Moving from “I To We”

by Jay Jarboe

Peter Hawkins, a well-known professional coach, and advocate for team coaching, says “The days of the heroic CEO are over. We must move from I to We.” He believes an innovative leadership approach is needed for our world’s rapidly changing environments. “Moving from I to We” is the phrase used to describe this team leadership approach. Unfortunately, our models for leadership in the church are often imported from the business world. However, the concept of “moving from I to We” might be a case where the world is taking a cue from the leadership style of Jesus and his followers.

Jesus “appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons,” Mark 3:13-14. Jesus traveled with the twelve, modeling how to follow and depend upon his Father. You could call Jesus’ band of followers his team of disciples or his ministry team. Jesus’ style of leadership was in stark contrast to the leadership in the world. The mother of James and John asked Jesus to give her sons the place of honor at his right and left in his kingdom. He replied that it was not his to give. Instead, he came to show us the Father, and chose the path of humility, sacrifice, and even death. Jesus defined a leader in his new kingdom in stark contrast to the rulers of the Gentiles, who sought to lord it over and exercise authority. Instead, those leaders who follow Jesus will not seek greatness but service, not aspire to be first, but be the servant of others. (Matthew 20:25-28). 

Shaped by Jesus’ model of servant leadership, we are called to live into what some refer to as “body life leadership.” God has given each of us unique spiritual gifts to use to serve and strengthen the body of Christ. These gifts are found in four major passages: 

  • Romans 12:3-8 
  • I Corinthians 12:12-26 
  • Ephesians 4;11-16; and 
  • I Peter 4:10-13. 

If leaders do not understand, identify, and utilize their God-given gifts, the church is at a disadvantage. They will not be operating to their full potential provided by the Holy Spirit (Act 2:38). 

God empowers the body of Christ through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When we live into this truth, we bring God’s full power into our mission. We severely limit ourselves, when we do not lean into the “we” of body life leadership. We must work as a team using all the gifts God provides. If we limit our view of leadership to one strong leader and ignore the influence of these gifts, we will not experience the fullness of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. God has modeled community leadership through his triune nature, three in one (John 17:2-21).

The Grip-Birkman is a behavioral and spiritual gifts assessment looking at three primary questions: 

  • Where am I strong? 
  • Where am I weak? 
  • Who do I need?  

The focus of this assessment is how one can powerfully play their God-designed role in the body of Christ most effectively. Body life leadership highlights four spiritual truths as articulated in the Grip-Birkman Coach Training Manual:

  • Significance Your significance is settled at the cross (1 Cor. 12:12-17). There is nothing you can do, say, write or perform that will make you any more significant than you already are in Christ. 
  • RoleEveryone has a God-designed role to play (1 Cor. 12:11, 18). God has a role for you in the body of Christ that no one else can play. 
  • Unity – Everyone actively commits to building team unity (Ephesians 2:21-22). Working for team and body unity is a choice, and we must work hard to stay together in purpose and task. 
  • LoveAll actions and reactions must come from a core of truth and transparent love. It is not about me – serving others and putting them first is essential. 

One powerful gift you can provide to your church and its leaders is to help them identify their giftedness and learn how to utilize those gifts to benefit the purpose of the body of Christ. We are better together than we are alone. Contact HOPE Network to get more information about the Grip-Birman Profile and how it can empower your church to live fully into body life leadership.  (Find more information read: Why HOPE Network Uses the Grip-Birkman.)

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