How does the Church “grow up?”
We can learn a lot from the Trinity. In fact, Trinitarian authority has huge implications for the future of church practice. Willimon argues that the Trinity stands as our example for community and mutuality. In the Trinity, one witnesses the perfect execution of multiple roles within a singular body. For example, the Holy Spirit is simultaneously a “witness”, comforter, counselor, and conduit of power. The Son is savior, healer, intercessor, and Lord. The Father is creator, ruler, and almighty. All three have distinct roles and yet all three are equal in their divinity. The Spirit flows from the son and yet does not “serve” the Son in the way that one serves a master. One could argue that the various functions of church life and leadership demand the same type of Trinitarian community that is found within the Godhead. For example, a pastor must lead, but not at the expense of equipping and empowering others to lead and make disciples. In the Godhead, we see no place for the centralized lordship of an individual church leader. Each of the various “duties” of the church leader must work together toward the mission of the Church: the making of disciples. In fact, the leadership gifts mentioned in Ephesians 4:11-13 seem to reflect a balanced interaction that must take place within the framework of God’s sovereign mission for the Church.
So, how do we “grow up” in Christ? Shared power, responsibility, and accountability may be a great place to start.
Kariatlis, Philip. Affirming koinonia ecclesiology: An orthodox perspective.” Phronema 27, no. 1 (May 2012): 51-65.
Willimon, W. H. Pastor: The theology and practice of ordained ministry. Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 2002.