How to Lead with the Generous Act of Inclusion

June 17, 2019

>>>Be sure and watch this month's video clip below from Nancy Ortberg on this blog topic.<<<

What kind of leader was Jesus when He walked on this earth? 

In our Western culture, many of us picture an effective leader as someone who is strong, bold and highly skilled. The leaders we tend to praise are those who start big things that have big impacts.

Jesus Is Our Example

Yet, as we look at the life of Jesus, we see a leader who practiced radical generosity in how He dealt with His disciples and those around Him.

"Jesus was so confident in His identity and His mission that it freed Him to lead with the heart and hands of a servant." [Tweet This]

In John 13:1-17, we see Jesus demonstrating to His disciples what whole-life generosity looks like. 

1 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Jesus Calls Us to Generous Leadership

From this passage, Jesus’ call to church leaders is clear—as you lead, serve others humbly and generously. Boldly practice the gifts I have given you. Humbly shepherd your flock.   

"Leading generously doesn’t have to be an either-or proposition. By the power of the Spirit it can be both bold and humble. Lead and serve." [Tweet This]

The following abbreviated story is adapted from a five-minute video by Nancy Ortberg (watch the entire video here). It is a powerful picture of precisely the kind of servant leadership that can lead to a culture of generous inclusion in our churches.  
Many years ago, Nancy was an emergency room nurse, and she worked with a wonderful Christian doctor who had extraordinary ways of making everybody on the team feel connected and important.

One night, a 24-year-old girl was brought in—a “code” (extremely serious case). The ER team worked on her for three hours before they knew if they were going to send her downstairs to the morgue or upstairs to the intensive care unit. Thankfully at the end of the code, a couple of the nurses took the young woman up to the intensive care unit.

As housekeeping came in to clean up, Nancy stayed back to do the charting. The doctor also stayed for a few minutes to coach the intern that he had been working with, carefully reviewing all the steps that he had made and why. After about 20 minutes, when that was wrapping up, the doctor said to the intern, “One more question—did you notice the young man from housekeeping who came in during the code and at the end of the code?” Nancy looked at the intern's face and there was just a blank stare. The doctor said, “His name is Carlos.” Another blank stare. He continued, “His wife is named Maria and they have four children.” He named them with their ages. “They live about three miles from here in Santa Ana in a little apartment. Carlos came up from Mexico a year ago and sends 30% of his salary back every week.”

Then the last thing the doctor said to the intern was, “I see on the schedule where we’re supposed to work together next Tuesday evening. Here's your only assignment: Come ready to tell me something about Carlos that I don't already know. Have a good day.” Nancy said that this was the best leadership teaching moment of her life.

Take an Inward Look

Think about this for a moment. What would be the impact on our communities if our churches became known as places of a radical, generous inclusion? 

And, more specifically, in what ways is this generous spirit of inclusion being demonstrated in your church? In what areas are you falling short? What steps can you take right now to put yourself, your team, and your church on the trajectory toward the kind of “both-and” generous leadership that Jesus demonstrated? Please share your thoughts and comments below this article. GC

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Watch This Month's Clip - Nancy Ortberg 

In this video, Nancy Ortberg unpacks a generous spirit of inclusion toward each another that should permeate our churches.

Please watch and share in your network! 

Recommended Resource:

An Organic, Relational Way to Be Inclusive   

Spirit-led personal and church growth in the area of generosity should feel organic and natural. You’re missional in focus, and giving is more than an offering plate or stewardship campaign—it’s a daily act of living.

Download the free eBook, Generosity Reset, and learn the 9 resets that God uses to transform the hearts of His people.

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