“They are not ready…”

These may be some of the most frequently uttered words when missionaries consider passing the baton of leadership.

They can also be the most painful.

One of the leaders I work with shares the story of being a young, oppressed worker in South Africa during the time of apartheid.

A white Afrikaner man (the people group previously in power) wanted to bring him and a few others hailing from different ethnic backgrounds into a leadership meeting. At the time, this was unheard of; even in a missions organization which championed people from all nations, tribes, and tongues.

When met with resistance from the other meeting participants, the white Afrikaner suggested they at least be able to observe, even if they did not participate.

He wanted to see these young men learn and gain experience so they could step into leadership roles in the future

Peace be With You

May 6, 2015

My wife and I have recently come off a transition in our roles. We successfully passed off many of our leadership responsibilities to men and women we trained up and walked with.

This is every leaders dream and greatest moment of success, to see something you’ve begun outlast you and be improved by another.

It can also be a place of great insecurity.

In our mission, many leaders hang on to titles far too long for fear of no longer having a voice.

We were not afraid of a loss of influence, but freedom to invest in whatever you want sounds both fantastic and terrifying at the same time.

There have been moments of insecurity and near panic attacks for me. My wife has been dealing with debilitating migraines.

Our dream of “doing whatever we want” has not gone quite as envisioned.

I hate checklists for spiritual growth.

They lead towards a works orientation and a focus on being performance-based.

When a recent church service message started with a “Checklist for Spiritual Zeal” I was concerned.

6 commands from Ephesians 5 were restated as questions.

Each one had an emphasis on not having a “hint” of such and such bad thing and of “never” acting another way. It was a list of do’s and don’ts which were totally and completely unrealistic.

When “never’s and always” are included for spiritual behavior, my legalism alarm begins to ring.

“So how are you doing?”, asked the speaker.

The church expected to be hammered into submission and guilt.

What followed next shocked me.

He went on to overview chapters 1-3 saying that all these commands are a response to what God has done.

“Ongoing Forgiveness is key to the Development of a Nation, Overcoming Horrors of the Past.”

I recently spent some time in Rwanda. Both Rwanda and my home nation of South Africa had history altering events happen twenty years ago.

The Rwandan genocide saw two tribes kill over one million people in just a few short months.

South Africa saw Nelson Mandela released, the end of apartheid, and a new democracy established. The media predicted a war which never came.

  • Both nations experienced historical events.
  • Both nations used forgiveness as a tool to move forward.

Rwanda enacted many laws and engaged in forgiveness-based exercises. They outlawed the use of any “tribe” or “ethnicity” on public documents. Many of the genocide participants reconcile through revealing the location of bodies of their victims to the surviving family members.

Servanthood is a buzzword in churches and leadership circles today.

We need servant leaders, we want to serve our spouse and our families, and we are always asked to be a cheerful servant in various areas in our local place of worship.

Why?

Here are 3 reasons to practice servanthood.

1. We serve cause Jesus served

The Jews expected their savior to be a conquering king who would return them to their glory days experienced under David and Solomon.

Instead they got a suffering servant.

“It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:26–28