EP87 Leadership

Hello and welcome to episode eighty-seven of The Berean Manifesto brought to you by The Ekklesian House.  This is Pastor Bill and over the next ten minutes or so we are going to take a look at Leadership.


There’s this event recorded in Matthew chapter twenty, and Mark chapter ten, where the disciples James and John, and their mother approach Jesus.  It seems that James and John tell Jesus they want Him to do something for them. When Jesus asks them what they want Him to do their mother kneels down and asks Him to promise that when His kingdom comes that her sons will sit on his right and left sides.  Jesus replies that they don’t know what they are asking and asks if they’re able to drink from the same cup that Jesus is about to drink from. They tell Him that they are able and He tells them that they will indeed drink from His cup, but to sit at His right and left hand isn’t for Him to give, but arranged by The Father.


Then this disagreement, debate, or argument breaks out among the disciples about who is the greatest Disciple.  Apparently this is a common pastime among the disciples. We see this same disagreement recorded a couple of other times in the gospels (See, Matthew 18:1, Mark 9:33, and Luke 9:46 for one of those instances, and you can go on over to Luke 22:24 for another instance).  I’m going to combine Christ’s response to this disagreement as recorded in Matthew 20:25-28, and Mark 10:42-45, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. It must not be like that among you.  On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be a slave to all; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom in the place of many.”


In the same vein as we’ve been residing over the last couple of episodes, this statement of Christ cuts crossways through the behavior that we’ve embraced and encouraged in our Christian churches.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are churches out there getting it right. But, as a culture, I’ve seen more embrace of a religion of Christianity than the teachings of Christ. A religion that, not unlike the Catholic church, places the pastors, deacons, or elders of a church in places of supreme authority who are responsible for dictating the right and wrong of every matter for their congregants.  It almost feels as if we’ve placed a pope behind every pulpit and if you don’t follow their dictates and agree with every jot and tittle of their theology then you know where you can find the door.


One could argue that when Christ said, “serve” here he meant it in the way that policemen and soldiers use the word.  I can see their point of view here. And if that is the way He meant the word then, this thing that I’m describing that we’re doing in our churches seems more appropriate, but if we look at Christ’s responses to the other times the argument was brought up we get a better picture of what He is actually saying.  In Luke 22 Jesus replies similarly to how He did earlier, but with a bit of differing detail. Starting in verse 25 it says, “The Kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who have authority over them have themselves called ‘Benefactors.’ It is not to be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever is greatest among you should become like the youngest, and whoever leads, like the one serving.  For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn’t it that one at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” In the other instance I brought up that this argument comes up Jesus tells them in Matthew 18, “Truly I tell you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child -- this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  In Mark 9 He tells them that, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.” In Luke 9 He says, “For whoever is least among you -- this one is great.”


Taking all Christ’s responses to this disagreement into account it would certainly seem that He does not use the word, “serve” the way policemen and soldiers use the word.  He says that those who are great in Christendom are those who are like children and like those serving the food at the table. These are images of the weak who have absolutely no say over the actions of others.  These are not what we in modern terms would call the greatest, or leaders. In 2 Corinthians 1:24 Paul says, “I do not mean that we lord it over your faith, but we are workers with you for your joy, because you stand firm in your faith.”


As Christians, even the ones in the offices given to the church in Ephesians 4:11, we should be leading not like the world with their bosses who lord it over their employees who have to obey or else.  We should be humble servants of low esteem, we should be leading with the example of our lives. 1 Peter 5:3 talking about being a shepherd of God’s flock says, “not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.”


We should all strive to be less like the world, and more like 1 Thessalonians 4:11, “Seek to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands.”  Yes, I do recognize the irony of a pastor teaching this stuff, but there it is.


So what do you do if you find yourself in a church where your church “leadership” are being these bosses like the world says, that aren’t serving the people so much as controlling what’s going on?  Do you leave the church body? Not over that, no. You can leave over issues of then preaching something other than faith in Christ being the salvation issue. But short of that, short of the fundamental gospel being preached there; you need to stay where God has you.  Invest in that body, volunteer, pray for your pastor. Only leave under the unction of the Holy Spirit. Only look for a new church family because you feel like that’s what God wants you to do. Not because of anything I say. ~Or~ Because your flesh might feel uncomfortable; you don’t like the music, or whatever (honestly) petty thing that comes to mind.  Don’t abandon your church family because of those things. Seek the will of the Lord for you, for your family, on where you should be plugged in and heed that voice.


This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”


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