Sunday, October 23, 2005

Being a Leader

In thinking about the Trinity, I've begun to think about mine and Eric's role as leaders in our small group ministry in our church.

If we are to have community on Earth as it is done in Heaven, what does that look like?

How did Jesus maintain intimacy with his followers while in a position of leadership?

Is it possible to have the highest form of intimacy within a heirarchy?

I think "servant leadership" has become an overused term. Too often people think that they area being servant leaders when they speak in a polite tone of voice as they give orders.

Eric and I have found that many of the conflicts we've encountered as small group leaders disappear when we just think of ourselves as servants. We have had to deal with conflict in our hometeam, but we've tried to address it in a way that addresses the other individual as an equal, not a subordinate.

But I don't think we really understand what we signed up for when we made a commitment to Christ. As Christians we aren't controlled by rules or laws or three step programs, but our love for God and others.

At the same time, I've experienced the benefit of "maps", rules I've made for myself, etc. in carrying out God's will that we love Him and love others. And therein lies the tension.

Regardless, God didn't use Amway as his model for the Church. He uses the body. As leaders in the church maybe it means being the best of all servants. When a runner runs a race, parts of the body minimize their movements to conserve energy. Other parts of the body align to propel the body forward. All parts "submit" to one another to win the race. Perhaps we could argue that all parts submit to the feet!

In the church, leadership may mean reaching down, pulling others up and putting them on a higher pedestal than yourself. Actually, all parts submit to Christ and to each other. In theory this should produce an abundance of service and grace. A place where rigid processes, or rules are not needed.

For Eric and I viewing ourselves as typical leaders would make small group leadership a very lonely place. We would not have a group of peers to associate with, nor would we have the intimacy people long for in a small group. I look for ways to defer to members of the group, I seek their counsel in areas where I know they possess a wisdom I lack. Eric and I struggle to maintain authenticity in our group. Eric is very good at this. I'm more private, and sometimes I hold back.

But perhaps we have looked too much at Earthly, instead of Heavenly, examples of leadership.

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