Duplicating the Leadership of Christ
Kingdom Living #8
Leadership is about affecting change leading to growth and maturity among those the leader serves. Jesus taught and modeled this form of leadership. The real question concerns the duplication of this power filled form of leadership. Leadership development is as much a part of discipleship as is character development. It is revealing to read Peter’s teaching the leaders within the community of Christ what Jesus taught him.
Allow me a liberty to expand word meanings as I quote Peter. I’ll use brackets.
Shepherd [to lead, with the implication of providing for] the flock [the followers of Christ constituting a well defined community] of God [those belonging to God] among you [not under you], exercising oversight [to care for or look after, with the implication of continuous responsibility] not under compulsion, [not out of obligation] but voluntarily,[willing to do something without being forced or pressured] according to the will of God [not according to what is natural to man]; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness [from a real eagerness to serve]; nor yet as lording it over [to rule or reign over, with the implication of lording over someone] those allotted to your charge [what has been assigned as one’s responsibility to take care of], but proving to be [to possess certain characteristics, with the implication of their having been acquired] examples [a model of behavior as an example to be imitated] to the flock. (1 Peter 5:2-3)
Here is another quote: Remember those who led you [to so influence others as to cause them to follow a recommended course of action], who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct [to conduct oneself, with the apparent focus upon overt daily behavior], imitate [to behave in the same manner as someone else] their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (Hebrews 13:7-8)
Here is a quote from Paul: Not that we lord it over your faith, but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm. (2 Corinthians 1:24)
My friends we need to rethink how we allow power and authority to be exercised toward us in our lives. There are institutions that have authority over us to control the realm of their scope. Government is such an institution.
But authority over the followers of Jesus Christ to control them, to establish policies over them, etc. i.e., lording over God’s people - this is not the will of God. There is no Divinely approved example of this type of institutional control over the disciples of Christ in scripture. On the contrary, there is direct teaching against it.
Leadership is a stewardship of which the leader gives an account. Leadership is not a position one possesses and owns to control others under them. At the end of the day, one must ask themself, did I freely provide for the needs of those given to me to lead? Did I willingly care for those given to me to care for? Did I eagerly look after them? Did I imitate Christ well enough for others to imitate me as I follow Christ? Leadership always begins with self leading. It is removing the log from our own eyes so that we can help others remove specks from their eyes. Leadership begins and ends with humility. More next time…