Missed previous posts in the Mutual Submission series? Catch up here:
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all… So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:1-6; 11-13
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Mark 8:34
Leadership seems to be a buzzword lately. Everybody wants to be a leader. There are blogs, conferences, seminars, podcasts, books, magazines, and retreats that are designed to make you a better leader. I even stumbled across this.
For some, it’s a feeling of superiority. If they get to lead, that means others have to follow. They like the command and presence with being the person in charge.
For others, it’s a feeling of worth. If they have the fancy title then they have the right to demand respect. In whatever area they feel ill-equipped or insecure, having the title of leader can mask that pain or shame.
And for far too many, leadership has become a way to manipulate and coerce others to ‘fall in line’ with a particular belief or ideology.
This attitude and mindset has even crept into many areas of the church. I even embarrassingly said to another pastor once, “Wow. You’re a lead pastor! That’s pretty cool, getting to call the shots and all.” I’m forever grateful for his loving and gracious rebuke, “Yeah, I am, but it’s not what matters. I really want to try and follow Jesus better.” I’m grateful for it, because I later found myself a lead pastor, and quickly realized that there had to be more to my substance and humanity than my title, because that would leave me someday.
In the church, talk of leadership, void of discipleship, is an idolatrous stance of self-glorification. [Tweet that]
All of the conversation on leadership in the church even recently led my wife to remark: “Ugh! It all just makes me want to throw-up. There are too many leaders and not enough disciples.”
[pullquote]”Ugh! It all just makes me want to throw-up. There are too many leaders and not enough disciples.”[/pullquote]
So how does a church lead (and more importantly disciple) through mutual submission?
Mutual submission in leadership needs to be void of personal advancement, power, and a desire for prestige or recognition. For the church to fully capture the opportunities on the horizon, leadership must be rethought and refocused. It’s only when we empty ourselves of our personal glorification and submit to one another out of love for Christ, can the church fully embrace the opportunity to offer something different.