I was recently reading a series of articles and blog posts that continually challenge my views on leadership and hierarchy in the church. Deep down I know this to be true but many evangelical Christians today haven’t even heard of this.. let alone tried to understand its implications on their relationship with Christ Jesus.
Frank Viola touches on it here in this extract:
The N.T. notion of leadership is markedly different. As previously stated, there’s no biblical warrant for the idea that church leadership is official. Neither is there any scriptural backing for the notion that some believers have authority over other believers. The only authority that exists in the church is Jesus Christ. Humans have no authority in themselves. Divine authority is vested only in the Head and expressed through the body. Good leadership, therefore, is never authoritarian. It only displays authority when it’s expressing the mind of Jesus Christ.
The basic tasks of biblical leadership are facilitation, nurture, guidance, and service. To the degree that a member is modeling the will of God in one of those areas, to that degree he or she is leading. It’s no wonder that Paul never chose to use any of the forty-plus common Greek words for “office” and “authority” when discussing leaders. Again, Paul’s favorite word for describing leadership is the opposite of what natural minds would suspect. It’s diakonos, which means a “servant”—a person very low on the social totem pole in the 1st Century.
You can find the full explanation from Franks blog:
Also another great discussion on the church office and clergy/laity dichotomy:
I would love to have open discussions with church leaders and prayerfully explore what Frank is saying here, I was a pastoral overseer with the baptist fold and its impact on me has been significant.