Predestination plays a major role in servant leadership
By Darlene Warren
BIG SANDY, Texas--Regardless of where you attend services, probably one of the biggest reasons you attend at that locale is that you have close friends who also attend there. You feel comfortable there. You fit in somehow. People are people no matter where they affiliate. We need to feel needed.
I believe class systems play an important part in this very human characteristic, and that is why they still thrive in Church of God communities.
We all play a part in keeping them alive. I was once in denial of this, but I have come to see that it is an irrefutable truth that being part of the system can actually be beneficial to the mental stability of the brethren.
Everyone in the congregation has a role to play, regardless of age or sex, financial status or social standing. Astoundingly, you have little to say concerning which part you play.
There is no "wrong" role. We are predestined at birth to act the part. When you find your niche (or it finds you) you will know immediately. The sense of fulfillment and satisfaction is overwhelming. You'll say to yourself: I've been looking for this my entire life. This is why I was put on this earth.
You can then relax with the knowledge that what has been preordained since the beginning has finally been revealed to you.
Helping others isn't easy
Now, let me just say that playing your part is not always a pleasant assignment. In one particular congregation I attended, my function was to play the part of the "bad-attitude person."
Every congregation must have at least one in order to make all the others feel better about themselves. I was the progenitor of the Servant Leadership concept. I was good. I played the part so well I was constantly being recognized for it.
In fact, in one stellar performance a minister who shall remain nameless (unless I feel another award-winning production coming on) actually sent me to the Lake of Fire. Not pleasant, but no one ever said doing the Work was going to be easy. Service is what's important.
The counterpart to the "bad attitude" role is the portrayal of the "I can't wait to get to church so I can have someone scream at me for two hours about how evil I am" person.
Here again there is no wrong role. Brethren playing different characters can dwell together in harmony for years unless and until their stars cross and they actually face off in the center aisle of services one day. And we all know how that episode concludes: The good guy always wins, and the bad guy gets sent packing (the old "good triumphs over evil" syndrome).
But that's okay because it was meant to be that way from the beginning. There are no wrong roles, but some do get stuck with less-desirable results for the short term. Remember, you're serving.
For many years two-hour church services on the Sabbath predicated the need to somehow find a way to keep the brethren's minds clear and alert.
In the early days many congregations meeting in the heat of summer found this difficult to do, especially if your meeting hall had only box fans with slow-moving blades to circulate the air. You develop methods at an early age to keep from falling asleep and systematically being "back-handed" by an ever diligent adult--or worse yet (or perhaps not) being escorted out of church by a deacon.
Awake, my people
Note-passing to those seated in the same row as you was one way of staying awake. For some young people, church was the catalyst that launched their future careers. Many would never have realized their artistic ability had it not been for the clandestine sketches of the afternoon's main speaker. However, there was one drawback. You constantly ran the risk of the evidence being intercepted.
Others proofread the announcement bulletin until their eyes crossed in order to keep their brains engaged in some level of conscious activity. There had to be a better way. The time was ripe for the discovery of new truth.
God's people historically have pulled together to help one another. Was there not a man in all of Israel to stand in the gap and save our people?
Several key roles evolved over time to help avoid the aforementioned types of embarrassments. One such role that sprang forth rather quickly was the "Ms./Mr. America" role: the person or persons, male or female, who show absolutely no qualms about getting up several times during services from their seats way down front and walking all the way to the water fountain at the back of the room, all the while turning their head from one side of the aisle to the other with an acknowledging smile for all in the audience who would dare take notice.
Remember, this is not a judgment. We applaud them for their unselfish service. They are only playing a role the die had cast for them eons ago.
A twist of fate
If you are lucky enough, Mr. Twister will sit in the chair directly in front of you. That way each time he puts one palm on his chin and the other palm on the back of his head, each palm pushing in opposite directions, the resulting crackle from his neck alignment will startle you back into consciousness. The only thing that works better than this is his attempt at realigning his lower spine.
Twisting at the waist and grasping the back of his chair with both hands, and jerking spasmodically (his face in yours), could scare a small child into a wide-awake condition. It's his attempt to balance the adjustment by twisting in the opposite direction that shocks you into eternal insomnia.
Again, there is no wrong role. Mr. Twister is to be commended for his unselfish service to the brethren in this end-time age. We are all part of a giant blueprint that began millennia ago. We are preprogrammed with a default setting that automatically kicks in and takes over whenever we collide with the correct time zone.
The concept of a class system (role-playing) is actually a biblical principle. The apostle Paul compares each of us to differing parts of the body, each just as important and vital to the well-being of the church as the other. The foot is as significant as the head.
Brethren, let us remember our job is to serve in any capacity we find ourselves (or that finds us). Look around and you'll see more people serving in your local congregation than ever before. Why don't we show them some appreciation?
The next time Ms./Mr. America walks down the aisle and smiles in your direction, smile right back and mouth "Thank you!"
© The Journal: News of the Churches of God