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 15 - Principle 11 Leading is Serving in Humility
Though there is leadership in the Book of Acts, the examples we find are of those who serve the body of Christ. A gathering of believers is still an Assembly even if there is no defined servant leader. As the fellowship grows in the Lord, the Spirit will gift certain men as shepherds.199 The 12 Apostles were servants to widows giving them bread daily for a season,200 until they realized they needed to fully devote themselves to studying the Scriptures and giving themselves to prayer.201 They delegated the function of physically serving the widows but expanded their service to the congregation to give them spiritual food. Though a shepherd in the body of Christ has concerns to watch over the Flock,202 in the Word and prayer,203 and teaching the body, he must do all in the spirit of servanthood to help others.
To serve others is the example our Lord Jesus gave us when He who was the teacher and rabbi took the form of a servant204 and washed the feet of His disciples.205 When a leader desires honor for his own self; when he wants esteem from men, when he exercises control for gain and power, he is not a leader in the body of Christ. Paul didn’t even exercise authority over Apollos to come to Corinth even though Paul “greatly desired him to come.” Paul allowed the Holy Spirit to guide Apollos in his personal walk when he said, “He was quite unwilling to go now, but he will go when he has the opportunity.”206 Overseers also are not to desire preeminence.207 In fact, where there are such desires of greatness Jesus gives clear teachings on not taking titles208 and not lording over others in the body of Christ.209 Concluding with this powerful statement for those who would be leaders in His kingdom: “The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”210
We need to be humble or the Lord will not use us in His greater work. God does not use those who are full of themselves but rather who are unqualified and emptied of their desires and opinions. The greatest brothers God will use in local areas are those who do not feel qualified to lead and are simply servants. Such unqualified ones will be some of the shepherds—God is raising up—that will fully rely on Jesus Christ and not their own abilities. God does not entrust Himself to those who are ambitious for position, power or prominence in the work of the Gospel.
The Apostle Paul was complaining to the Corinthian Church that they had allowed themselves to be taken advantage of by self-centered humanistic leaders. “In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face.”211 Such leaders had private agendas even in the Name of God and even with very spiritual motives and teachings. God will not share His glory with others especially in the end times work of the body of Christ.
When a leader starts to control what people do in their private life, he is then not allowing the Holy Spirit of God His proper role of convicting and guiding people in their personal walk with the Lord. When shepherds demand, speak harshly, yell or accuse the Lord’s people in anyway212 there is a great likelihood that individual is not a true shepherd from the Lord. Servant leaders in the body of Christ simply want to see the entire body come to fullness in Christ. They are called of the Lord to protect the flock as the Lord grows each member by His Spirit. “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.”213
True shepherds want to encourage everyone onwards in the heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.214 True leaders work themselves out of a position continually trying to raise up others, they never try to be in demand or control but rather are subservient to the Lord’s will. Servant leaders are genuine and real about their walk with the Lord, their faults and weaknesses. Paul exemplifies this when he says: “I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.”215
There has never been a faultless perfect leader in the body of Christ but rather weak, broken vessels that God has raised up for His glory to build a testimony for His Name. Moses was being prepared by the Lord as a vessel for His purposes in the earth. When God was finished with Moses, he was inadequate and a nobody in the eyes of the world. When His man was ready, reduced to nothing weak and useless in his own flesh, God said, “he’s ready!” Leaders in the body of Christ must be humble and broken from the Lord’s hand to be truly useful in His kingdom.
Believers will recognize the gift and calling of leadership on a brother and as an early Church document states: “Appoint, therefore, for yourselves, bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men meek, and not lovers of money, and truthful and proved; for they also render to you the service of prophets and teachers. Therefore do not despise them, for they are your honored ones, together with the prophets and teachers.”216 May we honor those the Lord puts in the body to mature and help us along the narrow way to conformity to the image of God’s Son.217
True shepherds realize they are accountable to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ218 and will be judged more harshly for what they have taught and done.219 Therefore they serve in the fear of the Lord, in meekness, grace and love, considering others better than themselves.220 Servant leaders lastly have a main purpose, which is to bring all the body to unity221 in Jesus Christ and to protect them from division and doctrines of demons.222 God has given servant leaders the ministry of protecting His precious Bride on the earth. To keep her as a chaste virgin to Christ till His coming.223 Such is a great responsibility and honor as servant leaders shepherd and love the body of Christ as Christ loves Her deeply.

199 “It seems quite clear that a pastor (the Greek noun is poimain, meaning shepherd, found only once in the New Testament) is equivalent to an elder (the Greek noun presbuteros, found numerous times in the New Testament), and is also equivalent to an overseer (the Greek noun episkopos, translated bishop in the KJV). Paul, for example, instructed the Ephesian elders (presbuteros), whom he said the Holy Spirit had made overseers (episkopos), to shepherd (the Greek verb poimaino) the Flock of God (see Acts 20:28). He also used the terms elders (presbuteros) and overseers (episkopos) synonymously in Titus 1:5-7. Peter, too, exhorted the elders (presbuteros) to shepherd (poimaino) the Flock (see 1 Peter 5:1-2).” - David Servant
200 Acts 6:2
201 Acts 6:4
202 Acts 20:28
203 1 Timothy 5:17
204 Philippians 2:7
205 John 13:4-5
206 1 Corinthians 16:12
207 3 John 1:9
208 Matthew 23:8-10
209 Mark 10:42-45, 1 Corinthians 16:15-16
210 Matthew 23:11-12
211 2 Corinthians 11:20
212 2 Corinthians 10:1
213 Hebrews 13:17
214 Philippians 3:14
215 1 Corinthians 2:3
216 Didache (A.D. 80-140)
217 Romans 8:28
218 1 Peter 5:4
219 James 3:1
220 Philippians 2:3
221 John 17:20-23
222 1 Timothy 4:1
223 Revelation 21:9, Ephesians 5:27

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Category Christian Missions
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Added On 06/03/2014 
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