Friday morning, I was engaged in a Twitter Direct Message conversation with a Brother about Mark Driscoll. He noted that I have been reading one of his books, and wanted to know what I thought of a blog post he wrote that was pretty critical of Driscoll. We DMed back and forth a while, until I eventually noticed that some of my tweets were going out publicly.
If you’ve ever had that happen, you’ll know the feeling, “Oh Crud.” That moment isn’t because of what you said, but because without the other half of the conversation…you seem like you have been smoking something or are in some state of delirium. One of the comments sparked quite a conversation, however, and so in an effort to make Twitterade–I’ll give it to you…then give you the context.
“Many CofCers (not referring to you) are leaderphobic and elderphiliac.”
Now, the context.
The Brother (also a member of Churches of Christ) had an issue with Mark Driscoll’s strong leadership role at Mars Hill. He had a problem with him being the “sole” leader at Mars Hill (which is not the case–though he is clearly the most influential). He raised some very, very good points. We then engaged in a discussion of leadership in Churches of Christ. My comment was a way of saying that many within Churches of Christ are afraid of strong individual leaders. They highly prefer leadership through committee consensus. My observation is that abuse of power can happen just as easily through elderships as through a single-leader. In fact, I would have a hard time citing a case of an "out of control" preacher in Churches of Christ–while cases of "elder abuse" are easy to find. I believe in elders. I also believe that Churches of Christ struggle to know what to do with people who have gifts of leadership.
Is there a need to shift our leadership paradigm in Churches of Christ? If so, how? Is there a way for the Kingdom to benefit from those who have been gifted for leadership while guarding the church against abuses of power? Is there a way for the Kingdom to benefit even more from elders than we currently do? I think this discussion is the most important one for Churches of Christ looking ahead 25 years–and maybe more.
I’d simply like to provide one forum for the discussion. I’ll simply pose the question, and then listen to the comments. Let's keep them Christian 🙂