Spiritual Fathers and Sons, apostolic leadership, spiritual adoption
Sons to Glory book by Paul Jablonowski
Part 1 - Thinking Like Mature Sons - Doctrine


Chapter 3

Father Leadership


One of the main ways that God provides leadership in His kingdom is through fathers. This is why the spirit of Elijah must come and restore "the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers." Otherwise the "great and dreadful Day of the Lord" which is coming would consume us and "strike the earth with a curse" (Mal. 4:4-6). These final words in the Old Testament point to God's Father Leadership in His kingdom. Fathering involves the loving heart attitude displayed in raising children. A father exhorts and comforts and implores and sometimes chastens when necessary (1 Thess. 2:11, Heb. 12:7-11), but only after establishing you through much encouragement. A father is always around through thick and thin. A father does not forsake you when you fail or leave you when disagreements arise. A father not only goes with you into battle, he leads the way (Joshua 1:5-9). Spiritual fathering is the major leadership method for building the body of Christ.

One of my favorite authors Rick Joyner writes,

"Though the image of the Lord is both male and female, and there is the nature of Him that would gather us as a hen gathers her chicks, God is presented throughout the Scriptures as "Father," and is never called "Mother." To dilute this, is to distort His image with a very thick veil. "Father" means "life giver." The father gives the seed, and the mother nurtures the seed. In Scripture, we see the creation as "a" mother. Both Israel and the church are also referred to in Scripture as "mothers." Just as the woman was taken from Adam so that they would have to come together to be the complete image of God, the Lord will be joined perfectly to His bride to give the creation a true reflection of His glory."2

Since God calls his corporate body (males and females) both a bride (Rev. 21:9), and a son (Rom 4:5-7) we can see that gender is not the issue here. Being a spiritual father is not related to gender, and a woman can function as a spiritual father just as well as a man (Gal. 3:28).

The most important thing you could ever impart to someone is how to love God, and this does not come by teaching or someone praying for you or any other "quick fix" method. It comes from being loved by a father. It comes by hanging around someone on a consistent basis who has an intimate relationship with THE Abba Father. This is why until Jesus came, we never truly knew how to be intimate with God. Jesus started the Fathering mentorship by being a father to a small group of disciples and this little group became fathers who had sons who became fathers, and so on and so on. The fathering family of God began.

Although I have had many people to influence me in my walk with the Lord, Robert Somerville has been a spiritual father to me for the past ten years. There is great comfort and encouragement in knowing someone as a spiritual father in the Lord. Likewise, my natural father Donald Jablonowski has been a man who has shown me great love and encouragement as a child growing up. Both my natural and spiritual fathers still give me advice and encouragement and rebuke when necessary. It is wonderful to have someone who has walked a similar path to help show me the way on a personal basis so I don't have to bump my head all the time; someone I can call on anytime and get real hands-on advice for situations in life.

It is easy to get a "corporation mentality" and try to pump out as many sons and daughters as you can, but the reality is that if you try to father too many children you cease to be a father and start becoming more of a corporation where the intimacy is lost. A father does not even choose his own children, but they are given to him by God, and a child does not get to choose their father either. Much of the disarray in the Body of Christ is a result of fathers hand picking their children according to those who "fit their mold" instead of fathering the sons and daughters that God has chosen for them. We need to be "joined and knit together" correctly according to God's will so that "every part does its share, causing growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love" (Eph. 4:16).

Abraham did not have a spiritual father, so do not force spiritual fathering and sonship. The true father/son relationships will become evident as these relationships develop with those around you, but it may take years. I did not call Bob Somerville my spiritual father publicly until I knew him over seven years and that relationship was already obvious. This does not mean we agree on everything, and fathers can learn a lot from their children too, because it is a two way relationship. The hierarchy of God's kingdom does not look like the typical corporate organizational chart with the president on top and other people branching off of them and other people branching off of them, etc. Rather it is like a huge fishing net or a network. All members of the body are physically connected to only a FEW parts of the body, but they receive the benefit of the entire body by way of the blood. In the same manner, the Blood of Jesus runs through the entire Body of Christ to give life for the benefit of all. "The life of the flesh is in the blood." (Leviticus 17:11)

1 Corinthians 11:25-30 says, "In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep."

If we are not properly joined together to the part of the body of Christ that God has called us, then the life (blood) cannot flow properly. The reason for much of the weakness, sickness and premature death among believers is that we do not "discern the Lord's body" correctly. In other words, we are not discerning where in the body of Christ we should be joined or who are our spiritual fathers and children. This is partly due to the set-up of the current "church institutions" which do not promote family intimacy, but rather a spectator mentality. But thanks be to God, this is now changing!

God is bringing His people into His order, and fathering (as opposed to the current mega-church corporation mentality) is according to His order. God only asked for His people to gather together in large groups three times a year. Deuteronomy 16:16 says, "Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty handed." Leviticus 23 tells us that these Feasts were given by God to be celebrated "forever" as a memorial and a holy convocation. All of these Feasts are Christ centered and point to Jesus as the Messiah. The rest of the year we should be meeting in smaller "tribes" monthly and "families" weekly as the Lord leads, being fathered and fathering according to our maturity.

I believe that the Lord will use the soon coming 1,000 year reign of Christ (Rev. 20:1-7) to implement this "fathering leadership." The Feasts of the Lord will once again be celebrated annually (Lev. 23) and the family will begin to be restored as God's main training ground for His people. Although it will take 1,000 years to perfect, this will cure much of the confusion in the body of Christ, because just the structure of the current church system draws leaders into envy and self-seeking. James 3:16 says, "For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there." But if you have more of a family structure with fathering and mothering continually going on in a smaller group, then real intimacy and "love in action" can take place on a day to day basis, instead of just on Sunday morning.

Wolfgang Simson in his excellent book "Houses that Change the World - the return of the house churches" actually contrasts leaders and fathers by saying:

It is part of a father's brief to lead, but it is not necessarliy part of a leader's brief to father... Man assumes there must be leadership in anything he touches. It is part of his creational brief. However, the church is an exception, because it is not man's invention or property. It is truly God's... To call one member a leader over the others - and in spite of the presence of the head - would be grossly misleading. Jesus is the head of the church, and that is all the leadership it truly needs. The church is led when its members obey its head. The church experiences leadership as they collectively obey their head and function together in unity... The whole world wants leaders, not servants, and so does the traditional church. Maybe we want what God is not willing to give, and instead of seeing the futility of our attempts, we carry on with what we think is persistence. The stewards of the church are servants, and the more they serve, the more they will ultimately lead (Lk. 22:26) in a way which is upsidedown to the way the world expects leadership. An obedient and humble servant can lead because he is led. Leadership, if at all, is therefore a function of obedience.3

The words "father" and "fathers" appear in the KJV Bible 1,484 times. Needless to say, the Scriptures have much to say about fathers. This article is not for the purpose of studying the entire role of the father, but for showing that fathering is more than just raising children, it is the very plan and order for God's leadership. Of course God is our ultimate Father as 2 Corinthians 6:18 tells us, "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." But don't forget that the apostle Paul also considered himself a father, and this fathering leadership has been God's way of maturing His people from the beginning. "For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Therefore, I urge you, imitate me." 1 Corinthians 4:15,16

Father's who lead like Paul carry spiritual authority. There are two types of God ordained authority: 1) spiritual authority and 2) dominion authority. The next chapter will discuss these two types of authority and describe how the enemy tries to pervert God-given authority which results in either rebellion or dictatorship. Understanding true authority, which comes from heaven and not earth, is one of the most important aspects to being a spiritual father and thinking like mature sons.