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SALT: Servant and Leadership Training
Table of Contents
THE BIBLICAL CONCEPT OF LEADERSHIP - SERVANTHOOD.....................................................................5 SOME BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF SERVANT LEADERS...................................................................................6 JESUS – THE MODEL LEADER.............................................................................................................................8 The Character of Jesus - the Model Leader............................................................................................................8 THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT OF THE SERVANT LEADER ...............................................................11 CHARACTER AND THE SERVANT LEADER ...................................................................................................11 Words from the Pastoral Letters ..........................................................................................................................11 Specific Character Traits of the Servant Leader ..................................................................................................13 FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF SERVANT LEADERSHIP .........................................................................16 OLD TESTAMENT SERVANT LEADERS ..........................................................................................................18 DEBORAH ..........................................................................................................................................................18 JOSEPH ...............................................................................................................................................................19 JOSHUA ..............................................................................................................................................................20 MOSES ................................................................................................................................................................21 NEHEMIAH ........................................................................................................................................................22 SAMUEL .............................................................................................................................................................23 SPIRITUAL MENTORING ....................................................................................................................................25 Introduction and Definition..................................................................................................................................25 Biblical Examples of Mentoring ..........................................................................................................................26 Four Key Functions of a Godly Mentor:..............................................................................................................26 The Example of Barnabas ....................................................................................................................................27 The Example of King Joash .................................................................................................................................28 THE MENTORING MINISTRY OF THE APOSTLE PAUL AND COUNSEL OF THE PROPHET JOEL .......29 The Mentoring Ministry of the Apostle Paul .......................................................................................................29 Counsel from the Prophet Joel .............................................................................................................................30 The Importance of “Passing It On” (Re-telling) ..................................................................................................31 AUTHORITY ..........................................................................................................................................................32 Definition of Authority ........................................................................................................................................32 God – The Ultimate Authority over all Things....................................................................................................32 Two Basic Forms of Authority that are recognized are as follows: .....................................................................32 The Authority of the Servant Leader ...................................................................................................................33 An Example of the Authority of a Servant Leader – Moses ................................................................................34 THE DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY .................................................................................................................35 PREPARATION FOR LEADERSHIP....................................................................................................................37 The Value of Preparation .....................................................................................................................................37 The Priesthood of Every Believer........................................................................................................................38 Practical Suggestions for Finding and Training Future Servant Leaders...... 3
1. Finding (Discovering) Future Servant Leaders ...........................................................................................39 2. Training (Mentoring) Future Servant Leaders ............................................................................................40 THE WISDOM OF RECEIVING GOOD COUNSEL............................................................................................43 The Value and Wisdom of Seeking Godly Advice (Counsel): ............................................................................43 Selecting Advisors ...............................................................................................................................................43 Keeping Things in Perspective ............................................................................................................................44 LEADERSHIP BASE – QUANITITY AND QUALITY OF LEADERS ...............................................................44 SPIRITUAL GIFTS.................................................................................................................................................45 THE TRAINING MINISTRY OF THE PASTOR OR CHURCH LEADER..........................................................46 The Example of the Training Ministry of Moses.................................................................................................48 The Example of the Training Ministry of Jesus...................................................................................................48 CONCLUSION........................................................................................................................................................49
Leaders and Members’ Basics www.TheLAMBofCA.com House Church Training Materials for Central Asia
THE BIBLICAL CONCEPT OF LEADERSHIP SERVANTHOOD
Servant and leader sound like opposite ends of the world order. How could one person be both at the same time? Readers of the Bible discover one paradox after another. A paradox is a truth that seems to be contradictory. For example: The way to conquer is to surrender. The way to rejoice is to weep. The way to gain is to lose. It is better to give than to receive. The way to be honored is to humble oneself. Life comes through death. The Biblical concept of the leader as servant is such a paradox. Although it is contrary to the world's logic, it is not contrary to the truth. God's word says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12). "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9). So we must take care to adopt the biblical model, not the pattern used by the world. Otherwise, we go against God and cannot hope to accomplish His intent. The world's pattern of greatness is the normal way for man. Jesus' disciples were no exception. In Mark 9:33-35, they discussed among themselves who was the greatest among them. Evidently, each thought he had reason to believe that he himself was the greatest. But Jesus declared, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all" (Mark 9:35). On another occasion James and John asked Jesus for the right to sit in the seats of highest honor in His kingdom. The other disciples became jealous and very angry with James and John (Mark 10:35-41). Jesus corrected all twelve of them, saying that their thoughts and desires were still in accord with the world's standards and, therefore, in opposition to God's viewpoint. He said, “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all" (Mark 10:43-44). A week later a similar incident occurred in Jerusalem. The disciples had eaten the Jewish Passover with Jesus. After the meal Jesus took of the bread and wine and established the "Lord's Supper". The harmony of the supper was soon broken, however, for Luke tells us that strife broke out among them regarding who should be accounted the greatest (Luke 22:24). Peter tried to impress the others with his claim as to why he should be considered the greatest. He boasted, “Lord, I am ready to go with You to prison and to death" (Luke 22:33). But again, Jesus emphasized that He, their leader, became their servant, and that leaders are chosen from among those with a servant heart. The Gospel of John steps in here to complete the picture. Jesus then demonstrated in a very dynamic way that servanthood knows no limits in its service to others. Jesus
laid aside His outer garments, picked up a towel and fastened it around his waist. Then He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and then wipe them dry with the towel (John 13:3-17). Thus, the Master of the entire universe cheerfully humbled Himself to perform the lowest task of the very least of servants. This time Jesus' message got beyond their ears and into their hearts. The very next day He was crucified. After being raised from the dead on the third day, Jesus appeared again and again unto His disciples. He assured them that He was really alive and would always abide with them, even after He physically ascended into heaven. Thereafter, the disciples were a transformed people, infused with servant hearts. To such people, the Lord can commit Himself and His program of redemption. God calls all of His people to servanthood. Some can best serve as followers, others as leaders, but all are to be servants. In one sense, everyone who possesses a servant spirit is a leader because of the influence of his example. In God's language, the term "servant" describes a person's character, and has nothing to do with his position, status or ability. In God's language, even the term "leader" does not emphasize position, but rather function. The leader's role as leader is a trust from God and not his personal possession, nor does it bestow special status to him. A servant-leader is a servant first and a leader second. There is a radical difference between the “servant-leader” and the leader who is “leader-servant.” The person who is leader first and servant second is often driven by a desire for power, honor and even material possessions. His servanthood is often self-seeking and therefore not really servanthood. The Messiah’s call to servanthood is a call to life at its best, not to a second-best kind of life. Servanthood is the surest way to a life full of meaning. It is the surest guarantee against the emptiness of life experienced by men who have lived for self-centered satisfaction. Jesus Himself set the pattern for leadership when He said, "I am among you as One who serves" (Luke 22:27). Church leaders, especially pastors, are to be servants of all of God's servants. The Messiah leads His flock as a loving, caring Shepherd. When we, the church, embrace and follow our Lord Jesus as the true Servant Leader, God’s great power is released in and through us.
SOME BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF SERVANT LEADERS
The Old Testament abounds with examples of this New Testament teaching. Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Deborah, Ruth, David, Esther, Nehemiah and Jeremiah are just a few from God's listing of people with the servant spirit. One favorite is Joseph, the slave who was elevated to become prime minister of Egypt. He demonstrated one of the clearest examples of humility and servanthood in the Old Testament. No man had better reason to hold grudges against the many who caused him suffering. Yet, Joseph harbored no ill will.
All true servants of God bear suffering gracefully, thereby allowing God to work His desires in them and through them (Romans 8:28-29). Joseph, along with the prophet Hosea, probably exhibited the best human examples of forgiveness in the Old Testament. A forgiving heart is another trait of servanthood. Joseph is also a magnificent example of leadership skill. He organized Egypt to prepare for and overcome seven years of hard famine. Those leadership skills were developed through faithfulness in fulfilling every task assigned to him, and were sharpened on the obstacles thrown up against him. No obstacle or personal suffering could defeat his spirit or weaken his trust in God. Nowhere is the servant spirit of Moses more evident than when he stood between God and the sinful nation of Israel (Exodus 32:30-35). Moses risked his own life as he pled with God for the forgiveness of Israel's sin. Barnabas is an often forgotten servant. He first gained prominence in the church of Jerusalem through his servant ministry of encouragement to discouraged believers. Later he befriended Saul, the former persecutor of the church. Then, Barnabas vouched for this new believer to the Twelve. Barnabas was sent to Antioch by the church at Jerusalem to encourage and to nurture the new Gentile converts. After a brief stay in Antioch, he went to Tarsus to find Saul and bring him to Antioch to assist in that nurturing ministry. That allowed Barnabas to give Saul on-the-job training in the equipping of others. After more than a year in Antioch, Barnabas and Saul were commissioned by the church and sent out for the first intentional missionary effort to the Gentiles. When they departed, Barnabas was the leader. But along the way Saul, now called Paul, became more prominent and became the leader. Barnabas showed no jealousy, as pupil now surpassed teacher. Later Barnabas repeated the process with John Mark, who had failed on his first attempt at being a missionary. Barnabas gave Mark another chance. He encouraged and trained him, enabling Mark to also became more prominent than his teacher. Barnabas seems to be underrated today, but he stands as a giant among God's servants. He was an encourager, a teacher, a trainer and a missionary with a true servant spirit. God blessed the lives of countless people through him. It should be evident that servant leaders are, by nature, servants of the Lord who train other children of God. On the other hand, no one can hope to succeed as an “training servant” unless he possesses a servant’s heart.
JESUS – THE MODEL LEADER
Jesus Himself provides the clearest teaching on servanthood. He is also the best model or example of servanthood (see the Gospel accounts of His life and also Philippians 2:5-11). Clearly, the Messiah is our primary model as a servant leader. Jesus viewed Himself as a model. He said, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you" (John 13:15). He also said, "It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master" (Matthew 10:25). Jesus’ leadership is true kingdom leadership. He leads by love and devotion, not by might and coercion. At the very heart of His leadership is His faithfulness (see Hebrews 3:1-2). And because He is the Head of the Church (Colossians 1:18), He alone has the right to determine what the church will be, where it will go and what it will do. Peter adds that, “the Messiah suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps" (1Peter 2:21). The Apostle Paul recognized the necessity of modeling, "to make ourselves a model for you to follow" (2 Thessalonians 3:9). In Acts 20, he reminds the pastors of Ephesus of his example before them. Paul also instilled the concept of modeling in Timothy – “set an example for the believers”(1 Timothy 4:12). Modeling is the natural living out of the believing life. It seeks to reproduce itself in other believers. Pastors and church leaders have no choice in this matter. The apostle Peter speaking directly to pastors declares that they must lead their flock by example (1 Peter 5:3). The Character of Jesus - the Model Leader It is probably evident by now as you are reading and studying this book on servant leadership that the most important thing to consider is the character of the servant leader. His character is fundamentally what he or she will model to others around him. His character determines the kind of leader he will be. Therefore, the question becomes - where shall we look for our model for the character of the servant leader? Of course, the answer is easy – the LORD JESUS. His character has no equal. His character is perfect, flawless. His integrity is impeccable. Wherever Jesus was – whether in a crowd, at a feast, teaching on a hillside, confronting evil/demonic spirits, resisting opponents or facing temptations- His words and actions clearly revealed that His character was blameless, authentic and consistent. Servant leaders must look to Jesus’ character as their ideal. He built His leadership on the solid foundation of His character – character that was tested and proved in the fires of real life encounters. Jesus obeyed God’s call without hesitation. He faced every difficulty without failure. And, He did it as an authentic human being. Therefore, He is our model and example of servant leadership.
One of the significant aspects about studying the example of the Messiah as our ultimate Servant Leader is the fact of His balanced life. His life was characterized by balanced growth and development. He grew spiritually, physically, emotionally and socially. Luke declares, “And the child grew and became strong; He was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40). Even though Jesus was the divine Son of God, Luke tells us that He learned and developed like any other person. “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52). Thus, the Messiah’s character revealed itself as He grew from childhood into adulthood. An incident occurred in Jesus’ life when He was 12 years old that reveals the balance in His life. Jesus had gone with Mary and Joseph to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. While in Jerusalem, He went alone to the temple. Mary and Joseph searched for Him and found Him sitting among the teachers – listening and asking questions. All who heard Him were amazed at His answers. Although Jesus was the Son of God and had such great wisdom at an early age, He also obeyed Mary and Joseph and returned home to Nazareth with them. His perfectly balanced life and personal growth set the pattern for all servant leaders. Indeed, no one can be a true servant leader without the foundation of a balanced life modeled after Jesus the Messiah. Let us now study six aspects of the character of Jesus that clearly show this balanced life about which we are speaking. Personal Holiness The trials Jesus endured confirmed and strengthened His character. Even in the face of a hostile, sinful world, He remained free from sin. Such unblemished conduct could only come from flawless character. Hebrews 7:26 proclaims that the Messiah is “holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.” The pressures and difficulties that servant leaders endure will mold and shape their character. God calls His leaders to carry out the “Great Commission” of His Word [Matthew 28:19-20] and sends them into a hostile world. When pressures come against them and the Gospel, the character of the leader is tested and then becomes more mature and more like the Messiah’s character. Resistance to Sin Jesus was the divine Son of God. Yet, He experienced the pressure of temptation [see Matthew 4: 1 – 11]. The Scripture assures us that “we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus experienced the strain and pressure of temptation that all servant leaders endure. He overcame temptation and enables us to have victory over sin. Hebrews 2: 18 declares, “Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.”
Faithfulness Jesus was “faithful to the One who appointed Him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house” (Hebrews 3:2). The Messiah demonstrated that faithfulness by carrying out God’s will regardless off the consequences. Such faithfulness is absolutely essential for all servant leaders. Obedience Jesus’ life was not without pain. In fact, the Lord suffered more intensely than any person who ever lived. Look carefully at these words of Holy Scripture: “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Although He was a son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him” (Hebrews 5: 7 – 9). Jesus’ character was shaped and molded by His suffering. “He learned obedience from what he suffered.” Servant leaders should learn that faithful obedience to God brings suffering. However, such suffering will refine their character and prepare them for further kingdom service. Self – Sacrifice Of all the terms (phrases) that best describe Jesus’ character, “self-sacrificing” is perhaps the best one. The Messiah, the Lord of glory, put aside all the comforts of heaven, put aside all of His privileges, put aside all of His splendor, and came and gave His life for the sins of the world. Paul wrote that Jesus “made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). Jesus sacrificed everything in order to do the work of God the Father. Such selfsacrifice clearly demonstrates His unsurpassed God-given character and reveals God’s pattern for all servant leaders who would follow as His disciples. Humility Jesus was humble – an essential characteristic of all servant leaders. “He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8) Jesus spent His entire earthly life in the midst of a sinful world, yet He was holy and sinless. He experienced temptations but did not sin. He was the perfect Son of God, yet He learned obedience from what he suffered. He humbled Himself as He sacrificed glory, honor and authority to fulfill His God-given mission. The Messiah had (and showed to all around Him) the kind of character that is essential for all servant leaders. As a leader, you will discover and develop the character required for true leadership as you hold on tightly to the Messiah. He is your model of the true servant of the Lord.
THE CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT OF THE SERVANT LEADER
Character and integrity are the foundation stones of our ministry as believers. Both are essential for servant leadership. Without integrity, churches and church leaders give off no light in this dark, sinful world. As long as believers remain in this world, God is going to develop their character. Paul wrote to the Roman believers and said, “we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3,4). These verses describe the path of character development for believers. That path will lead through trials. Trials come because of the believer’s commitment to obeying God’s call. However, remember, trials produce endurance. Endurance produces character. Character is integrity that is tested. Then, endurance is needed to do God’s will. While character is developing, hope is experienced. Some people think that believers are exempt from suffering, trials and adversity. The life of the Messiah here on earth reveals that is a mistaken idea. The Bible says that, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in the Messiah Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). Troubles may even increase for believers who live according to God’s principles. Also, being a true servant leader may place one under stress that other believers may not experience. Trials that believers endure result in identification with the Lord Jesus. He warned His first disciples that, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first” (John 15: 18). We believers should not expect better treatment than Jesus received. Remember His words from Matthew 10:24 –25: “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. In spite of the world’s hatred, Jesus demonstrated character that was filled with hope. He expects His church and His leaders to have the same character. Now, knowing our need for character development, and having already examined some of the key aspects of the character of the Lord Jesus, let us turn our attention to the specific character traits of the servant leader.
CHARACTER AND THE SERVANT LEADER
Words from the Pastoral Letters Perhaps no section of God’s Word has more to say about the character of a leader than the Pastoral letters of Paul (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus). Paul wrote these letters to young pastors/leaders who needed help and encouragement in their ministries – just as we do today. These letters provide leaders a wealth of help in understanding the kind of character that God expects in His leaders.
The pastoral letters of Paul focus on the character of the leader, not on his skills. Too many church leaders spend all of their time and energy developing preaching, teaching and ministry skills. They do not spend enough time and attention to building a godly character. Skills and abilities are important, but character is far more important. The servant leader is a person of godly character. In the pastoral letters, Paul used the word “godly” to describe the servant leader’s character. The apostle said to Timothy, “train yourself to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:7). Every leader should develop spiritual disciplines to meet the demands of leadership responsibilities. Every servant leader is to lead a disciplined and godly life. Servant leaders must pay particular attention to personal holiness. Paul challenged Timothy to “watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16). The greatest gifts a servant leader can give to his church are personal integrity and holiness. As the Messiah exemplified God’s standard of character, a servant leader must show Jesus’ character before all people. Leaders are to be “an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4: 12). Church leaders must set the pattern for how believers should talk, live, demonstrate love, grow spiritually, trust the Lord and live godly lives. What a tremendous challenge for servant leaders! Servant leaders show their godly character by living contented lives. Contentment is the ability to be at peace with yourself regardless of the circumstances. Paul said, “godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it”(1 Timothy 6:6-7). Scriptural contentment adds effectiveness to the servant leader’s work. Servant leaders must watch over their hearts and minds to avoid becoming discontented. The leader who is not contented can fall to the temptations of materialism. Paul described the dangers of these temptations: “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6: 8-9). The apostle warned Timothy not only to teach these truths but also to live by them. Many leaders have been destroyed by lack of contentment in ministry. Paul reminded Timothy to flee from materialism and to pursue godly character. He said: “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6: 11-12). Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness are the essential character qualities that servant leaders should cultivate constantly. These qualities are rooted in the person and character of Jesus our Lord. So now, let us begin to discuss the specific character qualities of the Lord’s servant leader.
Specific Character Traits of the Servant Leader Continuing to concentrate upon the pastoral letters from Paul to Timothy and Titus, let us now look very closely at the 1 Timothy 3 passage, particularly verses one through seven. These verses will be very useful to us as we study the specific character traits of the servant leader. We can find at least 14 character traits in this passage. Let us briefly examine each one. 1. (verse 1) Desire to serve – This is not merely selfish ambition, but rather an inner conviction that God has called that person to serve as a leader. 2. (verse 2) Blameless – This is the trait meaning that the character and life of the servant leader is above reproach. He lives so well that no one can bring a charge against him. His life is open and transparent. He is not trying to hide anything. 3. (verse 2) Husband of one wife – This emphasizes the importance of faithfulness in marriage. The servant leader should be a model of commitment in his or her marriage. 4. (verse 2) Self – controlled – The servant leader must exercise restraint in all areas of life. He or she must be self-controlled in spirit, mind and body. He or she must demonstrate balance in every area of life – physical, emotional, social, spiritual, etc. 5. (verse 2) Respectable, of good behavior – This speaks of being mentally and emotionally stable. A good leader must be unbiased in his judgment, prudent and discerning. He should conduct his life with dignity and orderliness. 6. (verse 2) Hospitable – This carries the meaning of showing hospitality not only toward family and friends, but even toward outsiders and strangers. The church must always be open to receiving new people. 7. (verse 2) Able to teach – Teaching is a precious gift. While only some servant leaders will actually have the gift of teaching, all must be willing to study and prepare. The servant leader needs to be able to “correctly handle the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) and to help people know and practice God’s Word. 8. (verse 3) Not given to drunkenness – This has the very basic meaning of freedom from dependency on any substance. The leader is not to fall under the control of anything or anyone, except the Holy Spirit. 9. (verse 3) Gentle – servant leaders do not settle arguments or disputes with fights, either verbal or physical. A servant leader is not quick tempered. He will not argue with others just to prove his viewpoint. He is flexible in his relationships with others. People can approach him and talk with him. He does not manipulate other people. He will yield and admit that he is wrong – not always try to prove that he is right. 10. (verse 3) Not quarrelsome – He does not “fight” verbally. Godly leaders will
refrain from verbally attacking other people. He refuses to waste his time in useless and fruitless debates. 11. (verse 3) Not a lover of money – He is not greedy or covetous. He does not desire what belongs to someone else. He is content with the money that he has---simply to meet his needs and carry out his ministry. He focuses on the work of the kingdom and on sharing with others and giving. He does not have a covetous spirit. 12. (verse 4,5) Manages his own family well – He knows that the family is the center of God’s plan. His family is a model of what God intended the family to be. He encourages and leads his children to trust and follow the Lord. His children should be known for their obedience and positive behavior. When a person cannot lead his own family effectively, he will not be able to lead the church effectively. 13. (verse 6) Must not be a recent convert – spiritual maturity has nothing to do with our physical age, but rather with growth. Leadership has heavy responsibilities and immature believers in leadership positions are vulnerable to the dangers of pride, disappointment and often frustration. A servant leader understands the importance of growing and maturing. 14. (verse 7) Must have a good reputation with outsiders – It is an interesting fact that often non-believers can very easily see the integrity and character of the leader. The leader needs to be respected by those in the community who are outside the church.
STUDY QUESTIONS: • • • • • • • • • • Is the world’s pattern for greatness the same as God’s pattern? Explain. To what does God call all of His people? Name 5 Old Testament people who had a servant’s heart. What determines the kind of leader that you will be? What do the six aspects of Jesus’ character clearly show to us? What shaped and molded Jesus’ character? What are the two foundation stones for our ministry as believers? What are the greatest gifts that a servant leader can give to his church? Do all servant leaders have the gift of teaching? If an immature believer is put into a leadership position, what are some possible dangers?
Certainly, we have learned from the first pages of this book on “Servant Leadership” that the character of the servant leader is of utmost importance. [Please also study Appendix C about the character of the servant leader.] Let us now review briefly what we have already studied. Jesus revealed to His disciples a unique style of authority – servant leadership. He talked to His disciples about what it means to become a “servant” in order to become “great.” Many times He showed His disciples examples of what it means to serve, and therefore to become “great” in God’s eyes. He said that the one who wants to be “first”
must become the slave of all. He even took up a towel and washed the disciples’ feet the night before He went to the cross. The Messiah suggested that being a servant leader means seeking the highest good for others – good as seen from God’s perspective. Remember that Jesus poured out his life day after day for three years for His disciples. He walked with them and talked with them daily. He taught them God’s Word and the principles of the kingdom so that they could understand and later teach others. And, He served them, even though He was their Lord and Master. In light of Jesus’ own example – daily walking with His disciples, serving them and then giving up His life for them, and for all mankind – we can observe that servant leadership means at least four things: • • • • Seeing ourselves as called by God to serve and lead others Knowing very well the people whom we serve and lead Caring deeply about the people whom we serve and lead Being willing to sacrifice our own convenience to meet the needs of the people we serve and lead.
Additional Notes about John 13: Serving and Loving other Believers When Jesus washed His disciples’ feet (John 13:3–5), He demonstrated a fundamental principle that He regularly stressed to His followers: To lead others, one must serve others. This is as true in public life and the business world as it is in the church. The most powerful impact that a person of authority (a leader) has upon his people is when they see him (or her) modeling consistently and clearly the character of a servant. He places others’ needs before his own, he commits himself to doing specific things to meet those needs, and he does not look for favors from the people he serves. A key test of our commitment to the Messiah is our love for other believers (John 13:31–35). It is not just our words that express our love, but our attitudes and actions as well. Jesus did not say that others would know that we are His disciples by what we say, or how we dress, or what we know. But He said, “If you love one another” – then all men will know that you are My disciples (John 13:35). Shortly afterward, He laid down His life for those first believers. Up to this point, we have focused almost exclusively on the character of the servant leader. We have emphasized that he or she must have a godly character and care deeply for his people. The servant leader must desire God’s best for his people. But, as we shall now see, he also must understand fundamental Biblical principles concerning leadership if he wants to be effective. In other words, even if we live holy lives, we shall be somewhat limited in our effectiveness if we do not understand God’s principles concerning leadership. So now, we turn our focus in that direction. With this background now, let’s study nine (9) important, fundamental principles of leadership that every servant leader should understand.
FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF SERVANT LEADERSHIP
The principle of delegation Servant leaders who submit to Jesus the Messiah as Lord and King recognize that the Lord Himself has appointed them as leaders. This illustrates the principle of delegation. Jesus delegates His authority to leaders so that His work and His mission can be carried out throughout the world. The principle of stewardship Servant leaders quickly learn the importance of stewardship (or, management). The Almighty Lord God owns all things – no leader can claim the right of ownership. Even our position of leadership is a gift to us. The Lord gives gifts and assigns places of service where each leader may guide God’s people to accomplish God’s purposes. The principle of sacrifice Leaders who follow the Messiah cannot hide from their kingdom responsibilities. Leadership, especially servant- oriented leadership, requires the sacrifice of self to the kingdom. Servant leaders must be next in line behind the Commander of the army of God. They must be in the front of their people in all spiritual battles. They cannot lag behind, or seek refuge in the rear. They must lead, not follow. The principle of faithfulness Servant leaders soon discover the importance of faithfulness in their ministries. Faithfulness is essential for Kingdom leadership. As the Apostle, the Messiah was totally faithful to the One who appointed Him. He set the example for all of us. The principle that leadership is spiritual Servant leaders who understand the Messiah’s role as our High Priest realize that kingdom leadership is spiritual. A leader’s fundamental calling is spiritual. Jesus’ ministry as High Priest shows the importance of this spiritual quality of kingdom leadership. Our most important task is as a spiritual leader. The principle of coordination Servant leaders who understand Jesus’ role as the Head of the Body (the Head of the Church) will also understand the importance of leadership coordination. As the Head, Jesus determines the direction of the Body and expects its leaders and members to follow. Leaders and people are free to choose a course of action, but only within the will of the Lord for His church. The church is to function together, as a unified body. A body cannot be “separated” and still be useful. Therefore, the coordination between the servant leader and the people is of great importance. When there is harmony and the church is in God’s will, then many wonderful blessings will come upon the people.
(Study 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 for more about the church.) The principle of ministry leadership Servant leaders who recognize Jesus as the Chief Shepherd discover the principle of ministry leadership. Acts 20:28 and 1 Peter 5: 2 – 4 describe the church as a flock and Jesus as the Chief Shepherd of the flock. The Chief Shepherd guides, guards, feeds and generally takes care of the needs of the flock of God. Thus, the Messiah calls His servant leaders to pattern their work and ministry after His shepherding example. The principle of oversight Church leaders who recognize the Lord Jesus as the Overseer (or, Pastor or Bishop) will understand the principle of oversight. Oversight of a flock means giving watchful and tender and responsible care to the flock. In 1 Peter 2:25, as the Overseer of the church (literally, the “Overseer of your souls”), Jesus reveals to us this principle of leadership. Now, He shares this “overseeing” responsibility with the leaders of His church (Philippians 1:1, 1 Timothy 3:2). They are to watch over the welfare, the work and the fruit of the church. They will give an account to God for their oversight (see Hebrews 13:17). The principle of submission Servant leaders who crown Jesus the Messiah as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Most High God, will live out their lives according to the principle of submission. Servant leaders are never to seek first place. That position of honor and glory belongs to the Lord Jesus only. Leaders are to have the same servant attitude as John the Baptist, who said, “He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30). Now, in summary fashion, let’s review these nine fundamental principles of servant leadership: Recognizing/Understanding Jesus the Messiah as ……… 1) King with all authority 2) Owner of all things 3) Commander of God’s army 4) Apostle 5) High Priest 6) Head of the Body
I Understand the Servant Leadership Principle of…… Delegation Stewardship Sacrifice Faithfulness Spiritual leadership Coordination
7) Chief Shepherd 8)Overseer 9) Most High God
Ministry leadership Oversight/watchcare Submission
After looking at these nine fundamental principles of servant leadership, let us now turn our attention to some of the great leaders of the Bible and study the kind of leadership that they used in their work. First, let us look at six great Biblical servant leaders from the Old Testament and see how they used these leadership principles as they followed God’s leading in their lives. Let us look at Deborah, Joseph, Joshua, Moses, Nehemiah and Samuel. We could choose many others, but from these six people of God we can see principles of servant leadership in their lives, their ministries and their decisions as they followed the Lord. Later we shall study some men from the New Testament period.
OLD TESTAMENT SERVANT LEADERS
DEBORAH Israel faced an intimidating enemy. Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army, had 900 iron chariots and other armaments heavy enough to crush Israel’s flimsy weapons. From a human point of view, Israel did not stand a chance.
That is probably why Barak hesitated when Deborah informed him that he had been chosen to lead Israel against Sisera. Barak heard God’s command to lead. He understood God’s battle plan. He realized that God had promised him the victory. But Barak was afraid. And, controlled by fear, Barak said to Deborah that he would only go to battle if she would accompany him. Deborah agreed but warned him that someone else would take credit for the victory. After the battle, Deborah and Barak sang a song (Judges 5:1- 31) that tells about the battle described in Judges 4. Portraying a nation gripped by fear, this classic poem depicts people avoiding travel and hiding in the hills. And it highlights the exceptional leadership skills of Deborah, who out of this fear and despair, “arose [as] a mother in Israel” (5:7). With maternal care, she watched over God’s people. Deborah demonstrated an extraordinary ability to lead in a difficult situation. Her trust in God gave bold faith to those she led. Her ability to adapt to Barak’s insecurity [and lack of faith] gave him the courage he needed to lead the army into battle. Finally, her recognition of God’s faithfulness prompted her to praise him for the victory (verse 31). She certainly understood the fourth fundamental principle of servant leadership – the principle of faithfulness.
JOSEPH This young man had grown up in a very wealthy family that boasted servants, large flocks of sheep and goats, herds of cattle and camels. They had lots of money -- and also much hardship and misery. Why? Jacob, the father and spiritual leader of this family, favored his son Joseph above all of his other children (Genesis 37:3-4). And, “when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him” (37:4). Joseph’s brothers knew who would get most of the family inheritance. Jacob did not hide his intentions (See 1 Chronicles 5:1-2). So to guarantee a fairer distribution of the estate, the other brothers sold their younger brother into slavery. But Joseph survived this trial in his life. Because God was with Joseph -- and because he worked diligently -- he was able to have a relatively comfortable lifestyle within Potiphar’s house. Although he was still a slave in Egypt, he made the most of his circumstances. Joseph’s comfortable situation, however, did not last a long time. Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him, but Joseph, as a genuine man of integrity, would not give in to her. His boss had trusted him and he would not violate that trust (Genesis 39:8-9). More importantly, however, Joseph refused to sin against God. He was then accused of attempted rape and was thrown into prison. But then notice the beautiful promise of assurance of verse 2 that is repeated in verse 21 (of Genesis 39): “The Lord was with him.” Think about this word for a moment. From son to slave, from slave to convict -- and yet “the Lord was with Joseph!” Even when it appeared that the Lord had deserted Joseph, He was right there with him. Soon the supervisor, realizing Joseph’s potential, placed the young man in a position of authority over the whole prison. Still, he was not in a very good position because he was still in prison. [Perhaps the supervisor appreciated Joseph so much that he gave him things that the other prisoners did not have – but we do not know that for sure.] But, in spite of the injustices and the terrible disappointments, Joseph still served God with integrity. By the time we finish reading chapter 40, we know we are dealing with a great man. Joseph was a great servant leader. The next phase of Joseph’s life reinforces the statement that God was with him. After having been recognized by Pharaoh himself, Joseph was promoted to the position of prime minister of Egypt. He literally became one of the most powerful men on earth, ruling Egypt at a time when Egypt ruled the world. Finally, the long-suffering, faithful servant received his reward. Think about this story for a few moments. Is it possible that we need the reminder of God’s presence more during the hard times of our lives? Is it possible that God is more active in our lives when we are hurting and need His presence? Could it be that in God’s plan that the bad times in our lives are actually the best times? That is exactly what James 1 tells us (read James 1:2 – 12). In order to succeed as Egypt’s prime minister, Joseph would have needed some intensive training. He received that training both as Potiphar’s slave and as the prison supervisor’s “assistant.” These hard circumstances developed Joseph’s godly character. No one, by choice, would have endured either of those experiences. But,
without them Joseph would not have been ready for the great task God had reserved for him. The phrase, “The Lord was with Joseph” indicates that, when life made absolutely no sense to Joseph [and was extremely difficult], it made complete sense to God. And He was always with Joseph! When is the Lord with us? Always. When do we need to know that? Always. But like Joseph, we need to feel God’s presence most when circumstances are difficult. Joseph is a wonderful example of the third fundamental principle of sacrifice. Before he could properly lead, he had to sacrifice much. Joseph also effectively demonstrated the eighth and ninth servant leadership principles of oversight and submission. He had to live many years in submission to various masters before the Lord granted him such great oversight and watchcare responsibilities. He was truly a magnificent servant leader. JOSHUA Joshua became Israel’s leader at one of the most difficult times in its history. Within just a few days after his appointment as the leader, he led the nation across the Jordan River into hostile territory. He then set out to conquer, divide and settle the land. It was a huge task, but Joshua succeeded in this assignment for some very important reasons. Let us review some of these reasons for Joshua’s success as a servant leader. Later, you may want to more thoroughly read and study each of these passages. Exodus 33:7-11: Hunger for God’s presence Joshua used to accompany Moses to the Tent of Meeting where God talked with Moses face to face. Moses, after he heard from God, would leave the tent and go out and address the people. But when Joshua came into God’s presence in the Tent of Meeting, he “did not leave the tent.” Joshua demonstrated a deep passion to be in God’s presence. This intimate relationship with God served him well in his demanding leadership challenges. Numbers 13:26-14:9: Commitment to obey God Of the 12 spies who surveyed the land in preparation for Israel’s invasion, only Joshua and Caleb encouraged the people to follow God’s command to move forward. Although twelve spies saw the same obstacles, ten of the twelve concluded that the people should turn back. Joshua and Caleb’s response (14:5 – 9) helps explain why Joshua succeeded as Israel’s leader when he was appointed forty years later. Deuteronomy 31:1-8 and Joshua 1:1-9: Joshua’s Commission God (and Moses) accomplished at least two important things in these times of commissioning. First, they established and legitimized Joshua’s leadership for the nation. God left no question about who was in charge when Moses departed. But second, and equally important for Joshua’s success, was the manner in which God established Joshua’s personal position as leader: knowledge of and obedience to God’s instruction (Joshua 1:1-8). Both his positional and his personal power were based on a pure and godly life. Joshua’s integrity and character were essential to his effectiveness as a leader.
Exodus 24:13,33:11, Numbers 11:28 and Joshua 1:1: Moses as mentor These four passages call Joshua “Moses’ aide,” and reveal an important fact about Joshua’s success as a leader. Like many leaders of great organizations, Moses had spent years training his successor. Israel had a great leader in Joshua because Moses had the foresight to cultivate their next leader.
Joshua was a powerful leader because Joshua was a godly leader. Joshua was a godly leader because Joshua was a godly man. Joshua clearly demonstrated the fifth fundamental principle of servant leadership – leadership is spiritual. He also demonstrated the sixth principle of coordination as he worked to ensure that the nation of Israel would move together, as one, in their conquest of Canaan. And, like Joseph, we can clearly see the principle of oversight in Joshua’s leadership. MOSES Every servant leader sometimes faces challenges that may seem impossible. Perhaps the opposition appears too strong. Or, perhaps the leader feels that his or her resources seem too small by comparison. That is the way Moses must have felt when God appeared to him in the burning bush (Exodus 3:10). Moses responded to God’s promise with three questions and an objection that expressed his unbelief and lack of confidence. Let us look at these now. First, Moses asked, “Who am I?” (verse 11). That question revealed a radical change in Moses. He used to be full of confidence in his own abilities. Remember that forty years earlier Moses had taken it upon himself to vindicate a fellow Hebrew for a beating he had endured from an Egyptian (Exodus 2:11 –12). Now he felt inadequate for the task, even though God himself was commissioning him. God’s response was exactly what Moses needed (verse 12 – “I will be with you”). Moses would soon discover that was all he needed. Moses’ second question was, “What shall I tell them?” (verse 13). Demanding the release of over two million slaves was not an easy task! Moses would need an authority higher than himself to persuade Pharaoh. Again, God gave Moses what he needed (verse 14). By calling himself “I AM,” God revealed his identity as the eternal God who is always there for his people. He was the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, a description that would have great meaning for the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. Still unsure, Moses asked a third question: “What if they do not believe me?” (Exodus 4:1). Moses remembered what had happened forty years earlier. While he was trying to settle a dispute between the two Hebrew men, one of them had scornfully asked,
“Who made you ruler and judge over us?” (Exodus 2:14) With those words still echoing in his mind, it is understandable that Moses would fear rejection. But God told Moses that he would put His seal of approval upon his leadership through a series of miracles that would convince even the most skeptical person in Egypt. As long as Moses stayed at God’s side, he would not have cause for worry. With Moses’ fourth and final objection, he implied that he could not lead the people to freedom because he was not an eloquent speaker (Exodus 4:10). At this point Moses’ fear of failure prevailed over his memory. So many years had passed since Moses had used his skills of persuasion that he thought he had lost them. Once more God responded to Moses with compassion. God promised to give him words to say. And He would give Aaron to him as a helper. Without question, Moses was one of the greatest servant leaders of world history. When God directed him to lead in a difficult situation, Moses hesitated before he obeyed -- but he did obey. God showed Moses genuine understanding of his fears and concerns. God validated each of Moses’ statements and assured him that He would go with him and help him (verses 12 and 15). Like Moses, all leaders will sometimes face difficult challenges and situations that seem impossible. At such times they need to follow Moses’ leadership example: Assess the situation, take their fears to God, listen for His response and obey. From the life and ministry of Moses, we see several fundamental principles of servant leadership. Moses certainly understood the first principle of delegation. He recognized his appointment by God and later was able to delegate much of his work to others under him (see Exodus 18:1 – 27). Moses also clearly understood the second principle of stewardship, as he recognized that his leadership was a gift from God, who was over all things. And clearly, Moses practiced the principles of sacrifice and submission. Are there other principles that you can identify from Moses’ life and ministry? NEHEMIAH The process Nehemiah followed in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem provides us with one of the greatest examples of servant leadership in the Bible. Let us try to understand this process that Nehemiah followed as a servant leader for the remnant of people in Jerusalem. First, he acquired an understanding of the problem (Nehemiah 1:2-3). The report Nehemiah received would serve as the key to all that followed. Obtaining reliable information was important. Then, he was able to devise an effective plan. Nehemiah did not just listen to the report - he also questioned the messengers. Second, he identified with those who were suffering (verse 4). Nehemiah’s heart ached for the Jewish people and for God’s reputation. His plan flowed from a compassionate heart.
Third, he petitioned the “God of heaven” (verses 4 - 10). Nehemiah was very serious about his task -- he fasted and prayed about the situation. He actually prayed for several days. He adored God by bowing before the One who is awesome, great and faithful. He confessed his people’s sins and prayed that God would grant him favor in the king’s presence. Without God’s help, Artaxerxes would probably have not allowed one of his leading officials to leave and go out on such a venture- to rebuild the walls of a ruined city. Fourth, he waited for the best opportunity to act (2:1 -10). Four months had passed from the time Nehemiah had received the report until the king asked, “Why does your face look so sad?” (2:2). During those months Nehemiah had prayed and planned so that, when the king gave him an opportunity, he would be prepared to present a detailed request. Notice that, in the moment before he spoke to the king, Nehemiah “prayed to the God of heaven” (verse 4). Even though the timing was now right, Nehemiah continued to pray to the Lord about his situation. Fifth, he quietly investigated the situation (2:11 – 16). Upon his arrival in Jerusalem, Nehemiah did not say much to anyone. Instead, he spent three days considering what he should do next. And, like a doctor carefully examining a patient’s broken bone, Nehemiah carefully studied the condition of the wall before revealing his plan. Sixth, he assembled the people (2:17 - 20). Once he had formed a plan, Nehemiah recognized that the problem and its solution were a community concern. Nehemiah enlisted support with his call to the people “Come, let us rebuild the wall.” Once he had laid out his plan, he encouraged the somewhat hopeless crowd by assuring them that the “gracious hand of God” would be upon them (verse 18). The same God who had intervened for Nehemiah with King Artaxerxes would give the people of Jerusalem success in their efforts. And that same God will give other servant leaders success as they follow Nehemiah’s example. Review these six aspects of the process Nehemiah followed in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Take time to study this short book. Look for examples of some fundamental principles of leadership that Nehemiah followed. Do you see the principle of delegation? What about the principles of sacrifice and faithfulness? Do you see other principles of servant leadership in the life and work of Nehemiah? [Also refer to Appendix B – “Leadership Principles from Nehemiah”] SAMUEL Even in ancient Israel, godly leaders were hard to find. Samuel, one of that nation’s greatest leaders, was one of a few. His life reflects the story of an intimate God-withman relationship. Hannah, Samuel’s mother, dedicated her son to the Lord and took
him to the temple when he was a young boy. He lived there with Eli the high priest. Through the years, as Samuel observed men and women offering their worship to God, he gained a thorough understanding of what it meant that the Israelites were God’s people. One of the great moments in Samuel’s life occurred while he was still a young child: God told him to deliver a rebuke to Eli. Samuel “was afraid to tell Eli the vision” (1 Samuel 3:15). He finally “told him everything, hiding nothing from him” (verse 18). Even as a boy, God was preparing this future judge and prophet for the demanding task of his servant leadership role in Israel. Samuel loved God and even in childhood began developing the courage and conviction he would need during the difficult days in which he would serve Israel. 1 Samuel 3:19 – 4:1 describes Samuel’s early influence as Israel’s moral leader. Samuel also served as Israel’s judge (7:15 -17). He traveled a circuit around Israel settling disputes among the people. The integrity with which he handled this powerful position is demonstrated by the challenge he extended, near the end of his life, to the people whom he had served for so many years (12:1 - 5). He invited anyone whom he had cheated or wronged to come forward and he promised to rectify the situation. The unanimous response was, “You have not cheated or oppressed us . . . You have not taken anything from anyone’s hand” (verse 4). That is a powerful testimony, especially coming from the people themselves. Samuel may best be remembered as the one who anointed Israel’s first king. In obedience to God, Samuel anointed Saul. He later told Saul that, “your kingdom will not endure . . . because you have not kept the Lord’s command” (13:14). Even though Saul was the king, Samuel was really serving as Israel’s spiritual and moral leader. Samuel’s view of leadership is shown in his protest over Israel’s demand for a king. He warned: “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve . . . He will take your daughters . . . He will take the best of your fields . . . He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage . . . Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves” (8: 10 –17). But Samuel himself served with a giving spirit as Israel’s leader. Samuel realized the importance of servant leadership and warned against the dangers of a leader who would abuse his privileges and power. Samuel understood servanthood. He was a great leader because he understood leadership as an opportunity to serve people and add a blessing to their life. He hated the idea of a leader who would use his power to exploit the people for his own personal gain and position. Leadership for Samuel was a stewardship (the second fundamental principle), a responsibility, an honor. Samuel demonstrated integrity and honesty. He was fair and just and honored God and served God’s people. He clearly demonstrated the fifth principle that servant leadership is spiritual and the eighth principle of oversight. Do you see any other principles in Samuel’s life and ministry? [For deeper study, look at Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:1 -19, where Jesus taught his
disciples the key principle that guided Samuel to and through a life of integrity.] STUDY QUESTIONS: • • • • • • • • • • In light of Jesus’ example, tell the four things that servant leadership means. Explain the servant leadership principles of stewardship and sacrifice. If we recognize Jesus as the Head of the Body, what servant leadership principle does that help us to understand? What principle of servant leadership did Deborah certainly understand? What was the promise of Genesis 39 (repeated twice) that helped Joseph? What does the passage from Exodus 33 tell us about Joshua’s relationship with God? What does Moses’ question, “Who am I?” (Exodus 3:11) reveal about Moses? How do we know that Nehemiah really identified with the people of Israel and how do we know that he was serious about his task? When did Samuel begin to develop the courage and conviction that he would need later to be a great servant leader of Israel? How did Samuel understand “leadership?”
Now, as we conclude this section on the great Old Testament servant leaders, let’s move on to the next topic of “mentoring” – an important task for every leader.
Introduction and Definition In the New Testament passage that we often call “The Great Commission” (Matthew 28:19 –20), Jesus urges all believers to “go and make disciples” (verse 19). The objective was not that they attract their own disciples, but that they attract new followers of Jesus. The book of Acts tells the story of how the Spirit-filled apostles obeyed that command. Closely related to the concept of making disciples is the mentoring of leaders. However, neither discipleship nor mentoring were invented by the early church. The principles involved had been around for centuries. Moses mentored Joshua so that he left behind a highly trained, qualified servant leader. Mentoring involves working transparently before others in a way that allows them to see not only what one does and how, but also why—to see the underlying motivations and passions that the leader has. Beginning with Acts 9, Saul’s conversion starts one dynamic chain of “mentoring” that extends through the rest of the New Testament. We shall observe this in more detail later, especially as we consider the life of Barnabas. The concept of “mentoring” is as old as Homer’s poem “Odyssey” (Homer was an ancient Greek poet who lived in the ninth century BC). In the poem, Odysseus entrusts to his friend, Mentor, the education of Telemachus, his son. Thus, the word “mentor” came into being. Now, perhaps we would define the word “mentor” in this way:
A mentor is a trusted counselor or guide—typically an older, more experienced person who imparts valuable wisdom to someone younger. Mentoring involves a voluntary investment in others for their growth, development and success. The task of mentoring is rooted in faith in the value of the other person. The goal of mentoring is the building up of the one being mentored, whether or not the mentor himself (or herself) benefits. Therefore, mentoring often requires loving sacrifice. Now, let us look at some brief examples of mentoring that are given in the Bible.
Biblical Examples of Mentoring The Old and New Testaments are filled with mentoring relationships such as: Jethro, a wealthy livestock owner, who helped his overworked son-in-law, Moses, learn to delegate authority (Exodus 18:1–27). Deborah, a judge over Israel, summoned Barak to military leadership and helped him triumph over Jabin, a Canaanite king. This brought forty years of peace to the land (Judges 4:4–24). Eli, a priest of the Lord (although a failure as a father) raised young Samuel to succeed him (1 Samuel 1:1–3:21). The prophet Elijah oversaw the evil end of Ahab and Jezebel, and passed his office on to young Elisha. The Bible says that Elisha received a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (2 Kings 2:1–15). When Elisha literally “picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah” (2 Kings 2:13), he was then taking over Elijah’s role as the main prophet of Israel, a role for which Elijah had helped to get him ready (1 Kings 19:16). Elijah had been his “mentor.” Barnabas, a wealthy land owner in the early church, became an advocate and guide for Saul, the former enemy and persecutor of the church (Acts 9:26–30). Over time, with Barnabas’ coaching and encouragement, Saul (later called Paul) became the central figure in the early spread of the gospel. [We shall discuss Barnabas in more detail later.] Priscilla and Aquila were tentmakers who befriended Apollos. They mentored Apollos in the faith and accurately explained the way of the Messiah to him. Then they sponsored his ministry (Acts 18:1–3, 24–28). Four Key Functions of a Godly Mentor: 1. Mentors care about those who follow them. Their primary interest is not what they can gain from the relationship, but what they can give to it. They also realize how
much they have to learn from their disciples. Ultimately, they fulfill Paul’s command to look out not only for their own interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4). 2. Mentors convey wisdom and skill. Through modeling, coaching and leading their disciples, and eventually by turning over responsibility to them, godly mentors seek to make their disciples even more capable than they themselves have been (Matthew 10:25). 3. Mentors correct their followers when they are wrong. An excellent example is Barnabas’ challenge to Paul about taking John Mark along on the second missionary journey (Acts 15:36–39). Later, Paul changed his perspective and asked Timothy to bring John Mark to him (2 Timothy 4:11). Godly mentors do not avoid confrontation. 4. Mentors help their followers to relate to other people. As Acts 9 shows, Barnabas introduced Saul to the early church members. A godly mentor will introduce his disciples to relationships and resources that will further their development and increase their opportunities for ministry and growth. Note: Barnabas was so well regarded in the early church for his encouragement of others that his name was changed from Joseph to Barnabas, which means “Son of Encouragement.” [Learn more about this in Acts 4:36–37.] The Example of Barnabas Barnabas’s life and ministry serve as a wonderful example for us as we study the concept of mentoring younger believers. Let us look at some of the things that Barnabas did. This will help us to better understand the servant leader’s responsibility to mentor others under his care. As we read Acts, we discover that: Barnabas befriended Saul (Paul) as a new believer (Acts 9:26–27). Barnabas went to Tarsus, found Saul and took him to Antioch. There, for a whole year, they [together] taught the new believers of Antioch. Their work helped to strengthen and stabilize the new church (Acts 11:22–26). Barnabas helped organize a team of leaders in prayer, fasting and decisionmaking. The final result was that he launched out with Paul to bring the gospel to peoples throughout the western part of the Roman Empire (Acts 13:1–3). Barnabas moved Paul to the forefront of leadership. “Barnabas and Saul” (Acts 13:7) became “Paul and his companions” (Acts 13:13). Barnabas contended with ethnic hostility, personal attacks and idol worship (Acts 13:46–14:20). Barnabas resisted well-meaning but unwise attempts at Lystra to make him and Paul into gods of Greek culture (Acts 14:8–18).
Barnabas took the lead with Paul in defending Gentile believers before the Jerusalem church council (15:1–4, 12). Barnabas stood up to Paul over a negative attitude about young John Mark (15:36–38). [See “Four Key Functions of a Godly Mentor,” # 3, above on page 23.] Encouragers like Barnabas need not avoid conflict. He was vindicated several years later when Paul described John Mark as “helpful to me in my ministry” (2 Timothy 4:11). Barnabas gave John Mark a second chance, taking him along to Cyprus (Acts 15:39). The Example of King Joash Quite often, the difference between success or failure in a person’s career or life is determined by whether or not that person has been guided and nurtured by a mentor. The same can be true in spiritual matters. The extent to which a person matures spiritually and stays that way is often determined by the presence or absence of a spiritual mentor. King Joash in the Old Testament is a good example of the effect of having a godly mentor. Joash was king over Judah (the southern kingdom) for 40 years (2 Kings 11 and 12). He became king when he was only seven years old. As long as the godly priest Jehoiada was around to guide young Joash, the king ruled well and brought spiritual renewal to the land (2 Chronicles 23:16–24:16). However, after Jehoiada died, Joash became wicked. He allowed idolatry to come back into the land (24:17–19). He even killed Zechariah, the son of his mentor Jehoiada (24:22)! Joash eventually suffered a terrible military defeat and was murdered by his own servants (24:25). This was a tragic ending to what started out as a good and godly reign. Joash needed the daily mentoring of Jehoiada. Joash’s turning away from God reminds us that leaders today need spiritual mentors and religious guidance if they are to stay on course. If you are in a position of leadership, to whom are you looking for godly wisdom and counsel? All servant leaders of God’s people need godly mentoring themselves. As we have now clearly observed, very powerful results have come from experienced believers mentoring younger believers in the faith. Not only individuals, but sometimes entire communities and towns will benefit as the gospel transforms lives. Is there someone you could serve and mentor —especially someone younger—by giving him (or her) your friendship, experience and knowledge? As you reflect on your own development and spiritual growth, can you identify those who have given themselves to you? In what ways have you thanked them? A Note about Ministry and Mentoring: People who become discouraged or never follow through on their ministry “calling” usually do so because they have not understood or paid the cost, or they are not fully prepared for that ministry. This may be caused by a personal lack of spiritual commitment and devotion to God. Or, the cause may be a lack of information or mentoring. If either of these describes you, stop now and recommit yourself to God. Ask Him to direct you
to someone in your area who will mentor and help you. Then, be willing to fully submit yourself to their instruction and mentoring.
THE MENTORING MINISTRY OF THE APOSTLE PAUL AND COUNSEL OF THE PROPHET JOEL
The Mentoring Ministry of the Apostle Paul Now, having studied in detail the previous section of the book on “Spiritual Mentoring,” let us look at some of Paul’s words on this very important subject. Then, we shall examine the mentoring ministry of the apostle. As you may have already learned, the principle of the SALT program is based upon Paul’s command to young Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2. This scripture says: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” Here, in 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul is describing the powerful process of mentoring. Paul had recruited young Timothy and built on the foundation laid by the young man’s mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). He had enlisted Timothy as a fellow worker and mentored him in the faith. Paul had guided Timothy in his first major assignment - the pastoral and church planting work at Ephesus (Acts 16:1–3, Philippians 2:19–23 and 2 Timothy 1–4). Just as he had helped Timothy during the formative stages in Timothy’s development, Paul now challenges Timothy to go and mentor others. Then these people also could become mentors and keep the cycle going. Believers today need to establish this pattern of older believers working with younger ones, which dates back to the earliest days of the faith. The “Acts of the Apostles" is a good textbook on the “mentoring” ministry of the Apostle Paul. Paul took special care to see that new believers were nurtured and grounded in the faith. He often performed that ministry himself (Acts 11:26, 14:21 – 23, 15:36, 18:23 and 20:2-3). If he could not carry it out personally, he left one of the brothers with the new congregation to ensure a solid foundation. This is especially clear during his second and third missionary journeys, as he and his team planted churches in Macedonia. Notice in Acts 16:11 that the writer, Luke, used the word “we", meaning that he himself became a member of Paul's team and sailed with them to Macedonia. In Acts 16:40, Luke said "they" departed and went to Thessalonica (17:1), meaning that Luke stayed in Philippi. Then in Acts 17:10, Paul and Silas left for Berea. That means that Timothy (who joined the team in Acts 16:1-3) stayed in Thessalonica. Later, Timothy rejoined the team in Berea, because Paul left for Athens (Acts 17:14), leaving Silas and Timothy in Berea. In Acts 18:5, Silas and Timothy rejoined Paul in the city of Corinth. Luke remained in Macedonia [probably still in Philippi], following up on the work in Thessalonica and Berea as well.
In Acts 18:18, Paul sailed from Corinth, taking two of his co-workers, Aquila and Priscilla. He left them in Ephesus (Acts 18:19) while he sailed on to Syria. It seems that Silas and Timothy remained in Corinth. Paul returned to Corinth during his third missionary journey. When he left, he returned through Macedonia, taking Timothy and others with him (Acts 20:4). When the team sailed from Philippi (Acts 20:6), Luke again used the word "we". Thus after several years of mentoring work in Macedonia, Luke leaves with Paul. [Silas, who seems to have remained in Greece, is not mentioned again until 1 Peter 5:12.] Thus, Paul's strategy was not simply to win new people, plant new churches and strengthen the new believers. He was also training (mentoring) the members of his team. He was developing them into effective ministers who would then mentor others (see 11 Timothy 2:2 and Titus 1:4-5). [Please consult Appendix A, “Mentoring in the Early Church,” to see how this helped the Lord’s church to begin rapidly growing.] Paul did not try to do all the work by himself. He enabled others to do what he was doing, and then entrusted many tasks into their hands. Some of those trained by Paul were: Timothy, Silas, Titus, Epaphroditus, Epaphras, Onesimus, Demas, the pastors at Ephesus, Luke, as well as Priscilla and Aquila. Besides his personal example and instructions, Paul used personal letters to both congregations and individuals as he continued to nurture and disciple them. He also prayed much for those whom he trained. Some of those prayers are recorded in the Bible as examples for our prayer life (Ephesians 1:16-19, 3:14-19 and Philippians 1:9-11). There will be some who disappoint us. Demas deserted Paul (2 Timothy 4:10), just as Judas Iscariot betrayed the Lord. Our failure with some, and the misuse of their training by others, must not discourage us from pursuing the biblical model of the mentoring (training) ministry. Counsel from the Prophet Joel Let us now consider an interesting passage from the prophet Joel in the Old Testament, which relates to our discussion of mentoring. Joel was a prophet to the southern kingdom (Judah) from about 835 – 796 BC. This was during the time of King Joash of Judah (mentioned above). In Joel 1:3, the prophet spoke these words: “Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.” Joel was warning the people of Judah to repent and prepare for the “day of the Lord.” And, he wanted the people listening to him to take these words and re-tell them to their children, and then their children should again re-tell the message. The older we get, the more important it is that we tell what we have learned about the Lord Jesus and about life to our children and to our grandchildren. The elderly are one of the most valuable links there are to the past.
Joel urged the elders of Judah to tell their descendants the story of what God had done among them (Joel 1:3). It is hard to say exactly what events the prophet had in mind, but apparently the elders knew. These were things more profound than anything that had happened in their days and the days of their fathers (1:2). Therefore, these were important things that needed to be remembered. Today, we as God’s people still need to pass on the story of what God has done in our lives and our societies. That requires that we first discern His work, then that we communicate it well to future generations. We must tell both the good and the bad, the pleasant and the unpleasant. Doing so will help to teach younger generations not only to walk wisely with God, but also to be ready when it is their turn to tell and encourage re-telling. The Importance of “Passing It On” (Re-telling) Several biblical writers have emphasized the importance of transferring the wisdom and experience of the elderly to younger generations. Consider these four examples from the Word of God: Joseph - along with a number of other people in the Bible, he modeled the habit of looking back on life in order to reflect on what God has accomplished. This can be a powerful and valuable exercise for believers today (see Genesis 45:5–8). Moses - he told the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land that they had a responsibility to teach their children and grandchildren what they had seen, heard and experienced on the way there (Deuteronomy 4:9–10). He also gave a number of suggestions for teaching God’s ways to young people (see Deuteronomy 6:7–9). Solomon – he called children a “heritage,” suggesting the powerful influence of one’s ancestors. Therefore, as we look ahead to our descendants, it helps to look back at our own roots (see Psalm 127:3). Proverbs 2 describes a home environment in which parents give their children valuable gifts such as wisdom, self-appreciation, understanding and humility (see also Proverbs 4:3–4). Are you prepared to tell the story of faith in your life to your family? What will you emphasize? What will be your legacy? Encourage your children and their children to keep on telling and re-telling the story. In any discussion on servant leadership, the Biblical basis of authority must be adequately discussed. We turn to this very important topic now for prayerful consideration.
You may have noticed from all of the previous sections of this book that most every person mentioned as a good servant leader was also a person of authority. Sometimes, as was the case with people like Moses, Joseph, Joshua, Nehemiah, etc., these were persons with great authority. However, they did not abuse their Godgiven authority as they functioned as true servant leaders. Therefore, the study of authority [and how to properly use it, not abuse it] is a necessary study for every servant leader in God’s kingdom. Definition of Authority Authority is defined in this manner: The power or right to do something, particularly to give orders and see that they are followed. The word “authority” as used in the Bible usually means a person’s right to do certain things because of the position or office held by that person. This word emphasizes the legality and right, more than the physical strength, needed to do something.
God – The Ultimate Authority over all Things God Himself is the ultimate authority and the source of all human authority. He is over all things, for He created all things (Colossians 1:15 – 17). Believers are commanded to recognize God’s authority in all areas of life. Even when human authority [which has been corrupted by sin] is bent on evil purposes, God is working through that power to accomplish His perfect will and His perfect purpose. This paradox is never more strikingly revealed than when Jesus, standing before Pilate, said: “You would have no power over Me if it were not given to you from above” (John 19:11). Even as the Messiah was being crucified, God’s good, gracious and loving purpose of redemption was being accomplished through those human powers. Though they did not acknowledge Him as the source of their authority, He was [and is] the ultimate authority over all creation. All power and authority is God’s alone and He uses it always for the ultimate good of His children. Even when we do not see the beginning or ending of God’s plan, we have to trust Him and know that He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and ending of all things, including the events of our individual lives (Revelation 22:13). Two Basic Forms of Authority that are recognized are as follows: • • intrinsic authority - that authority which belongs to one’s essential nature derived authority - that authority which is given from another source
Since “there is no authority except that which God has established” (Romans 13:1),
every kind of authority other than that of God Himself is derived and therefore is secondary to God’s authority (John 19:11). God’s authority is absolute and unconditional (Psalm 29:10 and Isaiah 40). He has authority over nature (Job 38), governments (Daniel 4:17, 34–35) and history (Acts 1:7, 17:24–31). He has the power to send people to hell (Luke 12:5). Jesus has the same intrinsic authority as the Father (John 10:25–30). This authority is given to the Lord Jesus from His Father, just as the authority of the Holy Spirit is given to Him from the Father and the Son (John 14:26, 15:26, 16:13–15). The Messiah has the authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:10), to judge (John 5:27), to lay down His life and take it up again (John 10:17–18) and to give eternal life (John 17:2). The people were astonished at the authority Jesus revealed when He taught and performed miracles (Matthew 7:28–29, 8:27 and Luke 4:36). In addition to the intrinsic authority of God, the Bible speaks of many kinds of derived authority. Some of the most important of these are as follows: • • • • • • • The authority of civil governments (Romans 13:1–7) The authority of parents (Ephesians 6:1–4) The authority of employers (Ephesians 6:5–9) The authority of church leaders (Hebrews 13:7,17) The authority of angels (Luke 1:19–20) The authority of satan (Luke 4:6) The authority of evil spirits other than satan (Ephesians 6:11–12)
[Note: There are vast differences among these kinds of derived authority. Some of these derived authorities are permitted by God but only for a time.] One derived authority is above every other kind of derived authority, and that is the Bible, the Word of God. The Bible is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:20–21) and therefore has divine power and authority. It is His divine Word. God did not give the Scriptures to be read only, but to be believed and obeyed. The Authority of the Servant Leader So the very simple question before us now is the following: What is the authority of the pastor and other leaders of the church? By now, it should be very clear that Jesus is the absolute Head of the Church (Ephesians 1:22 and 4:15). No one has the right to try and take His authority. Believers are often given certain authority to exercise. For example, this might be the authority of a parent or the authority of a church leader. However, the pastor or church leader must exercise his God-given authority very carefully and wisely. The noblest and highest use of authority is for serving others. Jesus speaks clearly about the authority given to the servant leader. The Messiah said that “the one who rules [is] like the one who serves. . . I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:26–27). The wise servant leader who seeks to follow the Messiah’s example will learn to use his (or her) authority as a servant to
others rather than trying to “lord over others.” In addition, the servant leader remembers that all derived authority will one day be returned to God who gave it (1 Corinthians 15:24–28). The rewards of faithful service will endure forever, throughout all eternity (1 John 2:17). It should also be noted that God has called, chosen and authorized His spiritual leaders to serve and to lead the church by His direction (1 Thessalonians 5:12,13 and Hebrews 13:7, 17). That authority is given by the Word of God and is also limited to the Word of God. The God-given authority of the pastors, elders and teachers of the church should never exceed the authority of the Scripture, nor should personal opinions be imposed on the people. True Biblical leadership does not demand or dictate, but rather patiently perseveres in the teaching and application of the Word of God. Biblical leadership is best expressed in faithful, loving service to the people. It includes accountability to the Lord, to the Scripture and to the local church. An Example of the Authority of a Servant Leader – Moses By studying the life and ministry of Moses, we can begin to learn some very important principles concerning authority in the life of a true servant leader of the Lord. We can discover how Moses used the authority that God gave him. Through a study of Exodus 18, when Moses had a conversation with his father-in-law Jethro, we learn a few practical principles for exercising God-given leadership (or, for exercising God-given authority). Let us look at five (5) key principles for exercising authority from this passage: Moses, himself a man of authority, respected the authority of Jethro. Thus, we must respect the authority of those over us (verses 7 and 24). It would have been easy, and perhaps even natural, for Moses to become defensive [and not listen or agree] when Jethro offered advice. Instead, Moses showed him respect and then listened and responded willingly to the counsel of his father-in-law. If you are a servant leader, can you expect those under you to respect your authority if you do not respect the authorities over you? We must not let authority become “intoxicating” (verses 14 -16). Moses apparently knew little about delegation of responsibility. That may explain why he was overworked. But when Jethro asked him -“Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening?”- Moses answered him, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will.” Could it be that this statement reflects the powerful effect of being the one who has the authority? Fortunately, Moses seemed eager to give up some of his control. What about our particular situation? Are we sometimes reluctant to share power because we enjoy having others depend on us? Authority should be given to others wisely and prudently (verse 21).
Jethro was not suggesting that Moses merely assign leadership positions, the way so many do, to relatives and friends. Rather, he described job qualifications based on proven character. Thus, Jethro’s words remind us that delegation of authority is a privilege, not a right. A leader ought to consider the quality and ability of other prospective leaders. Remember: they are to be servants. Authority is a resource to be invested in others (verses 22–23). By delegating authority to subordinates, Moses could take the people much further as a community than if he retained all control himself. People often think of authority as a position to be preserved. In fact, it is the opposite. Authority is a resource to be used up in empowering others to act more effectively. The proper use of authority increases the usefulness and life of an organization and its people, such as the church (verses 22–23). Moses probably prolonged his own life and ensured the progress of the nation by appointing effective judges. No organization can survive very long if only a few of its workers are involved in the task. But by giving each member a share in the work, leaders can help bring about far better results. Is your church set up for maximum effectiveness by trying to utilize the skills and abilities of all of the brothers and sisters? By observing these simple fundamental principles that we see from Exodus 18, we can certainly become more effective servant leaders. In addition, we shall be using our God-given authority in a proper manner, as He desires that we do. STUDY QUESTIONS: • • • • • • • • • • How would you define the word “mentor”? Write the four key functions of a godly mentor. Who gave John Mark a “second chance” and took him to Cyprus? Who was the godly mentor of young King Joash? Name at least five persons that the apostle Paul mentored. What did Joel want the people who were listening to him to do? Define the word ”authority.” What does this word usually mean in the Bible? What is “intrinsic authority?” Give some examples of “derived authority.” How is Biblical leadership best expressed? What are the five key principles (from Exodus 18) for exercising authority?
THE DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY
In the previous section on “Authority,” we only briefly mentioned the delegation of authority. This topic is so important that we need to treat it as a separate subject. For the wise servant leader must learn how to properly delegate his authority to others. Otherwise, he will never be the effective child of God that his Father desires him to be. But, by properly delegating authority and responsibility to others, the servant leader’s ministry and influence can extend much further outward.
What exactly is delegation of authority? Delegation does not mean just passing off work to someone else. Rather, it involves assigning our followers tasks for which they are qualified, providing the resources necessary to accomplish those tasks (including authority), checking on their progress, and providing feedback and evaluation both during and after the assignment. Thus, we see that delegation is an investment [an investment in the lives of others], not simply an assignment. You will remember that Moses would have become exhausted if he had not delegated authority to qualified leaders among the people. Is delegation difficult for you? When faced with a choice between letting others do a task or doing it yourself, do you usually say, “It’s easier to do it myself”? Or, do you give others- such as fellow workers, relatives or friends -not only the responsibility but the needed authority to get the job done—even if it means seeing it done their way instead of yours? Certainly, Jesus had more reason than any of us to avoid delegating His work to others. When it came to proclaiming His kingdom, He had every right to lack confidence in His followers. He had seen and experienced their failings firsthand (Luke 9:10–17, 37-50). Yet, He sent out the seventy workers with full appointment [authority] to preach and heal on His behalf (Luke 10:1, 16).
In doing so, Jesus did what most leaders talk about – but do not actually do. This is probably the most difficult task of the servant leader – to properly delegate his authority to others. Certainly the Messiah gave the seventy followers detailed instructions before sending them off (Luke 10:2–12). However, as we study Jesus’ methods of discipleship, we realize that He was more concerned with growth and character than He was with the accomplishment of tasks done in a certain way. Jesus accomplished the work He came to do. He did not need the seventy to help Him! But, He loved His disciples and wanted them to grow and mature. He knew that they would grow only if they held real responsibility and authority. Is not it wonderful that the seventy “returned with joy,” excited by their experiences (10:17)? They would never be the same again. They had been given authority and responsibility and now their lives were changed. To whom do you need to give more responsibility? Whom do you need to help with greater encouragement? Study carefully Jesus’ words from the Gospel of John: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father” (John 14:12 – 13). Jesus’ promise shows us that the servant leader seeks to empower others to achieve results even greater than the leader has achieved. The true servant leader seeks to achieve great goals more than great personal gain. Rather than being fearful of his followers’ potential, he rejoices in their growth, development and achievements.
PREPARATION FOR LEADERSHIP
The Value of Preparation Have you ever felt as if you have been spending your life getting ready for something important, but have never quite arrived at doing it? Perhaps you are a student, or an apprentice on a job, or an employee or a farmer or a shopkeeper. You may feel very impatient and frustrated in a lower level of responsibility, wondering whether your life is stuck and that God does not care. Every effort at advancement seems to be met with the words, “Not yet!” If so, you might benefit from considering the examples of Joseph, Moses, Daniel, Paul and several other people in the Bible. They illustrate the value of preparation and the truth that God never wastes a person’s time. He is always leading us toward a purpose—if we are willing to be led. Joseph had God-given abilities in leadership and management as well as wisdom to interpret dreams. But he spent a number of years as a household servant and an unjustly sentenced prisoner before finally being given responsibility as Pharaoh’s second-in-command (Genesis 39:2–6 and 41:37–40). Moses spent two thirds of his life (80 years) - being trained for the last third (40 years). During the first 40 years, he was growing up in Egypt, where Scripture says he was learning “all the wisdom of the Egyptians” and becoming “powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22). Apparently, Moses thought that this training and experience was enough to qualify him for leadership of his people, the Israelites. However, his first attempt at taking charge ended in disaster (Exodus 2:11–15). He was not yet ready to assume the responsibilities that God had in mind for him. Daniel submitted to a course of study that included “the language and literature of the Babylonians” (Daniel 1:4). As a young Hebrew man, he probably found much of this curriculum of study to be opposed to his upbringing. Yet, he experienced it without giving in to the pagan Babylonian culture of the time (6th century BC). Over the years, he rose higher and higher in the government, until he was advising the kings of empires (see Daniel 1:19 – 21). Paul grew up under the tutelage of a well-known rabbi named Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). He had extensive training that made him an outstanding member of the Pharisees (Philippians 3:5), one of the leading religious and political groups of his day. After his conversion, he spent many years developing his faith in private before becoming a public leader in the early church (Galatians 1:14– 2:2). No matter where you are in life, God has a purpose and direction for you. Right now, things may seem slow, perhaps even boring. As a follower of Jesus, you have reason to make today count. Today is the foundation on which tomorrow will be built. What a tragedy it would be if, when opportunity comes, you were found unprepared to accept it because you had squandered the time of preparation.
Now, why do we speak of this time of preparation? You may already be in a position of leadership as you study this book. You are probably already a servant leader in your church. Nevertheless, those serving under your leadership may be struggling with some of the problems that we have just discussed. As a servant leader for your people, you must begin to look upon every believer as a potential future servant leader. In God’s eyes, every believer is a priest – Exodus 19:6 and 1 Peter 2:9. Then you must begin to think seriously about the way that you want to train and mentor these future servant leaders. The Priesthood of Every Believer To look upon every believer as a potential future servant leader means that, first of all, we must take the doctrine of the priesthood of the believer quite seriously. The doctrine of the priesthood of all believers has always been one of the basic Christian beliefs. Unfortunately, our understanding and practice of this great doctrine has tended to be too limited. The major emphasis has been on the right of every believer to direct access to God though Jesus the Messiah. That is only half of the great truth of this doctrine. We must not forget that direct access between God and man, without the need of a human mediator, also gives God direct access to each believer. He can work through all believers, not just through the few. The priesthood of all believers thus means that since every believer is a priest, every believer is also a minister. One person (such as a pastor/church leader) cannot possibly do all that needs to be done. God wants and expects all His people to be involved in ministry. The Bible clearly teaches that every believer is a minister (Ephesians 4:11-12). Each has been given spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1-11) that enable him (or her) to perform the spiritual ministry to which he (or she) is called. These truths lie at the heart of the doctrine of the "priesthood of the believer" (1 Peter 2:9). There are two practical implications in this doctrine: The call to salvation and the call to ministry are the same. The primary responsibility for God's ministry in the world rests upon the shoulders of all believers- not just upon the shoulders of pastors. Listed below are some other important points to consider on this subject: • • • • The priesthood of believers takes to account the different gifts and responsibilities of the believers in the fellowship. The priesthood of believers implies shared responsibility and ministry as well as shared authority. The priesthood of believers is the basis for decision making in the church. The priesthood of believers must never become an excuse for selfishness or non-cooperation. We are laborers together with God and with one another in
carrying out the tasks of the church. • The doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, if understood and practiced, will enable the Holy Spirit to transform the life and ministry of our churches.
Now, remembering that every believer is a minister, and a potential future servant leader, let us return to the question of how to discover and train these future servant leaders. In sections IX and X of the book, we discussed the topic of mentoring and gave many examples from the Bible. People such as Paul and Barnabas clearly stand out as those who effectively mentored their disciples. But, we want to raise another important question, and that is, how do we discover and then effectively mentor and train those under our leadership? How do we find and train all of these potential future servant leaders? Practical Suggestions for Finding and Training Future Servant Leaders 1. Finding (Discovering) Future Servant Leaders One of a servant leader's most important functions is to discover and develop new leaders. Leadership training in your church should really begin the moment someone believes. From that moment, that person is a potential leader and should start his or her new life with right belief and right practice. Most churches have as many potential leadership opportunities to be discovered and developed as first-century Christianity had. New leaders, like the old ones, usually come from within our membership, sometimes from seemingly unlikely people. There are persons in every church who have unrealized leadership potential for us to discover. There are strategic people in every community who are yet unbelievers, but who could be a potential Paul or Peter, if reached for the Messiah. It is difficult to conceive of a congregation with no potential leaders to be discovered and developed. Such a situation would be a contradiction of the biblical teachings of the church as the body of Jesus, of the priesthood of believers, and of spiritual gifts. (We must realize that illiterate people also have leadership potential.) A re-occurring word in this section has been "discovery." Personal observation is an important factor in discovering potential leaders. This means watching people over a period of weeks and months to discover attitudes and gifts. The next step in observation is to involve those people with you or with another leader. Involve them with visitation, evangelism and other ministries of the church. Next, this allows you to evaluate how well they function. Look for those whose ability and testimony help the confidence of other believers. A pastor/church leader then should also rely on the observation of other leaders, as well as his own. He should seek to develop a caring attitude among the church leaders. This will help them to become sensitive to the potential of people in the group they lead. We must seek to instill in leaders the desire not only to teach and lead, but also to discover and mentor/train new leaders.
Finally, our observation of people with leadership potential needs to be confirmed through personal “interview.” This “interview” is not for the purpose of asking them to become a leader, but to enable the pastor/church leader to talk with the person about his interests, desires, goals in life, walk with the Lord, etc. The pastor can also share his own observations of the person and their abilities. This can be a very good experience for the person interviewed, possibly giving them a new openness to God's leadership. Such “interviews” are usually informal and will take place over a period of time as the servant leader begins to know and work with the potential leader. The Holy Spirit gives gifts for ministry and for leadership. He also calls people to leadership positions, sometimes even before needs in the body arise. Nothing surprises the Holy Spirit. He is always aware of the situation, working in people to match His gifts with the needs of the Body. Since God works through human instruments, He wants and expects His churches and His servant leaders to work and cooperate with Him in discovering and developing new servant leaders. As you begin to observe new potential leaders, look for the following five factors in people you consider for leadership training: People who demonstrate a love for God and man (Matthew 22:37-40) People with spiritual gifts needed to do the tasks for which the church seeks leaders (1 Corinthians 12:7,11) People who are willing to serve (Matthew 20:26) People who are willing to learn (Philippians 3:12-13) People who are maturing in their character (1 Timothy 3:1-13) 2. Training (Mentoring) Future Servant Leaders Effective training will not only develop skills in the future leader, but will also help to communicate knowledge, as well as to instill (in his heart) new attitudes. Therefore, training programs, whether formal or informal, need to train (or mentor) future servant leaders in these three different areas: knowledge, skills and attitudes. For example, let us examine some of the practical ways in which effective training/mentoring can happen in these three areas. TRAINING for KNOWLEDGE (teachers can directly influence knowledge): Knowledge of the Bible: to understand the meaning and message of the Bible. Knowledge of doctrine: what we believe and why (for example, training from the SALT books). Knowledge of the church: to
understand the church both
as a spiritual fellowship and as an institution. Knowledge of church history – for example, the knowledge of events and the people who dared and sacrificed; knowledge of decisions that led to faithfulness in fulfilling God's purpose and knowledge of things that caused problems or ineffectiveness in purpose. Knowledge of missions: local, national and world-wide Knowledge of Christian ethics in such areas as marriage and family relationships Knowledge to help in making decisions concerning right and wrong TRAINING for SKILLS (teachers can directly influence skills also): Bible skills which help in Bible study, interpretation, etc. Witnessing skills that help to develop relationships with the lost and to make a clear presentation of the Good News of the Messiah Teaching skills that help to prepare Bible lesson plans and for leading learning sessions, which will help to bring about lasting changes in the lives of people. Problem solving skills that will help when faced with difficult situations where there is more than one good or right answer - to make the best choice. This helps train people for making godly decisions. Sermon preparation and devotional preparation skills, etc. Human skills such as1) Administration skills (managerial, planning, motivation skills, etc.) 2) Counseling skills - helping people discover God's leadership in problem solving, in mending broken relationships, and in decision making. TRAINING for ATTITUDES (teachers only indirectly influence attitudes): Having a servant’s heart and attitude like Jesus (Philippians 2:5) Having the attitudes like those described in Matthew 5:1-12 Having proper attitudes about the Lord, the church, the ministry of the Gospel, human worth, sin, material possessions, etc. Servant leaders can have a great effect on the attitudes and character of the future leader, though the influence may only be indirect. As the future leader sees how the servant leader loves others, prays for others, cares for others, etc., he or she will be
greatly influenced to go and do the same. However, some will ask the question: How can I motivate people to want to train and serve the Lord? If this is your question also, perhaps these ten suggestions will help: • Train yourself to be sensitive to the needs of persons. Get to know them, and learn their hopes and fears. Help them to understand their needs as well as their spiritual gifts. Help them live out their calling as a believer in satisfying and fulfilling ways. Create team efforts. It is important for a person to feel that they are a important member of a team. Teamwork gives a person a sense of belonging. It takes real effort to create a team. It also takes a lot of effort to maintain a team. Affirm good work. Each person wants other people to think of him as a person of worth. Perhaps no single thing builds motivation more than to know that someone we respect appreciates us as a person and appreciates the work we are doing. Generate excitement about the church's objective. People want to be a part of a church that is moving and achieving goals. Give future leaders opportunities to really lead. Put them in the forefront, so people can see them and identify them as leaders. Be willing to share responsibility and authority. People want to have authority to make decisions, or at least participate in the decision-making process regarding the work they do. A person's motivation increases when he has been given sufficient decision-making responsibility. Enlist the right person for the task. It takes away a person's motivation to be doing a task he does not enjoy. If a person is not finding personal satisfaction, he should be helped to find another place of service that is more satisfying. Keep working toward goals. As church servant leaders, set personal and organizational goals. Give people your personal attention. Ask them about their joys and their problems. Offer to become involved with them in seeking a solution to their problems. Challenge people to a personal commitment to a task - the church's objective. Continually hold up the task in front of the people as a challenge and seek their involvement in pursuing it.
• • •
The Lord Himself will give you the necessary skills and wisdom for discovering, mentoring and training the potential servant leaders that God has placed under your leadership. As you pray and carefully work toward developing these skills in the people of your church, you will joyfully discover that the more time you spend in training and mentoring, the stronger the leadership becomes.
THE WISDOM OF RECEIVING GOOD COUNSEL
Leaders are often praised for their decision-making abilities. But, wise decisions are rarely decisions made by just one person. Effective servant leaders usually surround themselves with people who can provide accurate and timely information and give insight as to the meaning of that information. These people may offer suggestions and advice about the best course of action to take. In the end, the leader has to make the decision, but getting to that point is usually a team effort.
The Book of Proverbs reflects the need for wise advice (counsel). This is wise counsel not only for leaders but wise counsel for every person who wants to honor God in his life. In fact, Proverbs offers its own principles for making wise use of godly counsel. Let us look briefly at some of the wisdom of Proverbs in the three areas of seeking advice (counsel), selecting advisors and keeping things in perspective. (All Scripture references are from Proverbs) The Value and Wisdom of Seeking Godly Advice (Counsel): Sound advice is a part of wisdom (1:5 and 8:14). Fools despise counsel and refuse to listen to it. They are so convinced that they are right that they do not pay attention to anyone else (1:25 and 1:30). Many counselors offer safety (11:14). Their variety of opinions tends to ensure success (15:22, 20:18 and 24:6). Taking good advice often avoids conflict (13:10). Listening to advice has long-term benefits. Wisdom builds up over time (19:20). It is worth the effort to seek out the advice of wise people (20:5). Selecting Advisors Pick your advisors carefully (12:26 and 13:20). Beware of rumor and gossip—especially when it concerns a close, trusted friend (16:28). Look for people who can honor confidences (17:9). Integrity and courtesy are good qualities in an advisor (22:11 and 27:9). Avoid the opinions of angry people (22:24). Allow people who know your
situation to help you (27:10).
Keeping Things in Perspective
No matter what plans and strategies you devise, the will of God will ultimately prevail (19:21 and 21:30). True friends will tell you the truth (27:6). Closing out this brief section on leaders receiving wise advice, let us briefly look at Proverbs 1:22. The Scripture says: “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” In this passage of Scripture, we read about the simple, the mockers, and fools. The simple are naive, impressionable people who are open to all kinds of influences, both good and bad. Their instability seems to be leading them in the wrong direction. The mockers are those who treat wise counsel with contempt. Nothing is sacred or serious to them. The fools are those who refuse instruction - they are conceited and opinionated in their ignorance. May we always listen carefully to the warnings of God’s Word and become wise servant leaders.
LEADERSHIP BASE – QUANITITY AND QUALITY OF LEADERS
There are great numbers of lost people all around us. The success or failure of reaching the lost is usually in direct proportion to the number of leaders. The more effective servant leaders we have, the more of these lost people we will reach. New groups (new Bible classes, outreach points) are essential to growth. New groups are impossible without more leaders. No local church can sustain growth beyond its base of leadership. By leadership base, we refer both to the number of leaders and to the quality of those leaders. Some churches are not growing. Some have reached a plateau and have ceased to grow. Others experience a series of growth spurts, each followed by slight declines. The result is no growth. Some churches continually add new members, but fail to grow because they seem to lose members as fast as new ones come in. Each of those situations is different. However, each is probably experiencing a leadership crisis. Churches that have reached a plateau, neither growing nor declining, may have leaders who either stopped growing spiritually or who lack vision. Without vision they are unable to see with eyes of faith what God desires for His church. Some leaders are content with the present situation, neither expecting nor desiring their church to grow. Some churches find themselves in a repeating cycle of advance and decline, but with no real growth. They may not have enough leaders (quantity) to sustain
continued growth. Or, their leaders may need further training (quality) to enable them to carry the church to greater heights. Actually, both the quantity and the quality of their leadership need to be improved. The church which constantly adds new members, but loses old members as fast as it gains new ones, is doing a good job of outreach (quantity), but has neglected to balance the situation by also emphasizing quality through discipleship and training. This is the opposite mistake of that made by those static churches that deceived themselves by assuming they can produce quality without increasing quantity. As a church's ministry grows, it needs to have a multiplication at all leadership levels. This can be called the pyramid principle. If you want to build a pyramid taller, you must first widen its base. In the same way, you must extend your leadership base before your church can add more ministries. All growing churches continually work to both widen (increase the quantity) and deepen (increase the quality) their leadership base. This means that they are carrying out an ongoing program of training new servant leaders while continuing to develop the skills of their experienced leaders.
How can we expect believers to become effective servant leaders since very few of them have formal Bible training? This question ignores the fruitful ministry of many pastors, who also have not had the benefit of formal Bible education. It also overlooks the important biblical truth that God gives spiritual gifts to all believers. A spiritual gift is a spiritual ability for Christian service given by the Holy Spirit. Every person is born with God-given natural talents and abilities. In the same way, every person who is born again spiritually is given spiritual abilities, which enable him (or her) to perform ministries to which God calls him. A church has a responsibility to help individuals discover and develop their gifts. We should also help them use those gifts in ministries which serve others and build up the church. Spiritual gifts, like natural abilities, must be discovered and developed. It is important to remember that only born again believers receive spiritual gifts. Every believer has received one or more spiritual gifts. Those gifts are discussed in four separate letters in the New Testament: Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 and 28-30, Ephesians 4:11 and 1 Peter 4:9-11. There are many tasks to be performed in a church's ministries. These many tasks make good use of all the gifts and abilities of its members. Specific spiritual gifts will be dealt with in a separate SALT book [“Doctrine of the Holy Spirit”]. Here our emphasis is that God is trustworthy and always provides the ability necessary for each servant leader to carry out the ministry to which he or she is called. Remember also that the gifts are service gifts. They are not for personal benefit, but rather for the benefit of others and for the church as a whole.
STUDY QUESTIONS: • • • • • • • • • • What is delegation of authority? What does it involve? How much of his life did Moses spend preparing to become Israel’s leader? Where does the primary responsibility for God’s ministry in the world rest? Where do the new leaders in our churches usually come from? In considering people for leadership training, what are five factors to look for? Name at least five kinds of skills that teachers can directly teach or influence. Give at least five ideas for motivating persons to train and serve the Lord. In selecting advisers (counselors), what are two good qualities to look for? What does “leadership base” mean? Can a church grow beyond that? Name the four New Testament passages where spiritual gifts are discussed.
THE TRAINING MINISTRY OF THE PASTOR OR CHURCH LEADER
If the ministry belongs to all believers, then what is the job of the pastor? There is, in some local churches, the idea of the "one man ministry." The pastor is not called to be the one person primarily responsible for doing the ministry in place of others. The designation "pastor" means that he is to guide in the work of ministry. The pastor, as a believer, has a ministry similar to that of all other believers. God has also given him a special call to become a training minister, with the task of training (mentoring) the other believers for their ministries. The pastor must show how something is done. Then, by teaching and training, he helps others develop the necessary skills they need to do the task or ministry themselves. Pastors are to preach (Acts 15:32), train (Ephesians 4:12), oversee (1 Timothy 3:1), shepherd (1 Peter 5:2-3), evangelize (2 Timothy 4:5), and direct the affairs of the church (1 Timothy 5:17). All of those functions point to one central task – the pastor is to help the believers grow into maturity. Then each believer is able to minister effectively according to his or her gifts. Only a pastor who sees his role in this way will be able to coordinate all that goes on in the life of the church. The difference in the ministry of the pastor/elder and the ministry of the member is primarily in form, not in importance or significance. The ministry of training the believers is not a higher, but rather a different kind of ministry. First, the believers must be trained and encouraged to perform their ministry in the world. Then as they begin to minister, the church will grow. If the shepherd fails to train the flock, God's redemptive purpose of building up the body of the Messiah, both in quantity and in quality, will be hampered. The training/mentoring ministry of the leader requires skill, knowledge and sensitivity to people's needs. In addition, the pastor must be sensitive to the leadership of the Lord. The role of the pastor [as a servant leader] is strengthened, not weakened, by the New Testament teaching of the priesthood of believers [see section XIII. B. -page 34]. Thus, the role of the pastor becomes more, not less, necessary. The pastor will gain much more love, appreciation and respect by training his people than by
asserting his position and authority over them, and doing all of the work himself. The success of a pastor is not to be measured by how much he can do, but by how well he can train and motivate others. Many pastor/church leaders fail because they are unwilling to give responsibilities and authority to the brothers and sisters. Those pastors insist on doing all the important things themselves. They ask the members to do mainly the simple, ordinary tasks of the church. A famous pastor once said, "It is much better to put ten men to work than to attempt to do the work of ten men." Now, let us examine some of the Biblical guidelines concerning the pastor/church leader and his training ministry. The clearest statement of the pastor's training task is found in Paul's letter to the Ephesians (4:11-12): “It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of the Messiah may be built up.” [Note: In verse 11, the word “evangelists” literally means “one who preaches good news” or “one who brings the gospel message.” These are believers who are given the gift of evangelism. Those believers with this gift have a unique ability to present the gospel effectively to unbelievers, and a unique ability to train other believers in evangelism, thus making it possible for all of us to be a part of the work of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–20).] The words “pastors” and “teachers” are combined in the Greek text and the word should read “pastor-teachers.” This indicates that a pastor-teacher has a dual function: 1) He pastors in overseeing his flock’s spiritual lives, and 2) He teaches by instructing them in the Word. This verse tells the purpose for all of the gifted individuals mentioned. Their responsibility is the preparation of God’s people for works of service. That is, to train the believers of the Body to do the work of the ministry. The aim of this ministry of service is for the edifying of the body of Jesus, that is, to build up the church numerically and spiritually. When we understand this Scripture correctly, it is clear that the ministry of the pastor is to help believers grow toward spiritual maturity and to train them to minister. The work of the ministry (of fulfilling God's mission in the world) is the responsibility of all believers. In that way, the body of Jesus will be built up. In 1 Corinthians chapter 12, we also find the Word speaking about the ministry belonging to all believers. The description of the body of the church makes this a necessity. The members are given a variety of spiritual gifts and ministry functions. Each member is individually important. And each member is inter-dependent on all the others. Only as all the saints are equipped for ministry can there be maximum effectiveness. Each believer will develop at a different pace. The incoming of new believers continually calls for the training process to begin again and again. At the same time, the church will continue to disciple and train its more mature members. Thus, a church is like a miniature Bible school, or a training camp for its ministers. The pastor becomes the chief trainer, but not the only one. He serves as the trainer for the entire congregation through preaching, teaching and other activities. At times, he also mentors and trains individuals and groups in specialized
areas. [Review “Spiritual Mentoring,” section IX, page 21] As a trainer and mentor, the pastor will need the constant guidance of the Holy Spirit as he encourages, stimulates, affirms and influences those he leads. The task of training is almost overwhelming. However, we can expect our Lord to enable us to fulfill His high calling. Let us look again at the example of Moses. The Example of the Training Ministry of Moses Remember when we earlier studied about Jethro and Moses in the section on “Authority?” [pages 30 and 31] Jethro asked Moses why he was trying to do everything himself. He said that the situation was not good because Moses would soon exhaust himself unnecessarily. Jethro told Moses that others must be trained and given responsibilities. Basically, Jethro prescribed a training ministry for Moses. As you begin to train your people for the task of ministry, keep in mind these simple suggestions that Jethro gave to Moses [All Scripture references are from Exodus 18]: Pray for the people – “You must be the people’s representative before God” (verse 19). Teach them the Word of God - the “decrees and laws” (verse 20). Show them the way a believer should live – “show them the way to live” (verse 20). Show them the work – “the duties they are to perform” (verse 20). Organize them into manageable groups (verse 21). Choose qualified men from among the people to lead each group -“capable men…men who fear God…trustworthy men” (verse 21). Give the chosen leaders authority to make decisions and to do their work “Have them serve as judges…at all times” (verse 22). Remember that Moses, as the chief leader, was to deal with only those matters too difficult for the lower leadership to decide. He trusted and respected their abilities and gave them authority to go along with their responsibility (verse 22). The Example of the Training Ministry of Jesus Finally, Jesus' training of His disciples provides the best model of the training minister. When Jesus began His ministry, He did not go out and choose disciples from the “religious professionals” of His day. Instead, He recruited twelve very ordinary men from all kinds of backgrounds. To these men, who lacked the training of the rabbis or the prestige of the priesthood, He said, "You are the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world" (Matthew 5:13-14). On those men rested the survival of His movement.
There are at least eight key points we should see in the methods Jesus used: The Lord called only a few men to follow Him. This reveals His plan to carry the Good News to men. His main thoughts and efforts were not directed to reach the crowds, but to men whom crowds would follow. After He called His men, all the Lord did to teach His way to those men was to draw them close to Himself. In the second and third years of public ministry, Jesus gave even more time to His chosen disciples. Without any outward show, unnoticed by the world, Jesus trained men to be His witnesses after His ascension. Jesus also trained others, but He gave special attention to the Twelve. Even among the Twelve, He gave special training to three disciples: Peter, James and John. Jesus expected His disciples to obey Him, even as He obeyed the will of the Father (John 14:15). Jesus gave Himself to them (John 15:13), and He gave them the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). Jesus showed them how to live – the way of a servant (John 13:15). Jesus gave them work to do. He sent the seventy out two by two to preach the Good News of the kingdom (Luke 10:1). He never gave them tasks for which He had not prepared them. Jesus kept watch over them to keep His purpose (mission) before them. Jesus expected them to make other disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). The growth of the early church and the spreading of the gospel all over the world are testimony to the wisdom of the basic training strategy Jesus carried out. If the twelve had looked upon themselves as the “only ministers,” as do some modern pastors, they would have soon been overwhelmed by the task, as the number of believers rapidly grew from 120 to 3000 to 5000 - and more. But, they continually led the church to choose others to share the work with them, as we see in Acts 6:1-7. Jesus' idea of a training ministry was being practiced!
We must take care not to lower our biblical standards for leadership. However, we will rarely see those leadership qualities fully developed in potential leaders. A sapling tree is no less a tree than a fully-grown tree, but the young tree is not yet ready for lumber. It takes patient spiritual nurture, leadership training by example and mentoring, and meaningful guided experiences to enable potential leaders to grow into the leaders we envision. We must not be satisfied with just training leaders. We really want to train leaders who will train others as leaders. Remember the words from 2 Timothy 2:2:
“Entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” To train leaders we only need to teach skills, but to train leaders who will train others as leaders, we must also transmit attitudes and vision. An example is the attitude of servanthood and the vision of seeing other people developing in the likeness of the Messiah and being trained for service. We must also train people to think for themselves under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If they simply memorize what we, their teachers, have said, we are simply training followers, not leaders. We want to produce servant leaders of great faith who can attract loyal followers. We want servant leaders who are able to motivate their followers to participate in the setting of goals and work together to attain those goals. We want leaders who have the ability to make things happen. True servant leaders create an environment within which each person serving with him is encouraged and stimulated to realize his fullest potential and contribute meaningfully to his Lord and his church. Outstanding results cannot be forced out of people. These results occur only when individuals work together under a leader's stimulation and inspiration in striving toward a worthy common goal. Some pastors and church leaders say that they just do not have time for a training and mentoring ministry. Why don't they have time? It is because there is too much work and too few helpers. That is exactly why pastors must TAKE THE TIME to train others and then put them to work. That is the pastor's only hope of ever having enough time to properly serve the Lord. Pastors should spend the majority of their time with leaders and potential leaders, and less time with problem people who otherwise would take up most of his time. Jesus spent time meeting people's needs, but He spent most of His time with His disciples. Jesus knew that the only way to perpetuate truth was to pass it on. Therefore, He set out to train His disciples. We too must come to that same understanding and follow in our Master's steps. Servant leaders must believe in training as necessary for all believers. We must not only believe it, but we must also take all necessary steps to see that it is carried out. Remember two general principles: (1) People generally go only where their leaders lead or allow them to go. (2) We can influence and lead others only as far as we ourselves have gone and are willing to go. The servant leader who will be successful is one who leads not by merely pointing the way to others, but by having successfully traveled the path himself. We are leaders only to the extent that we inspire others to follow us. Nehemiah is a good example for pastors and servant leaders. He was a leader of leaders. He was a good administrator because he knew what needed to be done, how the work could be accomplished and who was to do what task. Nehemiah was a good planner. He developed clear goals and plans of action to carry out those goals. He got the people to help. Nehemiah was also a good problem solver, making adjustments in
the work plans along the way to keep the project moving toward the goal. Nehemiah was a successful motivator. He mobilized the people to action even in the face of opposition. He delegated tasks and responsibilities and supervised the project to completion. Nehemiah is a good model of a leader. [Appendix B] Most pastors want to be the leader God has called them to be. In our more spiritual moments we acknowledge the truth of the biblical concept that to lead is to serve. The problem, however, is our lack of the doing this on an everyday basis. To serve God, we must serve others as Jesus did. Servant leaders, especially pastors, must offer their own lives on the altar to God in service to others. God's word says: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus the Messiah laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers” (1 John 3:16). In nothing does a pastor serve his people more than when he trains them for full membership in God's redeemed society. Such a servant leader understands that training all of the saints for servant ministry is the road that leads to the building up of the body of Jesus (the Church), and finally “Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of the Messiah" (Ephesians 4:13). What kind of legacy will you leave behind when your days are finished upon this earth? Each of us one day will have to give an account of our lives before God (Romans 14:12). We will see our lives as an open book before the Lord, and we will be judged accordingly. What will count the most in that moment of eternity? The legacy that we leave behind is basically up to our choosing. A life of service will leave a legacy of influence. The greater the service, the greater the legacy. The way you serve others is the way you will be remembered on earth and the criterion upon which you will be rewarded in heaven. Make your life count. Serve God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength today….and every day! We dare not be anything less than the people whom God has called us to be - SERVANTS! Amen.
APPENDIX A MENTORING IN THE EARLY CHURCH
TITUS JOHN MARK Acts 15:36-41
ELDERS OLDER MEN – YOUNG MEN OLDER WOMEN – YOUNG WOMEN SMYRNA PERGAMOS THYATIRA SARDIS PHILADELPHIA LAODICEA
Acts 9:26-30; 11:22-30
16:1-5 1 & 2 Timothy
FAITHFUL MEN & OTHERS 2 Timothy 2: 2
CHURCH OF EPHESUS 1 Timothy 1:3
Acts 9:10-19 Acts 11:25-30 13:1-3 14:21-28 15:30-35
PRISCILLA & AQUILA
APPENDIX B – LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES FROM NEHEMIAH [All Scripture references are from Nehemiah] Principle # 1 - Leaders Have a Sense of Mission (1:3) Leaders must know where they want to go. This sense of mission helps to guide their decisions and determine their strategy. Nehemiah’s mission grew out of his knowledge of the Law and his awareness that the destruction of Jerusalem had come about through God’s judgment of his people’s sins (1:5–8). At the same time, he knew that God was willing to forgive their sins and restore them to the land (1:9). Therefore Nehemiah determined that he would help to rebuild Jerusalem, in accordance with the Lord’s promises, and he began to devise a strategy toward that end (1:10–11). It is important to note that Nehemiah did not dream up a sense of mission out of his own self-interest. He responded to the news of Jerusalem’s situation with tears, prayer, fasting, humility and seeking the Lord’s will (1:4). As he prepared to go before the king, he probably did not know exactly what he should say or do, only that he needed to go to Jerusalem. Nor could he have known all that he would encounter once he arrived at the ruined city. Nevertheless, convinced that God wanted the Holy City to be revived, Nehemiah stepped forward, and his leadership was strategic. If you are in a leadership position, have you identified your mission? Is it a worthwhile task? Is it something that you believe God wants you to accomplish? Principle # 2 – Leaders Pray and Plan, then go to Work (2:12) A missile without a guidance system is a dangerous thing: all power and no direction. It is the same way with leaders who don’t know where they are going. That’s why people in leadership positions must pray, plan and gather the right kind of information, so that they can make wise choices about which path to pursue. Before he launched his plan to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah prayed and planned about the task at hand. He quietly walked around the city by night, without anyone knowing, surveying the extent of the problem and perhaps formulating some possible strategies (2:11–15). Nehemiah’s actions were especially appropriate given that he was a new member of the community. As a representative of the king, he could have come in with trumpets blaring and declared what his expectations were. Instead, he kept his thoughts to himself and avoided attracting attention until he had formulated a plan. If you are in a position of leadership, do you take the time to pray, plan and gather the kind of information you need to make decisions? Are your decisions informed and based on reality? Or do you assume that the power of your position is all that is required to bring about the results you seek?
Principle # 3 – Leaders Participate in the Work (2:17–18) In many countries today, the labor force often is sharply divided between management and labor. One problem of this rigid distinction is that it tends to create a mentality of “us” versus “them.” But history shows us that most of the greatest achievements have been accomplished by people working together. Nehemiah understood the power of working together as a team when he undertook the task of rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls. After surveying the situation, he gathered the people and gave a speech in which he inspired the people to begin the rebuilding project. First, he said that something should be done then he instilled confidence in them that something could be done—by them (2:17–18). It is interesting to notice that Nehemiah spoke in terms of “we” and “us,” even though in his written account he used “they” and “them.” Clearly he saw himself as a participant in the work, even though he had just arrived from the royal palace. In fact, he bridged the gap between him and his people by sharing the discussion he had with the king, thereby showing that the people had a friend in the emperor’s court. If you are in a leadership position, have you learned how to break down walls that divide, and instead build unity among the people? Like Nehemiah, do you know how to overcome communication barriers? Do you address individuals and families by name, involve people right where they live, respect their limitations, and take a personal interest in their circumstances? Principle # 4 – Leaders Adapt to Adversity (4:8–9) Many people run away from adversity, but wise leaders expect it! Wherever change and progress are underway, there will most likely be problems. At that point, leaders must decide whether they will accept the challenge and meet it, or turn away and let their opponents control the situation. Nehemiah’s adversaries were a group of Jews from racially mixed backgrounds and Gentiles who had an interest in seeing that Jerusalem remained unprotected (4:7). During the seventy years of Judah’s exile, they had established dominance over those left behind. Therefore, Nehemiah’s plan to rebuild the walls and revitalize the city threatened to end their monopoly of the city. Nehemiah responded to their opposition with faith and prayer and resistance. While he was on the defense against attack, he always kept on working. Thus, he adapted to adversity rather than run from it or over react to it. God eventually rewarded Nehemiah’s perseverance with the completion of the wall (6:15). If you are in a position of leadership, how do you respond to opposition and problems? Are you strengthened by your faith and confident that God will see you through? Do you respond to the opposition in appropriate ways, taking practical steps to ensure that the task goes forward, even as others may try to stop you?
Principle # 5 - Leaders Resist Evil Opposition (6:5–9) Having failed to intimidate Nehemiah to stop the work of rebuilding Jerusalem’s wall, Sanballat and his friends tried to discredit the good name of Nehemiah in order to shut the project down (6:5–7). Frustrated opponents often resort to that approach when other methods have proven useless. The Bible does not explain how Nehemiah remained so calm even in the midst of all this opposition. He apparently took no steps to prevent his opponents’ letters from reaching the king. However, it is possible that he was relying on his years of trustworthy service as the king’s cupbearer. He might have known that he had the full trust of King Artaxerxes, who would quickly see through the deception of anyone who accused Nehemiah of evildoing. He also knew the process by which letters such as those Sanballat had written would be read and evaluated. In summary, Nehemiah had a clear conscience and a very good reputation. Thus, no amount of opposition could cause him to lose heart. It is worth noticing that Nehemiah did not resort to evil tactics. He probably could have come up with many accusations against his opponents. But rather than waste time on arguments that would have distracted him from the work on the wall, he prayed and ignored the things happening outside the city. If you are in a position of leadership, are you resistant to the evil tactics of your opponents? Do you maintain your integrity, so that there can be no ground for accusation against you? Do you resist the temptation to fight back? Principle # 6 - Leaders Serve People (7:1) Some people regard leadership primarily as the art of getting results. Great leaders, they say, are those who get the job done. It matters very little how they operate, as long as they achieve their goals. But when we examine the great leaders of the Bible, we find that they not only accomplished much, but they also served people. Nehemiah illustrates this principle well. His project of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem was never an end in itself. The ultimate objective was to revitalize the people of Israel and return them to their covenant with God. To that end, after the wall was completed, Nehemiah turned the city’s management over to local government leaders (7:1–2). He did not create dependency on his own skills, nor did he use the project to gain wealth or fame for himself (5:18). Instead, right from the beginning, Nehemiah began the process of turning over the management of Jerusalem to others. Nehemiah also helped the people trace their roots by reviewing the census taken twenty-five years earlier in Ezra’s time (7:5, Ezra 2). That was the beginning of repopulating the city (11:1–2) and continuing the process of revitalizing the city. If you are in a position of leadership, what is your attitude toward the people you lead? Are you concerned about the task only, or do you see people as the ultimate beneficiaries? If so, in what ways might you serve those who work with you,
over you, or for you, so that they gain from the process even as they carry out the work? Principle # 7 - Leaders Celebrate Often (8:1) Effective servant leaders appreciate the value of celebrating the great things that God has done in and through their organization. When the task is completed, when results have been achieved, when people have been served, then it is appropriate to take time to celebrate. That is what Nehemiah did when the people completed the rebuilding of the wall (8:1, 10). First, he had Ezra read from the Law—the motivation for Nehemiah’s mission in the first place. God’s Word brought about a godly sorrow (9:1–3), but also genuine joy (8:10–12). With heartfelt praise, choice food and a chorus of praise, the community rejoiced in the Lord for the work that He had accomplished. One interesting sidelight to the celebration was Nehemiah’s instruction to “send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared” (8:10). In other words, bring the poor to the celebration! Share the wealth. No one should be deprived of joy just because he cannot afford even a small meal. If you are in a leadership position, do you know how to celebrate your group’s accomplishments? In the end, celebration can be a way of worshiping the Lord, because He is the source of all good gifts. We can praise him for giving us a task and the means to accomplish it.
APPENDIX C – WORD PICTURES OF A SERVANT LEADER The New Testament is filled with “word pictures” that illustrate Biblical truths and principles. Jesus was a master at word pictures with His parables that illustrate truths about the kingdom of God. 2 Timothy 2:2 – 6, give four word pictures of servant leaders in the kingdom. Each picture illustrates the character necessary for the leadership of God’s people. Let’s examine these four beautiful word pictures from the Lord Jesus. The Teacher (verse 2) The servant leader is a teacher. He educates, mentors and counsels. As a mentor, he is a wise and trusted counselor. He helps students establish personal discipline and he is patient in giving instruction. He himself is teachable and he never stops learning. He can learn from any person or circumstance. He helps to prepare the next generation for leadership as he mentors young leaders. And they also never stop learning. His young students then proceed to mentor and teach others. The Soldier (verses 3 and 4) The servant leader is a soldier. Soldiers suffer hardship. They expect adversity and are not overwhelmed by it when it comes. Soldiers are disciplined. They are separated from civilian affairs in order to focus on their duties. Soldiers are involved in warfare. They do not allow other activities to reduce their effectiveness. Soldiers are under authority – they go where they are assigned and do what they are ordered to do (see also Luke 7:1 - 10, the Roman centurion). Soldiers live to please their superiors. Submission to authority is a primary characteristic of soldiers. The Athlete (verse 5) The servant leader is an athlete. Athletes compete according to the rules. Athletes are constantly in training. They live disciplined lives. Athletes compete under the authority of a referee or judge. They know they will give an account to the judge for their actions (Romans 14:12). The Farmer (verse 6) The servant leader is a farmer. A farmer breaks up the soil, prepares the soil, cultivates the crop and gets it ready for the harvest. He prepares well. Farmers work hard. They are not afraid of hard labor. A farmer is patient. He waits for seasons to arrive, for rains to come, for plants to grow and for the harvest to come. A farmer seizes the opportune moment. He is ready when it is time to plant, cultivate and harvest. Thus, the servant leader prepares well, works hard, serves patiently and is ready for every ministry opportunity.
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