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Tag: servant

Bible Terms: Leadership

Scripture has many expectations for leaders


So you’re in leadership! Perhaps in a large corporation, your own business, or even going into ministry—serving God full-time in the church or a Christian organization. If any of these scenarios apply to you, it’s important to clarify the expectations Scripture lays out for you. Below are 10 terms the Bible applies to leadership and ministry.

HUMILITY

Our culture says, “Believe in yourself! Assert yourself!” But we should not be surprised to learn that the Bible tells us to do exactly the opposite of what the world advocates. We read over and over in the Bible that God pulls down those who exalt themselves and lifts up those who are humble (1 Peter 5:6 ). The Lord highlights humility throughout Scripture, but the culmination of true humility is the attitude of submission to God that Jesus himself displayed and that we are to imitate (Philippians 2:4).

Humility often carries the idea of hardship and low position, but it is the only way of life for a leader of God’s people, no matter what his or her title. When God puts us in humbling situations, either to test or discipline us, we should respond without defiance, and accept his will. God’s power and authority should inspire this spirit of submission whenever we approach him, but especially when we know we have sinned (2 Chronicles 7:14). Humility, however, does not mean fear. Proverbs 29:25 tells us that the “fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” Jesus Christ never cowered, nor did he apologize for doing what was right. When we are walking humbly with God, we will be looking for his approval, not other people’s affirmation.

SERVANT

“Serve people? You’ve got to be kidding!” We tend to associate servitude with oppressed people slaving for a cruel master. In the Bible, servants had a different job description—one more akin to our current-day employer-employee relationship. The servant’s job was to loyally carry out his or her master’s orders and act in the master’s interest at all times. In return, the master was responsible for feeding and clothing the servants and looking after their needs.

The Old Testament identified the nation of Israel as God’s servant; Israel’s job was to glorify God and reveal him to the surrounding nations (Isaiah 27:6). Jesus Christ, however, was the ultimate servant. He put aside his position in heaven to take on human form. He healed and fed people while he was on the earth, and in the greatest act of servanthood, he gave his life for us (Philippians 2:5-8). We’re called to serve God and others, just as Jesus did (1 Peter 4:10). As leaders, it is especially vital that we take the servant’s path to authority and greatness.

JUSTICE

We may think of “justice for all” as something that belongs only in the pledge of allegiance. But throughout the Old and New Testaments, God makes it clear that he expects both government leaders and individual believers to pursue moral rightness in the workplace, court system, and in all societal relationships (Micah 6:8). There may not be perfect equity now, but the Lord expects us to make justice a high priority in our lives—and that means justice for others, not ourselves.

Someday the Lord will take his seat as judge and bring about complete justice for all. Until then, we seek justice for others. We introduce people to the good news that, though we justly deserve God’s wrath, Jesus took our punishment. Now God’s justice means that we are restored to relationship with him when we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior (Romans3:2). In God’s eyes, justice is very much a part of the ministry of every believer.

WISDOM

How often do you find yourself in a quandary over what to do in a specific situation? What you need is wisdom—the ability to reach sound decisions through knowledge, insight, and discernment. The Hebrew word for wisdom means the skillful ability to live in harmony with reality. It is not just about what is best or right for us, but what is best and right in God’s eyes (Proverbs 2:6). In other words, wise choices are also moral ones.

Being wise is much more than just being smart. You can get straight A’s, but without wisdom, you will do foolish things. The wise leader makes choices rooted in the fear of God— the desire to please God and obey his commands. You cannot serve God or lead others without his wisdom guiding your life.

TEACH

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day,” the old saying goes, but “teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Teaching and learning are also crucial to our Christian faith. Jesus taught the people about God. He explained what the Scriptures meant, and he taught with an incredible authority the people had never seen before (Matthew 7:28-29). Then he lived his life before them as a real example that they could see and touch.

Jesus told us to carry on his work (Matthew 28:19-20). We are to instruct people not only in the facts about salvation but also in how to obey God and apply what they hear. Above all, we are to live according to the teaching of God that we are passing on to others.

Teaching is a God-given ability or spiritual gift; however, it doesn’t guarantee that a person with this ability is always right about everything. The Bible warns against listening to and teaching faulty information about God’s truth. Those who teach must study the Word carefully because they have a powerful influence on others (2 Timothy 3:16).

MINISTRY

Ministry is serving other people. There are countless ways to minister: teaching, praying, providing financial help, leading others in worship, preaching the Gospel, caring for the physical and emotional needs of others. Jesus’ ministry involved serving us through his teachings, his life and his death (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

Ministry isn’t about chalking up points with God—we can’t earn God’s love. Ministry is an expression of our love for God displayed in the way we love others. We love others through our actions because God loves us. Our ministry—the greatest service we could ever be to someone else—is also to tell them about Jesus Christ’s love and saving power.

CALL

What is “the call”? Some people wonder if God is calling them to be missionaries or pastors. One thing is for sure: God calls each of us to follow Jesus Christ (Luke 9:23). Jesus once compared the kingdom of heaven to a man who invited many guests to a great banquet. the guests ignored the invitation; they had more important things to do. No matter what family you come from or what occupation you hold, God calls you to know, love, and follow his Son (John 10:27). It’s an invitation you don’t want to refuse!

In the book of Acts, the apostles and Paul received special instructions from God (Acts 1:7-8). We think of those as “calls” from God, but most believers don’t receive verbal, individualized instructions like that. Never fear—the whole Bible gives each believer a call to love God, obey him, and share his Good News with our whole lives. That’s call enough to keep us busy no matter where our talents, desires, and circumstances lead us.

ANOINT

If someone poured oil over your head (“anointed you with oil”), you probably wouldn’t consider it a blessing, but in the Old Testament, oil symbolized the Holy Spirit. Kings, priests, prophets, and even physical articles destined for holy purposes were anointed with oil. Anointing indicated that the individual or thing was set apart for God’s purposes and equipped by his Spirit. The Bible’s use of the term also represents God’s bestowal of favor on, or his selection of, an individual to perform a special task (1 Samuel 9:16). For example, David was anointed as king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:13). The Bible often refers to Jesus Christ “the Anointed One.” He is God’s chosen instrument, bringing salvation to people on earth (Psalm 2:2).

When we believe in Christ, we are also anointed with his Holy Spirit. The New Testament does not call on Christians to physically anoint their leaders—only those Christians who are sick and need healing are to be anointed (James 5:14). Why? Because we are all anointed spiritually. We are each chosen and empowered to serve God. We speak of “anointing” when we experience power from the Holy Spirit to accomplish special work for him. That, too, is not just for leaders and ministers, but for every believer.

DEDICATE

To dedicate or devote something is to give completely, without holding back. Christians give their lives—their very bodies—completely to God (Romans 12:1-2).

Sometimes, we make a special dedication of our time, energy, or possessions. God takes our promises and commitments seriously. He wants us to carefully consider what we dedicate to him. Don’t make specific promises you cannot carry out (Proverbs 20:25).

For example, Paul cautioned young widows to avoid committing themselves to serve God through a lifetime of singleness because God knew their sensual desires could cause them to break their commitment (1 Timothy 5:11-14).

God honors our commitments as our expressions of love and worship, and he will never be in our debt. When we give to God, he always gives back above and beyond what we could ever imagine (Romans 8:32).

ELDER

In Bible times, elders were older members of the community. They held positions as governors, administered justice, and were active in citizens’ concerns. Their respected offices were transferred to the next generation after their deaths. In Moses’ time, elders represented the people when they met before God.

When the early church began, elder positions (pastors, overseers, general leaders) existed, but other positions, such as deacons, were soon created due to new situations and special emergencies. Both the young and the old filled these new positions; so, yes, even the young can be church elders. However, God requires special qualifications of elders because they are called to be spiritual shepherds of God’s flock (1 Peter 5:2-4). Those qualities include the following: They must be blameless, self-controlled, and hospitable; not overbearing, quick-tempered, or given to drunkenness (1 Timothy 3:1-7). If our personal lives aren’t under control, how can we carry the heavier responsibilities of caring for the church?


What does the term "servant-leader" mean to you?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How to Become a Great Leader

Four traits you can learn from Deborah, Israel’s leader.

Written by GodLife on 21/05/2019
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Bible, Leadership, Women
Villagers in Israel would not fight; they held back until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel.

Judges 5:7
Leadership comes from some of the strangest places. Over and over in the Bible, God tells us He sees what others do not in terms of capability and leadership. The story of Deborah in Judges 4 and 5 provides great insight into how God shapes leaders, from humble beginnings to wise judgement and even to defending their country. While there are many leadership lessons we can learn from Deborah, four stand out:

Great Christian leaders have confidence in their decisions because they depend on a close, personal relationship with God
Great Christian leaders trust their team to accomplish the task
Great Christian leaders are servants who don’t take credit for winning
Great Christian leaders rise to challenges through God’s strength
How did this all start?  
The book of Judges talks about many cycles of sin, slavery and salvation. Israel was oppressed because they had turned away from God, but when they turned back to Him, God raised up judges like Deborah to lead them. Judges were spiritual, political, judicial and often military leaders.

Why a close, personal relationship with God helps you in your decisions
As a wife, spiritual leader for the people, judge and prophetess, Deborah had to learn balance in all of those roles. Deborah had a special relationship with God. She was called by Him to lead, and she trusted God to show her His will. Her decisions were based on her relationship with God. Israel recognized that relationship and accepted her leadership. We should remember to seek God’s guidance to serve Him in whatever roles to which He calls us.

Great leaders trust the team
“My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel who offered themselves willingly among the people.” (Judges 5:9)  Unlike most of the judges, Deborah was not a military leader. God told her to commission a man named Barak to lead the army into battle. She knew there were others who had the skills to fight and trusted in them. Yet Barak refused to go into battle without her there. Even though Barak should have trusted God’s word, his condition for battle showed how much respect Deborah had as a leader. We learn that respect ran throughout the people.
Judges 5:15 tells us “the princes of Issachar came with Deborah, and Issachar faithful to Barak; into the valley they rushed at his heels."

Leaders should be servants
Deborah’s faith in God gave her confidence in the decisions she made. She had confidence in the military to carry out God’s plan. Deborah did not want any credit for the victory. She was modest yet assertive, taking on the mantle of leadership with strength and knowing when to step back. Great leaders follow Jesus’ example. “whoever would be great among you must be your servant . . . 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)

God gives you the strength to lead
While it was not typical for women to be judges in that time, Deborah heard God’s call and did not hesitate to give God’s words to the people. When the time came for action, she went with Barak to Kedesh. “Up!  For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand.  Does not the Lord go out before you?” (Judges 4:14)
God also granted her the gift of prophecy, proclaiming that Sisera (the commander of the enemy) would be delivered into the hand of a woman. When that prophecy came true, Deborah gave credit to God. Most of us try to depend on our own strength, only turning to God when we think we need it most. Deborah knew all of her strength came from God, and she walked with Him daily. Her actions provided a wonderful example to the people of Israel (and to us) of how God can use anyone, woman or man, to be a strong leader.

Pray this week:
“Lord, show me how to be a leader for You, no matter what role I am in. Give me opportunities to grow as a servant leader, following your example. Amen.” 

Which of the four traits of a good Christian leader do you struggle with? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member