My Name’s Tracey and I’m a Christian
My take on leadership in the context of the Lord’s Body is very similar to what it was on my journey to becomming a Christian. I was involved with Alcoholic’s Anonymous for 3 1/2 years. When you first go to a meeting you are suggested (not mandated) to select a sponsor. A sponsor is not assigned to you, nor are you really pressured to get one. The concept is promoted within AA that if you want to succeed, find someone who is succeeding and select them to be your mentor (sponsor). So when I would go an AA meeting there would be a roomfull of people all sharing their experiences. No one was really in charge and each meeting was autonomous. There was a secretary who opened the door to the building, made the coffee, and locked up at the end. However, to the level that people saw that you were successful in the program, was the level that you were in “leadership.” If you were selected by someone as their sponsor that meant that they could receive something from you, respected your walk, and generally identified with you in some significant way. The problem with the institutional church concept is that everyone can’t identify to the same person or small group of persons. So when I would go to a large AA meeting, there could be many different sponsors (leaders) within the group, as well as those sponsors’ sponsors. There were various levels of leadership, but no formal authority over everyone. Plus, if your relationship with your sponsor wasn’t working out – it could be dissolved simply by telling them so. I have often thought that the simplicity that has worked for AA for so many years was probably modeled in some ways after the relational church idea.