Princes, Leadership, and Willing Servants
Text: Luke 22:24-30
by Bob Young

Last Sunday, one of our elders shared with us the goal of identifying additional leaders in this church. Raises an important question: Who is a leader? What does a leader look like? Then we must observe also that we are seeking effective leaders.
Leadership is an important subject. Despite fact that word has not be in English language long (not much over a century), leadership as a concept has a long history. The Bible has much to say. Our culture writes numerous books each year about leadership.
Important that we answer with full awareness: tradition (history), biblical text, culture. This week I have struggled with what to say, how to say it. Be biblical, be brief, be helpful in today's world.

Scripture Reading: Luke 22:24-30

Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, "The kinds of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 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. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Its it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Companion Scripture Readings:
In addition to the reading from the gospels, we share two other readings, one from the OT and one from the NT: Judges 5:1-9; 1 Peter 5:1-4.

The Importance of Effective Leaders
Leaders are always present. The question is not, "Are there any leaders?" but, "Is the leadership good or bad, effective or ineffective?" In some sense, leadership is culturally defined and derived. Leadership may be positional (recognized authority, delegated), based on skills or competence, relational, knowledge-based, increased by personality or personal charisma.
What do leaders do? What is the biblical model? Who are spiritual leaders? Consider these questions. Leadership is important because of what it brings to the group. Leaders provide examples, direction, mentoring, modeling, spiritual guidance, teaching. Leaders hold us accountable, provide directions that encourage unity, guard and protect the church, answer critics, and shepherd. Regarding elders, they are feeders, shepherds, pastors, elders, decision makers, overseers, overlookers, coordinators, organizers. They represent Christ's authority. they are undershepherds to the Chief Shepherd.
Leaders are important because they establish the atmosphere in a church. 1 Chr. 12:32, leaders know what to do. Consider the example of David's mighty men, what a tribute to leadership. Think of churches you have known. What are the problems, obstacles, strengths, weaknesses, etc.? The answer is often in the leadership. Realistically the problem is not only the preacher, but the entire leadership. The preacher may contribute to the problem or to solutions to the problem, but the problem is seldom exclusively the preacher.
Leaders have a certain characteristic that is vital. Leaders are affected/changed people, beliefs, emotions, heart. But this lesson will not focus on the character, characteristics, qualities, qualifications of leaders. This lesson will focus on results. What happens when effective leaders are present in a situation?
These results are thought of in two tenses: present and future.


A. Effective Leaders Exemplify and Encourage a Healthy Church Spiritually
"To daily walk more closely with our God."
Leaders help a church toward health, if they themselves are healthy.
Spiritually healthy leaders are...

B. Effective Leaders Exemplify and Encourage a Healthy Church Emotionally/Mentally
These leaders help a church toward a correct self-understanding

Emotional health refers to corporate identity and individual Christians.
These leaders lead in... As a result, the church feels good about itself.
These leaders understand success...

C. Effective Leaders Exemplify and Encourage a Healthy Church Intellectually.
William Danforth, in a book on Christian leadership, writes, "When it is so easys to get our thinking done for us, the big temptation is not to think." Do we engage our minds in worship and service, or do we simply follow familiar, predictable routines? Do we think fearlessly and creatively, or are we content to say and do what we have always said and done? Thinking is hard spiritual work. Effective leaders do not think for their followers, but demand that their followers think.

D. Effective Leaders Exemplify and Encourage a Healthy Church Socially/Relationally.
One understanding of the church focuses in relationships...

Effective leaders encourage and facilitate these relationships


A. Effective Leaders Establish Healthy Goals characterized by Simplicity
Leaders who lead in simplicity

These leaders do not make mistake of being preoccupied with complexities of body life, forget primary purpose, to glorify God.
These leaders keep clear Christ-centered goals before the church, insist that every program contribute to those goals, and communicate those goals clearly and continually.
As such, these simple leaders are vision casters, direction setters, shock absorbers, hope givers, burden bearers, ministry mentors. Combine Bible and life, logic and living, doctrine and duty, creed and conduct, preaching and practice.

B. Effective Leaders Establish Healthy Goals characterized by Service
Leaders who lead from within, from among, the flock.
Leaders who are characterized by servant leadership styles.
Church growth movement has placed emphasis on pulpit minister, but if the primary catalyst for growth is the preacher, not grow far. Not build big enough base. What is the base? Leaders who call us to excellence and effectiveness, rather than emphasizing human effort, model and call to graceful growth, spiritual, organic, numeric.
Leaders who lead from within are able to demonstrate servant leadership.
Leaders who lead from within are able to call for accountability.

As David Faust has observed, Church leadership is an unjob. It is from the bottom. When get to bottom, can be a leader. When become servant of all. Unjob seldom understood, often unappreciated, subject to unreasonable demands and unspoken expectations, and underpaid, at least in this life. These kind of leaders minister, serve.


1 Some of the concepts and ideas included in this sermon are borrowed from David Faust, Growing Churches, Growing Leaders, College Press.

Return to Sermon Index

Return to Young Home Page
Last updated May 29, 2011