Due to some of my ideas, I have been accused of creating God, or at least the leadership of God, in western humanity’s image. I have never come out one way or the other on this. I never defended this as my position nor denied it. Mostly because I never really wrestled with the definition of my position.
Today, I announce that I do not believe in a democratic leadership model for the Church!
See, the thing that always bugged me was that the labeling always seemed to be defining human leadership style within the divine Church. I totally reject this. Christ is our Leader and He never recalled that leadership. Instead, the Spirit of God is at work amongst the People of God (individually and corporately) appointing gifts and setting fires of passions within our hearts.
The job of those that God himself gave us as leaders (not necessarily the same people-set that our churches set up as leaders) is to come-along-side and help to release the gifts and to fan the flames (as well help recognize and put out rouge sparks) of those they are given watch over. Leaders need to be listening to the voice of the Spirit of God as He speaks through the people. He is to lay aside his own agenda and listen to even the least of these.
The leader’s place is not even to weight what she hears and make a decision. Her job is to encourage the people as a whole to walk in the ways that the Spirit is leading, to encourage the body to wrestle with the Spirit of God and as a body to move in the direction the Spirit is leading.
We are all sheep. We have only one Shepherd. Even though some of the sheep may take on a shepherding role, it is a role of a sheep, interacting as a sheep, to help sheep and the flock hear more clearly the Shepherd’s voice. Their role is not to hear that voice, decide amongst themselves what to make of it and interpret or relay it to the rest of the flock. Their essence, their nature of being, does not change; they do not become shepherds – not even sheep dogs. They are just sheep helping sheep.
Personally I am coming to think that the clergy/laity mentality, that has so fully infiltrated the Church, could/should be counted as heretical. Those that know me or have read much of my blog would know that there is little that I would call heresy. As a matter of fact, I am starting to think that any thing that is only a belief cannot be considered heresy as our faith is not dependent on beliefs but on a person – the messiah.
However, the clergy/laity mentality is not a belief but a mindset, a way of being that so greatly affects the lives and relationships of the People of God. It is not an abstract concept but something that ontologically changes living active people into passive recipients of others’ ideas of God. Even if these ideas are good and right, the fact remains that these clergy take on the role of mediator between God and man.
Those that support this idea of leadership often point to the Hebrew Scriptures for examples. The problem, that we are told by Jesus himself and it is expanded on by Paul, that these scriptures are pointers to the messiah. They are a type and a shadow of what was to come; what has come through Jesus and the manifestation of the present and coming Kingdom of God. Even if Moses and David are the best example we have of human leadership, it is still just leading like the Gentiles do. Jesus gave us a better way. A way of leading that is more organic, not flowing out of a seat of authority, but out of a seat of relationship; not as leader/follower but as brother to brother.
Any way, enough of my rant, I’ll now step off of the soap box and let you have a turn if you so desire.
So, though I do not believe in a democratic leadership model, what I do believe is the scriptural model will probably looks vaguely similar.