I was talking to a friend yesterday who asked me for some advice as he is increasingly becoming disillusioned with the whole leadership movement within the church. (Global as well as local) I said Pete, (Not his real name) there is another movement within the global church which is standing up against this and moving towards a every member ministry of the church. I referred to Dave Black’s research and writings, as well as my own observations as an example.
One of the more dangerous issues I have become increasingly aware of is the territorialism within the church. My ministry! My position! My church! My calling! And this paradigm is led from the top within the framework of senior pastor. Simply put, there is no scriptural example to call anyone a senior or junior pastor. While indeed in the church there are a variety of functions, gifting s, callings and out workings of the Spirit of God through his people, the church elder ship is not called to govern within a political top down seniority framework – rather they are called to govern within a coming alongside equipping the saints to do the work of the ministry framework.
The current leadership movement in many ways is guilty of creating a tower of babel mentality. By our own efforts we will build a tower which reaches high into the heavens, reaching up to God. Let’s build a big church, get more bums on seats, get more people with the program, center all we do around the buildings and programs and call this “church!”
And the result is that more and more people get burn’t out in the process. Pastors start getting territorial in comparing their so called flock sizes… truthfully guys, they are not our flock, Christ is our shepherd. We all belong to him.
It’s true that the Apostle Paul called Timothy to establish elders (Note the plural here) in the churches he planted… basically his guidelines was to appoint a group of people whose lives reflected Godliness and wisdom in living. Their task was to look after God’s people by coming along side them and equipping them to live lives of holiness and wisdom in turn. No elder was more senior then the other. I personally like to think of the term “equipping” to be one of facilitating, a term that describes relational discipleship. And within the elder ship team a variety of gifts, talents, callings, out workings would take place in exactly the same way that the same variety of gifts, talents, callings and out workings would take place among those they came alongside. And hence, we find those with leadership gifts will be among those who pastor – among those who evangelize – among those who teach – among those with apostolic and prophetic callings – among those who heal – among those who speak in tongues – among those who are hospitable – among those who serve – among those who give – among those who intercede – among those who have gifts of administration – among those who…. Blaaahahhhh you get my drift. :)