"I am convinced that top-down structures of leadership are unquestionably more efficient -- efficient in doing almost everything than equipping, which is the primary task of leadership. "
(David Black - http://www.daveblackonline.com/what_does_a_new_testament_church.htm)
What do you think of this quote?
In terms of government systems, I have often heard that dictatorships or single party systems are more efficient than multiparty systems. Some of the most efficient countries in history have had a strong top-down leadership structure. I think the same goes for companies and other institutions.
There are drawbacks of course. I am glad I don't live in Nazi Germany or a single party country like China. Strong top-down leadership structures often do not value freedom of speech when your views are different than that of the leaders.
What is the primary task of leadership?
I guess it depends. In the case of a corporation that produces widgets, efficiency may be the top goal, and a strong top-down leadership structure may help produce the most widgets.
However, when talking about the church, the assembling of believers, what is the purpose of leadership?
If the goal is to run excellent programs a top-down leadership structure is likely what you want.
I believe the goal of gathering with other believers is to build one another up to become more like Christ. I believe Ephesians 4:7-16 speaks to this:
"But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.”
(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."(NIV)
I suspect this building up of one another is best accomplished in mutual relationships.
I'd love to hear your thoughts.