DISCLAIMER: This is a rant/ramble post. It’s sole purpose is to get thoughts out of my head so that I can process them better. It is an idea generation post, so I would be welcome to any input/response you have while reading it. Thank you.
A few weeks ago, the Lord spoke to me as I was praying. “You have a leadership crisis.” Being slow on the uptake I said, “I know!” I am still processing His reply (hence these posts), for He said, “No, you don’t understand. You have too many leaders, too many people doing what they want to do. I want people who want to do what I want to do. You need to get rid of ‘leadership’ and become ‘leader-sheep.'” Hmmmm.
Leader-sheep… My friend Marty uses the term “first followers.” Paul says “Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ,” 1 Cor. 11:1. Follow me as I follow Christ, that is about as iron-clad a definition of Biblical leader-sheep as I can find. We are the sheep, Jesus, and Jesus alone, is the Good Shepherd. I’m not interested in parsing Greek, but I will say that Matthew 23:10 is better translated, “Don’t let anyone call you ‘leader’ for you have one leader, Christ.”
Follow me as I follow Christ – my wife, Amy, is a very wise woman. She simplifies the whole of Christian discipleship to this, “Listen and Obey.” Listen to the Word of God, be that through the Bible, prayer or Holy Spirit – and then do it. There is no need to complicate. It is my firm belief that following Jesus should get simpler as time goes on.
Call me crazy, but I take Jesus very seriously when He said, “I will build My Church…” (Matt. 16:18) The people I am privileged to pastor… they are His, not mine. The ministry I do… it is His, not mine – I simply do my best to partner with what He is doing. He will build His Church, He will be our Shepherd and the Spirit our Teacher and Guide. I study the book of Revelation a lot. I love the opening letters to the churches, specifically one phrase “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Hahaha. The Spirit speaks and gives direction to the churches! The Spirit gives concrete, locally applicable advice to each and every church so that it will be acceptable in Jesus’ sight and complete in the eyes of God.
The Israelites wandered in the desert for 80 years in order to get to the Promised Land. The journey should have taken them less than a week. So what took them so long? They were following the Presence of God. Our God is Process-Oriented, not Goal-Oriented. If Moses had been a goal oriented leader, he would have abandoned the Presence and set out for the Promise. After all, the Lord had promised Canaan to Israel, they would just be speeding up the process.
We in the Church know that the Kingdom of Heaven will come to the Earth when Jesus returns… not before then. We can exert a lot of influence in the world today, but it will always be far short of the Kingdom. God actually challenged Moses in Exodus 33 to go to the Promised Land without Him. God said He would pave the way and give the Israelites all they thought they wanted, but He wouldn’t be with them. Moses refused. I wonder if ‘leaders’ today would refuse? Are we more interested in building our resumes and putting notches in our belts than being with God? I hope not. But I wonder if we would even notice if we parted ways with the Almighty.
My hope for the church I serve is that we would so order our lives that things would fall apart if God didn’t “show up.” If God’s Presence isn’t with us, I want us to fail. Phew, I said it. How dangerous would it be for us to “succeed” outside of His Presence?
I think this vein is tapped out, but I would still love your insights. If you have too much to say that it wont fit in a comment, write a blog response and link it in the comments. Or, you can always find me on Facebook and send a message. Thanks friends!