“What Biblical story or character best reflects your style of leadership in the church?”

At the Nebraska Synod Assembly, they asked the candidates for the bishop; “What Biblical story or character best reflects your style of leadership in the church?”  The answers were good, but it made me think about what Bible story I would say, reflects my leadership style.  So here it is.

Mark 2:1-12, the story of four friends who tore the roof off the house, then lowered a man who could not come to Jesus on his own, hoping that he might be healed by him.  Often the focus is on the fact that Jesus forgives the man’s sins and he is healed despite what the religious authorities thought.  Don’t get me wrong this is a critical theme in this story.  But what I love about this story is that it is the faith and tenacity of the four men (could be a woman or two who were involved, it does not give their gender) who helped in the healing of their friend.

We don’t know the names of this man’s friends all we know is that no matter what the obstacles in their way they were going to get their friend to see Jesus and hope that he would heal him.  This is the kind of leadership I see myself connecting to.  The friends worked together too creatively and radically bring their friend to see Jesus.   The crowd was not going to stop them, the roof would not prevent them, and they must have been somewhat embarrassed, when Jesus and everyone saw them lower this man on a pallet, into the crowded room, but they would not be deterred.  

This is how I see my leadership style, a partnership with others that has a mission to bring people closer to Christ.  They find a way despite the challenges set before, we haven’t a clue whose idea it was to go up on the roof and let their friend down through the ceiling.  Apparently, they all thought this might work, or they were going to make sure it worked.

What love they must have had for their friend.  What hope and trust that they had that Jesus could heal him.  We don’t know if they were family or neighbors, does it matter, they worked together to change the life of their friend to help make him whole again.  It was not the faith of the paralyzed man that brought healing, it was the faith of these four people.  I can just see the man strapped to the pallet coming face to face with Jesus and then Jesus looks up and sees the faces of his friends peering through the hole in the roof, I bet he smiled or even chuckled.  What audacity he might have thought, what faith he said.

This is how I want to lead, in partnership with others, not a Biblical superhero who has a stick (Moses) or a sling (David) or a really nice coat (Joseph), but rather in mission with others. Finding creative and even radical ways to share the Good News of Jesus healing love with others. 

Does it really matter if we don’t know their names, or if some of them were women or whether they were family, neighbors or co-workers?  In a way, it is good that in their faithful and anonymous roles their efforts, translate into a mission of grace and healing.  This is how I want to lead.