Not “How Can I Lead?” but “How Can I Serve?”

We are called to be servants who help people to see God more clearly, rather than helping people to see us.

I see a lot of people, especially young people, who want to be noticed, who want to do big church growth and write about it, who want to be in charge and preach and teach, but who seem much less interested in welcoming difficult newcomers, journeying with people through pain, and pitching in with Sunday School. Perhaps I’m wrong. I’d love to be wrong.

 

There are many unhealthy aspects of the Christian “celebrity culture” that has infiltrated almost every corner of the church, but one of the most deadly may be one of the least addressed: the need to be noticed. It seems to me that all too often, the need to be noticed masquerades as leadership.

I once heard an individual go a struggling church leader and offer help if he needed “someone to lead things or run things.” I knew of another, more mature individual who offered his help as “anything you need; anything at all.” While this is only one incident, I have seen evidence of or heard tell of many others like it. And it makes me wonder if we have come to a place where “leaders” have replaced servants, and service has been detached from real, Christ-like leadership.

There’s a couple at a little country church where my Dad does regular pulpit supply. They’re roughly eighty, though they certainly don’t seem like it. She was a school teacher; he worked in some capacity for city public works. I found out on our most recent visit that they have been faithful members of that congregation for fifty-five years. In the absence of a regular minister the last several years, they have in large part been the main contact for the church: their number as the contact number, their email that receives congregational news and information and inquiries, their effort that brings together the worship schedule and updates and announcements, and (I’m sure) a dozen other tasks that help to keep this church spinning. And nearly every week they invite back to their home or out for lunch whoever is guest preaching for them that Sunday. They do it for free. They do it unapplauded. They do it joyfully. They do it faithfully.

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