Discussions on leadership at the moment have been grabbing my attention.
One comment in particular forced me to think again on the issue of creative freedom.
Someone commented that out of the Ecclesia should come the decisions. One has to go no further than the book of Acts to find some proof verses to back up this view.
Furthermore, years of Baptist history and emphasis on congregational government has led to one of the most missional and orthodox denominations, and one of the few established churches growing.
However there are issues and clarification about what this actually means. The issues in my mind relate to what the congregation should actually decide. In Acts they decided if Paul should be anointed as the Mission Leader. The one who would go out and plant churches, act as an Apostle.
I think this is a great model for us.
What we also find the early church doing is appointing deacons to lead the ministries, and not being checked on by an over diligant membership.
The church decides together to send Paul out. They then have further meetings to decide on what methods he should employ, where he should go, what churches he should set up, where, what he should be restricted to saying to them, whether he should make tents or not, and whether he should be allowed to serve wine or not.
These issues and more were ones that it is logical Paul needed to make for himself, and he did.
The church anointed him as leader, and then trusted him to lead. If he had started to make stupid decisions, if he had been greedy and self serving, and dare I say it in this ‘nice political climate’ he had not performed…..I believe they would have revisited the responsibility given to him. Futhermore they continually asked him to be accountable, to report to them, and when a serious issue came up, for example what to expect of Gentile believers, they gave direction.
Let me say something else. Did their appointing of Paul absolve them of being the church, of sharing the gospel, of bringing the kingdom into the present? Of course not, these and more was what Paul and others expected of the whole church. But Paul was recognised as a leader and allowed to lead.
Some of what I read makes me wonder whether political correctness is driving us, whether in fact our culture is determining our values, rather than scripture?
Are we afraid of authority, submission, releasing people? No one likes a dictator, no one likes someone who does not have their interests at heart, and not many will follow such a leader for very long. But that does not mean we should not let leaders lead, and recognise them as such. The abuse of any model is not evidence to not use it, and I recognise this even in what I am about to say.
Of course experience drives all of our views on these issues.
Two experiences drive me.
Bad members meetings where instead of the church gathering together to find the mind of Christ, gatekeepers gathered to maintain the status quo, dysfunctional bitter people gathered in some twisted way to have influence, and some dear souls gathered to be abused.
The other experience is in the statistical fact that creative people are the first people to leave where instead of releasing people into leadership and freedom in expressing their gifts, talents and ideas, they were stifled by change haters.
The so called “Ceo” model is so far from how it is being stereotyped it is not funny. It is not about one person assuming control, it is about leadership being given to the people, not taken from them.
Good business people know this.
I believe the mind of Christ is found in the eccelisa. But how we work out what the church decides in a modern church context is not as simple as this sweeping statement.