If there's anything needed in our world, nation and community, it's leadership. And just any kind of leadership, but godly leadership.
That was the message from the Rev. Joe Gregory, pastor at First Church of God. Gregory spoke at the baccalaureate service for the Jefferson City High School Class of 2019.
Around 100 prospective graduates attended the voluntary Christian service at the Miller Performing Arts Center. With their families and friends, the Miller Center was mostly packed. The baccalaureate service is one week before Sunday's graduation ceremonies.
The event featured performances by the JCHS Combined Choir and Orchestra.
Gregory said there are many definitions for leadership and self-help books that offer advice. When people think about leadership, they might think of military leaders, politicians, coaches, teachers, pastors or parents, he said.
"In this room and in this class is a huge treasure, potentially, for leadership," he said.
Many people in the secular or corporate worlds, when studying leadership, study Jesus, he said.
"What made him a great leader?" he asked.
He said, leadership is service, pointing to a passage in the Gospel of Matthew: "Whoever wants to be great among you, must be your servant. And whoever wants to be first, must be your slave. Just as the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life, a ransom for many."
Leadership, he said, is service. Christ, he said, was known as the "suffering servant."
"He ministered to the sick, the outcast, the common man," Gregory said. "He sought to give of himself, from healing a blind man to touching the leper to kneeling down and even washing the feet of his disciples. He served. Please remember that the very core of leadership is service."
Leadership is also sacrifice, like Christ sacrificed his own comfort, rights and wishes.
"To lead people will cost you something. It requires much sacrifice," he said, adding it sometime costs time, energy, sleep or popularity.
Finally, he said, leadership is also surrendering, like Jesus surrendered to the will of his Father.
The key to Jesus' successful leadership, he said, is summed up in the Gospel of John: "I did not come down from Heaven to do my own will, but to do the will of Him who sent me."
Gregory told the crowd the key to fulfilling their lives and purposes is to find the will of God and to offer your life back to God.
"Do whatever he has called you, gifted you and equipped you to do," he said.