Posts Tagged servanthood
We’re sharing some ideas on how everybody can make a difference to guests and non-Christians that join us on Sundays. For the context of our discussion, check out the recent posts, The Sermon Starts in The Parking Lot, The Sunday Mind-Shift, Show Up Early, and Take a Genuine Interest.
Over a year ago, I had an “exit interview” with a man who was leaving our church. He was a single man in his 40s and had been going through a tough time. After years away from church, God used the death of his mom, unemployment and a couple of other trials to bring him back. Our church was one of the first he visited.
I distinctly remember him saying was something like this:
“On my first Sunday I spent about 15 minutes pouring out my heart to somebody that I just met. It probably wasn’t the wisest thing on my part, but I was emotional and things were tough. At the end of the conversation, the guy I was talking to said something like, ‘Well, here’s my number, let me know if there’s anything I can do for you.’ I thought, Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you? Seriously? I just poured out my heart and told you all my problems. Clearly there is something you could do for me. It felt like I just got blown off.”
This is admittedly a tough situation. I’m sure many of us would not be exactly sure what to do if we had a total stranger spilling his or her guts on us. But there’s an important lesson here. We should come to church ready to do ministry.
The Sunday gathering is not merely a place to be ministered to, but a place to get in the game and participate. If we can’t do it on Sunday when we’re on our home turf, what chance do we have during the week out in the world?
In the end, this mostly comes down to mindset. And each of us needs to have a mindset ready to care for people, pray for people, and be the hands and feet of Jesus to them.
Are you ready?
I just finished Leadership as an Identity: The Four Traits of Those Who Wield Lasting Influence, by Crawford Loritts. It was recommended by a friend as one of the best leadership books he’d read and I really enjoyed it. I heard Loritts speak a number of times when I was in college at a number of Campus Crusade events, so it was nice to ‘reconnect’ with him and his ministry (he’s now the Senior Pastor of Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell, Georgia).
As the subtitle suggests, Loritts lists four key traits of godly leadership. They are: 1) Brokenness, 2) Uncommon Communion (with God), 3) Servanthood as an Identity, and 4) Radical, Immediate Obedience
Overall, I found the book to be very helpful. Loritts pulled principles from a number of biblical places, and the book is filled with many great quotes from other Christian leaders. Here is what I took away as the big idea, followed by some of the key lessons and quotes that impacted me, by section.
Leadership is ultimately about character. If you have all the skills and talent and charisma in the world but lack character, you will eventually lose your influence. Christian leadership is fueled by pursuing a close relationship with God and all that comes with it.
- “Brokenness is not a onetime event. It is never finished.” (36)
- “Sometimes well-meaning people have tried to talk me out of [my] sense of inadequacy. But this sense is vital to fruitful ministry.” (Randy Alcorn, 37)
- “Pride is one of the easiest ways for a younger leader to lose his influence.” (Ken Behr, 39)
- “Your ability to discern God’s will is directly related to presenting your body as a ‘living sacrifice.'” (44)
- “Brokenness empowers a leader because it forces him or her to do more than lip service to the grace of God.” (Tim Kimmel, 54)
- “Failure should not be the primary source of our brokenness. It is the ever-present realization that we could hurt [God’s] heart–that we carry within us a pull towards sin–that ought to keep pushing us toward God.” (57)
- “Authentic brokenness always casts the spotlight on the glory of God and not the fact that we struggle.” (67)
- “God breaks us at various times in our lives to raise us up to the next level. A brokenness episode in our thirties does not exempt us from a brokenness episode in our forties.” (Monty Watson, 75)
- “If a leader doesn’t humble himself, he leaves God no choice but to humiliate him. And he will because he must. The work of his kingdom cannot be left at the mercy of a leader who is wrapped up in himself.” (Tim Kimmel, 83)
2. Uncommon Communion (with God)
- “Why do so many workers break down? Not from overwork, but because there has been friction of the machinery; there hasn’t been enough oil of the Spirit.” (DL Moody, 86)
- “Never underestimate the power of self-deception and the pull towards self-reliance.” (92)
- “Unexamined failure teaches you nothing.” (96)
- “The only thing worse than waiting on the Lord is wishing you had!” (113)
- “I can’t think of a time in which I had everything I needed ahead of time to do what I believe the Lord wanted me to do.” (117)
3. Servanthood as an Identity
- “Sometimes the [term ‘servant leadership’] is used in a utilitarian way…we need to be careful that we are not using servant leadership language as a strategy–as a means to manipulate people to do what we want them to do.” (131)
- “Don’t think of yourself as a leader but as a follower of Jesus…most leaders have fallen because at some point of their lives they ceased to be a follower of Jesus.” (131-132)
- “Both pride and humility have, for the most part, very little to do with your actions and choices, but they have everything to do with your motives and attitudes.” (133)
- “Unfortunately, too many leaders love the tasks but just tolerate the people.” (145)
- “Those who work with me or report to me should feel as if I have invested more in them than I have asked them to give.” (146)
- “This is what Jesus defined as greatness. You must be a servant. You don’t just act like one; you must become one.” (150)
4. Radical, Immediate Obedience
- “There’s no such thing as partial obedience. We either completely do what God says or we disobey him.” (171)
- “You can never get too big or too important for God to replace you.” (175)
- “[When they failed,] Saul was afraid of losing his position as the leader of Israel. But David was afraid of losing the touch, intimacy, and favor of God who had been everything to him. Honestly, what are you more afraid of?” (176)
- “If you quit now, you probably will be quitting for the rest of your life.” (184)
- “Courage is…complete obedience in the face of opposition.” (186)
- “It is a good thing to remember the failures of those we admire.” (188)
- “Courage is like a muscle; it grows stronger with use.” (192)
- “We need to be acutely aware of the cumulative nature of our little choices.” (Randy Alcorn, 199)
This past Sunday, we had a good heart-to-heart about Being a Healthy Body. The people of Second Mile responded!
If you’d like to get involved in serving or a summer Community Group, click here.
This Sunday we’ll be exploring one of the most forceful passages of Scripture that describe our new identities as servants. What I’ve realized through studying and preparing is that it’s important that we see servanthood as an identity more than as an action. In other words, we don’t just serve — we are servants.
Consider the following teaching taken from our Membership Packet on servanthood:
1. The essence of being a follower of Jesus is to become more and more like him.
This is the goal of sanctification, which Wayne Grudem defines as, “A progressive work of both God and man that makes Christians more and more free from sin and more and more like Christ in their actual lives.”
Romans 8:28-29 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Luke 6:40 – A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
2. One could make a strong biblical case that the essence of Christlikeness is being a servant.
Mark 10:45 – For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ran-som for many.”
John 13:12-17 – When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
3. Not only did Jesus serve, but he had the heart of a servant. He thought like a servant.
4. Servants think more about others than themselves.
This is true humility: not thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less. They are self-forgetful. When we stop focusing on our own needs, we become aware of the needs around us…We can measure our servant’s heart by how we respond when others treat us like servants. How do you react when you’re taken for granted, bossed around, or treated as inferior?
5. Servants base their identity in Christ.
Because they remember they are loved and accepted by grace, servants don’t have to prove their worth. They willingly accept jobs that insecure people would consider “beneath” them. The more insecure you are, the more you will want people to serve you, and the more you will need their approval. When you base your worth and identity on your relationship to Christ, you are freed from the expectations of others, and that allows you to really serve them best.
6. Servants think of ministry as an opportunity, not an obligation.
This is something that, if really embraced by our church, would make our Sunday gatherings warmly and delightfully different than anything people might be used to experiencing at church.
Here are some of the best lines from the article:
“Church is a place where Christians go to work.”
“The shift was made from being the ‘helpee’ to the helper, the served to the servant. Church is where we seek spiritual food and encouragement in order to become more godly; but church is also where we go in order to feed other people and encourage them.”
“The preacher should not be the only one preparing for church.”
“We need to develop a nose for new people…The way we welcome and look after people when they visit our homes should be a model for the household of God.”
“It is your meeting, not the minister’s. It’s all about being observant and outward-looking.”
Is this something you think you could do? What obstacles do you think you’d face?
(Note: The PDF is an edited, condensed, and Americanized version of the original, which can be found here)
We believe that there are two things we do together as a church that are catalytic in growing to be more like Christ: 1) Serving, because when we give ourselves for others we become more like Christ, and 2) Community, because it’s not good for man to be alone and we always grow when we’re around the other gifts and strengths of others.
Therefore, at the beginning of each semester, we create an intentional opportunity to connect in these life-changing activities through what we call the “On-Ramp.”
For the next month or so, you can sign up to serve or be in a community group that begins in January. Will you take the challenge?
Last night was one of the highlights in the life of Second Mile Church so far. We gathered about 150 strong for a Volunteer Party and Orientation. There was great energy and excitement about serving the Lord together this semester, and I was blown away to see so many people committed to the ministry.
A number of highlights include:
- Increased participation on every single Ministry Team!
- Fully staffed children’s ministry (including a few substitutes)
- 19 people on the brand new Sunday Prayer Team — these folks will be available to pray with people during and after the service
- Great mid-week volunteers who take care of bulletins, send out emails, and execute great events (like last night — Thanks Leslie & Nikelle!)
- Hard work, dedication, and love by our great Ministry Team leaders. They were so prepared last night and did a great job serving their people.
We’re also so thankful to our friends at East Valley Bible Church who helped us by providing childcare during this event. We couldn’t have done it without them!