True Evangelical Leaders Are Servants (Jerry Jenkins)

Greetings, all. I’m honored to be invited to interact with thinkers far above my academic pay grade (read GPA).
Before I speak to Hanna’s cogent comments re Hollywood, let me say that I have long been uneasy about Evangelicals in positions of political power, largely because I see this as antithetical to the very teachings of Jesus. He was a preacher of paradoxical truth. If you want to be rich, give your money away. Respond to anger with kindness. Love your enemies. Do good to those who spitefully use you. Want to be exalted? Humble yourself? Want to be a leader? Become a servant of all.
These leaders, I believe, will be judged on their servanthood.

The true Evangelical leaders, to me, are those serving Jesus (for He said that if your feed the hungry, help the poor, etc., doing this “unto the least of these,” you’re doing it unto Me) behind the scenes. Fortunately, I know many such servants — sadly, or perhaps encouragingly, most of them are young people. My son and his wife (in their early thirties with three young children) have helped started a church in Venice Beach, California, that largely serves minorities and the homeless. Just a few dozen gather Sunday mornings for a joyous celebration, but during they week they are also ministered to in concrete ways. My son and daughter-in-law, despite that he’s a movie director and she’s a full-time mom, are in the process of adopting another child (and possibly two), believing that this is another way to put their faith into action.
A young friend of friends of ours in Florida is from a wealthy family and enjoys a profitable job, but he spends half his time and money in the inner city, helping the poor, feeding the hungry, and trumpeting the need to his parents’ wealthy friends.
When my son and I started our film company in Los Angeles several years ago, we deliberately chose not to curse Hollywood. Yes, we might disagree with many of the messages emitted by the most powerful media tool ever invented, but we didn’t go there to change the culture. Our goal is to light a candle in the darkness and to get our message into the marketplace of ideas, acknowledging that Hollywood makes the best movies on the planet and striving to compete at that level. The last thing we want to hear is that ours was “a good picture for a Christian movie.”
I agree the language of Hollywood (akin to New York publishing) is the bottom line. Yes, Jesus is faddish right now. The upside is that those of us with a message have a window of opportunity. The downside is, as Hanna implied, as soon as there is enough shlocky Christian stuff thrown against the wall — with precious little of it sticking — the studios will be onto the next hot thing.
If Evangelicals in positions of power can humble themselves to the point of servanthood, more Christians work to aid the needy, and more artists and authors compete rather than curse, the cause I believe in will be better served.

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Harlan Hiltnre

posted October 17, 2007 at 4:50 pm

Well said. It seems that most Christians including evangelicals have missed or forgotten the basics of what Christ displayed in his life (the highest teachings are those by example)by healing, teaching, being open to talking to even prostitutes and always stating “I must be about my fathers business”. Service means letting God pass thru us and getting out of the way and opening our heart to the whole experience. Mother Teresa despite her struggle with doubt (don’t we all) was an excellent example of what service means at its highest.

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posted October 17, 2007 at 10:06 pm

If all evangelicals thought that way, there would be little controversy. Too many are so busy cursing the darkness they don’t even try to light candles.

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