With Christ in the School of Leadership

   Over the last few years, the topic of leadership has become a mega-industry, even within Christian circles. Due to various responsibilities and opportunities I have had in the past few years in my association, I have read stacks of books and attended dozens of workshops on the subject. Some of what I have learned I have found to be useful. Much of it left me feeling as if I had wasted my time.

   Here’s the thing, the church is not a corporation. I understand that for tax purposes and other legal ramifications certain papers must be filled out from time to time, but it is a grave mistake when we try to run the church according to the principles of Wall Street and Madison Avenue. The church is the flock of God, not a business.

   Pastors, God has not called us to be CEO’s. He has called us to be shepherds. We are to be leaders, that much is certain, but let us model our “leadership style” after Christ instead of Warren Buffet or Bill Gates.

   In Isaiah 42:1-4, we find some prophecies concerning the Messiah. Consider the description of Christ in the first verse:

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

   Notice that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is described as a servant. I do not say this to be critical of God’s servants, I have known many of them in my life and many of them have had profound impact upon me, but too many times it becomes so easy to forget our role. I have seen church leaders with overblown egos or insecurities who became control freaks. I have seen pastors who developed a sense of entitlement, as if their service automatically guaranteed that they deserved special treatment from the people to whom they ministered.

   Jesus did not build a network to defend his position. He realized that He was upheld by the Father who had chosen Him for the role in which He was placed. People of God, we should pray for God to grant us the humility to accept the purpose He has designed for us within His kingdom. It is not about our delights our aspirations. Above all, we should pray that God would deliver us from the spirit of selfish ambition that seeks to turn our area of ministry into our own little kingdom.

   Jesus labored in the strength of the Holy Spirit. He did not rely upon personal ability, a slick image or clever marketing gimmicks to get the job done. I am learning that God neither requires nor desires any abilities that I may think that I have to carry out His plan for me. If He can communicate His message through a braying donkey, a crowing rooster and even a silent worm, why does He need eloquence or good looks today?

   The last thing we can see in this verse is that He spoke the truth. He came to bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He did not teach us prosperity, how to be a champion or even how to win friends. Very simply, He came to teach us the why and how of being declared righteous before God.

   I hope that as pastors and church leaders, we will take our leadership lessons from the ultimate servant instead of trying to turn God’s kingdom into a corporate ladder. Truly, he who will be the greatest must be the servant of all.

10 responses to “With Christ in the School of Leadership

  1. I’ll say Amen and Amen to that Bro. Gordon. I myself at times in the past has always felt that I didn’t have to control the situation , but contribute my thoughts and hope they can be of good use ? I tend to appreciate when we all come together in unity and love for our Master !


  2. Good thoughts. Any principles of truth we can draw from the “secular” will be found in the Scripture anyway.

    BTW…love the nod to Murray. 🙂

  3. Couldn’t agree more, Gordon. Well put.

  4. Tim A. Blankenship

    Good to see you are back with us.
    There is no one who could have said this better than you. Those are great words, and things to put to practice.

  5. Thanks for the comments, everyone. It’s always good to have y’all coming around.

  6. I don’t have much to add except a hearty amen..and the fact that I am glad Jesus doesn’t require good looks, otherwise, I would be o-u-t OUT!

  7. Welcome Back, Gordon! You were sorely missed over the summer.

    This is a great call, not just for ministers, but for anyone who has a ministry in Christ (which, the last time I checked) should be all of us. 😉

    If He can communicate His message through a braying donkey, a crowing rooster and even a silent worm, why does He need eloquence or good looks today?

    The common sense behind that line is fantastic. So simple, but so hard to remember when we are trying to be effective.

    (Tony stole my thunder about the “looks” thing. But that’s ok. He and I can be o-u-t OUT together.)

    PS: Do you remember Dr. John Oates? He’s the friend of mine whose article I posted a long time ago about the fallibility of the Bible. You and he had a good chat. Anyway, he wrote another one on Intellegent Design, which I posted to my site a while back. He was genuinely disappointed when I told him you were on a blogging hiatus. If you get a chance, it would really mean a lot to him if you took a look at what he wrote. It’s a little more than halfway down my front page by now. If you have time…)

  8. It is so nice to read your thoughts again. I’m so glad that you put your family and your church family first.

    Homeschooling already? Does school start early in Georgia, or do you get a head start?

    I’ve just come back from being with the beautiful Ella, who just turned one. She has been very healthy this year. I thank you and the members of your church family for praying for her and her mom and dad, and I would ask you to continue to. Thanks.

  9. Tony and Danny, at least God does think we are beautiful in the righteousness of Christ. I take a lot of comfort in that thought. 😉

    Danny, I will check out that article and see what Dr. Oates has to say. He is a pretty sharp fellow and I’m sure it will be worth a look.

    Beverly, our school system started classes on August 3. I’m really having trouble getting used to that, but they do break up the schedule a little more in the cooler weather. I’m glad you had a good time with Ella, she is a beautiful baby.

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