I Corinthians 13: 4-8 4Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

You might be thinking that the familiar words in the scripture chosen for today don’t seem related to leaders and leadership, but indeed they are. Many years ago, a wise pastor teacher, committed to developing laity as spiritual leaders, had his class read verses 4-7 using the word leader in place of the words love and it. (the words underlined in the passage above.) He called these verses a leadership manifesto. He further explained that verse 8 sums up the role of the Christian leader, for God is love, and we are created in His image to make disciples, and this responsibility never changes. 

In his short but powerful book, In the Name of Jesus, Henri Nouwen discusses the role of servant leaders and the need for the church to love as Christ loved us. Nouwen’s is a call back to Christ-centered, servant leadership. It is a movement away from a life of worry about individual popularity to community and mutual ministry. It is a move away from leadership based on power to one of being led in discernment of where God is leading us His people. He stresses the possibility of giving leadership by allowing ourselves to be led.

I encourage all Disciples to read In the Name of Jesus and to nurture all leaders in the principles of Christ-like servant ministry. 

Gracious God, as we struggle to reflect your love and light, we ask for your Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide us as we make choices as leaders. May we demonstrate the truths in the scripture reading today, practicing your love as leaders always. In the Name of Jesus, AMEN. 

Judy Ehninger