On Christian Leadership – part 1
Lately I have been studying Christian leadership and I thought I would share some thoughts here.
The term “leading servant” has arisen to emphasis the style of leadership that was modelled by Jesus. In this style of leadership David Augsburger describes, “service as the soul of leadership”. Jesus compares the leadership style he had in mind with leadership in the world:
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45).
From this passage in Mark it is clear that Christians are not to exercise leadership in the same way as worldly leaders. Christians need a Biblical picture of leadership and not one merely adapted from worldly sources.
In his Gospel, John introduced the incident of Jesus washing of the disciples’ feet by stating that, “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal…”(John 13:4-5) and served the disciples. Jesus was able to serve because he was secure in the knowledge of who he was. He knew he was the Messiah, God’s Son thus inherently God. His status was not threatened when he served since his leadership was not dependant on the response of his followers. Many times he even gave his followers the opportunity to walk away (John 6:66-67; Mark 10:22; John 4:16). John concluded this section with Jesus’ instruction, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:15). We are to serve in the same way Jesus did, that is from a position of being secure in our status as God’s children. When we know who we are, we can serve free of the need for people to become dependant on us and free from needing recognition or repayment
Again from Augsburger on leadership: “Those who love it, one suspects, should rarely be granted it; those who usurp it not allowed it; those who feel entitled to it not be entrusted with it; only those who accept it as trust – a service delegated by community and for community – deserve to serve in it”.