In this season of reflection and writing, I’ve been focusing a lot on Jesus. I wonder about how He led. Did he do it like a modern C.E.O.? I also think about the structures of His community. Were they mostly organizational structures or organism structures? Business or community?
What kind of structure best supports the work of ministry? Every church I’ve served or attended has drawn fairly heavily from contemporary business practices for its structure. This tends to create a bias towards more organizational than organic approach to life and ministry.
It strikes me that the typical organizational chart of a ministry puts a key leader at the top of the chart. I find it interesting that an organism structure like a tree puts the key structure at the bottom (roots and trunk). A tree grows naturally. The key branches are beneath, supporting the growth above. No two trees are alike, just like no two ministries are alike. The structure of one ministry may look quite different from the structure of another. But strength serves at the base rather than ruling from the top.
So as I lead the ministry of The Leadership Institute, I must ask myself if I live at the base to serve or at the top to be served. I hope I’m living the former. It’s how Jesus would do it. He said so Himself when He had to address a little self-promotion among the disciples:
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 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.” (Matthew 20:25-28 NIV)