And now, a word to you who are elders in the churches. I, too, am an elder and a witness to the sufferings of Christ. And I, too, will share in his glory when he is revealed to the whole world. As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly--not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. Don't lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor. -- 1Peter 5: 1-4 (NLT)
John Burton is a NAR dominionist who focuses on the false apostolic authority paradigm as well as chasing faux revival. The false apostolic authority paradigm was actually one of the founding tenets of the NAR way back in the 1990s by C Peter Wagner. It has grown and spread like cancer in the body of Christ over the past few decades and now people like Burton are not even shy about preaching that he should be in charge because of course, he is an apostle. A recent article revealed the true next steps in this agenda and that is the takeover of the pastoral position in the church by such false apostles. They would no longer act as shepherds but would rather beat the sheep into submission to the new vision of never-ending purpose driven growth. Of course it is always presented as doing all they can for Jesus, wink wink. It is important to note there that these plans of seven mountains domination are part of the devil's scheme to bring the church into the one world religion prophesied about in Revelation. John Burton may not be conscious of these schemes but his motivation is irrelevant. Most like him are only seeking to consolidate power and prestige while others just do it for the money. They want to sit at the places of honor at the table as Jesus spoke about. They chase this false sense of revival. That America has somehow backslidden out of covenant with God and if the church can ever convince the unsaved goats in the world to behave better, then maybe God will spare America His judgment. Spoiler alert! He will not. Keep these themes in mind as we reason through the above linked article from Burton that outlines signs of what he calls dead-end churches, cul de sac churches and kingdom churches. He starts with seven signs of a dead-end church.
"1. The pastor/leader doesn't connect and regularly collaborate with other churches and ministries in the region. Their energies are given almost entirely to their local church, misunderstanding the importance of their local expression of the city church. They don't realize that the church in Scripture has a regional designation attached to it. The church defined is the regional body of believers who function under regional apostolic authority. Within that context, there are smaller, local churches that are never to be self-identified, but rather are to strategically connect and often yield to the regional expression. This is why it was so important for me to give leadership to two prayer movements, one in Colorado Springs and one in Detroit. We would visit a new church every Friday night and pray in the Spirit from 10 p.m. until midnight. We visited over 100 churches in Colorado and over 70 in Detroit. That regional connection was invaluable." -- John Burton
A pastor concentrating on the flock God has entrusted to him? Perish the thought! Seriously, right off the bat we see the warped mindset of the false apostolic authority paradigm which seeks to supplant pastors. A pastor should be focused on their church. While collaboration is nice, it does not need to be exalted above tending to your own sheep. Burton simply makes up the NAR talking points here about the church being defined as a regional body of believers functioning under regional apostolic authority. Nowhere does the bible suggest that there needs to be churches that are really not churches but instead serve regional expression. The entire idea is debunked by reading the Pauline letters. Paul goes into excruciating detail about the form and function of the church and NOWHERE is this garbage talked about.
"2. The pastor doesn't encourage people in his church to connect with other churches and ministries on a regular basis. When I was leading churches I realized the immense value of other churches and ministries in our area. I'd let my folks know that they should definitely consider becoming faithful to other churches throughout the week, as we were but a single department of the city church. Other departments, other local churches, were important in the grand scheme and they would benefit from joining with them. In Detroit, I canceled most everything in my church for a month as I led the people out of our church and into another about 45 minutes away that was experiencing a powerful move of God. We were there every single night for 28 days (I actually missed one night, reluctantly). My passion was not the growth of my local church, but rather, in fanning the flames of revival in my city." -- John Burton
While I applaud not being focused on the purpose driven church growth obsession; replacing it with an equally unbiblical pursuit is not the answer. Pastors need to be concerned with what they endorse and lead people to. I would venture that 80% of the American church is already apostate and many would say that is being optimistic. I take no issue with a church finding another church that preaches the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ and collaborating with them but that is not what Burton is preaching here. He wants to expand his footprint as an "apostolic" leader. As the end times deepen the remnant will get thinner, not thicker. There is also this sick sense of what a move of God is. Charismania still believes the Toronto and Brownsville demonic outpourings were great moves of God. Some will still stand by the original Todd Bentley, kick you in the face, revival. I have watched local pastors be so envious of bigger churches that were far sicker than theirs. It is the mega church mentality we must overcome.
"3. The pastor has a competitive spirit. We need to kill that nasty spirit once and for all. I propose one way to do that is to invite other pastors and leaders to recruit anybody from our church that they would like. I'd let other leaders in the city know they could freely connect with my best leaders, my worship team, my staff and anybody in the church, and see if they might be interested in leaving us to serve with them. That eliminates competition and any threats of sheep stealing. They can't steal what I don't own and what I freely make available to them." -- John Burton