You will recognise the statement: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”, as being from George Orwell’s novella, Animal Farm. This most famous line is the final statement issued by the Pigs to the other farm animals. It was designed to convince the poor, illiterate farm animals that their rich, educated Pig-leaders were equal, but equality had its levels. In other words, the Pigs are just the same as everyone else, but “even more so.” It is illogical, but it did the trick.
Titles and badges that express positions of leadership are always in demand; especially when privileges accompany those symbols of power. And, at a secular level, such meritorious awards do have their place.
But in the church, much care must be taken to avoid any elevation of one saint over another.
Jesus claims exclusive domain over the title, “Leader.” He couldn’t have been clearer in his instructions on this matter: “Do not be called leaders,” he said, “for One is your Leader, that is, Christ” (Matthew 23:10).
Leadership in the church gets messy very quickly when Jesus ceases to be its sole focus. Like Israel of old, our churches begin to look to the secular models around them and think their leadership style to be superior to God’s rule. And like Israel of old, our churches begin to act like the secular models around them. Little thought is given to the fact that we become like that which we follow.
“Follow me as I follow Christ,” must be the mantra of those who seek to show the way of Christ—which is all of us to one degree or another.
There is no place for empty titles in our churches. Those who love to control the opinions and behaviour of others should be side-lined as potential Shepherds, Deacons, Preachers, or Teachers. The only brethren who should be considered as spirituals leaders are those who are willing to be “less equal than others!”
If a church leader is in lockstep with Christ, he wants to be the “boss” of no one—especially himself!