In some churches, the Pastor/Teacher of a corporate church can seem to act as a dictator. It’s as if we’re saying that the Pastor/Teacher is the CEO of a company, and their final interpretation of all actions is what God’s Will is. For one thing, I think that’s too big of a responsibility to put on any one person, and God’s Will should be revealed collectively to people in ministry leadership, as they’re all using their gifts collectively to gain a more well-balanced view.
For another thing, Jesus said to His apostles, “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matt. 23:8-12).
I think what Jesus said blows the lid off of some corporate church models, which are actually replicating American Business paradigms. It also blows the lid off of the structure of the Catholic Papacy, which sees the pope as being able to divinely interpret the scriptures for all the people. In Jesus’ day, it blew the lid off of the way of the scribes and Pharisees, who “loved the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues.” (Matt. 23:6) No single individual ego can handle a task like that. We’re all on level ground at the foot of the Cross. It’s the only place where the least are the greatest and the greatest are the least. We all struggle with pride and need to be kept in check by others unlike ourselves. Those of us called to be leaders in the church are called to a higher level of accountability and responsibility.
That’s why the idea of the “Priesthood of all believers”, a New Testament idea, is the perfect model. In this, everyone who is capable, obedient, and faithful to God contributes to the mission of the church. In this Biblical model, even the lead pastor of a Church is equal to others, and sometimes he should put his foot down if things are getting whacked out. He also knows that he is merely a human being trying to discern God’s Will with every other qualified leader who has the capability to do the same. As long as everyone is teachable and accountable to the Word of God this can work.
I think we want to believe in this concept and follow it in our American Church culture, but we just stink at it. There’s one reason why, EVERYONE wants to be in charge! Me included! It’s human nature to think that our ideas are the best. The more that we surrender to an omnipotent, perfect destiny that can only be carved out by God the Redeemer Himself, the more we actually have peace and realize that we understand only a little chunk of His big picture, one that is limited by our strengths and weaknesses.