New Testament leadership, on the other hand, was clearly a servant role (didn’t Jesus say something about that?) that provided a support structure for the people-movement to take off, multiply, go crazy, and otherwise careen madly (by the Spirit) out of control.

New Testament leaders did not occupy positions on boards; they did not have control of buildings nor all-church finances; they did not have the limelight of admiration or attention (except by those who enjoyed physically beating them).

Their role was to facilitate, plant, nurture, release, build up, serve… not dominate, nor control, nor set the one-man-vision course, nor have all the answers. They were not set above, but rather, set below. The Holy Spirit, after all, works through and leads the entire Body of Christ.

This is extremely radical for those of us who are traditionalist.  The scriptural observations are accurate and actually defy the current “church structures” that are found in mainline churches today.  If the church is to become focused and effective at making disciples, rather than recruiting church people, then we must begin the journey in the Biblical text.  This may also mean that we become counter church cultural.

What will be the role of a bishop?  Can the church function without committees?  Who administers the Lord’s Supper?  Will seminaries become extinct?  This type of discussion could start a revolution and I am sure that it will not be televised.

I am searching for ways to be a New Testament servant leader in a mainline church structure.  We also have to teach the people to share leadership.  I have served in Presbyterian, DOC, UMC, AME and Baptist churches and pastor’s who lead like kings burn out or burn up in ministry quickly.  Pastors who learn to serve the people and share leadership live much longer.

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