Servants Vs Leaders ??
It was indeed a joy to hear from Bishop Dr. Hwa Yung (IFES Chair) on the topic “Servant” Vs “Leaders” at the South Asia Regional Support Group meeting last month. “Servant Leadership” is a common usage among evangelicals and the world at large now. However, does the Bible put these two words together any time? Are we at any time called to train “leaders”? These and several similar questions made us to think as we studied for the application of Mark 10:35-45 where James and John came to Jesus and said, “Teacher we want you to do for us whatever we ask”. Leadership and making of leaders is a hot topic in the world, whereas we the Disciples of Christ should stay focused on improving our levels of godliness and servanthood. It requires courage to submit and to serve –courage to get over the fear of being counted as a servant (or a slave as the Bible puts it in that context). But it is the levels of servanthood that we should progress in our walk with the Lord.
Bishop Dr Hwa quoted Bishop Stephen Neill (who served in India during most of his ministerial years). “If we set out to produce a set of leaders, what we shall succeed in doing is probably to produce a race of restless, ambitious, and discontented intellectuals. To tell a man he is called to be a leader is the best way of ensuring his spiritual ruin, since Christian world ambition is more deadly than any other sin, and if yielded to, makes a man unprofitable in the ministry. The most important thing today is the spiritual rather than intellectual quality of those indigenous Christians who are called to bear responsibility in the younger Churches” (Bishop Stephen Neill, cited in Sanders, Spiritual Leadership, 1994, P 148)
There is indeed a caution that we need to be mindful of as we train young lives. Let us be focused on training in servanthood, deepening its levels for it has been such servants who became useful in His hands for His purposes. Shouldn’t we consider Servanthood Training as a focus in the world of Leadership Trainings?
Further, in another session Bishop Hwa spoke on true spiritual authority. Yes, true servants of God have commanded a lot of authority (though they were humble simple servants). Where did such spiritual authority came from?
In John’s gospel Jesus mentioned that he had no authority of his own but was totally dependent on the Father in his incarnate state. Here we see
• Jesus’ total submission to the Father to do only what the Father commanded Him to do!
• Jesus was also obedient to those the Father put over Him! (Lk 2:48,52)
By submission to the Father’s will, we see Jesus’ victory over the temptations brought by the devil in the wilderness
Jesus claimed no authority of His own (Jn 5:19) but humbled himself totally. Therefore the Father exalted Him to the position of highest honor (Phil 2:5, 11). Obedience and submission is the path to true spiritual authority.
Let us keep thinking on these key aspects of the life of our ministry, focusing to develop true godliness and servanthood among us and through us to the generations to come and have the joy of such servants being used by the Lord for His transformative work in this world.
It was a joy for me to be with the newly appointed Staff undergoing training in Highfield Kotagri. Let us be in prayer for them as they prepare to serve. Let us also pray for the forthcoming NGC in Dimapur this month. It is encouraging to see the enthusiasm in the community to come together in fellowship. Let us pray for all the teams and that this conference will help us to charge again as a community to mentor servants to impact our campuses, nation and the world.
We are in December, let us praise God for the faithfulness for the past 11 months. God has been gracious to us as individuals, families and as a movement. There were ups and down but we know that God is seated on the throne and He works out all things for good for those who love Him. As we have come to the end of 2018 let us take time to count the blessings and name them one by one and rededicate ourselves for the things that God wants us to do in the New Year.
Wish you all a meaningful Christmas Season and a Blessed New year 2019!
In His Mission