It seems that church government likes to migrate towards centralized Episcopalian forms headed by popes, or decentralized fiefdoms headed by smaller popes (smaller hierarchies found in many Independent congregations or self-consciously three-office Presbyterian churches). Pastors learn to appreciate rubber-stamp eldership and deacon boards. And large churches usually rely upon programmic structures and administrative staff with nice hierarchical org charts.
Hierarchy is the only way churches survive where there is no love to speak of – only irresolvable conflicts, continual transience, and hopelessly shallow relationships.
Hierarchy must be inevitable at some level in a society without blood-letting, self-sacrificial love. The hierarchy is either formal or informal, but it is inevitable. The leaders need their business cards with the byline, “Chairman of the Bondslaves.” Or make that, “Chairman of the Deacon Board.” Of course, the laity will demand such structures as well. They expect it.
Love is the alternative. But it is impossible. We can attempt a gradual move away from hierarchy to covenant, but don’t expect a pure utopia. Some level of hierarchy, formal or informal is inevitable for human social relationships to survive – until a people learn to love.
Luk 22:25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
Luk 22:26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
Luk 22:27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.