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Catalyst 2007 – Andy Stanley, part 1

“The Most Powerful Man in the Room”

  • Power has become a 4-letter word in conversations about leadership.
  • If God has you in leadership, the fact is that you have power. We like the word “influence” but let’s be honest with ourselves, it’s essentially power.
    • Student ministry is a prime example of immense power. Power to build and crush with very little effort.
  • We shy away from power because it’s intimidating. Churches don’t like point leadership (i.e. power concentrated in few people)
    • But really, “Follow We” is no better than “Follow Me” if those We’s aren’t properly stewarding their power…
  • So, when we’re talking about power, the big question is: What do you do when you realize you’re the most powerful person in the room?
    • Side-note: Chances are that in 11,000 people, some of you will be anti-megachurch. But please hear me out because a justifiable bias probably comes from your experience with abused power, which makes you a prime candidate to go forward and leverage God’s power. You know the dangers of it and you care deeply about its wise use.
  • Jesus (didn’t see that coming, did you?) gives us a prime example of how the most powerful man in the room responded: The Upper Room, John 13.
    • “He showed them the full extent of his love.” (v1) Sneak peak of what Jesus did with his power.
    • “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power.” (v3) Clearly, Jesus knew he was the most powerful man in the room.
    • “So…” (v4) As a result of this…
    • took off his outer clothing” (v4) shed his symbols of rabbinical authority
    • “began to washed his disciples’ feet” (v5) used miracle-conducting hands to scrub crusty grime, among a culture obsessed with cleanliness
    • “I have set an example,” (v15) So maybe we should follow suit?
  • Look for ways to leverage your power for the sake of others around you. Because that’s the example Jesus set for us.
  • If you leverage your power for your own sake, you (un)consciously declare that you are greater than your Master (cf. v14)
  • Not to apply this principle is an admission of weakness, not a display of strength.
  • “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.” King George III, upon learning of George Washington’s intent to pass on emperorship, and let someone else take the reins.
  • Basically, don’t fear power. Simply learn to leverage it properly.
  • The legacy of your leadership will not be determined by a lifetime of applying principles and insights, but it will be the product of your reactions time after time when you realize you’re the most powerful person in the room.

(RPD comments forthcoming.)