NOTE: It has been my privilege for many years to serve alongside Molong Nacua, a church planter and networker, working with Third Day Churches in Cebu, Philippines. I have witnessed first hand a move of discipleship among my Filipino brothers that hang around Molong, that models for me as a westerner, a fresh and vital example of fulfilling the Great Commission.
So, I thought I would both send you one of Molong’s recent Blogs, and as well say a very special, “Christmas Blessing,” over you and your families, and the generations to come. (I have done a little grammatical work on this blog, (with his permission) without trying to change the meat of the meaning. I feel, as a friend that I know Molong’s Spirit and Heart in the matter).
Gary (Jane) Goodell
Servanthood Verses Leadership
Thursday, December 9th, 2010 at 4:58 pm by Molong Nacua
I am thinking the Apostle Paul was a leader because people follow leaders, right?
People follow leaders, indeed. They normally look for leaders or ask who is the leader. So, let unbelievers follow you, for ‘awhile’ like John the Baptist. He has disciples on his own ‘for awhile’ until Jesus came and then his disciples followed Him, so we don’t know until how long that people ‘followed’ Paul.
I believe it’s ‘for awhile’ since he himself warned the Ephesian elders that, “there are some among you here who will draw disciples for themselves.” So the question really is ‘Are you drawing them to Christ or to yourselves?’ This is entirely up to us. People normally look and follow leaders, let them follow you, but make sure it is because of your light, lead them, but not for long. When they start following you, push them to follow Christ by hearing His voice, being Spirit-Led. In this way, we are only taking men to Christ for them to be discipled by Him. Or as Floyd McFlung would say, “we disciple the lost to convert, we don’t disciple the convert.” Or as in leadership terminology we say, ‘we serve those whom we lead, not lead those whom we serve.’ This is the difference between a servant and a leader.
If people followed Paul, and they did, they were following Paul as he was following Christ. If so, he himself did not call this ‘leadership’ but servanthood. He calls himself a ‘servant.’ Neither a ‘leader’ nor even a ‘servant-leader.’ Even that word ‘servant-leader’ confuses me, is he a ‘servant’ or a ‘leader?’ Or, 50-percent, or both?
People follow Jesus, because He is the Leader. I think Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Jesus. So if Paul was not a leader why did he say? Follow me?”
Yes, Jesus is the Leader, and the ‘only’ leader in His Kingdom. Everyone gets a privilege to serve. But it doesn’t mean we are leaders just because people follow us. Just the same as just because you go to church you become a Christian, or by going to the garage you become a car. I believe in HIS Kingdom, He is the Leader, and everybody follows Him. I couldn’t find verses that say, “lead one another,” only “serve one another.” Maybe, all they mean about ‘leading’ is someone is ‘serving’ someone. Serving those whom they lead to Christ. We do lead souls, unbelievers to Christ to come to repentance; we do lead the lost by our light. But when they themselves find The Light, there is no need for human guidance because they will be Spirit-Led. We all have the same Holy Spirit. Each one can be Spirit-Led. I cannot tell you what to do or else you will be led by me. You cannot tell me what to do or else I will be led by you. We cannot be Spirit-Led then. That doesn’t mean that being led by the Spirit necessarily makes you a leader. Are you led to lead? Don’t try to use what is God’s Word to use somebody else. God hasn’t given anyone the Headship of His Body yet, and will never ever allow anyone to replace Him!
So again, maybe all this sort of ‘leadership stuff’ means ‘serving?’ Jesus discouraged human leadership, either Roman style or Jewish style, He said, “NOT SO AMONG YOU FOR YOU ARE ALL BROTHERS,” (Matthew 23:8). There is leadership, it is called being SPIRIT-LED. I respect the Holy Spirit as a PERSON, because He is. So it’s just like if Kevin is your leader, then he can lead you, not me right? If I try ‘leading’ you then that would be a great insult to Kevin. It’s the same using the word ‘my disciple,’ then you cannot be a disciple to others, or others cannot teach you. They will be but may in trouble if they try. We only ‘MAKE’ disciples, we are not ‘to disciple.’ I may teach, but I cannot teach the WHOLE, ALL truth, but the Spirit can teach ALL truth.” “He will guide you into ALL TRUTH.”
Have you ever tried hearing God teaching you? Did you try to argue? Nope, why? Because it’s the Truth! Each of us is only ‘filtering’ the words that we discuss and hear from each other. But we must let them hear God for their own situation. I cannot hear God for ‘your’ situation, sorry. I can only hear God for ‘my’ situation. Let’s teach, but let’s not try to tell them exactly HOW to do it. Tell them WHAT to do. Teach them to obey, but don’t teach them HOW to obey, rather let them hear God for their own situation and follow His leading. I cannot hear God for other people’s lives, I may try but the person has to CONFIRM it, or else, it’s not true.
Honestly, you must display a ‘Spirit-Led Life’ here. We do surely learn from you. So, when you guys left, Albert and Jomie stayed close to me, we do a lot of conversations of the Word while Doing-Jesus-Life-Together, but when it comes to the finality of it all, they know how to hear God for themselves. Example, they went to Bohol Island. First time they did a local missions trip. They didn’t ask my permission at all despite their lack of funds. Instead they just let me know that they were going. I thought deeply about it and was wondering what has happened. I didn’t say anything, I just let it go. Then one night as I opened the door of my room, God reminded me of Acts saying, “The Holy Spirit sends them, “remember in Acts that they went somewhere? And it says that, it’s “The Holy Spirit that sends them,” (Acts 13:2-4).
Another example was the craziest. They make me crazy here, because they keep on praying for the sick without asking my permission. You know in a traditional church, when leaders want to pray or do something, they would ask the Pastor’s permission? Everything would pass to him. But these guys Albert and Jomie, they just went and the person was instantly healed! So, the Holy Spirit keeps reminding me about being Spirit-Led. I posted it on myFacebook wall, “We cannot appreciate the Holy Spirit until we have tasted His fullness!”
Leadership was never in the mind of Paul when he left the church in Ephesus, because he “entrusted them with the Holy Spirit,” While at the same time he worried – “there are some among you here who will draw disciples for themselves.” That is taking over the leadership of the Holy Spirit. He warned against that.
So again, maybe these so-called ‘leadership characteristics’ are actually ‘servanthood characteristics.’ Why? Because the Apostles never used the word ‘leadership’ instead they uses the word ‘servant.’ Paul calls himself “a servant, he doesn’t call himself a ‘leader.’ Even in the often quoted Hebrews 13:7, the word ‘lead,’ or ‘leader,’ or ‘leadership,’ is not in the original text, so we cannot make this a doctrine of leadership.
Paul says, “follow me” because he is ‘following Christ.’ In other words, he “serves those whom he leads [to Christ], not the other way around, “he leads those whom he serves.” One is servanthood, the other is leadership.
Also as a Father myself I lead my wife and children by example. So is this leading? Yes, a Father is a leader. It is because I am in full agreement with servant leadership. That is the model.
But call it ‘servanthood,’ don’t mix it. You want to SERVE YOUR NEXT GENERATION, like David? Begin by serving your next generation, namely your children and your grandchildren. We know that there is always more a fight for “Who is the leader?” than “Who is the servant?” Sure, our children may fight ‘who is the ‘next’ leader?” when we die. Well, isn’t the ‘older brother?’ Remember the ‘older brother’ in the Prodigal Son story? I don’t want to even start teaching this to my kids. My motto is to, ‘lead souls to Christ, and serve my brothers!”
“Servant Leadership” as a phrase is not found in the Scriptures, ‘Servanthood” is. Jesus is the only Leader, and everyone follows. How’s that?
The five-fold ministry, I think has to be people. “It was given someto be Apostles, some to be Prophets.” Paul, we say, is the “Apostle Paul” so I think the five-fold in Ephesians 4 is people not just gifts.
It is gifts to His people, whoever the Spirit wills. Some may be more visible than the others. No, I don’t say the “Apostle Paul.” I say, “Paul, an Apostle.” Big difference. One is using his gifts as a title; the later is simply mentioning his gifting. Just like if I play a violin, would you call me “Violin Molong?” or “Molong, the violinist?” So, “Paul, an Apostle.” Rather than the “Apostle Paul.”
Sorry, I may be a bit strict here on wording because I care what are we communicating to the next generation. Definitions define relationships. If we are not careful we may communicate the wrong message. Just like saying, “I go to Church,” means that the building is the Church. Very misleading as,” A.W. Tozer bluntly said.
So, the five-fold is gifts to His people. Fathering and mothering their next generation, serving their next generation. Jesus is always pushing servanthood, not leadership. He is the Head, and we are not. It is His Body; we are only a part of it.
So where are these people, these gifts? Hiding? O maybe the church has thrown them out, hee, hee, hee, hee, hee. Probably, the Church has thrown them out. They are found in the world and do simple church! Sorry for ‘disagreeing,’ but know that this is not the main issue; we all want to practice what is right? Being Spirit-Led.
Finally, I bump into quotes like what Albert Einstein once said, “If the practice doesn’t fit the theory, change the practice.” What do you think? I think, its even ‘change the theory’ right? (and the practice) What’s the use of a theory if it doesn’t work?
Molong Nacua ([email protected])