Thinking about leadership as service rather than the assumption of power

I will give him your robe and wrap him in your sash,
    and I will hand over to him your authority… – Isaiah 22:21

Rebekah and John wearing stoles at WFPC

This is – I believe – a good thought for a Sunday morning; most especially a Sunday morning in this current political season.

I will be using a story from Rebekah’s ministry with Rev. Tim Black, in Florida (I believe I have the facts right, but Tim can correct me if necessary).

It all begins, however, this weekend with our discussion in the Saturday morning men’s Bible study. “What I can’t stop thinking about,” someone said – I think it was George – “is the way people keep referring to the change in Washington this week. I don’t like the phrase ‘transfer of power.'”

We all agreed that thinking of political leadership in terms of “power” is absolutely the wrong emphasis.

My Tim story from Florida:

“Let me share a story,” I said. “When Rebekah was pastor at First Brandon the church grew to the extent that we needed another minister on board. That’s when Tim (and Kelly) Black came. Tim made the observation that the stole – symbolizing ecclesiastical office – was surprisingly heavy. Also that when he was ordained, the ‘laying on of hands’ felt like a serious weight.

– Tim Black with Rebekah in Brandoncirca 2010

“Tim was a little taken aback at the heaviness, the weight. But – immediately – he knew, he understood right away. The stole, the hands, the ordination prayer… they all represented taking the heavy mantle of ministry, the significant weight of service.

Leadership is about service more than about the assumption of power.”

We talked about that idea a little. Maybe if our political leaders – especially those in Washington (the representatives, the senators, the president and the veep) – maybe if they all were to approach leadership first and foremost as an opportunity to serve others, and to put everyone and everything else ahead of their own personal agendas.

I know there are some who already do. But if we were to see a widespread movement, to see the overwhelming majority of leaders willing to feel the weight of the privilege of serving others, of supporting one-another… if only?


Well, I said the other day that we need an awakening. I can only double down on that, and recommend that more of us get down to some serious prayer.

– Derek Maul

It’s like I said to the assembled teachers and administrators when I was introduced at morning staff meeting as a new middle school teacher (the fourth for that class, and it was only October!). “It’s good to meet all of you,” I said. “Those of you who pray – please do.”

Please do – DEREK


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