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Mandate & Mission

Christian leadership isn’t about being a celebrity preoccupied with impressive growth and image management! 

There’s but ONE yardstick. For Jesus, it is the WILL OF GOD that is of utmost importance! 

Our Lord Himself said that His food is to do His Father’s will (John 4:34). In Gethsemane, He prayed for God’s will, not His, to be accomplished (Mark 14:36). God’s will governed the way Jesus lived and the work Jesus did! 

What then is the WILL OF GOD for Christian leadership? And how do we discern it?

I would like to share this thought with you as Christian leaders.
“We accomplish the will of God in our leadership by embracing the Mandate and the Mission!”

In Judges 13, Manoah’s question is highly instructive for us in this regard:

“Now when your words come true, what is to be the child’s MANNER OF LIFE, and what is his MISSION?” (v.12). (ESV)

Notice his two-point question. 

1. ”What is to be the child’s MANNER OF LIFE?”
– It refers to his WALK and consecration,
i.e. How he is TO LIVE – the MANDATE!

2. ”And what is his MISSION?”
– It refers to the WORK and commission,
i.e. What he is TO DO – the MISSION!

In seeking to fulfill God’s will, it is so vital to pay attention to BOTH the MANDATE and the MISSION!

Also, it is important to pay attention to the ORDER set forth for us in the Scriptures – first, the “manner of life” and then, the ”mission”.  This Order is significant!

The MANDATE must precede the MISSION.
 This means that in God’s economy –

The Walk precedes the Work
Authenticity precedes Accomplishment
Character precedes Competence.
Pilgrimage precedes Performance.
Substance precedes Strategy.
Obedience precedes Operations.
Integrity precedes Initiative.
Worship precedes Witness
The Timeless precedes the Timely

Likewise, in the New Testament, Paul prayed in Colossians 1:10 “that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, (the MANDATE) being fruitful in every good work (MISSION) and increasing in the knowledge of God;”

What’s the use of the Christian leader who’s bearing fruit in his WORK but not pleasing God in his WALK?!!

Forgetting this, the mission consumes us. We become spiritually dry – “having the form of godliness while denying the power thereof” (2Tim 3:5).
We burn out. Or we mess up in a bondage to sin and deception!

For we wrongly assume that a fruitful work automatically validates the leader, regardless of whether the walk is pleasing to God or not. We often sideline the pilgrimage, while applauding the performance – thus missing entirely the will of God for Christian leadership. 

It is God’s will, especially for Christian leaders, not just TO DO His work but also TO LIVE in His ways! 

Get this. The minute we grasp this divine will for Christian leadership, we stand in deep conviction and contriteness! We no longer get our ego-strokes from accomplishments or ecclesiastical bragging rights or corporate grandstanding! 

Like the godly Isaiah of old, we cry out ”WOE IS ME!”, not ”WOW IS ME!”

And it is at that point of desperation, when we truly feel the weight of CHRISTIAN (CHRIST-like) leadership, that we re-discover afresh the very touchstone of God’s will for us all – THE CROSS OF JESUS! 

So, in the final analysis, what’s God’s will for me as a CHRISTIAN leader? 

Put simply, it is TO RETURN TO THE CROSS!!! To abide with JESUS!
For there I find the provision for my MANDATE and the power for my MISSION!