As a trainee pilot in the air force, I quickly learned how to steer clear of confusion in the cockpit. When my instructor wanted me to fly the airplane, he said clearly, “You have control.” My required response was simply, “I have control.” That’s how it works in the air. Control in this case, was not a license to do anything I wanted, simply an understanding of who was handling the aircraft.
That’s all very fine in an airplane. I was controlling a machine, not a person.
Upon leaving the air force, I served as an air traffic controller for five years during my late 20s. I told airline captains (who earned about six times more than me), what to do! The job had its exciting and terrifying moments, but mostly it was boring, with long periods of inaction; on top of which there was little possibility of advancement based on merit. Seniority was everything.
Coupled with all that, I felt like a second-class citizen, since what I really wanted, was to be flying as an airline pilot myself. Back in those days airlines were laying off their aircrew, so even my ‘jet jockey’ experience didn’t help. But controlling was a job, and it supported Donna and me through the arrival of our first two children, Laurie & Julie.
Our job as controllers was to maintain a safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air traffic—on the ground and in the air. And at all costs, to avoid (in the dark humor found in the world of flying machines), a ‘clanger,’ or an ‘aluminum shower’), the horrific nightmare of mistakenly directing two aircraft into a midair collision.
So, as I held that microphone in my hand and issued orders to those ‘glorified bus drivers,’ as we enviously called pilots, I had power. Naturally, since I was accountable to the Chief Controller, I would have been in trouble had I abused that power. But I was 'in control,’ and had to be fair and just to all.
Whips, handcuffs, prison bars, unreasonable rules, harsh words and even hard eyes, are all demands for unquestioning obedience. These are some of the tools of control that are employed by pig-headed leaders who need to demonstrate their power.
Unless self-employed, or the head honcho of a company, we all go to work and basically do what we’re told to do by our leader. Some leaders are fair and just, and in order to get the job done, they lead by example, coach their people and do not abuse their power.
Others are dictators.
In the church, and I use that word in its broadest sense—the whole body of Christ—occasionally we find leaders who are tyrants. Men and women who lead ministries, who believe they must wear their ‘in-chargeness’ for all to see, like gold stars on a general’s lapel. Their message is clear to all, that they are the ‘Senior This’ or the ‘Senior That.’ Its almost as though in the morning they pin their title on before they climb into their underwear. That way they feel properly dressed for the day ahead.
I don’t find any of this sort of perversion of leadership in the teachings of the Bible. Jesus, though he could have claimed scores of titles, simply called himself who he was, the Son of Man. He laid aside other titles and became the servant of all.
Imagine Jesus at the last supper with his disciples, when suddenly . . .
A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. [Luke 22:24-27]
How sad that after more than three years, his friends still didn’t ‘get it.’
From the way I understand the Bible, a leader’s motive is to serve God with the vision and purpose God has given for that ministry . . . by releasing their followers to fulfill their own dreams and hopes—all within the overall ministry vision; and not to use and control the members of the flock to achieve just their own vision.
A shepherd-leader leads his sheep and does not drive them, he has their best interests at heart.
What the church and the world both need, is Psalm 23-type foot-washing shepherds; not controllers.
The only person a leader should control is him or herself. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, an absolute necessity in a good leader. (Gal 5:22-23)
Remember, God is not in control; but He is in charge.
Till next time,
A couple of quotables from Dean Fujishima at the Renewal Gathering in Singapore/Malaysia earlier this month.
If you have 100% faith in, or for something, that is not faith.
That is knowledge.
When Jesus shows up, even the donkey looks good.
Rocket Science Upshot (pardon the pun):
From a hurting heart . . .
It feels like the last eTouch was meant for me . . . DTS back in 1988 in India was awesome, I never felt God so closely. After that the years went by and I realize now I was searching for happiness; but happiness is just temporary, and what we need is joy. I am still searching to be joyful in my not-so-happy married life and often find myself struggling with life's decisions. Donna's Corner about belonging was exactly how I feel, I never found a church where I felt like I belonged. I know that I too, have to work on this area. Name withheld.
(Ed’s note: I blew it. Last month I talked about joy and the fact that joy should be a permanent condition (and by implication, that I possessed that joy all the time). As always, I was tested. On a 30-hour long series of end-to-end and seemingly endless, fully-packed flights with Donna, I lost my joy. It’s back again, a sobering lesson.)
TV or not TV
Is Nothing Sacred? By Jimmy & Carol Owens
In their blog, Jimmy & Carol (DTS Kona, 1988), take on the TV ‘bull’ by the horns, tell it like it is and offer solutions. Read all about it at:
We just finished walking alongside four amazing single women who head up YWAM Associates in Singapore. Two are lawyers one a graphic designer and another one is a full time YWAMer on the Singapore base. They have hearts after God, spend hours and days waiting on God to hear what is on His heart for the ministry, as well as for the church and the nation of Singapore.
There are a ‘host’ of women in Singapore who are being an influence through the seven spheres of society, wanting to see God’s Kingdom come and our Father's will being done. The scripture that came to me just before the Associates Gathering was, "The Lord gives the word; the women who announce the news are a great host." [Psalm 68:11 ESV]
The NASB version says, "The Lord gives the command, the women who proclaim the good tidings are a great host." I believe women are being raised up these last days, not to take authority away from men, but who need to be protected by the ‘fathers and grandfathers’ of the faith. Women can have a Godly influence in every sphere, especially the home, with the family. Paul encourages Timothy to call to remembrance the genuine faith that first lived in his grandmother Lois and also in his mother Eunice; Paul was persuaded that it was also in Timothy. [2 Tim 1:5]
Women are very sensitive to the Holy Spirit as they reflect Him [2 Cor 3:17-18]. When women walk as a team with the fear of God, God uses them mightily.
Quite a few years ago I was at a church for a missions conference, and the speaker had to cancel because of illness. One of the elders came to me and said, "Donna, if we can't find a man to speak, would you?" I said I would ask the Lord if He had something on His heart for me to share. There was a Christian psychologist standing next to me, and later she said. "Now Donna, how do you feel about that? If they can't find a man they'll use you?" I laughed and replied, "If God can use a donkey, He can use me." [Numbers 22:21-35]. Now I know, that when Jesus is in our meetings and people can sense His presence, even this donkey looks good!
Love and Blessings,
During a time of openness and sharing, a lady who was brought up in a humble home with several siblings, told how one of her brothers brought a friend home who eventually adopted himself into the family for two years. He learned cooking from the Mom and guitar from the Dad and ‘family’ from all. Today he is YWAM Singapore’s director, as well as a gourmet cook, a worship leader and father of two.
But that’s just the beginning.
An 11-year old boy, whose family we were staying with, heard all this, and two days later, back at school, the boy brought a latchkey friend home with him. Next: church on Sunday. This boy’s got vision! Kids don’t miss a thing!
Looking ahead to inTouch Renewal Camps in Europe, 2014
July 6-12: Sweden, YWAM Restenäs, with Mariette Louw
July 20-26: Romania, Prod near Sighisoara, with Donna Jordan
July 21-26: Norway, YWAM Skjærgårdsheimen, speaker TBA
Aug 3-9: France, YWAM Champagne, speaker Edwin Fillies
Aug 17-23: Switzerland, YWAM Châtel, speaker Dan Baumann
And Finally . . . Believe it or not!
I’ve actually made some very good choices in my life, along with multiplied myriads of bad ones. Here’s my short list of best biggies:
*Accepted Jesus at age 12. Maybe for the wrong reason, but nevertheless.
*Did a bit in the raising of four kids (Donna did most of it).
*Made Jesus Lord, opening two closed doors to God—adoption and missions.
The rest is small stuff.
Blessings, and Happy Thankgiving! to all our American friends.
The Small Print
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