The Scripture Readings for the service are:
- Jeremiah 29:11-14
- John 13:1-20
It is my belief that the model of serving together is the most healthy, most helpful model for ministry today. Not a minister serving a congregation. NOt a leader and followers. But serving and learning and growing toghether. It is my belief that Jesus tried to model this in his ministry, at least some of the time.
On the night before his death, Jesus pauses to wash the feet of his closest friends. Despite their lack of comfort, despite their confusion, despite their objections. Jesus knows that this is a lesson they need to learn -- sometimes one leads from the front, sometimes one leads by serving, by taking on a role of subservience.
AS this new ministry begins you all are going to be trying to understand how you will be church together. Everyone in a community of faith is a leader (for better or for worse) at times. Everyone in a community of faith is a follower (for better or for worse) at times. Everyone in a healthy community of faith needs to be willing to serve and to be served, to love and to be loved, to care for and be cared for. This is the faith to which Jesus has called us. This is the ministry to which Jesus has called us.
Leadership in the 21st Century is a bit of a strange animal. Many of us wonder at times (often? most of the time?) what is being asked of us. Are we asked to be the guru? the one in charge? the vision keeper? the vision setter? a companion on the road? the expert? all of the above? I think it is the last one at different times. And once again this is what I see Jesus modelling in the Gospels.
God has called communities of faith together. God has called certain people into leadership positions within these communities. God has, I sure hope, a plan for the growth of these communities (remembering that growth can mean a wide variety of things). In order for God's hopes to come to fruition we need to embrace our roles within our faith communities. We all lead, we all follow, we all companion. We all serve--even those who sit and wait.