As followers of Christ, whether in a formal leadership role or not, we all have a responsibility to reflect Jesus’ leadership model.
The word leadership can bring a lot of varying ideas to mind. My view of leadership is that anyone given this important position should be a servant leader, dying to self and daily seeking Jesus in how to best lead like Him. Knowing that, as leaders, we will grow and be stretched spiritually. Understanding that we cannot lead in our own strength, but absolutely require the Lord’s strength.
Leadership is a responsibility not to be taken lightly. Jesus is our greatest example of leadership. There was no ego involved. He served others, not Himself. His model flips many people’s approach to leadership upside down.
“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
As one of the internship program leaders in Thailand last summer, I felt blessed and humbled to come alongside a group of interns while they served in disability ministry in such a drastically different context than North America.
It was an honor to be part of their journey, as they said yes to the Lord, stepped into the unknown, and flew to the other side of the world with the desire to not only serve those affected by disability, but to be open and vulnerable to what God was going to do in their own lives.
At times, God takes us halfway around the globe to get our attention.
He teaches us, molds us, and shows us aspects of ourselves that we may never have learned had we stayed put; things that we may never have addressed in our lives otherwise.
Sometimes, when everything familiar is stripped away and we can no longer hide behind the distractions and busyness we may consciously or unconsciously place in our lives, we may find that God reveals areas of our lives that need refining.
At first, these new self-revelations can be painful to address, and the temptation can be to run from our own brokenness. However, I have found that when we don’t run from it, but sit still in it, that’s when God teaches us so much and continues His process of molding us more into His likeness.
“We enter into this profession with the desire to help others, impact lives, and make a difference but the irony is that we end up being impacted and forever changed by the very ones we are trying to help.”
It is often said that teachers learn a great deal from their students. As a teacher, I can testify that this is absolutely the case. We enter into this profession with the desire to help others, impact lives, and make a difference but the irony is that we end up being impacted and forever changed by the very ones we are trying to help.
I have seen this same principle take place in leadership. As a internship leader in Thailand, I definitely experienced this over and over again. What is so interesting about last summer is how I came in as one of the leaders for this group, to serve them, support them, and try and guide them, but I was taken aback and astonished at how they so passionately and fervently served me.
They daily poured into my life and encouraged me. It was inspiring. These interns impacted my heart deeply. I was continually humbled by the way the group would constantly come alongside one another in order to serve and minister to the team. They made me tear up, they made me smile, and they made me stand back and watch in admiration.
While in Thailand, I experienced the anniversary of the loss of a close loved one and on that day these precious interns came to me with a bouquet of flowers. It was their notes of encouragement left on my pillow, the spontaneous treats bought for me, the labor of love when one of the interns cooked up my favorite Thai dessert. It was the repeated ways they asked what I needed or how they could pray for me. It was their continual words of affirmation. It was so many little things all the time that just brought joy to my heart as I continued to learn from them.
I wanted to encourage, support, and pour into them, yet they kept changing the paradigm by doing the same for me, teaching me so much about the heart of Jesus.
I loved when they led devotions and how they spurred one another on to love Jesus more deeply. It was special being part of their journey in a context so opposite to the one from which we all came; walking with them as they saw disability ministry in a culture that views those with special needs in a very different way.
They had to process through hard realities and deal with tough situations. These emotions and feelings can and should cause action in us.
“God doesn’t want us to sit idly by with the discomfort and pain that confronts us, but to step up, to be His hands and feet and represent Him well on this earth.”
Listening to this sweet group regularly share about the good and the hard touched my heart on numerous occasions. There it was, it happened again; the students, in this case the interns, had taught me so much and confirmed my conclusion, that teachers, or internship leaders, learn a huge amount from those they are trying to help and impact.
As followers of Christ, whether in a formal leadership role or not, we all have a responsibility to reflect Jesus’ leadership model. To practice love-based, servant leadership that does not point to ourselves. We are here for a short time, so let’s take every opportunity wherever we are, to boldly live for Jesus to a watching world.
Are you a student or young professional looking to learn more about serving people with disabilities? Our internship program will give you hands-on experience with ministering to people and families affected by disability!