The Legacy Builder
- Timeless Principles for Leaders in the Church
A New Paradigm of Leadership in the Church
This Seminar seeks to clarify our understanding of the nature of leadership. We understand the complexity of leadership theory, definitions, and practice. However, we find it useful to adopt the following definition with the hope it will clarify our beliefs and mission to others.
Christian leadership is a dynamic relational process in which people, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, partner to achieve a common goal - it is serving others by leading and leading others by serving.
We offer this definition as a way of inviting an ongoing dialogue that improves our understanding with the intent of strengthening our practice.
A Biblical Model of Servant Leadership
We believe that Christian Leadership is ultimately expressed through the life and words of Jesus as expressed in the Bible. We take the radical view presented in Philippians 2 that Jesus came to this world to demonstrate the character of God. In doing so, he demonstrated the highest form of leadership, the leadership provided by a servant-more to the point, a bondservant, one who presents himself to another in servitude.
"Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort provided by love, any fellowship in the spirit, any affection or mercy, complete my joy and be of the same mind, by having the same love, being united in spirit, and having one purpose. Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity each of you should in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave1 by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death-even the death of the cross!" (Philippians 2:1-7).
A better translation of verse 6 is "precisely because he was God, he became a servant". Thus, it is the essential nature of God to be a servant, not an exception to His nature.
We believe that one of the fundamental characteristics of God is to become such a servant. We believe that God, in Christ, demonstrates this aspect of His character in sending Jesus to be our Guide and Model, as well as our Savior.
This concept is expanded by the words of Jesus in Matthew 20:26-28 and Matthew 23:11-12.
"It must not be this way among you! Instead whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave-just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20: 26-28)
"The greatest among you will be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted". (Matthew 23:11-12)
Again, the word translated "slave" is more accurately interpreted as a "bondservant," one who, because of personal debt, pledges himself or herself in servitude to another.