Triperspectivalism, Leadership, and Church Planting

Tim Brister —  March 27, 2009 — 28 Comments

For the record, dispensationalists do not have claim to all the big theological words. Try triperspectivalism (also known as multi-perspectivalism).  Over the past three years, I’ve been following David Fairchild and Drew Goodmanson’s writings from a distance but have never really been in a situation where I thought triperspectivalism would come to play in my world – until now.

If you have never studied this paradigm and philosophy of ministry based on the three offices of Christ (prophet, priest, and king), you should really check it out.  The writing theologians who have articulated this theory are primarily John Frame and Vern Poythress, and Fairchild and Goodmanson are the leading practitioners out there today doing it.  Many of their articles, charts/diagrams, and messages are provided below.  I will be processing this paradigm more in the weeks and months ahead, so you will likely be reading more of my interaction with this increasingly attractive model for ministry.


The Doctrine of the Knowledge of God by John Frame
Symphonic Theology: The Validity of Multiple Perspectives in Theology by Vern Poythress
The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church by Alan Hirsch


Triperspectival Leadership” by David Fairchild and Drew Goodmanson (A29 ’08 Raleigh Bootcamp)
Prophet, Priest, and King” by David Fairchild (A29 ’08 Raleigh Bootcamp)
Prophet, Priest, and King” by Jamie Munson (2010 Sticky Church Conference) NEW
Q&A with Jamie Munson on Prophet, Priest, and King” (2010 Sticky Church Conference) NEW

Drew Goodmanson

* Triperspectival Leadership Diagram
* The Church as Movement – Organizing Decentralization
* Multiplying Missional Communities
* Organic Movement – Reverse Church Planting
* How Multiperspectivalism Shapes Church Leadership and How You Staff a Church
* Missional Eldership – Leading a Transformational Community
* Developing Leaders to Lead
* Triperspectival Ministry Assessment
* Leadership Development in Community – Prophets
* Leadership Development in Community – Priests
* Leadership Development in Community – Kings
* Leadership Conflict Resolution: Prophet | Priest | King
* Triperspectivalism, Multiperspectivalism, and Large Big Words
* How Multi-Perspectivalism and Triperspectivalism Should Shape Your Worldview
* Triperspectival Ecclesiology – Being the Church as Corporate, Intimate, & Group
* What Type of Churches NOT to Plant
* Creating a Church to Change Culture
* The Dangers of Triperspectivalism

David Fairchild

* Triperspectivalism: Drilling Down NEW
* Ministry Through the Lens of Multiperspectival Epistemology
* Triperspectival Leadership Essentials
* The Errors of a Uniperspectival Church
* Triperspectival Hermeneutics


* Multiperspectivalism on Wikipedia
* A Primer on Perspectivalism by John Frame (PDF)

>> Structures

* Triperspectivalism and Developing Leaders (PDF)
* Triperspectival Ecclesiology Groups (GIF)
* Triperspectival Ecclesiology (GIF)
* Traditional Church Leadership (GIF)
* Missional Church Leadership (GIF)
* Triperspectival Leadership Diagram (PDF)

>> Systems

* The Church as Movement (GIF)
* Equipping for Movement (GIF)
* Missional Community Leadership Development (PDF)
* Gospel Counselor Development (PDF)
* Deacon Development (PDF)
* Multiplying Missional Communities (PDF)
* Planting New Gatherings in the City (PDF)

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28 responses to Triperspectivalism, Leadership, and Church Planting

  1. Have you looked at John Frame’s Doctrine of the Christian Life? It looks at Christian Ethics from a triperspectival viewpoint, and is in my opinion one of the best philosophical and theological explanations of ethics written in recent years.

    Matt Emerson

    • I’ve got the book but have not read it. I’ve worked through the first two in the series, the doctrine of the knowledge of God being most formative, in my mind. I will see about following through on the ethical and philosophical writings.

  2. Matthew Svoboda March 27, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Neil Cole nails this down much more simply. He calls it the churches ‘DNA.’

    • Which book are you talking about? Organic Church? Organic Leadership? I have browsed through Cole’s stuff but I suppose I need to dig a little deeper into his stuff. Let me know where you think I should begin and which of his books you recommend the most.

  3. Matthew Svoboda March 27, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    “divine truth, nurturing relationship and apostolic mission”

  4. Matthew Svoboda March 27, 2009 at 9:07 pm


    I have only read Organic Church and I just ordered Organic Leadership…

    He is not the most doctrinal of people, but I think he nails this topic very well. I think it is important to keep it simple so that not only the leaders understand, but even the followers. I have a friend, Josh Howerton, who has been successfully implementing Cole’s DNA at his church plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

    I want to admit that Cole says some weird stuff in his book, but if you look past a few silly things I think we can all learn from him.

  5. Dennis Griffith March 3, 2010 at 10:25 am

    I just posted some thoughts about Tri-Perspectivalism and introduced the concept to some of our church leaders and some other area pastors. I’d like to invite you to the discussion, since I suspect you are several steps ahead of me in your understanding. You should be able to offer some light on the subject to both the intereted and the skeptical.

    Check out:

  6. Great post Tim, thanks for all the work you have put into bringing these into one area!

  7. Wow. Wow. And…wow.

    Thanks Brister.

  8. If multiperspectivalism as represented by the need for a prophet, priest and king is so necessary in church leadership why do you think it is that we see nothing of it in the New Covenant writings? Given it’s alleged importance I would think you would at least expect to see it represented in Titus and Timothy were subject of the qualifications of elders is given the most through treatment. However, not only do we see nothing of the sort mentioned there we see nothing of this alleged leadership structure in any of the narrative or teaching writings of the New Covenant. Or, perhaps I’m missing something or misstating the record. What say you?

    • A lot of what we teach and build on is not spelt out in the NT. Even how we choose to structure our churches..well Jesus pretty much let us to do it; the NT giving us clearly the need for strong pastoral leadership based on character first.
      as for triperspectivalism, i first thought of it when i considered how God guided the nation of Israel by setting up King-prophet-priest. Jesus seem to continue to embody these offices in who he is and what he did.
      it is possible that in the Roman era with the nasty Caesars, one would be much more careful about such a set-up…but in Eph we have what in some church circles is called the 5-fold offices: pastor, teacher, prophet, evangelists, apostles. THis i beleive is needful as the plan of GOd has taken on a centrifugal dimension – esp evangelists and apostles.
      We can consider gathering up our thoughts along the way..remembering there is no safe, perfect-er model but a lot of bibical principles and practical wisdom required. One thing common to elders, 5-fold or triperspect is this: it takes more than one. Mutuality and accountability are critical whatever we structure.
      ps. i have not read the books. be looking forward to learn more.

  9. There is a great article by Dan Allender that can be found here: He was writing about this long before it was cool:) It’s a great read with the best unpacking of the OT roles that I’ve seen.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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