POWERFUL SERVANT CHURCH LEADERS
Out of all the topics in all of the world, there is probably not another point of focus that takes up as much discussion, airtime and pages of writing as the subject of leadership. This topic is huge for one huge reason: leadership matters. Every human endeavor that includes more than one person will eventually have to address the need for leadership. I cannot think of a better teacher or model of leadership than the Lord Jesus Christ. It goes without saying that the One who created the world would have a pretty good idea how to lead every person in the world. Although He was the most powerful person to ever walk this planet, He refused to dominate those he lead but taught us the most powerful leadership is performed with a servant’s heart. (Matthew 20:26, Phil. 2:3-7)
Next month, The Pastors Coach MasterClass will focus on Powerful and Healthy Leadership. Our approach is based on the notion that the vast majority of the problems you face in your church relate to leadership.
Leadership is Movement
Powerful Leadership is not merely influence. Leadership is Movement. With all due respect to one of the greatest teachers on the subject, I believe that leadership is more than influence. Leadership always moves people: sometimes geographically, sometimes conceptually, almost always developmentally. Leadership envisions an outcome and articulates the developmental path to accomplish the vision. Once the path is clearly understood and declared, then leadership guides the organization or individual through the necessary steps to achieve the intended outcome. When Jesus called his disciples he said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men…” (Matthew 4:19) He called them to a life of purpose and development.
Leadership vs Management
Powerful Leadership is not to be confused with management. Leadership and Management are both important, but the purpose of each is very different. Management is focused on maintaining the status quo by providing ongoing resource and support to existing programs and personnel in a given endeavor. Leadership, on the other hand, is about guiding people and programs into new territory and greater accomplishments. At the end of His life Jesus called His leaders to Himself and gave them a command that we call the Great Commission. He did not tell them to stay but to “Go.” He did not tell them to maintain but to “make disciples.” He did not tell them to merely teach concepts but to teach the new disciples to “DO all He commanded”, including make new disciples. (Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15)
Leadership is Servanthood
Powerful Leadership is not to be confused with dominance. In some systems and in certain settings, some leaders can get away with a dictatorial leadership style. Even some Christian leaders have resorted to using control and manipulation to achieve easy results but this inevitably backfires. It either produces perennial children who always need to be told what to do, or rebellious teenagers who will defy authority to embrace autonomy. If a leader wants an organization in which every worker is performing their duties by intimidation and delegation, dominance works. But if you want to raise true spiritual sons and daughters into full spiritual adulthood in Christ, a leader must submit to Jesus’ statement, “. . . the rulers in this world lord it over their people . . . but it shall not be so among you. If you want to lead you must become a servant of all.” (Matthew 20:25-26, Mark 10:42-43)
Jesus modeled what it looks like to be powerful and servant-hearted in His approach to leading others. He gave instructions and clear-cut commands to his disciples and yet washed their feet as an example of a true and powerful leader. (John 13:14-17) Jesus moved his disciples developmentally, gave them a non-managerial mandate to go into all the nations and gave them the motivation to serve all as a prerequisite of leading others.
As we develop powerful and healthy leadership it is imperative that we use the model Jesus gave us as the blueprint for all that we practice and teach in order to serve the world around us and fulfill the Great Commission.