Servant leadership

A couple of years ago, one of the big buzzwords for church leaders was “servant leadership”. It’s easy to say, but hard to do. Worse, it’s easy to pretend we are servant leaders, when we have merely adopted an air of false humility. Well, here’s an example of true servant leadership from Haiti. This is not about buzzwords, but about Christlike ministry.

Bishop Duracin of Port-au-Prince lost his home and his cathedral in the earthquake last week. Despite offers to evacuate the city, the bishop has chosen to stay with his people, living in a tent. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the story:

The image of a homeless bishop choosing to stay in a dangerous and devastated place to tend to his people is one that will abide in my heart for some time to come.  When a bishop is ordained in our church, part of the liturgy reminds the bishop-elect that “your joy will be to follow him who came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”  Through his faithfulness and sacrifice, Bishop Duracin is indeed following Jesus, the Good Shepherd who remains steadfastly with his flock even as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

That’s an example for all of us. We should not turn away from suffering. Jesus does not call us to be comfortable, but to take up our cross and follow him.

Of course, for those of us who are watching Haiti via CNN there is a danger in all of this — that we begin to view the disaster in Haiti through a sentimental lens, focusing on inspiring stories and heroic acts. Though people might hope for some redemption out of this nightmare, we should not ever diminish the horror for Haitian people. There is no silver lining in the cloud.

Pray for Bishop Duracin and his people. Pray that our hearts might be broken open by his example. Pray that we might be generous with our prayers and our material resources. And pray that we can work to make systemic changes so that Haiti might break the chains of poverty which enslave the nation.

Thanks to Matt Gunter, who posted this story on Facebook.

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