A couple weeks ago I went on a retreat with the leaders of Grace Church. Our group of 25 included Pastor Tim, the Elders, the Deacons, all the folks heading up various committees and ministry teams, and myself.

We got there and enjoyed a relaxed and delicious meal together, then gathered in a comfortable room with a fireplace. We sang some songs, then heard from our guest speaker, a Pastor Smith from a church in Charleston, West Virginia. For the next 24 hours Pastor Smith helped us to examine the idea of servant leadership. He taught about the type of leadership Christians are called to, and my mind was blown by what he said.

Particularly, that the church is not meant to be run like a company. Ministry is not business. A Pastor is not a CEO and Elders are not a board of trustees. A congregation is not a group of clients, and the gospel is not a product we are trying to sell. Ministry is service, ministers are servants. If a parallel had to be drawn between the church and a business the minister would be better compared with the custodian than the CEO. The purpose of the Christian minister is to serve people. It’s not to preach great sermons, but to preach great sermons to people so that they might learn. It’s not to grow the congregation and build a bigger church, it’s to serve people in such a way that their lives are improved, then to serve the friends and neighbors they bring along with them. People people people, all the time. Not the future of the church as an organization or the future of my position or the budget or whatever, but people. Human beings trump everything else, and thank God for that.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that my focus in ministry was refreshed. I am reminded of that moment right before Jesus had his final meal with his friends before he was killed. He took off his coat and got down on his knees and washed their feet. He did the job of a slave. The Lord of all creation humbled himself and became the servant of foolish men.

Like most humans, I’m selfish and I want to be in charge. I want people to respect me and think I’m the greatest. I want them to be scared of offending me and eager to do what I say. Please pray that God will make me more humble. Pray that I would exhibit deference rather than arrogance, and that I would serve rather than be served.

And if there is anyway I can pray for you, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

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