Principles, Experience, and Expertise: Eldering and Fathering Leadership

Waking up this morning, eyes barely open to the harsh morning glare demanding I do something with my life, God says, “When I teach you a principle, I illustrate it with one application so you understand the principle. This does not mean you understand the principle in every application or implementation. As a fathering leader, you must lead inheritors to understand principles in a variety of contextual applications and implementations before they are ready for greater inheritance.”

When God teaches you a principle, He applies it in the context of life. He gives you understanding. He has not yet given you wisdom on that principle. He has not yet given you an exhaustive understanding of the principle. He has given you an application of the principle in one context. He has introduced you to a principle and one understanding of it as a beginning point for wisdom.

The fuller understanding of the principle comes by experiencing the application of the principle in contextual variety. A Divine principle has so many applications that enduring the implementation of many applications opens that principle’s meaning to you like a house with many rooms. Each new door that opens reveals that there is a whole new application that requires a whole new implementation.

You are humbled by the reality that the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know very much.

Novices and Numbers

Of course, a novice finds such wonder in the initial revelation of principle, he assumes he has mastered the principle. He applies that one context to all contextual implementations. He becomes proud. He becomes religious. He becomes boring. He assumes opening one door and entering one room means he is home. He is actually in someone else’s room usurping the principle. He puts the principle on the door under his name – repeat, “under his own name” – because he thinks he owns that principle.

Talk with him for five minutes, and he will apply the principle from that tone verse and context to all the contextual issues of life while putting his fingers in his proverbial ears about all other implications. He thinks himself an expert after one revelation application of one Divine principle.

Remember, the Name on the House means He owns every room. You do not own a room because He opens that door.

The novice becomes unteachable the moment he puts a principle under his own name. If he has no father to knock on that door, he will think he is supposed to live in that room and rule the world. The unteachable becomes “un-transformable.” The novice gets stuck sucking his thumb and this one sugar stick thinking himself a gourmet of kingdom truth.

Paul and Contextual Implementation

Paul was certainly familiar with rulers, authorities, and cosmic dominators. He discerned and identified demons. He was tested by temptation and trial, by direct influence and oppression of demons. Yet, he received a thorn in the flesh that he could not overcome.

He asked God to remove the assignment of a demonic messenger from satan beating him up. He received an answer to his prayer: God said, “No.”

Paul wrote the most inspired and extensive discussions of grace and strength in the New Testament. He explained grace in its many facets and applications. He experienced great grace personally and corporately when great grace was upon the entire Ecclesia.

Paul did not understand all the applications or implementations of grace and strength. When he prayed for the thorn to be removed, God said, “No. My grace is enough. My strength reaches ultimate in your weakness.” Paul did not know this level, application, implementation, or “wisdom as strategy” until that experience opened the door to another room in God’s house of mystery. He was teachable and transformable. He embraced the lesson learned. He walked in the strength and operated in the grace flow.

Paul did not assume that knowing about grace and strength was the same as knowing grace and strength. He had no religious born in his body.

The Feather and the Hammer

Gravity is a universal principle. It has many applications and implementations. Galileo assisted in this by questioning the earlier assumptions of Aristotle. He dropped two balls connected by a string from the tower. One was heavier than the other.

Astronaut David Scott performed a version of the experiment on the moon during the Apollo 15 mission in 1971, dropping a feather and a hammer from his hands during the Apollo 1971 mission on the moon. The atmosphere on the moon is so thin, it did not move the feather. Both hit the ground at the same time! The principal had an application in a context that defined the implementation of gravity.

The point is that principles require a myriad of contextual applications for fuller expertise. Experience alone can open these doors to rooms of implementation.

Fathering Leaders

An elder has expertise and experience. Age is not the measurement when it comes to leadership. Tests and experiences that produce wisdom, as well as understanding, contribute to expertise.

Fathering leaders share the expertise and experience. They test the implementation. They test sons and daughters. Submitted sons and daughters celebrate the tests. Fathers have many keys to many rooms in God’s house. They receive strategic wisdom from experience. They develop expertise in the areas of the house by submitting to fathers.

The assignment of a fathering leader is more about the assignment of the inheritor they will father than it is about the father who will prepare and position the inheritor. The Lord of the House directs these relationships, not the father or the inheriting child. The “You will do what I do” part of the experience leads to the “You will do greater than I do” part of the equation of generational increase.

Expertise and experience are a pathway to be lived, not a session of discussion to be heard. Knowing about principles isn’t the same as falling to the ground when you jump off a chair: gravity works, but you have no great learning from the application.

A father will not have you fall off a chair. He will have you test a principle within the context of your personal purpose. You will not exhaust the principle in its applications and implementations – that is, you may not go to the moon and drop a feather and a hammer. You will gain the expertise that only experience can provide because you submit to working in the same inheritance as the father.

A novice will says, “I can fall off a chair without a father.”

Anyone with half the sense God gave a goat will recognize that “falling off chairs” is not a calling. A novice will start a ministry called “Hit the Floor, Called to be an Apostle of Chairs and Floors.” Has a nice ring to it for the calling cards. Fathers call this “a face plant,” not a church plant.

Exhausting a Principle

At this time in history, having lived in kingdom culture for two millennia, the modern Ecclesia should have nearly exhausted a few principles. Instead, the breaches in kingdom culture – principles, processes, and protocols – that had us falling off of chairs for several hundred years leave us in dire need.

Not to worry! God has a plan to re-pioneer the principles, processes, and protocols. He has some good news, or Kingdom Gospel, for us.

If we establish His kingdom and kingdom culture again, with fathering leaders in operational mode turning the hearts and spiritual inheritors in operational mode turning the hearts, we can open so many rooms in God’s house that this generation will restore the Ecclesia to where it should be in this moment of history. We can get it all back in one generation!

This helps us understand the “accelerated preparation” we are talking about. It is not a shortcut to maturity. There is no shortcut. It is not a fast-track that ignores the necessary. There is no fast-track that ignores the necessary. It is not that Holy Spirit bestows experience and expertise upon inheritors. He does not, and He did not do so with Jesus.

He teaches principles, but expertise comes from experiencing the applications of those principles in a variety of contexts.

Life Illustration

I had a spiritual daughter who was blown up with pride by delusions of grandeur. As with everyone crippled by this condition, she thought that the fast-track meant she would skip some steps. When she found out that the fast-track meant intensity of experience that tested the deep place of the soul by painful discipline, she went AWOL on the Father and accused me of being the residue of the Shepherding Movement. (I knew she would. Still hurt when she did it.)

She was initially blown up with delusion but the modern “you will be the greatest thing since sliced bread” prophetic practices of the left coast turned her into a poster child for prodigalism. It was not pretty. She stopped listening to her father.

When I shared the application of a principle, she interrupted me to tell me all about the room she was living in. When I put her to the test for the vital signs of submission, she said, “Holy Spirit told me what to do.” When I pointed out that she was stuck in that room, she lost her mind and left – “God told me to leave now.” Added to that directive was a few choice words about my failures as a father.

The last time we met, she was still blaming me for eating corn husks and serving strangers. She has no inheritance, and it is my fault.

She made that redirect to another pathway of preparation when she believed prophetic words without presenting them to leaders for proper interpretation, application, and implementation. She tried to implement the errant application that she embraced from misinterpretation. Classic “novice in prophecy” behavior from a person I was training to train prophets.

The basic idea remains: fathering leaders walk us through the application of principles in a variety of contexts. It is what we live that proves our expertise.

Note the words of Paul to Timothy about his eldering leadership: “Do not allow anyone to dishonor you because you are young. Be an example of a believer in word, in lifestyle, in agape passion for purpose, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

In other words, reveal the expertise you have gained from experience. You cannot fake that. Paul knew to tell Timothy this because Paul had tested Timothy’s word, lifestyle, passion for purpose, spirit, faith, and purity. No father should recommend an inheritor to the kingdom as a leader to any greater extent than he has tested that leader in this areas of life experience.

Posted in
Dr. Don

Dr. Don

Scroll to Top