Building the Wrong Pyramid

Lately I’ve been giving a lot of thought to ministry, service, and how we approach things in the church. In particular, the way in which we tend to see some people as being higher than others, and if that’s really beneficial.

In some ways I see the church putting ministers at the top of a pyramid, with the people of the world at the bottom of that same pyramid. Church people place themselves on the pyramid somewhere, depending on how they feel that day. I’ve been wondering, though, have we been building the wrong pyramid? What would happen if we flipped the thing upside down?

Jesus did. Jesus took issue with the right side up pyramid and sought to flip it whenever possible. Instead of supporting this hierarchy, he pulled his students from the outcasts, the unwanted. He taught his disciples that, “the first will be last, and the last first.” He pointed out that they should be like him when he washed their feet, taking the form of the lowest servant.

I will be honest, it’s hard to convince people to be leaders. People don’t like the top. Many people don’t like heights, especially social ones. So what if we considered that ministers, elders, deacons, and leaders weren’t at the top of the pyramid, but at the bottom?

For one, and upside down pyramid isn’t very stable. It would need some help standing up – meaning more dependence on God. Also, when we ask people to take on more responsibility at church, we aren’t asking them to “step up” we’re now asking them to “step down” toward the bottom where Jesus is leading. Ministers aren’t rulers by any stretch of the imagination, they are the lowest rung servants seeking to build God’s kingdom here on earth by serving others before themselves. And, really, that should be every Christian’s mission, not just paid ministers.

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