Leadership is a noble thing to aspire to. J Oswald Sanders writes in his book Spiritual Leadership that leadership is an “honorable ambition”. But he goes on to say that, “It is motivation that determines ambitions character.”
Because of our sin nature we often desire leadership simply because we don’t want to follow. Our motivation for leadership must be carefully examined. Sin is defiance to God and this rebellion to authority also impacts how we follow those God has placed in leadership over us.
We live in a society where you vote on your laws, you vote on your leaders, you have a Facebook page dedicated directly to you. Almost every marketing campaign for every business is directed to you, the consumer. Remember the Burger King commercial mantra: “Have it your way, right away, at Burger King now.”
This conditions us to believe that the world revolves around us. This ego-centric system causes us to believe that we are in control and gives us a false sense of reality. It also impacts how we view leadership and authority.
Jesus taught a type of leadership that is inverse to the world system. A sacrificial, servant leadership that does not appeal to the flesh. This is because it is from Heaven, and of God, not from man. Jesus taught that the best leader is not the loudest or strongest in the room, it is the one who is selfless and a servant.
“But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26-28
All too often in men’s ministry I encounter men who think they know everything. We are a para-church ministry so if men come to us they often come with a qualm against their local church. But usually their problem isn’t their church’s leadership, it’s their heart. They have bought into the world’s system and this impacts how they respond to leadership.
We have to remind them that Master’s Men is not a replacement for local church men’s ministry, we are mission to reach men in America that don’t go to church. Our goal is to reach these men with the Gospel and get them back into the local church for discipleship.
We love the local church, and believe that men should follow church leadership.
When Jesus called the men who would be His closest disciples He came to them at inconvenient times, told them to drop everything and follow. From that point on the disciples were put through a crash course on how to follow, submit and obey.
This learning period, called discipleship, passed on to the disciples the traits and qualities of their teacher. What they would learn following Jesus would both empower and equip them for ministry after He left.
And it was Christ that led by example, giving the most compelling example of obedience to the Father.
“And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8
Jesus showed us that leadership is about sacrifice. It involves a duty so arduous that the faint-hearted should be weary to engage. It is for the courageous meek spirit that desires to give themselves as an offering.
If we are truly disciples of Christ then we are to emulate our Master. We can’t allow the world to impact our thinking. Rather, we need to transformed by the renewing of our mind [Romans 12:2]. We must submit to the Father just as Christ did, we must serve others as Christ commands, and we must learn to follow.
- Are you a man marked by selflessness or selfishness?
- Are you a man that submits to authority or do you fight it?
- Are you a man that knows everything or are you teachable?
Do you seek leadership? Good! You seek a noble task.
Learn what true leadership is. Seek opportunities to serve. Be fully submitted to Christ and learn to follow the leaders God has placed over you. Then, in His time, God will raise you up to a position of honor and you will have learned to lead by example.
You can’t truly lead until you learn how to follow.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” 1 Peter 5:6
– Article contributed by Matt Cote, Director of Marketing and Operations for the Master’s Men ministry.