Wednesday, October 10, 2012


What was Jesus’ model of leadership? [PART 2]

So, now that we know what Jesus' model of leadership was not about, let's look at what it was about.
Jesus did not model a CEO-style, top-down version of leadership, and forbade his disciples to do so either. Instead, he humbled himself and took on the role of a servant.
"The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:2-5)

The meal they were sharing was the Passover meal. There is a ceremony near the beginning of the Passover where participants engage in a hand-washing ceremony. We believe that this foot-washing took place at this point in the meal.

When Jesus took off his outer garment and wrapped the towel around his waist he was dressed like every other slave dressed, and the disciples would've recognized this fact.

Foot washing was one of the most unpleasant chores you could possibly do in those days. In fact, I once read that if you were a Jew and you owned a Gentile slave and a Jewish slave, you would never ask your Jewish slave to wash feet - unless you really wanted to punish him.

So, when Jesus puts on the clothing of a slave and begins to do the very dirty job of washing feet, it set the disciples back, as you can see if you read the entire passage in John 13.

After Jesus washed their feet - even the feet of Judas - he puts back on his outer robe and says:
“Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater [more important than] than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13: 12-17)
Washing his disciples feet wasn't just an object lesson in humility, it was meant to teach them something about being true leadership in the Church. It was meant to illustrate in the most indelible way possible that demonstrating actual love to one another was of utmost importance. In fact, it was more important than being important.
So, if everyone is commanded to love and serve everyone else, and if Jesus said that the greatest leaders were the servants of all, then every Christian is a leader.
Let me explain:
First of all, every follower of Jesus is commanded to love:  “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)

Secondly, loving one another means serving one another: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free, (therefore)…serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14)

Third, those who are leaders in the Church must be servants: “The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:11-12)

Therefore, if every Christian is called to be a servant, and if loving one another means serving one another, and if those who serve others are leaders in the Body of Christ, then every Christian is a leader.

That means Christianity is for leaders only.

So, the more we serve others in the Body of Christ, the greater we become. The greater we become the more authority we are given to serve others. The more we exercise our authority to serve by serving more people, the greater servants we become, and the greater we become in the Kingdom. It’s really very simple.

Those of us who are leaders in the church (and that’s all of us) are called to be just like Jesus, and even Jesus “did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life” for others. Paul the Apostle follows up these thoughts by pointing out that everyone in the Body of Christ is called to love – and to serve – everyone else. In short, everyone who calls themselves a Christian is, in fact, a servant, and therefore, a leader. This means that Christianity is for leaders only.
Is Leadership bad? Not at all. In fact, Paul lists “Leadership” as one of the spiritual gifts given to the Body of Christ. [see Romans 12:8]

But, what does true Kingdom/Church Leadership look like? It's not a guy in a power tie who is “in charge”; Leadership looks like a guy on his knees washing feet.
REMEMBER: Great Christian leaders don't constantly talk about being a leader. They concentrate on following Jesus.

"In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:5-8)


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