Jesus says that whoever wants to be the first must become a servant of all (Mark 10:44). This used to make me feel guilty, because as the pastor of a church, I should be the servant of every church member, but I didn’t feel like I was. To me, servants were people who made others’ wishes their commands, and I wasn’t able to do that.
I later realized that I was misunderstanding Jesus’ words. Jesus didn’t behave that way himself. Servants don’t put others’ wishes first, but their needs. They consider their master’s needs more important than their own. To me, true servants are people who help those around them become more successful. According to this definition, I can say that I am a servant, because this has been my attitude towards people around me.
True servants do sometimes acquiesce to others’ requests, but they also refuse them at times. True servants both encourage and reprimand people.
Some pastors believe that truly loving pastors should accept their members as they are no matter what they do – good or bad. But I think this attitude is a sign of indifference; not love – they want to keep their reputations as loving pastors or are afraid of the reaction they may get when they do or say something that offends their church members.
If pastors want to be true servants, they should be willing to discipline their members when necessary. If church members repeatedly hurt people – including themselves – how can we call their pastor a servant when he folds his arms and does nothing?
I believe that people who help their neighbors live successful lives are true servants. I strive to be such a person. My ministry goal for my staff members is to help them become fruitful and successful professionals in their respective ministry fields. My ministry goal for our deacons is to help them become faithful, respectful servants of the Lord. My ministry goal for our shepherds is to help them receive more rewards than me when we go to heaven.
Because it’s my ministry goal to help others become faithful Christian servants, I correct them when they make mistakes. I give advice if I feel that it will help them. However, I do it after everything is over, not before so I don’t dampen their enthusiasm, nor during it lest I give the impression that I’m interfering. I point out things in writing that will help them do better in the future.
I pray that our church leaders will become true servants so that they can discern the right times to accept or correct the people they serve.
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