Screen shot 2013-09-17 at 11.30.50 AMLooking back over the last 14 years, I’ve realized I got married for the wrong reasons.  Well, not entirely, but let me briefly explain.  I was attracted to my wife and thought she was a good fit for me and thought she’d be a great mom…and I really enjoyed being around her.  Not bad things, of course.  Great things, actually.  But if I’m honest my thoughts were self focused.

I’ve since realized that self-focus doesn’t really work too well in marriage.  My wife and I had to make a decision years ago to not operate from a place of self focus if we really wanted the relationship we longed for in our marriage.  We certainly have not perfected this, but we are constantly working on it.

The same is true in our relationship with God.  If you’re like me you became a Christian because you saw it as a benefit to you.  That it is, by the way, true and beautiful.  But at some point we begin to feel like something just isn’t right in our relationship with God if we continue operating like this.  The love motivated sacrificial aspects of our relationship with God can’t just be one sided.  At some point, like in my marriage, we must work on moving away from self focus to really experience the relationship we want.

Here are 4 things I believe a follower of Jesus eventually comes to understand and because of their love for God inevitably seeks to do:

  1. Believes in the benefits of Jesus’ death (Romans 5:11; 1 Peter 3:18).  It can be boiled down to “relational reconciliation,” both in life and eternity.
  2. Embraces the call of Jesus’ death and God’s mercy (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Romans 12:1-2).  It can be boiled down to “selflessly living for Jesus and his Kingdom.”
  3. Learns about and obeys Jesus’ commands in community with other disciples (Acts 2:44-47).  It can be boiled down to “evangelistic community.”
  4. Causes others to understand and embrace all three above (Matthew 28:18-20).  This can be boiled down to “discipleship.”

Leadership continues to be of the hot topics in the church today. Now more than ever before we are seeing books, seminars and coaching sessions revolving around leadership. My hope of writing this series of blog posts isn’t to bring anything new to the table; rather I want to share with you what in my opinion are four non-negotiable aspects of Christian leadership. Have you ever had to give so much it hurt? Did you give your time, your money, and your left kidney?

My most memorable sacrifice during ministry was to break down the barrier with a kid at camp. We had a student with some mobility issues who just refused to open up. They were angry about their disabilities and would not hear about anything that anyone had to say. Our camp had a huge zip-line that students would love to ride. I noticed that this student with the disabilities really wanted to go on the zip-line. After a long period of “encouraging” the student to actually do it despite their fear, I strapped the student to my back and carried them up a 50 foot tower and then set them up on a zip-line. The sacrifice wasn’t much but by giving up my break and carrying that student’s weight, I was able to help break down their defenses and they went on to engage in a lot of spiritual conversations with their counselor.

I’m sure it won’t take much convincing but Christian leaders need to lead by giving sacrificially. Obviously our greatest example is Christ himself. Two of the greatest examples from Jesus’ life are when we got down on his knees and washed his disciples dirty feet. Then he asked us to follow him when He said, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13: 13-17) Clearly, if Christ tells us that if we should follow him by making a simple sacrifice such as humbling ourselves, we need to do so. The second example is the obvious example of his death. While we may never be called to lay down our own lives as leaders, we can expect to have to make sacrifices regularly for the cause we are directing people towards. Jesus makes it clear that we will need to deny ourselves daily. (Luke 9:23)

I think that if someone really wants to be an excellent leader they need to be willing to sacrifice for their cause.

Do you have any great stories of sacrificing for the people you lead?

Kyle Corbin has been serving youth as a volunteer or pastor for over 10 years. He is currently the youth pastor at the Bridge Church in North Vancouver B.C. You can follow his blog at: kylecorbin.blogspot.com or Twitter: @CorbinKyle



Was talking to one of our awesome Life Group leaders last night about how he follows up with his small group of boys. I’m so glad he blogged about it, too, so you can share in our conversation. Here’s a clip from Matt’s post called “Quiet Time Challenge” over at Gen2Gen:

1. I text them all this morning to remind them what we had talked about and I’ll text them back tonight and ask them to tell me what they sacrificed today to find an extra 15 minutes for a quiet time. I’ll keep the text messages coming for the next 3-4 days.

2. We have a private Facebook page for our group, I’ve asked them to post what they are sacrificing. So far two of the 12 already have!

3. I don’t want to constantly harp on this to them, but I want to keep this idea going in their mind and get them to develop a quiet time as a daily habit. I know what a change it made it my life and I want them to experience the same thing.

JG