E4 are the fivefold grace gifts that the ascended Jesus gave to his church - essential, vital and foundational. Hubs are base churches that offer collaborative partnerships within the orb of their love and labor. They offer a picture of a working but not perfect church that others can glean from. Their example will embolden the new, struggling or stagnant churches to reach for new heights in their God story.
Church history is a remarkable tutor, yet so few drink intentionally at her fountain. Whilst every move of God has clear leadership, I do wonder if the emphasis should be on the E4 gifts or on the Hub churches. Which muscle will we exercise more? My thesis is that the New Testament keeps pointing us toward the churches and away from the E4 gifts. Here are some examples:
Paul says of these gifts: "This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God... God has exhibited us as apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world... we are fools for Christ... we have become and are still, like the scum of the earth, the refuse of all things." 1 Cor 4: 1 + 9 - 13. This is certainly not the picture of anyone as the center of the kingdom but Jesus.
When Paul wanted his theology to be confirmed or corrected he went to the Hub in Jerusalem. [ Gal 1 + 2] He did not go to the big names, but to those "who seemed to be the leaders". They did not offer anything to improve his message but he looked to the Hub for his clarity.
The intriguing Acts 15, sees a great theological crisis in Antioch. Again note the response, Paul and Barnabas take the controversy back to the Hub in Jerusalem, where they met with "apostles, elders and all the people". Now that is a 'wow' passage. They looked to the Hub with all of its people.
The Book of Revelation was written to Hub churches and not to the E4 leaders.
Friends I am so persuaded about the role that the E4 gifts have to play in the local churches. However, they are there to empower the churches on their journey, not conform them to an external model, pattern or preferred architecture! The E4 are not there for conformity. That is what shapes denominations. There is not much architecturally that the scripture requires. The E4 are there to aid, partner, help apply great theology to the matrix of every church's unique story. The scripture points to churches as the apple of his eye not anything else.
Hub churches are the key. This is the muscle we must develop. Their clear mission, matched with their unique DNA, expressed within their remarkable, compelling community, is what must gain our focussed attention. That is where Genesis Collective wants the attention to be - less of us and so much more of Him. As E4 gifts, we can help set up key Hubs who, are seen to be extraordinary communities, together on mission with the gospel, to transform cities and countries.
True Hubs will plant other Hubs, release new Hubs, support struggling Hubs. They will seek to multiply themselves in planting churches, replant dying churches, giving themselves away for the kingdom to advance, never seeking to dominate the city landscape with self proclaimed accolades. Rather, they will see their true value in their service of others to empower churches, transform cities and disciple nations. Nothing less is worth dying for.