Reflections for Serving Leaders through a more spiritual lens.
Serving leaders respect the authority of those over them but they also accept the authority invested in them. They recognize and accept that every legitimate leadership role brings with it the authority to carry out the expectations of that role. Paul spoke clearly about his authority as an apostle.
So even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than tearing you down, I will not be ashamed of it (2 Corinthians 10:8, NIV).
Paul had a clear understanding of his authority and accepted it as a gift given to him by God to carry out the mission God had given to him. He helps serving leaders do the same.
Accepting authority acknowledges accountability.
“the authority the Lord gave us...” Paul recognized that his authority came from God and therefore he was accountable to God for how he used this authority. What comes from God is good and should be used for His purposes. Many leaders, especially those who...
Serving leaders, like all leaders, have and use authority. Authority is the legitimate power that gives them the right to act in their role as a leader. But many serving leaders may find the subject of authority a bit awkward. Is authority good or bad? How does it fit with the concept of serving others? In this series we’ll examine how serving leaders view and use authority. First, a glimpse at the life of David reveals that serving leaders respect the authority of those above them. David was anointed to be king, but Saul was still on the throne and was chasing David and his men. Twice, David had an easy opportunity to kill Saul and take the kingdom. On one of these occasions, David cut off the corner of Saul’s robe.
5Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe. 6He said to his men, “The Lord forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, or lay my hand on him; for he is...
We have observed several of the actions that made Barnabas an effective serving leader. As we conclude this review of his life, we’ll look below the surface to observe where these actions were rooted. In one of the first mentions of his life we learn that he was a ‘good man.’
22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord (Acts 11:22-24, NIV).
Barnabas was a “good man,” the evidence of his character. His character was the foundation from which all the other wonderful characteristics of his life flowed. He shows all serving leaders that serving others begins with who we are.
Character serves by signaling who we are.
Barnabas was a great leader and we have reflected on many great things from his life. But he was not perfect! Two incidents are recorded for us that reveal his imperfections.
36 Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, 38 but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. 39 They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches (Acts 15:36-41, NIV).
After serving together as a powerful team for years, Paul and Barnabas could not agree on whether to take Mark on the next journey!...
One of the greatest ways Barnabas served the early church was simply being available. Several times his story includes a situation where he was sent by the church leaders to fulfill a specific mission. He was first sent by the apostles to the new church in Antioch.
News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch (Acts 11:22, NIV).
Then Barnabas was sent to safely deliver a financial gift.
29The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea. 30This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul (Acts 11:29-30).
Later, as we have already seen, he was sent with Paul on the first missionary journey.
So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off (Acts 13:3).
When the church council met to debate a contentious issue, Barnabas was sent, along with others, to deliver their decision to the Gentile churches.
Then the apostles...
There’s not a specific verse in scripture that talks about the humility of Barnabas, but there is plenty of evidence that he served with deep humility. First, while he was a prominent figure in the life of the church, when the people chose the first deacons, his name was not included (see Acts 6:1-6). This might have been a great disappointment to him, but nowhere is there any evidence that he resented this lack of recognition. An even stronger indication of his humility comes in his relationship with Saul (later called Paul) and how they are noted by the historian Luke who wrote the book of Acts. Early in the story the name of Barnabas is always mentioned first. He was a leader before Paul was even converted so naturally his name was prominent. At the church in Antioch, the name of Barnabas was listed first (Acts 13:1). As they set out on the first missionary journey they went as “Barnabas and Saul” (see Acts 13:6). Barnabas was in the forefront. But very...
Barnabas was an influential leader in the early church, but he didn’t serve alone. Barnabas served with a team. Nearly every reference to Barnabas includes him with at least one other person. This can be seen most clearly at the church in Antioch where Barnabas was sent to provide leadership after a small church was launched there. He first encouraged the believers. But right away he went to Tarsus to find Saul and brought him to Antioch. Together they worked to strengthen this church and built a team of leaders that eventually sent Barnabas and Saul on what would become the first missionary journey.
1Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had...