaging the idea. At first, you might be like, “yeah, he’s right. I have never read or seen that in the bible.” And you might be tempted to join the bandwagon of voices that stand opposed to larger churches, but you would be wrong. This gift mix is, in fact, represented in scripture, and is a gift given by God Himself to the church. It’s odd to think that if you were gifted in this way, that there would be no place for you in the church world. I don’t know about you, but I, for one, don’t want to send our best to Hollywood, Nashville, or corporate America. I’d love to see the world’s absolute best represented in the local church. But, I digress. The truth is that God does give gifts to His church, but did you know that Pastor isn’t even top of the list? Yep, that’s right. The one role that we have tried to build the modern church on doesn’t even top the list. Pastors, none-the-less are an absolute gift to the body. They sacrifice their lives for their sheep and often go unnoticed and underappreciated. They labor continuously and tirelessly to protect, nurture, and feed their “sheep”, often without much reward. Remember the 10 lepers who Jesus healed and how many came back to give thanks? Welcome to pastoring! We hear a lot about how teachers are underpaid (and that may be true), but I don’t hear nearly as much about pastors, who the bible expressly says are worthy of DOUBLE honor (1Tim.5:17). By the way, in case you were wondering, the context there is a financial reward. You are welcome! But churches aren’t built upon pastors. They are built upon apostles (Eph.2:20). Pastors shepherd the flock they have been given. If they are truly shepherds, they likely won’t grow or expand their fold very much. Statistically, the best pastor can only handle pastoring about 100 people at max. That’s why the average church size in America is 100 or less. Apostles and leaders, in contrast, think differently. One’s not better than the other. They are just designed by God to look and function differently. An apostolic leader is gifted by God to grow and expand. They will die if they don’t! That’s why you don’t see the Apostle Paul ever settle down in any of the churches that he planted. Rather than plant one church and pastor it, he planted a network of churches that he oversaw from a much higher level. He never stopped expanding the kingdom. But where does this alleged CEO anointing come in? Well, I would suggest that it’s part of the wiring that we often see in apostolically gifted leaders. But I don’t think that’s the only place we see it. There are a couple of different gift lists in the bible, that outline gifts that God has given men for the sake of the kingdom. One of those lists is found in Romans 12.
NASB Rom 12:4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; 7 if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Notice that leadership is placed firmly in the middle of this list as a gift intended, by God’s grace and through an endowment of faith, to build up the body. The next list is found in 1Cor.12.
NASB 1Co 12:28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues.
One could object that Eph.2:20 was a past tense statement. The church WAS BUILT upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. This is certainly true. The original apostles and even the Old Testament prophets, for what that’s worth, held a special place and are unique. The New Testament church (macro) was built upon this foundation. But the church (micro) continues to be built, and God intended that it would be built upon that same kind of foundation, He Himself being the cornerstone. 1Cor.12 makes God’s intention, to this end, clear to us. The office of pastor is conspicuously absent, though other scriptures make it clear that God intended for this role to be a part of the local church dynamic. But notice again what is present. Administration! Strongs defines this as:
(to steer, guide, govern); steering, government, administration
So, as it turns out, there is a CEO anointing. God gave us leaders, administrators, and apostles as a gift. Without them, the church would never grow and would never accomplish anything. We would just be little ingrown islands to ourselves, happy in our own little communities, loving on each other, but not really advancing and expanding the kingdom of God on earth. We need all of the gifts that God released to the church if we are going to be successful in our earthly mission that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.