The People of God at Randpark Ridge United Church
Thank you for the opportunity to write these passages. It means a lot to me. Thanks to the staff who make these opportunities available. If you have a complaint about a word spelled wrong or a misplaced apostrophe feel free to send me a mail firstname.lastname@example.org or even a question you may have. You will agree that the fresh-look bulletin is much improved in many ways.
A quick Google search of the word “leadership” returns some 376 million results. With such endless resources available, the question of the day is “How do we define great leadership?” I’ve read a fair share of books and I can confidently say that leadership boils down to this:
Leadership is about serving and equipping others to be effective.
Starting to sound like Jesus here! “Servant-ministry” is the Jesus model that more and more business leaders are discovering. Still, too many preachers set themselves up to be served, and the ever-present temptations of the “3-F” trap I was taught to avoid in seminary: fame, fortune and females. The 3-Fs have been the undoing of spiritual leaders since forever. If you’re looking for praise, chasing money or have a wandering eye, you’re doing it wrong.
Leadership simply means empowering your knowledge workers and setting them up for success. People who know say that’s what the best companies on the planet are doing. It’s what I have tried to do at Randpark Ridge United Church, is bring out the best in our staff. Ultimately, I’m serving them so that they can serve you.
And yet, the purest, most counterintuitive form of leadership, ie. servant-leadership, that Jesus modelled is for everybody, not just for clergy and staff. Every leader in the church is called to servant-leadership. Truly. Let it be about Jesus. No more, no less.
So here is the kind of leadership we need:
1. Leaders who connect well with people.
Leaders connect with others easily, by showing their humanity. They know they’re not perfect and that they make mistakes (and will admit to making them. It’s our motto: Come. CONNECT. Be more. This for me is seeing Tom Main standing at the foyer door handing out hugs each Sunday morning.
2. Leaders who involve all kinds of people and make them feel psychologically safe.
There can be no maverick, lone-rangers in servant-leadership. Good leaders aim to create a diverse environment of people with differing ways of doing things and viewing the world. They pump fear out of the door and allow for risks to be taken; and they let people feel safe to exercise their creativity, communicate their ideas openly, and provide input to major decisions. Because there’s trust there, not fear. It communicates to staff a sense of “Hey, we’re all in this together.”
3. Leaders who show compassion.
It’s a natural tendency to want to help others — to alleviate people’s suffering. While empathetic people have this ability to feel what others feel, compassion is a more objective form of empathy. It’s feeling what others feel, but taking it to another level by doing everything in your power to remove the obstacles that stand in their way.
4. You who are open and transparent.
People don’t stress around you and teamwork isn’t undermined because you share information and let everyone know what’s going on at all times. Communication. We are constantly striving to open up new ways of communication – website, Facebook, What’sApp, bulletin, announcements, etc. Please interact with us on these various platforms, we’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
Friends, Jesus is our leader. Or as it says in Scripture, our good shepherd. He is our servant-leader. The shepherd cares for the flock and protects them. One way of seeing the shepherd is someone who protects but also allows the flock to grow. I believe these 4 attributes reflect the kind of leader I have tried to be at RRUC. And I hope that those who were able to recognise that it is only all about Jesus will remember his example. So wherever you serve, keep your eyes on Jesus who loves you and ‘emptied’ himself for you. May you grow more in servant-leadership.
In business, leaders are now discovering what Jesus taught 2,000 years ago! Amazing! This Sunday we will look at 5 contested issues that often confuse people, and see what we learn. In the meantime, go in love and peace to serve the Lord Jesus Christ!