When Christians question the traditional hierarchical, top-down "respect my authority" model of church "leadership", the charge that is often thrown out is that they are rebellious, "anti-authority", against all leadership and in favor of some sort of anarchy in the church. This is a silly charge but it is often effective because of the religious culture we live in and it serves as a way to suppress debate by putting one party on the defensive. That is why I appreciated Alan's post today Yes, we’re all equal in Christ, but whose name is on the sign? where he takes on this question. I really liked his closing statement:
If by “leader” you’re talking about a hierarchy of control, power,
responsibility, vocation, and service that is reserved for a few among
the church who function on behalf of the church, then, yes, I’m in favor
of removing that kind of leadership. I think the church would be
healthier without those kinds of “leaders.”
If by “leader” you’re talking about mature followers of Jesus Christ
who lives and words are a demonstration and example of what every
believer should be like and who are among the church and function along
with the church, then, no, I’m not in favor of removing that kind of
leadership. In fact, I think the church would be far healthier with more
and more of these kinds of leaders.
I love that, especially the part about needing more leaders not less. Far from being anti-leader, people like Alan (and myself) are pro-Biblical leadership, a leadership of servanthood and example rather than authority and privilege. I have no interest in propping up a system that muzzles most of the brothers in the church in favor of a authoritarian system of subcontracted professionals. I am in favor of seeing elders in the church who equip all of the brethren for the work of the ministry so that every Christian is on a path that leads to maturity.
Alan's post should generate some good conversation, go check it out!