Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16 v 24)
The cross shapes you and casts a shadow as others follow you.
I spend most of my life with leaders. The one to one with Pastors, Church leadership meetings and discussions with leaders of leaders continually show me there is much to talk about. And there is much to read also. Scores of books and training documents on how to be a good leader of people. Churches today are needing strategists, problem solvers, business executives, high ranking managers, visionaries, movers and shakers. People are following transactional leaders, democratic leaders, charismatic leaders, introverted leaders, transformational leaders, authoritarian leaders, delegating leaders and of course coaches and mentors. But there is one question that overpowers all those powers:- are we carrying the cross?
How are our lives shaped by the pressure of the cross?
Is our life formed by the crucified life?
Whether in the pulpit or the pew the authority given to us is not to be lord and master but to be the edifier of Christ’s body, the Church. ‘Touch not the anointed’ never applies to you and me in the context of being unteachable, unchangeable and unmoveable.
The world needs to see the power to carry the cross of love every day, in every setting, with all our conversations and in any decision we make. That is the power we seek. The power for the cross to shape us and to cast a shadow behind us.
Every problem a Church ever experiences can be answered in this sentence of Jesus. Every problem.
As this becomes more the focus of our life then mission to the world becomes more naturally effective. The world becomes drawn to a shape it has never seen and convicted by a shadow of love that rests upon them.
We need more courses on carrying the cross.