Jesus was the best example of a servant leader. Let’s review a few principles gleaned from His ministry.
• It’s not about you.
Class facilitators must remember that the most important person is not the one speaking up front but each person in the group. Everything you do or say should be weighed against the benefit to the audience. As such, it is important that you know whom you are serving. Take time to get to know your group members, and always put their needs before your preferences. The moment you care more about yourself than the child of Christ in your group is the moment you have stopped being His leader.
• Know your goal.
Again, your goal is neither to make yourself look good nor to entertain. We can never compete with the world in terms of entertainment. The world can never compete with the power of the Holy Spirit to move people. Your role and pleasure is to be a conduit for the Holy Spirit to do His holy work, a work you could never do alone.
Your job is to bridge the gap between people and God by creating an atmosphere that is inviting to both parties, just as Jesus did. You should prayerfully plan inspiring and relevant interaction. Back up principles with illustrations, and always be warm and inviting. When you “step on toes,” confess to God and the wounded. Ask all involved to pray with you and for you.
• Invest in the rams.
Always be on the lookout for people—rams in the thicket, so to speak—to mentor into leadership. More important than your facilitation ability is your receptive heart that prompts people to respond to you. Remember that investing means giving of yourself. You must commit your time and energy to this venture.
• Live upward.
Trying to pretend that you are something you are not will always end in failure. In order to effect any spiritual progress in the lives of the people you are leading, there must be steady and continuous spiritual progress in your life. A daily devotional routine and strong prayer life are the cornerstones of a strong spiritual leader. To carry out your tasks successfully, keep God close. Depend on His power.
• Made to serve.
The talents that allow you to be a leader were given to you by God. By using them to help others, you glorify His name. Nothing is more fulfilling than carrying out the purpose for which you were created. Keep this in mind when you feel inadequate or unsure of your calling to serve.
Before you start your duties, take a moment to reflect on the wonder that is God working through you. Pray for forgiveness for specific sins, and ask God to cleanse your mind of anything that may stand in the way of your ministry. Then, confidently go into your task that God assigned to you for that very moment.
• Multiply your return.
The more you give to God, the more He gives you in return. If you take time to expand your ministry, God will give you the talents and skills that will amaze you. As you grow into new responsibilities, new leaders will rise to grow and learn from you.
• Expect “pickles” and predicaments.
Don’t be discouraged by opposition. Jesus faced it all through His ministry. Critics and unsupportive leaders—pickles—are always going to exist. Jesus said that we would be persecuted in His name—predicaments—so you should expect to have problems as part of a vibrant ministry. If you have no tribulations, it’s time to worry.
Only God can separate the chaff from the wheat. Always strive to be inclusive and impartial, especially if you have not been treated that way. If what you are doing causes division, it is not the Lord’s work. Go back to Him for clarification.
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists