Every Team Needs a Leader

Mark Driscoll » Church Church Leadership

This is a series on 11 Leadership Lessons from 12 Disciples, based on the recent sermon Jesus Calls the Twelve, on Luke 6:12-16.

Lesson #7: Every team needs a leader

The disciples, the apostles, they're a team. Obviously, their leader is Jesus. Ultimately, he's the leader of every team, in any ministry or any Christian group, but the human leader is Peter. How do we know? Every time that the apostles are listed in Acts and the Gospels, and they appear many times, here's what happens: Judas is always listed last—not a lot of enthusiasm for Judas. Peter's always listed first. You know why? He's the leader. He's the first among equals. Every team needs a leader. This is a sick world that hates leadership. Everybody thinks they should be able to text message the president and boss him around. It's a weird day, from social networking to continual comments to consumerism. People don't want to follow a leader, all they want to do is criticize a leader. They don't want to even recognize leadership. And some Christians will even say, "I don't believe in leadership." Really? Do you believe in God? Because God's in charge. So you've got to recognize at least one leader.

Leadership within the Trinity

And even the way God has organized himself in the Trinity: one God, three persons, all equal but submissive, is that there's God the Father, God the Son, God the Spirit. God the Son submits to God the Father and recognizes him as the leader. Though they're equal, there's what is called relational subordination. Jesus submits himself. He says, "The Father sent me. I speak what the Father tells me to say. I do what the Father tells me to do." And even when Jesus prays, he says, "Father, not my will," but what? What's the line? "Your will be done." That's submitting to the leader. That's what it is. And then the Bible says in John that God the Father and God the Son sent God the Holy Spirit. So, in the character of God, there's leadership within the Trinity. So this plays itself out in the government of a home. Mom, dad, the kids are equal, but dad's supposed to lovingly, humbly, sacrificially lead. In the church, elders, members, deacons are equal but the elders are supposed to lead. In a community group, everybody's equal, but the community group leader is supposed to lead. In a redemption group, everybody's equal, but the redemption group leader is supposed to lead. On a worship team, everybody's equal, but the team leader is to lead. In a serving team, everybody's equal, but the team leader leads. So there are teams that have leaders, and leaders, according to ministry, they do doctrine: what do we believe and not believe? Direction: where are we going and not going? And discipline: what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior? That's what a lot of leadership is: doctrine, direction, discipline. Peter's always listed first. He's the leader. Jesus appoints him as the leader. And when the day of Pentecost comes after Jesus dies on the cross and rises from the grave, it says that all the apostles are together. Jesus ascended into heaven. And the Bible says it this way in the opening chapters of Acts, "Peter stepped forward to preach." You know why? He's the leader. We don't make leaders, we recognize the leaders that the Holy Spirit has chosen. Some people, you're following them, you're listening to them, you're learning from them—they're the leader. So every team needs a leader. In this day when authority is jettisoned and leadership is despised, and everybody thinks that they're smart, and everybody thinks that they should be obeyed. Everybody still believes in leadership, they just think that they should be the leader. So we have a day of complete anarchy. It's like the days of the judges, everybody did what was right in their own eyes.

Leadership at Mars Hill Church

And biblically, what we see with Jesus is that every team needs a leader. So every team at Mars Hill has a leader. At the campuses, the campus pastor is the leader. Within certain areas, community groups or kids or student ministry or redemption groups, there's a leader. There are leaders within all the teams and nobody leads all the teams at Mars Hill, particularly among the elders, and there is no one who's the leader of every team of leaders that they're on. So I'm on different teams, and I'm not the leader on every team. On some teams, I am down the chain of command and not the senior leader. On other teams, I am the senior leader. We intentionally have a structure whereby everyone in authority is also under authority, without exception, including myself. Every team needs a leader, and nobody's above the law, gets to do whatever they want. That's not the way Jesus set it up. To be continued.

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