Are you a spiritual leader? Most active churchgoers respond, “No.” Instead, without hesitation, they point to an ordained priest or a superstar lay minister. But how you answer the question depends a lot on your understanding of leadership. If you participate in the outreach, pastoral, governance and committee work of the church, you are likely a spiritual leader. Spiritual leadership is servant leadership that works to bring the best out…in others. It offers organization and structure…for others. It equips, renews, encourages and supports the spiritual growth…of others. We are anticipating Christ the King Sunday where we examine our assumptions about leadership. Who’s leadership do you follow? Who follows you? Whom do you serve?
Beginning of the meeting
Read the reflection above. Quiet yourself. Become more aware of God’s presence. Open yourself to the love of Jesus as you read or hear the following passage. What images and impressions come to mind as you read or hear the text?
Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. 2 Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. 3 Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord. 5 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’
Reflect on these questions for a few moments in silence, then turn to another person and discuss.
- What are the characteristics of a good leader? Can you cite examples?
- What are the characteristics of Jesus’ leadership style? How is his leadership obvious when he is at his most vulnerable on the cross?
- What does it mean to say, “I follow Jesus”?
After a few minutes bring the small group discussion to a close and invite people to talk about their insights and reflections in the larger group.
Concluding Prayer Quiet yourself. Conclude by offering this litany prayer.
We pray for all those in positions of power, that they may govern with wisdom and integrity; serving the needs of their people. Lord hear our prayer.
We pray for the Church, the sign of your reign, that it may extend your welcome to all people of every race and background. Lord hear our prayer.
We pray for those whose commitment to truth brings them into conflict with earthly powers, that they may have courage to endure. Lord hear our prayer.
We pray for our own spiritual leadership, that we may grow in confidence as we serve to help others grow into the fullness of their calling. Lord hear our prayer.
We pray for this community of faith, that attentive to the word we may always worship in spirit and in truth and let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts. Lord hear our prayer.
Adapted from Common Worship, Times and Seasons, Services and Prayers for the Church of England. Church House Publishing. 2006
End of the meeting
Read the passage once again and ask how God’s Good News has been known in your time together.