The leader is also a member of the team.
This simple truth is so often lost in the way we do things today. The church should be led by player-coaches who are active in the contest, not just watching from the dugout.
The astounding words of Jesus about leadership only make sense when the leader realizes that the Kingdom of God has only one King.
- Jesus wears the crown.
- Jesus sits on the Throne of Majesty.
- Jesus is the center of the adoration of heaven.
- His fullness fills all in all.
The local leader must also be one who is being led. He/she must not just crack the whip, the leader must take up the traces and pull his/her part of the Lord. Leading and commanding are not the same things at all.
Top Down? Inside Out?
From heaven, the church is a top-down organization; here on earth it is an inside-out organism. In these matters the contrast between the Old and New Covenants is stark:
Under the Old Covenant:
- The Holy Priesthood represented God to man and man to God.
- The word of the patriarch, the judge, the king, the prophet was meant to be obeyed, not explained.
- Most of the time leaders ascended to leadership through family connections.
- Unquestioned power drives the Old Testament leader.
- Violence in the maintenance the authority of the King was to be expected.
- The leader lived a separate life in the tabernacle, the temple, the palace, the prophet’s chamber, or in the wilderness.
- The Holy Spirit came upon leaders for specific tasks in times of need, but found no dwelling place in their hearts.
With the New Covenant:
- All of us are Holy-Royal Priests unto the Lord; we are a Kingdom of priests.
- The words of a New Testament leader are judged by all as the Holy Spirit affirms His voice in the voice of the leader.
- Leaders are chosen by the will of God and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
- The power of God, not the power of politics, empowers the New Covenant leader.
- Maintenance of position is never done by violence, abuse, or coercion.
- The Holy Spirit abides in the heart of the Leader at all times as a permanent anointing to live as well as to lead.
Today, if you take the reins of leadership, do so in a New Covenant manner.
You are not a ruler. You are not a king or queen. You are a priest, a servant, a shepherd, and a follower of Christ. Lead the way He led—in the power of the Spirit, from a humble soul, according to the truth of God, and always—always—from a loving heart.
John 12:26; 15:20 KJV
If any man serve me, let him follow me… The servant is not greater than his lord…
Mark 9:35; 10:42-45
“If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
2 Timothy 2:24 KJV
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men…
John 14:16-18 NKJV
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth… He dwells with you and will be in you.
It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…
Lord Jesus, sometimes leading the way You told us to lead goes against my instincts. It seems unnatural until I obey and do what You said to do. In that moment I sense Your joy in me and my human instincts shrink back into the place where Your Spirit sent them. Your Word makes spiritual sense, even when it defies human nature. Help me lead Your way. Lord, I pray for all my leaders. Help them to lead me well according to Your example and teaching. Help us to serve those we lead. Rebuke us when we act like lords and kings. Help us seek out the lower place, the supporting role, and to be quick with the encouraging word. Teach us to take joy in the success of others. Lead us not into the temptations of pride and position and deliver us from the evils of selfish ambition. For Your glory, Lord. Amen.
Make Me Like You
Words and Music: Jamie Owens Collins
Make me like You, Please make me like You.
You were a servant; make me one, too.
O, Lord, I am willing, do what You must do,
To make me like You, Lord.
Please make me like You.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved