I was teaching in rural Kenya on a tea plantation late last year when a network leader asked me..."Can you please help our leaders see the need for humility in church planting and that it is not all about them feeling important?" Sure, I thought. This is lesson I have been learning the hard way for the last 4-5 years! I would be happy to. So, I grabbed my notebook and jotted down 7 quick thoughts. Here they are....expanded a bit. 1. You are not the big deal. Jesus is. It is so easy for a leader to begin to think more highly of themselves than he/she ought to. Our task is to make much of Jesus! He loves to use us, but he does not love to share His glory. He is the main event. The chief end. (Colossians 1:17)
2. Come as a child and you'll be a father/mother. In the Kingdom of God things are always standing on their “cultural head". The greatest is the least. The least is the greatest. In leadership, you will gain more authority coming as a child, than in strength as an adult. Childlike faith leads to fatherly authority when it’s lived out in weakness that trusts fully in Jesus. His strength becomes perfect in us and we end up being spiritual parents without having tried by lording it over.
3. Get weak. Not strong. Same deal here. We traditionally think that leadership = strength. And by the world’s standards it does. But as godly leaders, we, like Paul, say that …. His strength is perfect in our weakness. (I Cor. 12:9)
4. It's about who you're following not who you're leading. I used to read every Maxwell book I could find. I used to believe the famous motto: You are only a leader if people are following you. Maybe. Maybe not. I am learning that the true sign of leadership is how much of yourself you can give away to others so they can GO farther and do more than you. So, what actually ends up happening is that you wind up following them. Not them following you. If we are “Apostolic Senders” - we will not be left with a bunch of people behind us. At least, it will not be the sign of success. Actually, it may be just the opposite.
5. Exercise power under people, not power over. True power, strength and impact in leadership comes when I kneel before you and wash your feet (Matt 20:28). It is about the power I have below you in service, not the power I have above you in influence or control. This is Kingdom leadership. There is certainly power. Watch how Jesus led. He changed the world with this type of leadership. Why have we ever abandoned it?
6. It’s about who you send, not who you collect. Bigger is not better in the “great commission business”! Further and deeper and broader is. The mark of a godly leader is found in how many people he has poured himself into and sent out for the purposes of the mission of God. Certainly NOT in how many he or she can gather at once to follow them or listen to them.
7. Pastoring is not the goal. Fathering a movement is. I know many frustrated pastors. And almost every time it is for the same reason. They are not called to be a Pastor/Shepherd. They are called to be an apostle. Or an evangelist. Or a Prophet. But most often, leaders that are dissatisfied are feeling such because there is more that the Lord has made them for. Perhaps they are called to “Father a movement”, not “Pastor a church”! There is a massive difference.