Monday through Thursday of this week I (along with two members of our team) are in Pawleys Island, SC participating in a "Learning Community" with 3dMinistries. 3d is an organization committed to helping churches explore and respond to some of the most significant questions we face, IE: What does the church of the future look like? How do we disciple people? How do we reach the unchurched/dechurched? They are by no means a typical "church-growth" organization. I highly recommend finding out more about 3d (especially if you are a church leader)… but this post really isn't meant to be an ad for 3d. There was a lot that we have been processing over the last two days, but one thing has stood out to me above all things so far. It is a simple passage of scripture that we looked at yesterday morning from Luke 22:
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves?
There is much to talk about with this passage, but what jumped off the page at me was the oft ignored leadership principle in verse 26. The disciples were arguing (amazingly immediately following the Lord's supper) about who was the greatest. Jesus observes what is going on and reminds them firmly of those who rule over them… who "Lord over" their subjects… holding all power and control. I can't tell you how many times as a leader in the church I have been told how my position requires this kind of "Lordship"… one where I hold all the power and all the resources and all the knowledge and my job is to serve as a benefactor of sorts… distributing religious goods and services in exchange for the "taxes" my people pay to the church. Jesus could not be more clear. In verse 26 he says YOU ARE NOT TO BE LIKE THAT! There is much to be said about what it means to be a leader who is a servant that I will have to think about and write about another day. I simply felt compelled this morning to put this out as a word of encouragement. Every one of us is leading someone… each one of us exercises influence over other people. What is our posture of leadership? Are we benefactors who Lord our skill or knowledge or position over people… or are we learning what it means to lead as servants?