A New Way to Lead
Based on “The Multi-Church Pastor” by Philip E. Morrison
When you think of a leader, what comes to mind?
A politician? Your parents? A movie star? A primary school teacher?
The world we live in today is full of leaders. But, as everyone knows, not all leaders are doing their jobs very well. If we look at the leaders in our society, we’re likely to see multiple unpleasant characteristics.
Pride. Greed. Arrogance. Selfishness. Boastfulness.
If you’re a pastor, this is sobering to contemplate. By virtue of your position, God has appointed you to shepherd his flock and care for their spiritual needs. If you wish to succeed, you’re going to need to become a leader. But how can we hope to use our influence to help others when there are so many negative examples around us?
What if we don’t have to learn from the world? There may be another way to lead. In his recent book “The Multi-Church Pastor,” Philip Morrison helps us learn how to effectively lead others in a godly way. While most pastoral and leadership resources assume that pastors have only one church under their care, Morrison recognises that this is not always the case in today’s world. Pastors of multiple churches need resources and teaching tailored to their unique situations.
If you’re a multi-church pastor, the need for you to become a godly leader is multiplied. In a world full of corrupt leaders, how can you learn to be a wise pastor?
Simply look to Jesus.
Jesus is the greatest leader this world has ever seen. Yet his leadership looked radically different from the leaders we see today.
Jesus didn’t display his majesty, but walked this earth as an ordinary human. He didn’t seek power, but fled from those who tried to make him king. He walked the dusty earth, not settling in one place. He paid attention to the sick and the outcasts. He even washed his disciples’ feet.
Why did Jesus do this? To show us a new way of leadership.
Jesus taught us that “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45). Even Jesus, the only leader who deserved to have others serve him, spent his life serving others.
What is the difference between Jesus’s leadership style and the world’s leadership style? Jesus did not put himself above the people around him (even though he had the right to), but lived his life as one of them. He didn’t wield his authority as a weapon, but used it to teach. Rather than leading by command, through force, Jesus led by example, through love.
What a radical difference.
Pastors—especially multi-church pastors—must learn to follow Jesus’s example and become a servant leader. So how are we to do this? What characteristics should we seek to embody?
Firstly, we must be secure in our relationship with Christ. Morrison notes that “To be a servant you must be secure about who you are. A servant, by definition, is on the lower level of society. To voluntarily act as a servant means you do not find your self-worth in your position in society, but rather in your relationship to Christ.”
Secondly, we must be humble. It takes a lot of humility to wash someone else’s dirty feet! But that’s exactly what Jesus did. We need to remember that we’re not more valuable than any of the people around us. We must not let power go to our heads, but should use our positions to treat others like they’re more significant than ourselves.
Thirdly, our lives must be characterized by love. The reason Jesus chose to be a servant is because he loved us. He cared about the needs of the people around him more than his own needs. Jesus was entirely others-oriented.
Finally, servant leaders must, like Jesus, lead by example. Jesus didn’t only teach servanthood, but practiced it in his own life. If we teach others but don’t live out the things we teach, no one will listen to us. Our lives preach louder than our words ever could.
As we care for the churches that God has entrusted us with, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Leadership is not easy under the best of circumstances, and the task of a multi-church pastor is much harder. But Morrison reminds us that we aren’t left alone. Jesus has given us a wise example for us to follow. As we seek to walk in his footsteps, we can be empowered to lead our churches more wisely, humbly, and effectively than ever before.
Want to share your thoughts on this subject? We’d love to hear from you! Send us your name and message below. Be sure to copy the title of this blog, “A New Way to Lead”.