Who’s the Greatest?

Service/Accountability Series: Part 1 – An Overview


The disciples got into a power argument and requested Jesus to settle it. They ask if they could sit on Jesus’ right and left side in the kingdom which would demonstrate their position of power and influence in this new kingdom. This request created quite a fury, and rightfully so, because Jesus instructs his disciples that the one who “serves” will be the greatest of all in this new kingdom.  Jesus also told them that He came not to be served but to serve, and that he exemplified during his whole earthly life, even though he allowed people to serve him, like the woman anointing his feet with oil and drying it with her hair.

The Church boast that it is built on service, but is that so?  Often it has been told me to me, “If you want to be a church leader, you first have to learn or know how to serve like doing janitorial chores (implying that it will prove your servicehood). I am not sure where they got that philosophy, for I know very few Sr. Pastors who do janitorial chores if they have a large staff and building to maintain. Oh, and the janitor, who is part of the staff, gets paid only a fraction of what the Sr. Pastor makes for his “service”.  I question, “Who is doing the most service for the church?  Do the monetary rewards signal the answer to that question?”  The Church also propagates “sacrifice” so it can promote volunteerism, or “free service”.  That has also warped the minds of many church-goers. This “sacrifice” mentality has been so ingrained in Central Pennsylvania, that any service oriented job (pastor, teacher, nurse, caseworker, etc.) is expected to get lower wages than what industry prescribes because they are “service-oriented”, thus they should expect to “sacrifice” for the sake of society.

How does service work. I, as a church-goer, had the mindset that service meant to always give, give, give!  Unfortunately, I was never taught how to receive. If anyone wanted to give to me, I got religiously proud, thanked them for the thought, but I really didn’t need what they were offering me. I rejected their gift. I thwarted their attempt to serve me. I have had to repent of this attitude over the years.  Receiving from someone serving me is often as rewarding as when I serve them.  Serving one another produces a bond of friendship, a relationship with one another, and the gospel is all about relationships.

So how does this principle of “serving” affect the five fold?  It is the keystone to the success of the five fold.  It is built on the principle of serving other believers who have different mind sets, points of view, and passions than my own. I John 3:16 principle of “laying down your life for your brethren” is the key to service.  The reciprocal to all this is to allow those with different points of view and passions than my own to serve me, and I learn to accept with open arms their service of love.  This reciprocal two-prong principle of giving and receiving through service brings accountability between brothers in the kingdom of God, something that is drastically missing in the Church.

In the next several blogs we will look specifically at how to serve other believers with different giftings, points of view, mind-sets, and passions, and how to receive their service. We will hopefully discover the power of I John 3:16 at work and a new paradigm of accountability to the Body of Christ by dynamically challenging to the way the current Church thinks about leadership and accountability.

I invite you to continue with me on this journey over the next several blogs.