In Part 1 I said that when hierarchical church leadership is removed many hindrances and limitations will fall away. This is because voice is given to the people through whom the Spirit wishes to speak. No single person has authority over another and nobody is able to veto anything, whether intentionally or not. Also, people are able to act more freely. Instead of the feared mayhem the opposite will be true. We will begin to see the Body act under the direction and leading of the Jesus alone, who not only is able to lead each individual, but also the group as a whole.
Many a pastor will be released from the burdens that they have unnecessarily carried when released from single pastor leadership or tiered leadership of any sort. The single pastor or tiered leadership model creates huge limitations in vision, insight and implementation. Often pastors carry the bulk of the work and responsibility that’s intended for many to share. If multiple elders in the body are seen as pastors, then the burden that one or a few carried will be greatly reduced.
If change is made to our church models and pastors are released from the undue weight that they carry, we might even see other gifts surface in some of their own lives. Previously hidden by the title of “pastor,” some might be better teachers, evangelists or maybe administrators. If this begins to happen, then the role of pastor will be seen more clearly as distinct from the others.
Flawed systems, like those with hierarchy or even the single pastor model, come about unintentionally and somewhat innocently as they appear to be Biblical and useful ways of exercising control. The truth is we cannot control people in the body of Christ. It’s not our job; it’s the Lord’s. Freedom to explore, learn and grow under the word of God with Jesus’ leading should be given to all. It can get messy, but loving eldership rather than controlling leadership can help “get the clothes picked up.”
In part 3 I will discuss some obvious challenges of this model.
By Rob Morley