Christians are called to love God and others, as well as seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness. To do this, Christians should love as Jesus did – by serving others for their benefit. For an MBB leader, and all Christian leaders, the outworking of your calling often involves magnifying God by building up others.
A key understanding to leading this way is that the kingdom is not yours, but God’s. Though you lead, your leadership is a stewardship of service rather than seeking your own glory or position. A true leader serves others for their sake and for the sake of God’s kingdom.
Jesus did this with His disciples. They had no track record of leadership success in the church. There was no church. He saw what was in them, and led them by investing time and effort in them. He taught them truths that developed their giftings and callings. He did not wait for them to succeed and then side with them. He led them by siding with them, encouraging them, equipping them and then releasing them into ministry when few if any believed they could lead anything.
Potential MBB leaders are often in geographical areas where there is very little of the church nearby. Because of the great need for leaders, those that lead potential MBB leaders often must commit to those potential leaders before seeing success. The process of selection must be led by the Holy Spirit, and should be free of the perversion of self-reference.
As indicated above, leaders are most effective when operating with a motive of serving another for the benefit of the one served. The leader can be derailed if they serve self-referentially, often asking, “What does that do for me or to me?” That attitude is a form of pride. It can manifest in many ways, including not fully training someone for fear that they might surpass the trainer; withholding support or blessing; preventing someone from operating in their calling; or not supporting someone until that person is fully established as a leader. The last one indicates that you are not really leading — you are simply jumping on bandwagons. All of the listed manifestations lack the hallmark of love — serving for another’s benefit.
Leaders, if you lead self-referentially, you do not have to stop leading. Repent of your sin, ask for God’s grace, change your motive, and lead in a way that encourages others to find their giftings and callings, support them actively, and release them into ministry. You do not need to protect your position nor seek your own advancement — God is the sole giver of both position and advancement.
In a sense, leaders, the way you choose to lead — serving or self-referentially — will bring spiritual life or death to others. Those you lead will either flourish in God’s kingdom or be restricted by your selfishness, leading to a loss in their ministry and thereby in God’s kingdom. God holds you to account for the way that you lead. Please pay close attention to your motives and actions when leading, ensuring that you are serving others without self-reference and for their benefit.
Keywords: leadership, MBB, love, self-referential