Aug 23 2011
Here's to "Religious Leaders", Jesus-Style

 

So Americans are losing faith in "religious leaders". 

I'm not.

I mean, sure, if "religious leaders" means office-holders at religious organizations who love being experts or "sought-after speakers" or CEO/visionaries or who build churches around their own personal awesomeness, well then, okay, you've got me.  Just being honest:  I have lost some faith in that kind of leadership.

But not leadership, Jesus-style.  No, for those people, those servant-hearted men and women whose names you may never see on a book at a Christian Bookstore (TM), I thank God.  I've not lost faith in them.  They've shown me how God is at work, and the way He works is shocking:  He raises the humble, the weak, the unlikely.  He says "THIS is how you lead", and then He washes the feet of a motley bunch of liars, betrayers, and sinners with no earthly status whatsoever. 

That's what Jesus called "authority".  It's upside-down style. 

So -- and I know I'll sound like the beer commercial, but:  Here's to you, Jesus-style leaders.  I may not know who you are, by name.  Not here.  Not yet.  Good thing God knows who you are, though, and He doesn't need you to be on a stage, or under lights, and He doesn't need to read your book, to know you. 

In my little list below, "Leaderman" will likely accomplish some impressive things, and earn some applause.  But -- speaking for myself, at this point of my life?   I can't get enough of the other kind.  So here's to you, servant leaders.

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Servant Leader:  Has something to say
LeaderMan:  Wants a platform on which to say something


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LeaderMan:  You almost feel you know his family, because he's your Leader
Servant Leader:  You allow him to influence you, because you know his family

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LeaderMan: Wants you to know he's a Leader
Servant Leader:  You're not sure *he* knows he's a leader


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LeaderMan:  Loves the idea of the Gospel, and the idea of The Church
Servant Leader: Loves God and the actual individual people God brings across his path


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LeaderMan:  A great speaker, but self-described as, "Not really a people person."
Servant Leader:  Makes himself a people person


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LeaderMan:  Helps you find where God is leading you in his organization
Servant Leader:  Helps you find where God is leading you


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LeaderMan:  Gets together with you to talk about his vision
Servant Leader:  Just gets together with you


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LeaderMan:  Resents "sheep stealing"
Servant Leader:  Doesn't get the "stealing" part, since he doesn't own anyone to begin with


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LeaderMan:  Wants the right people on the bus
Servant Leader:  Wants to find the right bus for you, and sit next to you on it


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Servant Leader:  Shows you his whole heart
LeaderMan:  Shows you a flow chart


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LeaderMan:  A visionary who knows what the future looks like
Servant Leader:  Knows what your kitchen looks like


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LeaderMan:  Everybody must be excellent!
Servant Leader:  Excellent at welcoming everybody, even the inept


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LeaderMan:  Talks about confronting one another in love
Servant Leader:  Actually confronts you in love


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LeaderMan:  Impressed by success and successful people
Servant Leader:  Impressed by faithfulness


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LeaderMan:  Invests time in you, if you are "key people"
Servant Leader:  Wastes time with you


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LeaderMan:  Reveals sins of his past
Servant Leader:  Reveals sins of his present


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LeaderMan:  Gives you things to do
Servant Leader:  Gives you freedom


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LeaderMan:  Leads because of official position
Servant Leader:  Leads in spite of position


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LeaderMan:  Deep down, threatened by other Leaders
Servant Leader:  Has nothing to lose

 

Jul 26 2011
A Few Tipping Points

It's not a secret, and it's not a small deal.  We talked about it on the show, yesterday:  Church folk are rotten tippers.

It's not "church-bashing", it's reality, and it's confirmed by listeners to the show who are churchgoers, themselves, and waiters, and who wind up apologizing to their coworkers for their fellow Christians.  "Oh no...here come the Jesus people..." -- they actually hear this.

It's mind-boggling, and here's why:

1) We're being served, people. 

Jesus, whom we presumably worship and seek to emulate, is s Servant to servants.  And make no mistake, when you go take yourself out to a restaurant, you are hiring servants for yourself.  Previously, in human history, this was something only royalty could dream of, actually HIRING people to find and prepare your food, and bring it to you, responding to your wishes.

If you suspect you are owed this, that this is a right and normal order of things, having other humans wait on you, you haven't quite "gotten" this Kingdom thing yet. 

2) We're supposed to be the generous ones.

And, in fact, church-folk, particularly conservative, Bible-belt people, ARE more generous than others, and not to just to church-related causes.  (See the book Who Really Cares, by Arthur Brooks)  But that generosity, for whatever reason, hasn't extended to the very people in front of them, working for a living.

We're the ones who believe, presumably, our security doesn't come from money, and that we're given money to bless others with it.  So here's a golden opportunity.

3) People somehow still think it's "better" to give wait staff a tract, because "giving them Jesus is so much more valuable than giving money."

Fine, give them a tract, if you feel compelled... next to a hundred-dollar bill.  I'm serious.  A "Jesus" that doesn't demand sacrifice, isn't radically and joyfully loving, and rewards service with propaganda isn't a Jesus many will be attracted to.  Sorry.  Plus, he doesn't actually exist.

4)  It's great practice.

Being radically generous in everyday situations merely breeds more generosity.  I love what Dallas Willard says:  "What you believe isn't what you SAY you believe, it's what you actually do."

5)  A generous heart isn't all about "tithing"

I actually heard this, more than once:  "Why would I give a waitress 15% when I give God 10%?"  Seriously.

Nevermind that you give yourself, apparently, 90%, by this calculation, and that you just took yourself out to dinner, to be served hand-and-foot by, perhaps, a single mom trying to put food on her own table. 

(Funny/sad:  A mom and waitress calls in yesterday, saying she gets the occasional tract-instead-of-a-tip.  "I'm a Christian -- I'm actually hoping for some money for my labor.")

Tithing, in the OT, takes various forms, and adds up to more than 30% of agricultural crops.  In the New Testament, church-folks should know, it's quite clear:  God owns 100% of your money.  Enjoy being radically, freely, cheerfully generous with it. 

See if God lets you go bankrupt.

6)  Wouldn't it be kinda awesome if Jesus-lovers were the crazy-generous tippers, the ones who most rewarded hard work, the ones who were the servants of servants...?

I say we do it.  Perhaps, someday, the servants near the kitchen actually say "Sweet...here come the Jesus people..."