Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Communal Leadership

One of the primary features that contribute to the molding of the church is the style of leadership. The most prominent, by far, has been the heirarchical model. However, we are seeing this style of leadership becoming less and less effective as the postmodern mindset becomes more dominant.
Being more community oriented, postmoderns do not respond positively to authoritative leadership exercised from the heirarchical perch above the community. Leadership must be an integral part of the community, not set apart by titles and positions. Instead, leaders must live and function relationally as part of the community, on a journey together.
Perhaps one of the most striking metaphors for the new type of leadership that is required is given to us by Brian McLaren. Referring to the Wizard of Oz, he notes the marked difference between the leadership style of the Wizard (heirarchical and isolated) and Dorothy (communal and relational). The former is typical of man's style of leadership, while the latter is far more reflective of the kingdom of God.

While I tend to agree with you, I'm concerned that a reading of Romans lends to the notion that heirarchy is God-ordained, and that government systems and the such are the structure under which man is obligated to exist. I'm generally anti-hierarchy, but I can't get past Romans without feeling like God is telling us that mankind must be subject to hierarchial structures of man... and while God doesn't make it clear if it's for punishment for our sinful nature or if it's "good", it does seem to indicate that it's necessary.

I don't know if such hierarchy should among the members of the Church, though. Is the hierarchy of government systems a picture of "the world," of which we not to belong?
jovial cynic,
You've made the right distinction between the world system and the kingdom, which many fail to do.
The heirarchical system is that of the world. However, God works within that system, placing individuals in positions of authority to maintain order in a fallen creation.
Jesus draws a distinction between the world system of leadership and that of the kingdom. Matthew 20:25-28 and Luke 22:25-26 are two of the primary Scriptures where Jesus clearly states that his people are not to function in the heirarchical leadership system of the world.
A good book on this subject is "Who Is Your Covering? A Fresh Look at Leadership, Authority & Accountability" by Frank Viola.
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