by: Cecil May
There are several leadership styles. Likely the first to come to mind is positional, authoritative leadership. An officer in the armed services, an employer, a foreman, a supervisor or CEO gives an order; underlings unquestionably obey. Church leaders, however, at Jesusâ direction, use a leadership style which is neither positional nor authoritative.
Here is what Jesus says:
You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them (verb related to kurios, Lord), and those who are great exercise authority over them (verb related to exousia, authority). Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slaveâjust as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for manyâ (Matt. 20:25-28).
Jesus clearly calls for servant leadership. The Bible applies the same words to elders.
âSo I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ...shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight...not domineering over (verb related to kurios, Lord) those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.â (1 Pet. 5:1-3).
Here are three practical ways to exercise servant leadership:
1. Doing before telling. Peter says, âbeing examples to the flock.â Leaders should not require of their followers anything they would not do themselves. Congregations rarely rise above their leadership. Benevolent, compassionate leaders make for a benevolent church. Evangelistic leaders will lead an evangelistic congregation. Jesus exemplified servant leadership when He, their Master and Lord, washed His disciples feet, and said, âFor I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to youâ (Jn. 13:14-15). Leaders, what kind of people do you want your congregates to be? Be that kind of person.
2. Requesting, not ordering. A good example is Paul addressing Philemon, âAccordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for loveâs sake I prefer to appeal to youâ (Phile. 8). Also addressing churches: âI appeal to you therefore, bothers, by the mercies of God...â (Rom. 12:1); âI appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ...â( 1 Cor. 1:10). Supervised people still respond well to, âWould you, please...â and, when completed, âThank you.â
3. People before policy. Human needs do not come before Godâs law, but they come before peopleâs interpretations and applications of it. Jesus said, âThe Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.â The Pharisees, by definitions and additions, turned the Sabbath from a blessed day of rest to a burden for man to figure out. Jesus restored the Sabbathâs purpose, a blessing to man.
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Bruce was born in Warren, Ohio in 1959. His father, Emanuel Daugherty, is a gospel preacher. He married the former Gayle Gleaton of Fairview, Georgia in 1981. He and his wife have two sons: Mike age 28, lives in Chicago, working in the advertising community and Vince, age 25 who is married to Tiffany and teaches high school in Daytona Beach.
Bruce received his B. A. in Bible from Freed-Hardeman College in 1981. He received his M. A. in Church History from Harding Graduate School of Religion in 2006.
Bruce served as an associate minister for the Reynoldsburg (Ohio) Church of Christ from 1981-1983. He was a missionary in Cervignano, Italy from 1983-1990. He preached for the Beville Road congregation in Daytona Beach, FL from 1990-2000. He preached for the 10th & Clairmont Church of Christ in Cambridge, Ohio from 2000-2011. In November 2011 he returned to Beville Road to serve as their preacher. He has held gospel meetings in Florida, Ohio, West Virginia, and Tennessee. ,..(207) 873-1127