Thursday, June 19, 2014

Forward HU! well, when ever you're ready...ok?

In many instances of our ministry life my wife, children and I have to take many roles in order to see the task completed. Sometimes we were the crew, lifting and loading equipment for a concert, other times were ministers in a crowded room and other times we just did what ever was asked of us in order to get the job done. We have always been a kind of boots on the ground, hands on kind of family. Much of that comes from seeing a void and just stepping in where we were needed other times it was just because it had to get done.

One thing I have learned over 15 years in ministry work, people will find a way to complain about what you are doing. It's not the people you are serving but rather the people that aren't involved but want to be doing what you are doing. Now don't get me wrong we have served along side great people who are much better equipped for ministry than I am capable of. We've seen people come out of the wood-work to serve in the name of Christ not with skill or expertise but simply a desire to serve God merely by lending their presence and hands to His work.

Over the years I have heard and used the term "Leadership" as a way to define our style of getting the job done. When a truck has to be unloaded and equipment setup that takes someone who can give direction as to how it all goes together. My wife Suzanne. during a wedding rehearsal dinner, saw the bride-to-be was trying to prepare the meal and get the table ready for her guests and was overwhelmed with the task. So she asked if the bride if she could help and next thing you know Suzanne was finishing the meals, setting the table, pouring drinks and putting food on the plates. At the same time she enlisted others to help get things going, including putting me to work. The bride ended up asking her to be her wedding coordinator for her entire event. Now Suzanne didn't go there with the intention of getting involved but when asked she simply did what she knew how to do; Serve others. Suzanne is a very organized person and capable of taking chaos and turning into a thing of beauty. It's a talent and she sees it as her ministry, quietly working, enlisting help of people around her without fanfare or drama (she is the most drama free person I know) and next thing you know the job is done.

Me on the other hand I see a job in front of me and I will try to get it done as quickly as possible and if no one wants to help I will tackle it and complete it. It's not always pretty but it gets done. That's not always the way ministry works. And sometimes my mistaken leadership for servant hood. Direction has to come from someone. Our direction for ministry or even a position in a church has come from prayer. Despite my shortcomings, the list is extensive, whatever we have put our hands too, we have spent time in prayer in all our endeavors, seeking Gods direction.

Leadership in the New Testament is given by example not by giving orders. Jesus gave us an example and He lead us all the way to the Cross. Leadership in our churches can be a ticklish position. Churches are froth with complicated structures of authority and leadership, much of this the reason why our churches struggle today because of no clear defined path or mission. Instead inside the walls of the church are filled with turmoil and discord of failed programs and agendas. All revolving around a similar theme, "what's in it for me?"

What it comes down to is a Biblical model of leadership. We get that from Christ, not an MBA degree or the latest book on business models. Psalms 31:3 says, For you are my rock and my fortress;
and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me;
In John 27 verse 17 Jesus say to Simon Peter;
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep."
Peter was the "Rock" on which the New testament church was to built on. Peter did what Jesus told him to do. He didn't get it right every time but he went forward as Jesus called him to go. He didn't have the playbook as we have today, instead Peter had a personal encounter with Christ and he went out with a simple directive from his friend Jesus, If you love me then feed my sheep.
Leadership is going forward, leading the way making adjustments along the path, stopping to water, feed and allow the herd to graze and rest. Then do it all over again. If one of the herd wanders away the shepherd leaves the rest to search for the one who has strayed away, then he brings the wanderer home to the pastures of the herd.  The leader knows the big picture. And the only way to know where to lead is to have an experienced Shepherd teach you. Our model for leadership rests in the simplicity of the life of Christ.
Lead on!