Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Week In Review

Reflections on the Cross

We have heard many messages about the cross. Before we venture away from Resurrection Sunday can we have a brief review? Our understanding of God love tells us that the cross was on the mind of God before there was light, sea, before God said, let it be…

We were reminded that Jesus came to bear our grief, our sorrows, to be bruised for our sins and that we were healed by his stripes. We were told God made this promise when he said the serpent’s head would be crushed under the heal of the seed. Jesus is the seed of woman that crushes the power of Satan. And when you read in scripture about the “seed” of woman, this word for seed carries a feminine attachment. Whenever you read elsewhere in scripture it talks about seed, but the reference is to the man. This is simply another confirmation that God had chosen his son to come through means not of man but divine means.

Jesus fulfilled the mission that began with God. However, Jesus’ purpose did not start the day he was born, but his birth only began the process of fulfillment, of enacting the mission that you and I are now called to carry. The Holy Spirit equips you and I to carry the mission of God to a world that is in need of hearing the message of salvation.

The cross reminds us of who Jesus really is and the power of our savior. Jesus fulfilled all the words the prophets spoke of his coming. They told us he would be…the Lamb of God, The Son of man, the bread of life, the living bread, the light of the world, the gate for the sheep, the good shepherd, the resurrection and the life, the way, the truth and the life. He is the counselor; he is the true vine, he is the priest, the prophet, the Son of David, the seed, He is the prophet like Moses, he is the kinsmen redeemer and so much more.

Jesus also finished any doubt about who he was and still is. He showed his authority and power over illness and diseases, over blindness, and leprosy, over sin and demons, over nature, over history, over space, over time and the future, over the wind and the water, over death, over Satan, over religious forms and fashions, over his own future and even over our future.

When he states it is finished, he is also saying, there is nothing left to be done, I have done it all, for now and forever more. And nothing was able to keep him from finishing his mission. Mockers, liars, betrayers, the power of men, not even physical pain. Not even the feeling of separation from his father and the emotional and spiritual pain that entailed, kept him from finishing his mission.

The cross was the method used to open salvation but it was not the end of Jesus or of God’s plan…because had Jesus not gotten up it would have been simply a good man with a bad idea, because it did not work. However it was God!! Jesus did not stay in the grave. He rose!! He rose and gave us victory over all that held man captive. What Jesus finished gave you and I a new start…

What did he rise to give us…

I have to make it personal. See I was lost, but he found me,

He left his place in heaven to come and find you and I because we would not have any other way to the Father…not our goodness, not our works, nothing.

He knew your need so he bled, died and rose to take care of that need. He died to show God’s mercy.

We were empty. Lost, unable to live as we should and nothing we seek fills that void; relationships, status, nothing. So Jesus came to fill me, to fill you so we can find wholeness in Christ.

We were blind and he came to restore sight to our spiritual blindness so that we could see.

We were broken, from hurt, abuse, neglect or whatever breaks us, but he came to heal us from all sins stronghold. He stretched his hands and in one hand they nailed your sins and in the other they nailed all the sins that were done and would ever be done against you. They were all nailed to the cross. And we were set free from them all!! When we felt like nothing, he came to bring us a purpose and a mission to fulfill.

So what was our need for the cross?

We needed the cross so we could worship God in spirit and in truth… so that we can be like Jesus and give a shout of “IT IS FINISHED” when our lives are over. We can say we took up our cross and followed Christ to be the example in this world that God has called us to be. We are able to live because of the resurrected life of Christ. We were dead, but now we are alive. We live because he lives. The cross of Christ…The resurrection of the savior…the salvation of the lost…the indwelling of the Spirit…the body of believers…the fulfillment of God’s mission…all because of God’s love. This is why we rejoice on Resurrection Sunday. This is what we need to remember so that we continue as if every day is Resurrection Sunday!

The Week in Review

Servant Leadership – Purpose for Today, Impact for Tomorrow (conclusion)
Written by Minister Jewel D. Williams
Written December 2009

Goals of a Servant Leader

Authors, Howard J. Morgan, Philip J. Harkins and Marshall Goldsmith, of the book The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching: 50 Top Executive Coaches Reveal Their Secrets, enlighten their readers about the goals of a leader. They state, “I don’t think you can lead people unless you have a sense of where you want them to go. Leadership is about going somewhere.”[1] Therefore the first goal of a servant leader is to cast the vision for those that he or she leads. Morgan, Harkins and Goldsmith state that once your people know where they are going the next step is implementation. “That involves helping people to live according to the vision and direction.”[2] It is at this point that they state the leader shifts from directing people to serving people by guiding, supporting, and cheering them as needed. “The coaches now become servant leaders.”[3]

Caruso and Salovey support that one of the goals of a good leader is to do right by people. They state, “We have found that those higher in emotional intelligence tend to be more interested in developing and helping people. The emotionally intelligent manger, then, should be able to focus on the development of these human resources.”[4] Another goal Caruso and Salovey submit is one of communicating a vision. The goal of inspiring a shared vision is part of the communication process of an effective leader. A starting point for Caruso and Salovey in articulating the shared vision is the leader understanding others current concerns and attitudes (Caruso and Salovey 2004, 205).

Stowell explains what a servant leader should look like as it relates to the church. The shepherd that is caring is flock-focused and his primary motivation is not the interest of himself but the interest of the safety, security, and satisfaction of the flock (Stowell 1994, 180). He further adds, “And when all of this is done well, love develops a style of ministry in which not only the flock can prosper, but also from which the testimony of Jesus Christ can be enhanced.”[5] While Stowell is speaking specifically to the church there is a general application to the servant leadership style overall. When a servant leader cares for his people, he will try to motivate them through meeting their needs, which in turn may help them to be satisfied in what they are doing. When all is done well, a servant leader is able to accomplish the goal of motivating his people and helping them move forward with the vision as set forth. How can this leadership style impact our future? This writing explores what is the future for servant leadership.

The Future Impact of Servant Leadership

Manfred Waldemar Kohl in the article, “Radical Transformation in Preparation for the Ministry” writes about future developments in preparing individuals for ministry (leadership). In this section of his writing, he talks about interviews done with hundreds of graduates from seminaries. This was his finding, “…graduates of seminaries make clear that they received the greatest benefit from personal time spent with their professors discussing spiritual issues, taking time to pray, sharing values and dealing with challenges.”[6] He goes on to state that hardly any of the students mentioned the brilliant lectures they heard or the outstanding discoveries or achievements shared with them by their professors. What is the point? In education in general and Christian education specifically, there needs to be a transformation of how instructors view their roles in the lives of their students. Professors must begin to see themselves in the role of a servant leader to serve their students by helping them fulfill their needs (in education) as well as helping them to catch the vision of their future place in leadership roles as a servant leader. Specifically Kohl is seeking to transform educating so that teachers see themselves in this new light. He states, “promotion or tenure should be based not only on the number of publications produced or the number of papers presented at academic conferences but also on the depth of personal involvement with students.”[7]

Authors, Tim Taylor, Barbara N. Martin, Sandy Hutchinson and Michael Jinks, of the article “Examination of leadership practices of principals identified as servant leaders,” give what they feel are the implications for practice. They state, “If servant leadership is relevant and an effective means of leadership, as indicated by the results of this research, educational leadership programmes should be adapted to include the study and practical application of the principles and practices of servant leadership.”[8] They believe people should prepare themselves to lead and accept the opportunity to do so when it is offered. The result will be more people who serve as moral agents in our society. Additionally, they posit that modeling sets an example for others. “To model a type of leadership which exhibits personal integrity and the work ethic desired of subordinates the servant leader must set a high standard for the treatment of everyone in the organization.”[9] Spears and Lawrence suggest that continual evaluation should be done on current leaders to help future leaders. They state, “To examine our expectations of leaders in the future seems to me to be a good idea. Everybody seems to know a good leader when we see one in action. But toward what should we work in trying to make ourselves better leaders?”[10] The writers suggest that talking about leadership should continue because there are so many corners to explore. Servant leadership cannot be reduced to a formula, but it is in fact a quest, a search that never ends.

For the Christian leader, Henri J.M. Nouwen in his book, In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership, offers insight on what a servant leader should look like in the future. Nouwen’s position is that future leaders are vulnerable and are in need of the people as much as the people are in need of their leaders. He writes, “From this it is clear that a whole new type of leadership is asked for in the church of tomorrow, a leadership that is not modeled on the power of games of the world, but on the servant-leader Jesus, who came to give his life for the salvation of many.”[11] Nouwen encourages his readers to understand that being a leader, for a large part means being led. Furthermore, he states the Christian leadership of the future is not one of power and control but of powerlessness and humility in which the suffering servant of God, Jesus Christ, is manifested (Nouwen 1989, 82).

John Maxwell in his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, writes about how a servant leader should approach the future. Maxwell writes, “Just about anybody can make an organization look good for a moment…But leaders who leave a legacy take a different approach. They lead with tomorrow as well as today in mind.”[12] The servant leader prepares for the future when they are gone. Jesus did this with his disciples. He spent time with them because he knew he would leave them to do the work that he started. Maxwell states, “‘Succession is one of the key responsibilities of leadership.’ Yet of all the laws of leadership, the Law of Legacy is the one that the fewest leaders seem to learn.”[13]


A leader’s ability to create change is influenced by his or her leadership style, which can facilitate the motivation of others to embrace the vision and strategy for change. This writing examined the leadership style of the servant leader. The servant leader is one who is willing to serve others in order to be powerful. This style has a distinct biblical perspective. The future for this leadership style will require others to mentor, train and prepare others to step into the roles they now hold. A servant leader is one that is willing to humble himself and seek the success of the whole over one’s personal success. When a servant leader is prepared to pass the vision on to others, he or she prepares those coming behind, and creates an environment they can grow into the future. This servant leader is more concerned with building others and leaving a legacy that will last when they are gone, whether that legacy is in the church or the business world. The organization that is run by a servant leader is one that is made better for it.

[1] Howard J. Morgan, Philip J. Harkins and Marshall Goldsmith, The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching: 50 Top Executive Coaches Reveal Their Secrets (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2005), 128.

[2] Morgan, Harkins, and Goldsmith, The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching: 50 Top Executive Coaches Reveal Their Secrets, 128.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Caruso and Salovey, The Emotionally Intelligent Manager: How to Develop and Use the Four Key Emotional Skills of Leadership, 203.

[5] Stowell, Shepherding the Church: Effective Spiritual Leadership in a Changing Culture, 181.

[6] Manfred Waldermar Kohl. 2006. “Radical Transformation in Preparation for the Ministry.” International Congregational Journal 6, no. 1:39-51. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, (accessed December 2, 2009), 44.

[7] Kohl, “Radical Transformation in Preparation for the Ministry.”, 44-45.

[8] Tim Taylor, et al. 2007. “Examination of leadership practices of principals identified as servant leaders.” International Journal of Leadership in Education 10, no. 4:401-419. Academic Search complete, EBSCOhost (accessed December 2, 2009), 415.

[9] Ibid, 416.

[10] Spears and Lawrence, Focus on Leadership: Servant-leadership for the Twenty-first Century, 89.

[11] Henri J.M. Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1989), 63.

[12] John C. Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc, 1998), 219.

[13] Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, 221.