The Cross and Christian Ministry

I've found a wonderful source of wisdom in D. A. Carson's The Cross and Christian Ministry. From his studies in 1 Corinthians, Carson instructs in the following areas:

1) "The Cross and Christian Preaching"
2) "The Cross and the Holy Spirit"
3) "The Cross and Factionalism"
4) "The Cross and Christian Leadership", and
5) "The Cross and the World Christian"

I'm now in the chapter on leadership. Here are a few thoughts I found penetrating and edifying:
The person who daydreams about being a leader in almost any field imagines what it is like to be the best, or at least to be better than most others - to succeed where others fail, to be stalwart where others stumble, to create where others merely perform, to win adulation and applause, perhaps after some initial hardship and rejection. To be a leader may mean fame, money, and some freedoms from the responsibilities and humdrum existence of ordinary mortals. To be a leader means to win respect. Only rarely do those who dream of leadership, but who have never experienced it, think through the responsibilities, pressures, and temptations leaders face. Almost never do they focus on accountability, service, suffering.

Christian leadership means being entrusted with the mysteries of God...It is not that Paul, Apollos, and other leaders are servants of Christ while other Christians are not, nor is it that they are entrusted with the secret things of God while other believers know nothing of them. Leaders are not in a special, priestly class. Rather, what is required in some sense of all believers is peculiarly required of the leaders of believers. There is a difference of degree. That is why Paul will be able to say, "I urge you to imitate me" (1 Cor. 4.16).

What it means to be a servant of Christ is to be obligated to promote the gospel by word and example, the gospel of the crucified Messiah. That is absolutely fundamental. There is no Christian leadership that does not throb with this mandate. In the West, we must repent of our endless fascination for "leadership" that smacks much more either of hierarchical models (I am the boss, and, for all below me on the ladder, what I say goes) or of democratic models (give the people what they want; take another survey, conduct another poll, and scratch where they itch)...Christian leaders have been entrusted with the gospel, the secret things of God that have been hidden in ages past but that are now proclaimed, by their ministry, to men and women everywhere.

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