“Servants & Leaders … Called to be Different”

The world is full of people who seek power, possessions, and prestige.  It was as true in Jesus’ day as it is for us today.  Thus, Jesus’ critique and rejection of worldly values and leadership practices remain eternally relevant.  With the words “not so with you,” Jesus draws a clear line between how the world leads and how He and His disciples served and led.  He expects us to be different and to follow His mandate and example of choosing humble service for the benefit of others.

“Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.”  Mark 10:43-44

During this year’s Laity Session at Annual Conference, the attendees watched an introductory video, Chuck Knows Church #3 – Our Purpose; followed by observing a mock meeting of the Committee on Nominations and Leadership Development.  The meeting (supposedly chaired by the pastor) begins with the lay leader running in and saying, “I know this is your first meeting with us so I want you to know that we will be quick.  We usually take our list of committees and divide them amongst ourselves and call the current chair to see if they’ll continue in this position for another year.  If they say ‘no,’ we first beg them to say ‘yes.’  If that fails, then we call someone else we know and ask them to take the position.  I usually tell them that it isn’t a big job and not much is needed to be done – we just need to have a name to fill-in for Charge Conference!”

Thankfully, the scene then shifts with the arrival of a recent graduate of lay servant training who reminds the group, “… we are supposed to fill the chairs and members of each committee by identifying members’ spiritual gifts and abilities – it’s even stated in the Book of Discipline.”  What followed was an exploration and identification of a variety of spiritual gifts that could be found in the local church, not as a position of power and prestige, but rather an outreach service where gifts from God are shared each and every day.

I was blessed to be asked to then recognize our servants and leaders in the church with the following words of encouragement and challenge.  “Dear friends, you have been called by God and chosen by the people of God for service and leadership in the church.  This ministry is both a blessing and a serious responsibility.  It recognizes your special gifts and calls you to work among us and for us.  In love we thank you for accepting your obligation and challenge you to offer your best to the Lord, to His people, and to our ministry in the world.  Live a life in Christ and make Him known in your witness and your work as servants and leaders.  Amen”

John Meeuwissen, Lay Leader