the servant leader

5 06 2008

It is servant leadership…in which the leader is a vulnerable servant who needs the people as much as they need their leader

this follows closely on the heels of yesterday’s post about the responsibility of the leader to the community and the community to the leader.

a current struggle of mine is in regards to the role of the community in supporting their leader, beyond nodding the head during the sermon on Sunday morning, or shaking his hand on the way in or out.  in one sense the pastor or minister is an employee of the church, or the larger organization, that serves the community when they show up to “worship” with all the baggage out there.  if we hold just to this view, than the leader is just there to give the listener the product, or the message wrapped up with a nice little bow, and then withdraw until the next time or the next need shows up.  this is wrong, purely flawed.

the leader, assuming that he or she has an ounce of humility to lower themselves to some degree of servitude, is as much a part of the community as the man or woman who walks in with worries.  to take the position that the leader is above all others and therefore to be left alone at the top and to deal in a power exhortation downwards, is a corrupt view of the western Christian Church.  on a whole, pastors are left on an island by their people, the very ones who sing the praises of the preacher, or of the visit that the pastor made to the hospital during the past week.  one wonders if it’s that this is expected or that it is genuinely appreciated and valued.  what would it look like if your pastor was in the hospital?

we cannot ignore that the pastor is to minister to the people and is in place to lead the community of faith towards worship.  but the pastor is as much a member of that community that hurts, struggles, and doubts from day to day.  the pastor is not some perfect man on a pedestal, waiting to be worshiped and adored by his people because he did what was expected.  the pastor is as much in need of the very words that were spoken in the message as the man sitting three rows from the back, or the woman feverishly taking notes in the second row.  the pastor is a member of the body, is one with all other believers, not above or below, but has humbly accepted the role of leading the people to worship of the God on high.  the pastor is not greater, for he needs the people as much as they need their leader.

the question is, when will we start treating our leaders, pastors, and ministers as such?  when will we lose the stigmatism of a leader that doesn’t need the fellowship of his or her brothers and sisters as much as we need to hear the teachings and wisdom that God has given to the leader?

wake up people, we’ve got to learn to love our leaders as much as they love us.

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2 responses

5 06 2008
Deacon

Now you understand that the role of the pastor cannot and never will be fulfilling for the pastor, nor sufficient for the layperson. God never ordained the “office” of pastor to be the sole-head of the church: Man did! You are lonely and feel mistreated. Because you are. The laypeople will never be anything but laypeople. You operate in an office that is aloof and un-approachable. It is as though you are a judge. They rise when you enter, you leave, they disperse. It’s not you, but you’ll never fix it because the model is flawed. The church of the 1st century wasn’t headed by a pastor. That came a few centuries later (Constantinople). Pastor is a gifting, not an office (Ephesians 5). Much of the other baggage followed shortly thereafter and because we are accepting of such things (human weaknesses) – we have come to adopt and accept and pass it on for 17 generations. Can’t change the model, get out of it and seek out the 1st century model. It works. Even if you’re a buzzard……

Deacon & Usher were here….

5 06 2008
Jon

Deacon…a lot of good points there, and i agree with a moderate degree of it. one thing to continue to note though is that we live in the 21st century and aren’t to be held exclusively to one model from the 1st century. Scripture is clear as it moves through the progress of redemption that the style of “church” or gathering in the Synagogue changes over time, it has never been meant to stay the same. there has always been room for several men to be leading the church, according to Scripture, which is why we have our elders and deacons today.

true, the role of the pastor will never be fully satisfying, but such is the life of work in a fallen world. the pastor, or preacher, is in a place to be used by God, and is in such a place (or should be) because of evidence of a gifting in their life towards pastoral ministry. they will never be perfect, and trust me, that’s well understood, but the call is still there for pastors to selflessly attempt to lead the community to worship. there’s a strong servant aspect to it…

the role and office is flawed, as is everything else in this world. but let’s not get caught up in thinking that we have the power to make it perfect by always sticking to what was never meant to be the one and only standard in the 1st century.

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