It shall not be so among you
JESUS GAVE CLEAR, unambiguous instructions about how we should do leadership. He is our Master and His walk with the Twelve is the prototype cell for the churches we plant (Matt 28.20, John 20.21).
Towards the end of our season in Mozambique, we wrestled with how and whom to appoint as chief of the Koti leadership team. We went to the Master to see what He did.
We saw that when the disciples asked who would be the boss after He left (Luke 22.24, John 13), Jesus shocked them. He told them that worldly leaders think like that but “It shall not be so among you.” He washed their feet and made serving and loving each other, not vertical authority, the key to their leadership. He appointed no one as chief.
Certainly, Peter emerged as a key spokesman, along with John and later James, who was not even one of the Twelve. But he had no higher ranking and rather “stood with the eleven” (Acts 2.14); decisions were made by the apostles and elders together!
So, we took a deep breath, washed their feet and left the core team with no one as top dog. Eight years later, with 200 churches and 400 leaders, this small apostolic team continues to oversee the work with amazing harmony, without confusion and still without one identifiable chief.
One man who lives in town is pivotal for much communication. But he is not senior; he serves! Two others are particularly influential, because of their wisdom and experience. But everyone participates vigorously in decision-making, as they seek His kingdom first. No one would dream of pushing through his own opinion.
I may be wrong; certainly most people don’t agree with me. A wonderful apostolic friend says, “I agree that’s what the New Testament teaches but it doesn’t work. Benign dictatorship is the best model of leadership.” But for a Christ-follower, I think that’s horrifying thinking!
Yes, we have seen ineffective teams paralysed by rivalries and carnal thinking. It is quite wrong however, to argue from bad experiences and cast aside Jesus’ clear mandate, citing Old Testament models of kingship. Check out Jesus’ team and learn from Him. If you choose to follow Him, you will be blessed (John 13.17)!
Jo and Jenny’s passion is to help a new generation of young people, many sons and daughters, to make disciples of unreached ethnic groups.
Jo and Jenny live in Osaka, Japan.