For Christian leaders, our end goal is to please the one that commissioned us—Jesus Christ. Christ’s redemptive sacrifice is sometimes referred to as the great exchange. He sacrificed his life so that we might live eternally. However, we sometimes fail to realize that there is another part of the bargain—an exchange of wills. The perfect exchange therefore was Christ’s life for ours, and our will for his.
Ministry… for such an overused word in Christian nomenclature, it is also often the most misunderstood concept. To many people, the word ministry automatically translates to pastoral responsibility, public preaching, and this overwhelming feeling of religious responsibility. Maybe this is why most people would rather not be associated with the title. The mere mention of the word has a larger than life feeling. However, the truth is that every Christian is a minister.
Everything you do matters to God, and should be considered ministry. Yes, the relationships you cultivate matter to God and are extensions of your worship. Even the jobs you have should be considered part of that “true and proper worship” that Paul refers to in Romans 12. For far too long, we Christians have lived under the guise that there are sacred actions and secular actions. This has resulted in some believers overlooking the value that God finds in work and professional settings. For us, if we have truly given our lives to Christ, all of our actions should be Christ centered. All of our motives and decisions should emanate from our progressive union to God through Christ. Whether it is showing up to church faithfully, or working hard in your professional life, everything is to be done to the glory of God.
Through his own hardships and times of affliction, Paul experienced the most maturity and growth. Why? Because the apostle learned to trust in the sovereignty of God and view affliction through that lens. By putting his trust in God, Paul was able to understand that affliction is allowed by God to sharpen us and strengthen our leadership abilities. Think about it for a moment. When you are being persecuted you pray more, you hear God better, and you are more yielded to God than at any other point in your Christian walk. These qualities then lead to stronger acts of leadership. This only works if you remain committed to the process . . . if you endure hardship.
Paul’s young apprentice, Timothy, was privy to the suffering that the apostle experienced throughout his journey to destiny. He would accompany Paul on his visits to the early churches. It was Timothy who would visit Paul in prison, where he would see this great leader in his most vulnerable and weakest states. Amidst trials and difficulties, good times and bad, Timothy personally witnessed Paul’s commitment to his calling and purpose. These examples spoke clearly to Timothy, when Paul charged him to “keep his head in all situations.” Paul was preparing Timothy to withstand the pressures of life that would surely come, so that he might excel in providing clear and precise leadership to others.
It is high time we revisit how we think about leadership and reshape the narrative on how we describe it. Leadership is an essential aspect of any movement. It is quite irreplaceable when you really think about it. A lack of leadership could lead to disorder, stunt the growth of an organization, or cause movements to become stagnant.