Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"I won't ever be your cornerstone"

Christian leadership is a curious thing. I have always perceived it to be something of a double-edged sword: powerful when used in the right way, dangerous to those who become enamoured by power and perks. I have tended to avoid leadership, but I have recently had to re-engage with the subject and press into the issues.

How does one be a Christian leader and what does Christian leadership look like? Now I do not hold myself to be a Christian leader - or at least what I perceive to be a leader. Sure, as soon as you take up service roles within the church family (which I have) there is a degree to which you become a 'leader'. The question remains though: how do we 'lead'?

My reluctance in engaging in leadership comes from my atheistic hangover - for 20 years my ideas and drives were formed by the world and what it taught me. I remember learning that leadership was a mechanism by which you exert some level of rule over others and enjoy the privileges of those hallowed circles. Seek leadership because it brings Mammon and all her glories. Now I have no wish to expose myself to those temptations and so I have avoided leadership at all costs.

I marvel in the paradox of the Bible and of God, a concept which needs a brief explanation. It is undeniable that God stands in direct contrast with what the world tells us to be true. In short, many of these lessons are so counter-cultural, are so beautifully paradoxical, that you cannot help but think they must be true. So it is with leadership and how we are taught to lead.

Given God can be nothing other than a leader, we should look to Jesus and see what He makes of leadership - Matt. 20:25-28 makes it clear. We are not to lord it over others but serve. Leadership is defined by service. This paradox continues in 1 Peter: this servant King is then the One who is rejected by the world becomes the cornerstone of the Living Temple of God (1 Peter 2:4-6). Architects forgive me, but the cornerstone is the foundational stone from which measurements for buildings are taken - everything is measured in relation to the cornerstone. So measure yourself by the cornerstone of Christ and His leadership methods - build on His sure foundation.

Why is this emphasis on service important? Consider the purpose of the cross: to reconcile sinful man to God. Why? So that we may enjoy Him forever. How? By being more like Him and His dearly beloved Son. Jesus affords us the mechanism to that change along with the Spirit - in short the cross allows us to become all we can be (to steal the US Army phrase). Jesus led so we could become all we can be - that is righteous via sanctification. So leaders take note - leadership is to allow and equip those you lead to become all that they were supposed to be, that is holy.

"I won't ever be your cornerstone" opines Caleb Followill in Pyro. I cannot help but share the sentiment. When you think of the Living Cornerstone and how everything is measured from Him, why would you want to be? He is our cornerstone, we are living stones chiseled to His measurements. We need Christ to shape us: His example, His grace. We must heed His example in encouraging and equipping others in their sanctification. I pray that those I feebly attempt to serve and lead are becoming Christ-like through my stewardship. If I am ever blessed with a wife I only hope that I can lead her to become all she can be in Christ - that is leadership in marriage, by no means is it bossing her around.

"I won't ever be your cornerstone." Praise be that I no longer want to be and that He is! Lead on Servant King.

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