The following question comes from a long article in the Journal of Pastoral Theology (3.3, 1979) by Harvie Conn. Conn discusses how a church has a “model” for ministry; an often unarticulated self-understanding of what a church is, does, and how it functions. A great of the discussion is how to make change (do more evangelism for instance) when the inherited culture stands against that change.
In the diagnostic section, Conn quotes this question (cited to Dr. Ward at Michigan State):
Pride and status. Has leadership become something of an end in itself? Have the teachings of Christ about servanthood become culturally clouded by the Horatio Alger syndrome: one begins low in order to become great? How real is the danger in ministry that servanthood becomes a temporary or transient period of initiation or demonstration of eligibility? Is leadership defined too often not by service but by privileges?
This question struck me, because it points to a poison I have seen destroy too many churches and harm too many Christians. It is a poison from the broader world and culture. Because it is so common in our world it can become nearly invisible in our church.