I just recently finished reading A Book You’ll Actually Read on Church Leadership by Mark Driscoll. Using his distinct style and method, Driscoll discusses some specific topics that have brought him much criticism over the years.
Elders – Driscoll defines elders as “the male leaders of the church who are synonymously called pastors, bishops, and overseers throughout the New Testament.” (14)
Deacons – Regarding deacons, he states that they “are the servants of the church who are also qualified for the ministry of overseeing and caring for God’s people by qualifications that are nearly identical to the elders – minus the teaching and preaching abilities.” (51)
Members – as Driscoll defines them “are Christians whose eyes are capable of seeing beyond their own navels. They realize that God died not just for them but for their church. They also realize that he commands them to selflessly give of their money and abilities in order to build up their church.” (57)
Jesus in the church – “The Scriptures are clear that Jesus Christ is the head of the church. Jesus is the Apostle who plants a church. Jesus is the Leader who builds the church. Jesus is the Senior Pastor and Chief Shepherd who rules the church. And it is ultimately Jesus who closes churches down when they have become faithless or fruitless… Human leadership in the church is little more than qualified Christians who are following Jesus and encouraging other people to follow them as they follow Jesus.” (12)
Women in leadership – Driscoll offers three views of women and ministry. Mark strongly supports (as I must admit I do as well) the complimentarian stance.
- Egalitarian (liberal) – Men and women are partners together in every area of ministry. All ministries and offices in the church are open to men and women. Gender is not a relevant distinction for excluding any person from any church office.
- Complimentarian (moderate) – Men and women are partners together in every area of ministry. All ministries in the church are open to all qualified men and women with the exception of the office of elder, which the Scriptures require to be a male-only office. Women can serve as deacons, teach, lead worship, serve communion, be in full-time ministry, etc.
- Hierarchical (conservative) – Women and men are created to operate in different spheres of ministry within the church. Women are not permitted to be an elder of deacon, serve communion, teach men, lead worship, pray or speak in the church service, etc. Women should focus on building ministries for other women and children.
Air and ground war – Mark describes the two broad categories of the organization of the church as the air war and the ground war. “The air war includes such things as preaching and teaching at gathered church services and other large events such as church-based conferences, retreats, and training events. The air war…also includes our Web site, vodcasts and podcasts, and publishing.” (68) “The ground war includes such things as home-based Bible studies, smaller training classes, individual counseling appointments, and recovery groups for addictions and sexual abuse.” (69)
You may not agree with all of his conclusions (most don’t). But if you’re looking for a place to begin to think through church leadership and structure, this is a great place to start.