Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Church Simply: Leadership Through Service

Much of the modern church is consumed with its leaders. This is true with Catholicism, where the Pope makes the headlines at least weekly. However, it is also true in evangelicalism. Super-star pastors are frequently in the news for saying things about things.

If you ask most Christians about their church, one of the first things they will begin to talk about is their pastor. Go ahead and try it. See what they say. Even if you do not mention the pastor, this will be one of their first topics of conversation.

Pastors/leaders within the modern church almost always lead through one main method: decision making. They certainly do other things such as preach, teach, baptize, etc. However, their primary leadership activity is making decisions for the body.

In the New Testament the church body as a whole makes the decisions. Since that's the case, what do leaders in the New Testament church do? The answer is that they lead through serving others. Not only do they serve, but they model this service to the rest of the body.

In John chapter 13, Jesus leaves a model for his twelve disciples to follow. He washes their feet and instructs them to do the same. This is extremely significant because it is part of Christ's final teachings to those who would lead the fledgling church. Jesus did not, conversely, give them all sorts of instructions in how to make decisions for his body.

Christ's model of leadership was service.

Earlier in Jesus' ministry he said the following, "You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all" (Mark 10:42-44).

Jesus is talking to those who would take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Service equals greatness in the Kingdom.

Jesus Christ is Lord of his church. He expects leadership; however, he does not expect the earthly definition of leadership by making decisions. Rather, our Lord demands a heavenly sort of leadership: sacrificial service.

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