A lot of unnecessary power struggle can happen in church when “the priesthood of all believers” is confused with “eldership of all believers” functionally. In an elder-led and elder-governed church, when Christians do not know their roles as “priests” to one another and confuse their roles with that of the elders, they try to dominate the elders. This is especially true when there is confusion between a congregational church and an elder-led church where the final decisions are made by the elders. In other words, power idolatry is not only people who are in leadership may struggle with, it flows from the bottom to top as well. Perhaps it is easier to see power idolatry struggle at the top of leadership ladder, but it’s often less obvious below the ladder.
That is why, in conflicts, you might observe that people who are disgruntled try to overthrow those who are on top of the structure as well. That is to say, power idolatry is in the heart of every man.
That is why we must constantly look to the One who had all authority, yet used His power to lay down His life in the service of others. He used His power, not to Lord it over His people or overthrow governments, but to serve others in humble service—even to the point of dying on the cross. With power in His hands, He healed and touched society drop-outs. With all power in His hands He took the cross and was pierced through His hands. Christ, indeed, is our humble and powerful King! By His death, burial and resurrection, He conquered what no earthly king– with all their powers–could conquer. He conquered death, sickness, sin and Satan. With His power, one day, He will come back and renew all things and deliver the Kingdom to the Father.
It is only as we are ravished by His humble service and sacrifice on the cross can we be free from the grip of power idolatry.