My instinctive gaze was one of surprise and curiosity; though, my verbal exchange was only an ordinary “Hello.”
I had been approaching the Terrace- the place to be on a sunny day when class was over (or not) and the temperatures were warming up. It was the heart of my university’s campus. A crossroads, a meeting point, a place for coffee talk.
As I made my way up to this local Times Square, I saw a stationary body amidst the torrents of others in motion. I neared the object… some in front of me stopping at it, others not. The crowds parted and revealed my roommate from the year before, smiling and passing out cookies.
You can now relate to my initial surprise and curiosity. What was going on?
Chris was his name. Anyone who has met him knows that he is as intelligent as they come, diligent too, and, most importantly, in love with God. We chatted, but only for a second; standing like a pillar in the middle of floods of people wasn’t so conducive for a conversation much longer than that. Nonetheless, he told me that he just wanted to show a little taste of God’s love to those around him… his community… his Tribe (our school’s semi-mascot). He took the opportunity to speak about God to those who stopped, and the residual passersby simply had their day made a bit sweeter.
It didn’t end there. I began to see him hosting our church fellowship on all days of the week, initiating cross-denominational prayer lunches- the list goes on. I was impressed and inspired by my brother. Briefly after I saw what was happening through him, I had a pastor say something to me that made it all culminate. The phrase wasn’t earth shattering or inventive, but it came at the right time and with the right revelation.
“Leaders aren’t people who have or wait for fancy titles. Leaders are those who take initiative, seeing a need and answering with action. That’s a leader.”
Boom. It had hit me. After years of being in church and never having been given a title, I saw it no longer necessary in my quest to serve God. Instead, serving God is about taking action that results in loving Him/others while building the Kingdom; it’s about a state-of-heart where one follows Jesus’ lead with everything they have. I had been witnessing this, now it finally clicked.
I look to Jesus’ disciples who weren’t leaders by title either. Quite the contrast, they were followers or apprentices according to the word’s translation. Furthermore, they were followers of a “movement” that had no standing in the world yet. Jesus had just come on the scene and still needed to make His identity and message known. A disciple of his was a seemingly insignificant position by the public’s standards, don’t you think?
These are not the makings of a traditional hero-of-a-leader we romanticize in culture.
But look at their legacy. The message of Christ came to Europe as well as the Middle East! The Gospels, which have been read by billions, were written and give us the best description of Jesus to date. The world was changed.
Back to campus: Within a few weeks, Chris no longer stood alone. Over a dozen of us came together pooling our time and money to bake five hundred more of these evangelism tools. We refined our approach to have every cookie represent a conversation rather than the grenade technique (toss and run!). Together, we spread across campus, past the Terrace and on to the gardens. Together.
As you could guess, Chris wasn’t given a task by anyone. Regardless, he followed God’s prompting, loved others, and showed it. Can you ask for a better leader?