THE SERVANT GENERAL
AS A TEAM
In CFC-FFL, we serve as a team, from the Servant General down
to the Household Servants.
Our pastoral-organizational structure, characterized by a
pyramidal structure of leadership and the subdivision of the
whole community into groups and sub-groups, can be traced
to the time of Moses.
After the exodus from Egypt and before they arrived in Sinai,
where God entered into covenant with them, after experiencing
much grumbling from the people right after God had miraculously
freed them through Moses from centuries of slavery1,
Moses was given some sound advice by his father-in-law Jethro.
Jethro told him to group the whole people into smaller sub-groups,
into “groups of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties,
and of tens.” (Ex 18:21b).
Such today is our community pastoral-organizational structure.
- a household of 5 couples2
“fifties” - a unit of 5 households3
“hundreds”4 - a chapter of 5 units
“thousands” - a district of many clusters and
purpose of the structure
What is the purpose of such a structure of pastoral leadership?
Jethro advised: “Enlighten them in regard to the decisions
and regulations, showing them how they are to live and what
they are to do.” (Ex 18:20).
Leaders are to inform, educate and help form members in the
ways and means of community life, culture and service. For
us in CFC-FFL, this is about our life and mission in Jesus.
We enlighten brethren regarding our Covenant, our Core Values,
our ways of relating with one another, how to live our marriage
and family lives, how to build the Church of the Home and
the Church of the Poor, how to give of ourselves in service,
and so on. We teach them “what they are to do,”
that is, to be obedient to God. We are to teach them “how
they are to live,” that is, to be holy.
the structure is designed to enhance our transformation in
Christ. Moses said, “The people come to me to consult
God.” (Ex 18:15). We are primarily concerned about each
member’s relationship with God. It is the leadership
at each level that helps feed members. As members start to
mature, they go up the pastoral ladder and are given more
mature leaders who can continue to help them in their spirituality.
Moses further said, “Whenever they have a disagreement,
they come to me to have me settle the matter between them
and make known to them God’s decisions and regulations.”
(Ex 18:16). Peace and unity in community is crucial. But because
of people’s sinfulness, there will always be disagreements
that can lead to strife and division. Leaders help resolve
these by making known God’s ways and showing how differences
are resolved in the Lord.
as a team
Why is it necessary to subdivide the community into such sub-groups?
As the community grows in number, the task becomes too heavy
for one man or a few leaders. “You will surely wear
yourself out, and not only yourself but also those people
with you. The task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it
alone.” (Ex 18:18). When the task is too heavy, people
are not all properly attended to. Jethro gave his criticism
to Moses, “Why do you sit alone while all the people
have to stand about you from morning till evening?”
(Ex 18:14b). The result is a failure in adequately tending
to the flock. Both the overburdened leader and the under-cared
for people suffer.
This is especially true with caring for people who grumble,
which inevitably many of us do. As the number of Israelites
grew, Moses said, “But how can I alone bear the crushing
burden that you are, along with your bickering?” (Dt
1:12). When things are going great, there is not much pressure
or burden for leaders. But the world, the flesh and the devil
conspire to ensure that things will not go great all the time.
Then bickering can cause a really heavy burden.
So different servant leaders at different levels have different
functions. The basic purpose remains the same, that is, to
help brethren be more deeply transformed in Christ, but there
is a sharing of work, a team effort, to accomplish this. “They
rendered decisions for the people in all ordinary cases. The
more difficult cases they referred to Moses, but all the lesser
cases they settled themselves.” (Ex 18:26).
When the pastoral-organizational structure is working well,
then the community is well poised to do the mission God assigns
it. “If you do this, when God gives you orders you will
be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go
home satisfied.” (Ex 18:23). The heavy burden will be
shared, both leaders and people will not be worn out, everyone
will be satisfied, and community is able to carry out its
How are servant leaders to be chosen?
Jethro gives four basic qualifications. “But you should
also look among all the people for able and God-fearing men,
trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain” (Ex 18:21a).
First, servant leaders are able. This means that they are
“technically” competent for the task. Since this
is spiritual work, this means they are growing in their own
spirituality, ahead of those whom they are caring for, so
that they have something to give. Moses expounds: “So
I took outstanding men of your tribes, wise and experienced,
and made them your leaders as officials over thousands, over
hundreds, over fifties and over tens, and other tribal officers.
” (Dt 1:15). They have the human intelligence to understand
teachings and our ways, but more especially they manifest
wisdom that is from on high. They are experienced not in the
sense of having already done the task assigned to them, but
in what they have learned as they moved up the pastoral ladder,
as they grew in spirituality and service. They are outstanding
in the sense that they stand out among their peers, from among
whom they are chosen.
servant leaders are God-fearing. They have a personal relationship
with Jesus as Savior and Lord, they are obedient to God, and
they live their lives and conduct their service under the
inspiration and strength of the Holy Spirit. They are striving
to live righteous lives, and desire to be holy as God is holy.
They are living out their family lives according to God’s
Third, servant leaders are trustworthy. They have been entrusted
with the pastoral care of the flock, and desire to do their
task willingly and not grudgingly. They will work without
having to be pushed, without their overseers looking over
their shoulders, with initiative and enthusiasm. They are
loyal to God and to community, and will not betray their Covenant
and our Core Values.
Fourth, servant leaders hate dishonest gain. They are not
in this for money, power, prestige, position or acclamation.
Their single desire is to please God and to serve His people.
They live lives of integrity. They will not move up in pastoral
leadership through deception, lies and half-truths, through
being a toady, or through power politics. They will never
deprive God of the glory that rightfully belongs to Him alone.
task at hand
CFC-FFL has been raised by God to do His work in this third
millennium. We are to renew the family and to defend life.
This is an awesome task, befitting an awesome God. We are
mere instruments, but how we respond will determine how we
will experience the anointing and power of God.
God has built a large army that will grow larger still. For
peace, order and unity, God has given us our pastoral-organizational
structure, and our call as servant leaders. We will do well
to make such a structure work.
us listen to what Jethro has taught us, and what Moses has
demonstrated to us.
listen to me, and I will give you some advice,
that God may be with you.”
the Lord, the God of your fathers,
increase you a thousand times over,
and bless you as he promised!”
April 17, 2009
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Servant Leadership (Part 8) [PDF]