Leadership in the Church: So What?

by drwinn on March 9, 2015

Paul’s writings reflect his belief that the church was a charismatic community. His concept of church was that of continued ministry at the direction of the Spirit to serve each other by being available to God for him to send gracelets for the common good of the community. It does not appear that Paul had a concept of a hierarchy of offices. 1 He conceives of authority in dynamic terms, not in terms of an office or a fixed form. The whole of the community had authority to order its worship and affairs. First Corinthians 14.26 may give us the guidelines for both worship and community affairs.

The issue to solve is gift-function or office-hierarchy. It is clear to me that there should not be a hierarchical structure in the church. Even the Trinity is a dance. The life of the church is carried to the church by the Spirit. It is true that corruption came through the institutionalization of the church. However, the church has to have some form in which to exist. What we should do is examine again the form of the Pauline charismatic church and see if we can function as it did. There will always be friction between freedom and form, but according to Genesis 1 real freedom only comes within the boundaries of form. There are certainly no clear or easy answers to this ongoing problem.


  1. Dunn, Jesus and the Spirit, 297-298.

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