August 17, 2009

Leading, not Lording

I like Leadership. Two human beings rarely do anything together unless one of them instigates it. Unless the ice cream truck rolls past and they look at each other, and just know. Or things like that. But most of the time, some individual has to say, "Hey, guys, let's do such and such." Whether that instigation is phrased and presented in such a way to presume compliance authoritatively or to request compliance graciously, that person is bringing direction. And hallelujah!

I'm not anti-authority. I'm in favor of the whole kit and kaboodle in Ephesians 4. "Shepherds" (elders, overseers) are one of the people who were given to help train the church until it becomes able to minister to itself in every way, as a mature body. But there is an "until" in Ephesians 4. There is a point at which the role of those top-down equippers decreases somewhat. Just like John the Baptist decreased. Just like Jesus left physically. Just like a football coach giving his star quarterback more and more authority for calling the plays. But in a mature church, the whole Team can call plays.

I agree with Alan Knox that Elders can lead and that others can lead. [See my last post.] For all I know, Alan may agree with me that Leaders don't have to be Elders. [Update: he does!] But functionally, I do think it's okay for mutual leadership to include being bossy with each other, sometimes. For example - assuming the context of a healthy relationship, there are definitely times when my brother or sister may need to tell me what to do, or stop doing. Like, at the very least, "Take a shower before meetings." ;-)

Sure, gracious is better. But no matter how much you pretty it up, for style, sometimes we need to instruct and direct one another. That's just good practical common sense. Isn't it?

So I say again - the key question is not whether we give commands or suggestions. But whether those things are always given by the same person or team of people. I say again, "Lording it over" is not a question of style. It is a question of Soverignity. Or, one might even say, permanent hierarchy.

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