Pastor's Blog

MinistrieSummit Ordination Sermon

Posted on May 6, 2009 at 8:22 PM

Aristotle said, “The mind thinks in pictures.” And we know that the

postmodern mind of the 21st century is strongly influenced by a

tsunami of visual media. Given that reality, we want to focus on four

images Jesus connected with ministry.

The first face of leadership is SHEPHERD — our CALLING.

Jesus used this metaphor in John 10. Our pastoral leadership

should foster a nurturing environment rather than a bureaucratic

culture. Nurturing cultures have a serving loving DNA, while bureaucratic

cultures are power driven and selfish. One of my concerns

is our tendency to professionalize the ministry. It is a calling not a

career. We must ask the question, “Is this decision motivated more

by career advancement than a Holy Spirit led calling?”

In their book, The Way of the Shepherd, Dr. Kevin Lehman and

William Pentak identify seven ancient secrets of managing productive

people by unpacking the shepherd leadership model. In my

opinion it is a must read for every person who believes they are

called to ministry.

Now we turn to the next face of leadership SERVANT — our

CHARACTER. This metaphor comes from John 13. It’s the only

time in scripture Jesus uses himself as an example. He washes the

feet of the disciples and then instructs them with, “I have set you an

example that you should do as I have done for you.” (John 13:15)

A servant is one who handles power in word and action as though

he/she does not need it. Someone has calculated that the word

servant is used over 1300 times in Scripture. Frequency of use

should send a strong signal of importance to us.

I haven’t always been a good servant, but one experience stands

out in my pool of memories. A pastor in the Potomac District and

I resolved an estrangement that happened as a result of a church

conflict. Since I was his District Superintendent, he invited me to

speak at the church to demonstrate to the congregation that the

matter had been settled. God had used him to initiate a godly

resolution to this legal dispute. On the day I ministered I felt led to

kneel before the pastor and use a towel to wipe off his shoes. The

spontaneous weeping and embracing that ensued in the congregation

was very heart warming. A couple of years later when I returned

to preach again the spirit of reconciliation was still very much in


The third face of leadership is STEWARD — our COMPETENCY.

At the end of the parable of the shrewd manager (Luke 16:10-12)

Jesus said, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be

trusted with much...if you have not been trustworthy in handling

worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?....if you have

not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give

you property of your own?” Paul reminds the Corinthians, “Now it is

required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.”

(I Cor. 4:2)

Competency in ministry especially in pentecostal circles is a tricky

subject because we place a strong emphasis on the anointing. It’s

a mistake to believe it must be either/or. We know it can be both

competency and anointing. I love what Barry Black, the current

Chaplain of the US Senate, says about preaching, “Study until you

are full...think until you are clear...pray until you are hot...and deliver

with passion.”

The final face of leadership is SEER — our process for

CHANGE. Jesus was often called a prophet. (Matthew 21:11,46)

As a minister, God calls us to be voices for change. Effective

leaders not only call for a course correction but also know how

to get people there. Too often we believe changing personnel,

programs or products is the place to start. Real change begins by

clarifying our purpose. Next we chart the course that tells how to

get there. And remember, it always takes longer than we envision.

So underpromise and overdeliver. Trust me when we overpromise

and underdeliver it erodes our credibility.

So how do we know which face of leadership to incarnate. Our

relationship with the Father will guide us.

I don’t fear failure as much as I fear that I might succeed in doing

things that don’t get people where they need to go. As a leader

I can be a good servant — wash feet, but if I am not a shepherd

who guides or a steward who manages well or a seer who calls for

change I may not be getting people where they need to go. If we

focus on any one of the faces and neglect the other three, I believe

our leadership is missing what Jesus modeled.

We are to say to the people we serve, “Your potential is my mission”

and then lead them with the face of a shepherd, servant, steward

and seer.


Preached by Pastor Robert Rhoden


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