Grace to you!
Recently, I ran an idea concerning a big diocesan project by a friend who is an expert in strategic business planning. The project has to do with the furtherance of the mission of evangelization in that local church. I noticed that my friend made little or no contribution on the nature and funding source for the project. Rather, he suggested I take as a priority, the personnel training and succession planning regarding the project’s future, and advise the bishop of that diocese on specifics of personnel planning.
Many ideas die not because people don’t have the financial and infrastructural way withal to execute them. It is because they don’t have the right personnel to lead and manage. Many times, churches struggle due to poor personnel and human resource management. Anyone who is trained in leadership and management understands this basic reality.
When I read the gospel of Matthew 10:1-7, I am fascinated by the brilliant example the Lord Jesus, the leader par excellence, leaves for the Church. The Lord’s mission of bringing about the reign of God has to be continued. He had to train, inspire, mentor, commission and equip those to further the mission after him. He had to set up a structure, in which his authority and spirit will lead so his mission will spread to the whole world (Mt 28:19-20).
For those clamoring for a church without structures, a free-for-all spiritual experience without commissioned leadership or organization, be sure you are asking for the kind of church the Lord commissioned. A free-for-all spiritual experience sounds nice. But is it the church the Lord founded?
Before choosing the twelve apostles (Mt 10:1-7), Jesus taught his followers of how rich the harvest is and how scarce are personnel who are willing and zealous to serve. He admonished them to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers to the harvest (Mt 9:38).
Next, he showed an example by selecting twelve out of his numerous disciples to become chosen leaders to carry on the mission. Rightly called the pillars of the church with the prophets before them, and Christ as the chief cornerstone (Eph 2:20), the apostolic college is evidence of that structure.
By asking the disciples to pray, I believe they were praying for themselves and for many after them to be open to divine invitation to serve for the promotion of God’s reign. That prayer continues. Pray for the same petition. We need more passionate messengers of the Lord. As you pray, open your heart for the possibility to serve the way the Lord desires.
The bible mentions the names of the twelve, so we know these were real people not imagery figures. Those were ordinary men without exceptional training. None of them had elitist portfolios. Yet, the Lord saw in their heart, the desire to serve first before leading. Hence, he chose them. No need to count yourself out of the mission because you suppose you aren’t qualified. What it takes is a passion and a love for the Lord’s cause, and the desire to serve.
Robert Greenleaf, the servant leadershiptheorist, once said that great leaders have the desire to serve first. Hence, when they have the authority, they lead well. Fr. Robert Spitzer of Magis Centersuggests great leaders lead from the heart. They are passionate and homed in on the vision. I would say, they own the vision and live it.
Praying that wherever you find yourself, you keep the mission of the reign of God alive. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Wednesday Week 14 Ordinary Time: Hos 10:1-3, 7-8, 12: Mt 10:1-7]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.