Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Quote from a Graham Cooke interview:

In terms of ministry, we believe there are three titles that are clear in New Testament scripture. The first is that we're all supposed to be servants of the Lord. So we're training all of our people to be servants in the kingdom, servants in the house, and so on.

And then when you become a really excellent servant, you can get promoted to stewardship. And your stewardship is where you take responsibility for other people's lives. So you take responsibility to bring other people into what God has brought you into. You take responsibility for discipling, for mentoring, for assisting other people to grow and develop.

And when you become a really excellent steward, you get promoted to slavery. Because bondslave is the highest designation of ministry that exists in the kingdom of heaven.

(HT to Lutheran Renewal)

UPDATE: To read the entire interview, follow link to Lutheran Renewal then click on "publications" (left side of page) then scroll down to July 2002 bulletin "An Interview with Graham Cooke" by Dan Siemens.

(Thanks inheritor!)


Bob said...

Reminds me of Pope Gregory's choice of title: servant of the servants of God.

Lily said...

So true. But, you knew I'd like this one. ;-)

I have nothing to add.

BarBarA said...

This is really great! Thanks for sharing it!

Larry said...

Wonderfully said, as always a burst of fresh air. Thank you for sharing.

KSG said...

Okay, I guess I'll be the antagonist...

Am I the only one who sees a hierarchy here?
If we all work hard and are excellent then...servant gets promoted to steward who (if he's lucky and probably male)gets promoted to bondslave (Because bondslave is the highest designation of ministry).
Here's what I mean, change the label from servant to layperson, steward to elder, and bondslave to pastor. Has this re-labeling removed the notion of rank & authority? And (sorry) but this comment, "your stewardship is where you take responsibility for other people's lives." just sets alarm bells a ringin'. Each of us (ultimately) is responsible for our own selves and any responsibility involving others is not FOR but TO. Otherwise it becomes 'sheparding' but with a new name.
In my current understanding, leaders are to influence, assist, and help.

As to Pope Gregory's comments regarding servanthood... any comments coming from the alpha male of a large pack seems to only be self-serving in order to keep the sheep from bleeting. I've seen it done many a time when a pastor wants to assert his authority... he plays the I-am-God's-servant-who-is-serving-you card.

It usually works.

Shuffling the deck is not the same as changing the game.

The non-antagonist in me has to say this in defence of Graham... I'm currently reading "Permission Granted..." by Gary Goodall & Graham Cooke and am enjoying what I am reading, so I'm hoping that I just am misreading this interview quote and therefore misunderstanding Graham's intent.

Anyway, just some thoughts...

Inheritor of Heaven said...

To read the entire interview, follow grace's link to Lutheran Renewal then click on "publications" (left side of page) then scroll down to July 2002 bulletin "An Interview with Graham Cooke" by Dan Siemens.

Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...

I don't think Cooke is trying to set up a hierarchy. In fact, I think it is because of hierarchy that I think he is attempting to subvert it. I second IOH's suggestion to go and read the whole article.

KSG said...

...sheepingly walking in to the conversation...

Alright, so maybe I should have read the whole article first before mouthing off.
Lesson learned.

I stand behind what I said about my beliefs concerning hierarchy, I just see that I indeed DID misread and therefore misunderstand what Graham's intent was. By reading the article I see that he is in fact opossing heirarchy in TITLE and inferring that leadership is a downward spiral. if you will kindly direct me to the lineup for spankings, I'll go get mine now...

Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...


LOL! You're a good sport. Actually, I understand your initial response, as I get really worked up when people infer hierarchy into spirituality and faith. A fair mistake.


grace said...

It sounds like the Pope had the right idea.

Of course, you're such a graham groupie! ;)
Sad news, no conference for me.

Glad you liked it Barbara!

Nice to meet you Larry. One of my favorite people is named Larry.

Thanks for the instructions. I didn't realize that I didn't have a direct link.

Like you, I could totally relate to ksg's reading of this. I am also wary of the myriad of ways that people attempt to apply hierarchy to spiritual relationships.

Actually, I was looking forward to discussing this, but I had a bunch of real-life "stuff" I had to do first.

I can envision people using the 3 tiers within a hierarchy, same game, just new names. In fact, the use of the word "promote" would lend itself to this reading. However, I assumed that Graham was cheekily suggesting a downward promotion.

I also raised my eyebrow slightly at the phrase "taking responsibility for other people's lives." In fact, I would probably at least replace the "for" with "in".

Giving Graham the benefit of the doubt, because we all love Graham, I liked the progressively self-emptying nature of these three categories.

Servant - We are all equally called to serve.

Stewardship - Those who are willing to sacrifice further by investing themselves in the service of others, taking what they've been given, time, $$, talent, gifts, and using them for the advancement of the kingdom rather than for their own personal benefit.

Slavery - your life is no longer your own. You have given up all "right" to the basic luxuries of normal life, willing to sacrifice it all for the work of the kingdom.

Based on that reading, we each decide what level of service we are willing to live for the sake of the kingdom, what degree of dying to our own desires we are prepared for.

Personally, sometimes I embrace stewardship, and sometimes I find myself wanting to look the other way and let someone else take responsibility.

I enjoyed your comments.

Inheritor of Heaven said...

Awwww....too bad about no conference.
Perhaps the free one in the summer? Of course who knows if Graham or Michael will be at that one, but...