Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Top Down Leadership

DISCUSSIONS - 12:04am Feb 18, 2008 EST -

Question: Who gets to lead in a team environment? Not to be short, but “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Matt. 23:11). I know that's a loaded answer.

Luke 22:25-26 fills it out more.

[25] Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. [26] But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.

So I would say that "taking" the lead is more about "receiving" the lead on the basis of our willingness to serve deeply. Along the same lines, no leader in the church can efffectively lead without first being a devoted follower.

I had a question in regard to this as follows: "Therefore, in short here is what I understand Anthony to be communicating; Jesus' motive and even reason for being in a place of leadership was solely restricted to the need to serve his team/organizational purpose. Anthony, is this a correct analysis?"

My rejoinder: It depends on a correct assessment of his "team/organizational purpose" as well as an understanding that man's perceptions of Jesus' leadership are not in alignment with His purposes. "Top Down" takes on a curious meaning in the light of being lifted up on a cross. John 3 points to the Nehustan as being a picture of this- the symbol of suffering. The cross comes before the crown.

We are not Jesus, yet we can draw principles from His servanthood, and apply them by the indwelling Spirit. His finished work was done by One uniquely qualified to accomplish it. Being a "leader" in worldly terms was not on his mind at all. Cf. his response to Pilate regarding "if my kingdom were of this world..." I don't believe the biblical witness to be that he suffered pre-eminently for the sake of his disciples. They (and we) certainly gain corollary blessed salvation from his obedience of faith when we believe and receive it, but his primary purpose was doing the Father's will.

In short, I believe the song "Above All" to be theologically flawed. (He thought of me above all?)

The organizational purpose of the church is the same as that of Jesus- to exalt and glorify God. Jesus' motive was absolute obedience even to death on a cross, thus He is the ultimate servant. On the basis of this, he was exalted to the Glory of the Father. See Phil 2, and Heb 12:2 : who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. "So I would say that "taking" the lead is more about "receiving" the lead on the basis of our willingness to serve deeply."

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