I would love to see a moratorium on the word leader within the church for whatever length of time it takes for us to undo the power positions of leadership that we have adopted in the church.
My thoughts about leadership have continued to evolve through the detox process. I'll admit to being somewhat cynical. A lot of the ministry things that I have experienced have been about people positioning themselves so that they are the one on top, everything from global networks down to local house churches, all motivated by a person looking to be the guy in charge.
At first, I thought the problem was the lack of servanthood in leadership, and so I latched onto the idea of servant leadership. However, after a time I became skeptical because the focus still seemed to be on the leadership part. What would happen if you dropped the title leader and just kept the servant part? Who would be just as willing to serve without the position of leadership? Honestly, the herd thins significantly when there is no opportunity for recognition or elevation.
Do we know how to understand leadership without assuming a hierarchical power-over relationship? As explained in the last posts, I don't believe in positional authority within the body of Christ. Understanding the equality of our relationship as brothers in the body of Christ is essential in understanding spiritual leadership.
It is never our "right" to lead another believer. Our leadership of another person is a role given voluntarily to us by the person choosing to follow us for a time. It should not be completely one-sided, and it is usually for a short season.
I was thinking of another aspect of this in the shower today (which explains why I can't ever remember if I've shampooed yet!)...
I don't have a problem with hierarchical leadership when it is within an organization. I believe that some type of leadership structure is necessary for administration. But how does that apply when the organization is a church?
We have blurred the lines within the church between the administrative organization and the organic spiritual life of the church body. While a person may be needed to administratively lead an organizational structure, if that structure happens to be a church group, he must not assume that his organizational rank presumes an elevated spiritual position in the group.
In fact, it would be important for everyone in the group to recognize and understand the difference between structural, organizational leadership and spiritual leadership within the body. Maybe this is why this has become so confused in the church. We have set up structures for organizational leadership and then assumed that rank of position and leadership also apply within our spiritual relationships.