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“Whoever would be a leader among you must be a servant of all.” (Mark 10:44)
“And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35)
The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t need boss leaders, but servant leaders. Sadly, too few believers today know the difference between being a boss leader and being a servant leader. This is because we haven’t grasped what servanthood means and because we are following the leadership style of denominations and the style of worldly governance on which we have come from.
If you have read the message entitled “Gifted Vs. Talented Ministers – Which One Are You?” you will know that the word “Minister” came from a Latin word “Ministro” which literally means “a servant”. It was derived from the root-word “Minus” which means “less”. Therefore, contrary to what most believers think, a Minister is actually the least (less) in the Church of Christ for no servant is greater than his master (John 15:20, John 13:16). But a Boss minister cannot accept this truth and fact, for they don’t want to be the least and they think that they are higher from the congregation. Therefore, a Boss leader is literally not a Minister.
Since these two different kinds of ministers are often interchanged and misunderstood, here are some signs that differentiate a boss leader from a servant one. And they come from the life and example of Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
1. Servant Leaders lead in serving. Boss Leaders are the one being served.
Here is an example of a Boss Leader from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself:
“Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” (Matthew 23:1-4)
You can’t find a boss leader doing a heavy task. In a local church, you can see them as the one being served by the believers. They are only good in preaching about doing what’s good but they themselves are not practicing what they preached. They think that as a Pastor in their local church, their only purpose is to preach. They are good in preaching about serving but you can’t actually find them serving others. Just like the advice of our Lord “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works.” Yes, let’s do what they teach and preach for they are good, but don’t ever copy their works.
A servant pastor, on the other hand, is a leader. A leader in what? He is a leader in serving. He loves to serve because His master called him to be a servant (Mark 10:44). He knows that just like His Master, he is called to served and not to be served (Matthew 20:28). This is because he also knows that someday, His Master will tell him “Well done, my good and faithful servant (Matt. 25:21).” And not “Well done my good and faithful preacher, pastor or apostle or evangelist or prophet or teacher.”
Now, when this servant is followed by other servants in serving others, that’s the time that he became a leader in service just like our Lord Jesus Christ did. So if you think that you are a leader of your local church because you are heading the flock other than in serving them, think again. You are called to be a servant. Remember that. And no servant is greater than the one he is serving (John 15:20, John 13:16). Don’t elevate yourselves from the flock.
But a boss pastor will not agree on this. He can’t accept that he is actually the least among the flock. To those ministers who think highly of themselves other than being a servant, let these words of the Lord be a reminder to you:
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (Matt. 23:27-28).”
2. A Boss Leader wanted to be exalted. Servant leaders rebuke those who are exalting them.
“But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,” (Matthew 23:5-6)
During a fellowship, you can easily distinguish a boss minister from a servant one. Just like what our Lord said in the above verses, they love to be seen and recognized by many as “ministers”. Sometimes, you can see them wearing a name tag with big littering stating “pastor so and so” in order to be recognized.
Not only that, they love to sit in the uppermost seats during fellowships. You can easily find them sitting beside the pulpit in front of the pulpit or in the uppermost chairs separated from the congregation. Actually, until now, I can’t get the purpose of separating their seats from the congregation other than emphasizing that they are “ministers” and the rest are not.
Some may say, “But brother Bon, it’s not a big deal if we will assign seats for ministers separated from the congregation. They are ministers and not just believers so they should be separated. And it’s not their suggestion, but it’s the suggestions of the believers themselves.” While I agree that for those humble servants of God, due to their humility, they don’t actually want to sit on those seats but are just complying because of the request from the believers. BUT (take note of this) it is equally wrong to tolerate this practice. Even if you are truly a humble servant, without doing anything is tantamount in letting them elevate you. And what about those boss leaders who would gladly take this opportunity to elevate himself from the congregation? And those prideful followers, who love to elevate their minister? This practice of separating the seats of the minister from the congregation is actually fueling the prideful fire in them.
In most cases, the start of prideful thinking is not actually among the ministers but from their followers of believers who intentionally or unintentionally exalting their favorite minister in a pedestal higher than the congregation. At first, their intention is good, but then Satan will grab this opportunity to fuel the pride which will result in chaos.
Same thing in serving. Some ministers may also say: “But I never told them to serve me. It is on their own will to serve me. We should never stop them in serving.” True, we have no problem to those who wanted to served and that’s what we should actually do – serve each other. What’s dangerous is those boss ministers who only wanted to be served and have forgotten that they were also servants just because many are serving them.
Then when problem comes and you ask that minister how did he get on that pedestal, he will exclaim “It’s the people’s doing” “I have never claimed that” “It’s the believers who suggested this” “They just wanted to serve me” yet he’s not doing anything to EXPLICITLY stop what others are doing to elevate him! These kinds of ministers are hypocrites. They will just wash their hands when problem comes. Not doing anything to prevent it is actually synonymous in elevating yourself.
I have personally experienced this scenario before. A minister was being lifted up by his followers into a pedestal elevating him from just being a humble minister. The believers supported his claims thus, just fueling his claims and just elevating him even more. The euphoria of elevation has already captured the whole church. Then it came to a point that he even wanted to promote that euphoria to other local churches all over the Philippines. The bad thing is, he was even supported by other ministers from other local churches, thus, fueling even more that prideful fire in him and elevating him more to a higher pedestal. Then when problems came because of him exercising that elevation, those ministers who promoted him later abandoned him and even disfellowship him from their group. When in fact they are the one who put him on that pedestal. This is one of the example of why we should not let anyone elevate us.
A true servant leader will never be reluctant to correct the believers who are exalting him. Because true servant leaders do not want to be exalted. When the men of Lystra saw Paul perform a miracle, they raised their voices and proclaimed, “The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men” (Acts 14:9-15). But Paul (and Barnabas) “rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein” (Acts 14:14-15). Paul never claimed that they are in higher positions than the believers instead claimed that “We also are men of like passions with you.”
Beloved, we should always remember these words of our Lord in Luke 14:11a:
“For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased”
In God’s Kingdom, in order to go up, you must go down. Being served isn’t best. Being honored isn’t greatness. If someone is exalting you and you are not doing anything to stop it, you shall be lowered. So be humble and don’t let others exalt you.
3. Boss Leaders wanted to be addressed as “Pastors” always. Servant ministers have no problem whether you will address him in his real name or just a plain “Brother”.
“And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.” (Matthew 23:7-8)
Boss leaders have itchy ears when you will not address them as “Pastor,” “Teacher,” “Prophet,” “Evangelist,” or “Apostle.” They are hurt and will not usually respond to you if you will just call them “Brother.” Why is this? Because a plain “Brother” does not elevate them from the rest. That’s why they are really hurt. They wanted to be always called as Pastors.
They will also lecture you that you are disrespecting them if you will just call them “Brother.” And will add that you are not granting them “double honor” if you will not call them Pastors. This is actually shear foolishness. Since when did the word “Brother” when addressing a servant of God became disrespectful? If so, why are these boss leaders calling Brother Branham as “Brother” and not as “Prophet Branham” or “Messenger Branham”? And since when did the word “Pastor” became synonymous with the words “double honor”?
Always remember this: No servant leader of God will demand or proclaim to someone that he should be called by theses “titles”. This is because servant leaders will always point you to the work of God (ministry) in their lives instead of in their selves. When I say “proclaim,” this is for those who teach that you are not respecting them if you will not address them by their “Titles”. They are those who demand that they should be called on their titles. These foolish ministers never understand that being one of the five-fold ministers of our Lord is a GIFT they are not titles. Being a pastor or a teacher of God is a gift and not a title that should be put before your first name! Neither it can be used to demand to the people that you should be called by it.
Take for example the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, when asked by the two disciples of John if He is the Christ that they have been waiting for, our Lord replied to them:
“Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
Our Lord can always answer them “Yes, indeed I am He.” But instead of pointing them to Himself, He pointed them to the work of the ministry. Shouldn’t ministers follow this example of our Lord? When Bro. William Branham was also asked if he is the 7th Church Age Messenger and the forerunner of the Second Coming of Christ, there is not a time that he claimed that he is. Instead, it’s the ministry that is given to him and the Voice in Heaven which testifies that he is indeed the 7th Messenger and the Forerunner.
So why are the servant leaders of God like this? This is because they recognized that it is not their work, but it’s of God that worked through them. They knew that if you are a carpenter, you don’t need to claim and proclaim that you are a carpenter, just show them the work of the Lord through you.
That’s why take heed of those who always wanted to be called as Pastors, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists or Teachers. They are often the boss leaders.
4. Boss Leaders exercise ruling and authority. Servant leaders exercise love and humility.
“But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)
Boss ministers copy the style of denominational churches in leading. Just like the Scribes and Pharisees during the time of our Lord, they exercise authority and they are the one who rules the local church and not the Spirit of the Lord. They are obeyed by their flock not because they are loved, but just because they are in authority to be obeyed.
In actuality, their flock doesn’t love them, the opposite is the truth; they are being FEARED. They inject fear to the flock instead of love. The sheep fears them because they are the one in authority and if they won’t obey, they might be disfellowshipped. This is because boss ministers are also quick to disfellowship. Here in the Philippines, it is actually very hard for a sheep to object or confront a boss minister. Why? This is because a boss minister is not actually alone, he has his group of other Boss Ministers in other local churches who have the same style of leadership like him. Mostly are his relatives.
So why are boss ministers multiplying here in the Philippines? That is because whenever they have started a local fellowship on other localities, they will call that fellowship their “Outreach Church” to ensure that it is they who started it. Then when that fellowship started to grow in number, they are also the one who appoints a pastor on that fellowship to ensure that the Pastor is one of them. This way, they have total control and authority on that local church. So whenever the Lord will raise a Servant leader on that church, often he will not be selected because he is not one of them even if the believers on that church have actually seen a gift of being a servant leader in him. And so this is his how boss leaders ensure authority over the churches here. Also, other boss leaders who like their kind of leadership style tie-up with them, thus growing their number!
It is indeed very hard for a sheep to object or confront a boss minister here in the Philippines because he will not only be disfellowshipped on one local church but also to all local churches whose ministers are allies of the church he is being disfellowshipped with. This is also the reason why the Lord hate groups. Because even if they deny it, this system is the system of denomination only that they won’t admit that they are a denomination. It takes actually pure courage and strength from the Lord to confront them. I had once confronted one of them and voila! I was not only being disfellowshipped on that church but also on other churches because that boss minister actually advised other ministers on other local churches not to communicate with me. The funny thing is that those ministers do not even know the whole story behind the accusations. But just because the minister that disfellowship me is one of them, they just follow that minister!
Beloved, how many times did our Lord advised us not to depend on a group of people or organizations? DO NOT BE AFRAID IF YOU HAVE NO GROUPS OF MINISTERS TO DEPEND ON. Remember, it is the Lord that choose and called you to be a minister, not this people. He is also your strong tower (Psalm 18:10) and not this group of ministers. In the first place, it is never the intention of the Lord for His ministers to depend on people. Men will fail you, but the Lord never will. These kind of people are only good to you as long as you have not done anything wrong against them or you haven’t failed them yet. But try to fail or contradict them and you will know who they really are. You might say “Well, its okay brother if I’ll be disfellowshipped by them, I can handle myself.” But what if it is your son or daughter or wife who will be disfellowshipped by them that even you are not allowed to talk to your own son, would you still allow it? Just try to fail and failure will reveal everything.
A true servant leader just like our Lord Jesus Christ does not exercise authority over people. He is followed by His disciples and other people, not because of His authority over them or because they feared Him, but because they LOVED Him! Do you think His disciples follow Him because He has the authority of being the Son of God over them? I don’t think so. Some of His disciples do not even know that He is the Son of God! Some say that He is John the Baptist: some think he is Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. It was actually only Peter who has been given the revelation that time that He is the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:14-16). So why did His disciples follow Him? Here’s the answer:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27)
“Then said Jesus unto the twelve, will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” (John 6:67-68)
See? The disciples follow the Lord solely because they love His Word! They recognized It and they know It! And not because He is exercising authority over people. Beloved of the Lord Jesus Christ, as ministers of the Word, is it true that we have authority, and that authority is no other than the authority to deliver the Word to the people! (Read Matthew 28:18-20). Not the other way around! We are not here to have authority over the people so that we can deliver to them the Word. No sir! We are here to have Authority in delivering the Word so that they will also hear the voice of the great Shepherd and will also follow Him!
Someday, we will rule this world with authority when we became kings and royal priests together with our King of kings and the Lord of lords (1 Peter 2:9, Rev. 17:14). But I tell you beloved, that is not today. That is still on the Millennial Reign (Rev. 20:2-3, Isa. 11:6, Isa. 65:20). Even our Lord Jesus Christ, when he came here on earth during His lifetime, He did not come here to rule. He did not come here as a Lion and a King to rule this earth (though Israelites expect Him that time to be a Lion). He came here as a Lamb, ready to be sacrificed. But one day, He will surely come as a Lion with authority to rule this earth (though many will expect Him to be a Lamb on that day).
That’s why it is never a business of a Christian, much more a minister, to exercise ruling and authority over the flock. Remember the words of our Master in Mark 10:42-45. Our purpose here on earth is actually to be a servant and not a master or head. If you have been proven by our Master being faithful in this little thing he had given you, one day, He will give you authority over ten cities (Luke 19:17). So don’t be tempted to rule, be a faithful servant now and later you will surely become a king and a royal priest. Remember: God’s ways are always different from this world.
And by the way, isn’t it wonderful that the people listen to you because they love you and not because you are exercising “authority” over them? Be not deceived by the pattern of this world, instead, be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom. 12:2).
5. Boss Leaders demand respect. Servant Leaders earn it.
“But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matt. 23:8-11)
Because they are ministers, boss ministers think that they are holding a “position” higher than the believers, therefore, they demand to be respected. They call it “double honor” compared to those plain believers. And the believers give it to them not because they earn it, but because it is being imposed.
Let us remind ourselves again that respect is not imposed, it is earned. If people are “respecting” you because you told them or imposed to them to respect you, then that’s not respect. That’s fear. They are just doing it because of fear. Respect is given willingly. People will give you respect even if you won’t asked for it, they will give it to you if you are worthy to be respected. And that’s true RESPECT. But boss ministers demand it using their position.
But servant ministers like our Lord Jesus Christ didn’t need to hold a position for people to respect Him and to follow him. In fact, He has no position to hold! True Servant leaders never do. Want to be respected? Don’t demand it. Earn it! Prove yourself worthy, by serving and leading people, not lording your authority over them. Bosses can’t do that. Leaders can. Servants always will.
I’ll give you here the two true scenarios that happened here in the Philippines. Let’s see who among these two ministers are truly being respected by their youth believers:
Pastor O believes that it is up to the believers if they will respect him or not. He actually doesn’t mind it. He believes that what’s important is his closeness to them. Because of this, the believers considered him as their close friend, especially the young people. The youths love him that they are open to him.
One time, there’s a fellowship on Pastor O’s church that he had invited various ministers all over the Philippines to minister the Word to them. During that fellowship, after eating, most of the ministers were full which made their stomach to become noticeably bigger, including Pastor O’s. Because of this, and because of their closeness, one of his young people approach him and gently rubbing his stomach saying “Pastor, your stomach got bigger.” Pastor O and that young people laugh together with other believers there.
The happening was witness by Pastor A and he told his congregation back in their church that Pastor O is unholy and is not respected by his young people because he just let his young people rub his belly.
Pastor A always demands respect, especially on his young people. One time, his young people gathered and they are telling some jokes to each other. He can hear them from where he is sitting. He decided to go to them to actually join them and hear their jokes. But when the young people saw him approaching, they suddenly keep quiet and the atmosphere became serious. Then Pastor A asked his young people “Why did you keep quiet? Are you afraid of me?” No one answers Him.
Now, in the above two scenarios, which Pastor is being loved and which one is being feared? Who’s the one being truly respected? I bet you know the answer now. See the great difference between a boss and a servant? When a boss minister is around, people around him are not being true to themselves, they become a different person. But when a servant minister is around, people are always true to themselves, especially the young people! They don’t need to pretend and be a different person because they know that this minister loves them and accepts them. Young people love it when he is around.
Another thing, have you ever wonder why little children love to come to the Lord Jesus when He is around? You’re right. He is approachable and the kind that is loved by young people. He is unlike the Pharisees whom children think that is “too holy” for them when they are around.
6. Boss Leader often use the words “I, me, my, mine, you, they, them” during preaching. Servant Leader commonly used the words “we, our, us” during preaching.
“I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isa.14:13-14)
This sign is actually the most obvious among all the other signs. And this is the sign that cannot be faked by boss ministers because this is evident to those who think highly of themselves! If you think humbly, this sign cannot be seen from you.
Because they are thinking highly of themselves and they are elevating their selves from the believers, you can often hear from a boss leader during his preaching the words that separate him from the believers. Like the words I, me, my, mine, you, they and them. He thinks of himself as separated from the flock he is tending. He thinks that he is not one of them. He thinks that he’s on a higher level from them. Here are some of his statements during preaching:
“Me, I’m not like you. I’m not doing that. You should follow my example.”
“I pray always. I fast twice a week. I’m not like you who don’t pray and fast.”
“I’m a Bride of the Lord. I’m a wise virgin. If the Lord comes, I will surely go to the rapture. I don’t know about you.”
Sounds familiar right? This manner of a boss leader actually originated from Lucifer before he became Satan – the father of all Bosses. Take note of the five “I’s” on Lucifer’s statements (Isa.14:13-14). It’s all centered on his self alone. And this is also the style used by the governments of this world, the denominational churches and even the Endtime Message Churches (For further study on this character of Lucifer, kindly read the message UNITY OF CONFUSION by brother Andrew C. Phiri on this link:
The servant leaders, on the other hand, are not separating their selves from the flock. They are actually including their selves among the flock. They think that he and the flock are one unit and that he is one of them. When they preach or teach, you will commonly hear the words “we, our and us.” Here are some of their common statements:
“We should turn ourselves to God.”
“We are all sinners before the Lord.”
“We are all his flock and he is our Shepherd. We are all member of His body and He is our Head.”
Here’s another example as told by our Lord regarding these two types of ministers:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14)
Notice the five I’s again in the words of the Pharisees? Beloved of the Lord Jesus Christ, never ever think that you are ahead from the others. Remember that those who exalt themselves shall be lowered. Let this be a reminder to us always.
I still have so many things to share about this topic but I think these six signs are sufficient enough for us to spot the difference between a boss and a servant minister. To summarize, here’s the table:
The BIG difference between a servant and a boss minister is that the former wanted to SERVE the flock while the latter wanted to RULE over the flock.
As stated above, this leadership style of boss leaders originated from Lucifer. It started when he thinks highly of himself compared to other angels. This was then fueled by other angels who also exalted him. Then because “whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased (Luke 14:11a),” they have been cast out from heaven and was cast down to earth (Rev. 12). Then Satan and his angels applied this leadership style also here on earth encouraging the first woman to abandon her state and elevate herself to become like God (Gen. 3:5).
After that, many men in history have followed and applied this leadership style of Satan: that there should be a head among them whom they can elevate and “lead” them. Examples of these are the leadership system in the Tower of Babel led by Nimrod, the Governments of the nations that captured Israel: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome and now Papal Rome. All with one Human leader whom they have elevated who leads all of them.
This style is also later copied by Israel when they demanded a King instead of the leadership of the Lord (1 Sam. 8:5-6). And the Lord was greatly hurt on this. And we can read His pain on 1 Samuel 8:7-8 when He said to Samuel:
“And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.”
In spite of this, He still showed them what is it like if they will be lead by a man instead of Him. And this is also what is happening to churches who wanted to be lead by men:
“And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.” (1 Sam. 8:10-18)
How many times shall we not learn from Israel? How many times shall we reject the leadership of our Lord? Let these words of our Lord in John 5:42-43 be the final admonition to us:
“But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”
May our Lord will always guide us into all His truth is my prayer.
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