One of the most familiar metaphors for the church in the Bible is that of the body – lots of different parts carrying out different functions but all working together, none more important or superior to the other, but all working toward the same end. Paul uses this in reference to the different gifts of the Spirit that are given for the building up of the body. It is obvious that one person cannot have all the gifts, whereas a team of leaders/elders/whatever term you prefer can reflect more gifts and therefore serve those they care in a more holistic manner.
Many of our churches have a model of leadership that centres around one person. Technically they may be the ‘teaching elder’ but in reality the minister or senior pastor in many protestant churches is at the top of an authority structure. This can come about by that person being authoritarian and keeping power and ‘control’ for themselves or through a Christian community that abdicates responsibility and leaves it up to the ‘pastor’. In this case the various gifts of the church do not flourish and are not put to full use.
If a church is to move away from this approach more towards a team approach, what needs to happen?
If the change comes from the pastor/leader I can see how it could be worked through, but what if the pastor/leader is resistant to moving towards a team approach – what should the church community do and how should it respond?
All thoughts welcome.