Thursday, April 1, 2010

Genuine Leadership

I hate it when someone has a title and flaunts it. It really makes you not want to do what they say. It is almost like they have to prove that they are the boss. I heard John Maxwell say one time that if no one is following you, you are just out taking a walk. Servanthood leadership is the best. It is not just "do as I say" but "do as I do".

Paul understood how to do this right. He knew that he was to be a servant-leader, not a dictator. In 2 Corinthians 1:24, Paul wrote, “Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy...” Of all people, Paul could have claimed dominion over another’s faith but instead considered himself a “member of the team,” charged with helping people mature in their faith. Paul led by example not by militant rule.

1 Peter 5:1-3 is another great example of servanthood leadership: “The elders who are among you I exhort...Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion...nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” One of the scriptures most misused in authority is Hebrews 13:17. It is a scripture that is truth - people should obey those in authority. But it is also commonly used to justify abusive control and authoritarianism by the leaders of some churches. Hebrews 13:17 instructs believers to, “Obey those who rule over you…” These leaders think that this means they have blanket authority over the flock entrusted to them and that they can proceed to take control over the personal lives and personal faith of believers. Nothing in this verse gives church leadership unrestrained control over the lives of others. Instead it teaches believers to consider the example set by truly loving, God-fearing, servant-leaders that lead us to Christ.

I don't know of anyone on our staff, elder team, deacons or leadership that repeatedly acts this way. I see all of our church leadership serving, giving and leading by example. I do think that any of them (me included) could fall into this if we aren't careful to be humble - led by the Spirit and not by the flesh. Humility, servanthood and glorifying Christ have to be at the forefront of our minds as leaders.

I don't want someone to obey me just cause I say so or have a title. My kids do that when I say things like "clean your room", but that's my kids. The goal is for them to obey me in the Lord according to Ephesians 6:1-3 ONLY as I do Ephesians 6:4 - don't provoke them to anger and bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. I can only do this as I grow in the Lord and realize that all authority comes from Him and that I am just a steward of what he has entrusted me with.

Teach me Lord to know that the head of every man is Christ (1 Corinthians 11:3). Teach me to lay down my life for those who I serve and lead (1 John 3:16).

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