I often remind folks of two things: first, there is nothing special about me, no holy water I drink each morning, no halo around my head. I am just a man, a guy, a bit of a nerd, a football fan, who leads because I have been asked to lead by God. And second, what I have learned is this: God is asking each of you to lead in some capacity, too.
God defines leadership as servanthood in this world. And God asks each of us to love each other to the point of serving. And that means you. Yes, I spent eight years acquiring a college and graduate degree in theology and saturating myself with biblical study at the highest academic level. Yes, I have seventeen years of experience in church leadership on my resume. But what this experience and study has really led me to is a clear, faithful, Jesus-modeled landing spot on who 'leads'. God only wants leaders who serve. And God wants servants who give their best. Beyond that, just as Jesus demonstrated in His ministry, there aren't really any barriers! Women can serve and men can serve and therefor lead. God needs young people who can lead and wise elders who can lead. The church needs single people who can lead and married people who can lead. And God even needs divorced and remarried people like myself to model servant leadership.
As the church in America continues to shrink, we have seen, and I fear we will continue to see, a closing of the theological mind. And if the church fails to serve with the best of the human mind and the human heart's capacity, as God created us to lead, as God commanded in the first Commandment, we, the church, fail. If we, the church, tell 50% of our community that even though they run a business, or manage in company 6 days out of the week, they may not have a leadership or teaching title on Sundays because of her gender, we fail. If we tell the 50% of our community that is divorced or remarried that we, the church, will forever define you and condemn you by your past, unlike our leader Jesus modeled, we fail. And if the mission of God is sidelined by the failure of the church to lead, the blessing of God sorely needed by so many will be missed.
Even as we have a leadership crisis in our culture I am hopeful for the future of God’s church. God has a way of getting done what God wants done. In surprising and unexpected ways, through mangers, crosses, and empty tombs, God will get done what He wants to get done, to shatter the darkness of earth with Love. Let us move past the legalisms of the past that have and continue to shrink the church in America and move into God’s future where servant leaders lead and the mission of God trumps all.