"leadership" buzzword of the past 25-30 years has completely
distracted us. We've blamed the demise of congregations on poor
leadership. We've cried out for stronger leadership. We've attended leadership
conferences and devoured leadership books.
church circles, leadership sells well. People buy it -- and buy into it
-- by the bucketload. We nurture it and honor it and cheer each other
on to be more visionary, authoritative, democratic, decisive,
ends-focused, goal-driven, and success-oriented.
the age-old quest for greatness, shrouded loosely in the ecclesiastical
garb of respectability.
we've not only been distracted. We've been duped; deluded by the business
models of our culture and the corruption of our own hearts.
did not call His disciples to be leaders. He called them to be
followers and to be servants. He never used the term
"ruler" or "leader" to motivate or define any of
the apostles. He viewed them as learners (disciples) not leaders.
folk may shake their heads and suggest that good leaders are servants, as
though they have tidily reconciled the two concepts. The phrase
"servant-leader" seems to do that nicely. But would we be
willing to drop the term "leader" altogether? Would we rush
to attend a conference on "Serving Selflessly"? Would we
read a book titled, "Aim Lower: You're Nothing But a
the first century, the apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "We
do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your
bondservants for Jesus' sake." (2 Corinthians 4:5)
"... and ourselves as your bondservants." What a bold
statement. We may fear saying the same thing lest people think less of
us or, worse, take advantage of us.
that's how it works in the Kingdom at its best. Everything is backwards
and upside down. Then one day we realize that it's our lives that have
been backwards and upside down and in a moment of shining clarity we
discover that down is up and low is high; not that it matters any
longer to us.
this Easter Thursday, may we pursue the path of servanthood to
honor the One who washes our feet and calls us to do the same.