The Wizard of Oz

If you are familiar with The Wizard of Oz, you know that the central figure is Dorothy, who is joined by three unusual partners in a search for the mighty Wizard. Each character believes that the Wizard can provide what they need. When they find the Wizard, they realize that he is just an ordinary person who can't really help them with any magical powers. They also come to see that what they sought was already within their grasp, and that a wizard or expert wasn't the remedy they had imagined.

Brian McLaren, a noted author and pastor, wrote an essay entitled Dorothy on Leadership. McLaren argues that Dorothy, though a child, was the real leader in the group. I urge you to read the essay for yourself and see what made Dorothy an effective servant leader. Then see how you can apply those same principles to your life and work.

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Teaching Is Why I Love Wednesdays!

Tonight I teach a class entitled "The Classical Christian Understanding of Life" at the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry. I enjoy teaching and that includes preparing the lesson plans, grading the papers and preparing the exams. I enjoy teaching because teaching gives me the opportunity to apply the principles of servant-leadership in the classroom.

Jesus was a great teacher in part because he was an effective servant-leader. I composed a four-part essay entitled Teaching As A Path To Servant Leadership, using Jesus' teaching in Matthew 23 as a reference point. In those essays, I pointed out that a teacher serves not only the students but also the truth that the teacher teaches. For example, I see myself as a recipient and steward of the purpose message I have taught for 14 years. I serve that truth and I have had to structure my life and work in such a way as to further the purpose cause. In other words, I am serving the purpose message.

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey recommends that the reader teach the seven habits within 48 hours of studying them. Covey points out that teaching the principles reinforces them in a powerful way.

So have you ever considered teaching? You don't have to be an expert, you just have to be one step ahead of the students in regards to your subject matter. Teaching will improve your grasp on the material and will make you a more effective servant-leader as you serve both the students and the material that you are teaching. I love Wednesdays because it provides an opportunity to teach, impart knowledge and grow. Is there a teaching opportunity that you can take advantage of that will help you become a better servant-leader?

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Servant Leadership

We had dinner with friends last night and the conversation turned to their concern for the church. The wife stated, "It seems that churches today are either personality cults or else run by boards of deacons or elders that would evict the Holy Spirit if He showed up!" She further expressed her concern that if everyone just starts their own ministry or work that the church will be weakened and accountability and fellowship thwarted. She then asked my opinion.

Most people just can't imagine the Church being a place without some kind of control. But I see a Church that is vibrant, where each person is fulfilling his or her purpose. That requires servant leaders who help people find what it is they are supposed to do -- missions, ministry, business, eduction, medicine. Then these same leaders must then be involved to equip these same people for release and success. No matter how big or unwieldy this may seem to be, the Holy Spirit can handle it. Each person must pursue their own accountability according to the sphere where they fulfill their purpose and that is where they will receive their primary means of fellowship.

I think that most people expect too much of their church and its leaders, but I acknowledge that usually church leaders are not equipped to oversee a broad spectrum of ministry outlets from their own house. That is why the message of purpose is so critical. Purpose gives each person orders from "headquarters" and then everyone has their marching orders--the person to fulfill their purpose and the church leaders to equip each person for their work of service.

But this requires a whole new attitude in church leaders and members alike. No longer can anyone look for the church to assign them their purpose; they must find it for themselves. And no longer can the church offer only a few expressions of purposeful activity -- nursery, choir and ushering -- but must allow the church's agenda to be set, to some extent, by the purpose assigned to each member. For instance, if I am a pastor and someone in my church has a purpose for missions, then I MUST adapt my own activities and emphasis to see this person prepared and released for missions. That is true servant leadership and that will revolutionize the church so that my friends, and many others like them, will see the church as a giving and not a taking agency.

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