Climbing The Corporate Ladder “In The Church”

By Bill Dodd

About twelve years ago as I was preparing to move from a rural congregation, a lady who owned a grocery store where I had done a good bit of buying asked me this question: “Are you going to be promoted as a result of the move?” Her denominational concept would naturally prompt her to ask such a question. We may tend to sigh at such a question, but I wonder if members of the Lord’s church do not have some carnal notions about climbing the “corporate ladder.”

Some Corporate Steps?

First, there is sometimes the clamoring on the part of some preachers to locate with a congregation that has size and reputation (cf. Rev. 3:1). In other words, some preachers must package themselves pretty much like the man trying to climb the corporate ladder in the business world. He must have the right car, right clothes, the right wife, and an acceptable number of children. He must live in the right neighborhood. The foregoing things listed on the part of some preachers are comparatively innocent when you weigh them against some of the political maneuvers these preachers pull.

There Has To Be Difference Between Using Talents And Using Brethren

Brethren, God’s people are responsible for using their talents (cf. Exod. 4:2; Matt. 25:14-30; Lk. 12:48). According to

these Scriptures, if one has the ability to write, speak, debate, or use any talent that would advance the Kingdom of God, he should not hide those talents under a bushel. Perhaps some talented men have held back for fear of being accused of wanting to become a “big” preacher. What is the answer to the problem of some being too bold to advance self and the problem of some being too timid to use his talents? The answer is that we need to make sure that our motives are proper in using our talents for the cause of Christ, and not for self-aggrandizement (Matt. 23:5-8; Mk. 10:37-45). Let all brethren forget about rank in God’s army. There are no ranking officers. Incidentally, this reminds me of something about an attempt made back in the sixties to arrange a debate between Batsell B. Baxter and James P. Miller. Baxter replied to the young preacher who was trying to arrange the proposed debate: “Why do the generals always have to do the debating; why cannot some of the debating be done by the sergeants?”


There is no corporate structure in God’s kingdom; hence, there is no ladder to climb. Jesus said that we are “all brethren.” He also said, “The greatest shall be your servant.” The truly great are concerned about serving and not about being served.

Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 3, p. 73
February 2, 1989