I began to wonder as I looked around my church if I was in an episode of Upstairs/Downstairs? Is there a servant class and an upper class. There are the ministers and then the lowly people who can only speak a certain way to the leaders etc. We went one day when our pastor was sick to visit and one person exclaimed in wonder and awe of his position, “how do I encourage my pastor”. I bristled at this ( not visibly) but I thought “the same way you would anyone else who was sick”. Somehow we’ve got it twisted that a Pastor is someone other just a man or woman who are kept by God like we are by the same Spirit.
A reader of this blog reminded me of another essential reason abusiveness happens in our American churches, and that is an incorrect church structure. The church is supposed to be comprised of many members who make up the body of Christ. I Corinthians 12 gives us a picture of God’s church and the balance that’s supposed to happen in the body. This is the opposite of pastoral authoritarianism. I think incorrect church structure is a breeding ground for corrupt leadership. Whenever we fail to follow scripture in any area, we’ll suffer some negative consequences. If the Pastor constitutes all the decisions and all of the leadership, then that is not the scriptural definition of the body of Christ. Continue reading