The Hebraic Heart of Leadership
By Dr. Howard Morgan
The more we discover the true Hebraic nature of the Christian faith, the more we will be challenged to live according to the Scriptures. It is in those pages that we find the revelation of the Kingdom of God and God's invitation for everyone to enter into a personal relationship with the King and partake of the riches of His Kingdom. It is also here that we find the process by which the King trains, i.e. disciples, those who respond to this invitation. Only those who are discipled can be partakers of the riches of the Kingdom. Those who refuse this training never experience the reality of the Kingdom of God in their lives.
Central to this process of discipleship is the renewal of our minds and the reformation of our hearts. God teaches us how to think and feel as He does. In this way he determines whether He can depend on us to respond just like Him, in word, thought and deed, as he entrusts us with more and more authority in His Kingdom. It is this process of learning to emulate God and be entrusted to oversee his kingdom that is at the heart of the Hebraic nature of our faith. The Hebraic faith revealed to us in the pages of Scripture centers on this theme. It is very different than all the other religions of the world. They are centered on manipulating the deity to serve the purposes of "self." The Hebraic heart is centered on personal transformation into the image of the Messiah and entrustment with greater responsibility in God's Kingdom.
The pages of Scripture paint a picture for us of our King and His kingdom. They show us who He really is, and who we really are. They teach us the way to grow in relationship to Him, to others, and even to ourselves. They reveal to us how the King wants His Kingdom to be administrated on the earth. Of central importance to that administration is the quality of its administrators, or using a more familiar Biblical term, its stewards.
A steward is someone who is entrusted with responsibility and authority to care for another's possessions. A leader in the Kingdom of God is simply a steward of that which has been entrusted to him by the King. If leaders in the Kingdom are not properly trained, motivated and equipped, then the work of the Kingdom will be seriously compromised and its effectiveness greatly hindered. Leaders in this Kingdom are constantly being instructed and adjusted by the King to have a heart that reflects His own. As we seek the restoration of the Hebraic roots of our faith, we experience more and more impartation of these dynamics by the Holy Spirit. He is trying to give us a Hebraic heart, the heart of a servant who leads, and a leader who serves.
As we study the history of Christianity we can clearly see how those who were leaders in the church became compromised in various aspects of their leadership qualities. History testifies to how those compromises produced much ungodly fruit. Instead of building the Kingdom of God, compromised leaders built what I call the "empire of self." Instead of surrendering all personal rights, goals, and desires to the authority of the King and then allowing His interests to rule in their hearts, they allowed "self" and its interests to become the controlling influence of their lives. Deceived by the subtleties of "self," they stopped being inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit. As this deception deepened, the compromised leaders began to do things that protected their own "empires." People, money, and doctrines were manipulated and controlled so that they served the interests of the "emperor" of each "empire," rather than the purposes of the King of Kings.
The tragic result of this deception was the departure from our original Hebraic faith and the creation of a new non-Biblical religion that has generally taken on the title "Christianity." If we are honest, we can see that much of what has been historically called Christianity was, in fact, the formulation of a religion that was not based on the Bible and did not build the Kingdom of God. As you study church history, you will see how "self" interest, though disguised in high sounding religious language, was at the heart of so many decisions that bore ungodly fruit. The Biblical goal of making disciples (i.e. doing everything necessary to equip and perfect the believers) was completely eradicated by leaders who wanted to build their own empires. The deception was so insidious that this was all done in the name of Jesus and under the supposed authority of the Kingdom of God.
As the church was increasingly removed from her Jewish roots, she grew further and further from the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom was replaced by the "empire of self" that increasingly grew into a political/military force. Using the power of the sword and the threat of eternal damnation, she subjugated individuals and nations, demanding their allegiance to her religious establishment. The Biblical picture of a spiritually empowering, organically relating community of believers that was lovingly ministering to and equipping people to fulfill their calling was virtually unheard of, and when heard of, was persecuted. People were brought into an ecclesiastical system that did not create or nourish a personal relationship with God, or spiritually empower them. Nor did it want to. Its leaders sought to control and manipulate the people so that they themselves could remain in positions of authority and power. They were spiritually compromised, and the fruit of that compromise was (and unfortunately still is today) people who themselves had (and still have) no real spiritual relationship with God and therefore no fruit of the Spirit in their own lives. Instead of building the Kingdom of God, they built (and are building) the "empire of self."
Throughout church history, and today, we see leaders who have been compromised, to one degree or another, so that they were (or are) deceived into building their own religious empires. The subtlety of the deception is great, but the fruit is always the same, people are not given the spiritual environment they need to grow in their relationship with God and to fulfill their calling. They get trapped in a religious system that keeps them spiritually weak and dependent upon their so-called "leaders." These leaders' words and deeds reveal the fact that they do not have a Hebraic heart but a heart that seeks things other than the glory of the King and the spiritual maturity of His people. These leaders are locked into protecting and promoting their religious system because it gives them a degree of security and power. For others to grow spiritually is very threatening and resisted by various means.
Leaders in the Kingdom of God, however, are people who have been, and continue to be, impacted by the power of the Holy Spirit. The result of that encounter is a heart that seeks only the Glory of the King and the spiritual growth of those in his Kingdom. This kind of heart is exemplified and modeled for us by the Apostle Paul. The motivation of his heart is clearly seen in Colossians 1:28, where he wrote that he was doing everything he could to present every person complete in the Messiah. To present every person complete in the Messiah is the goal of everyone who is a true leader in the Kingdom of God.
If you are a leader, or aspire to be a leader in the Kingdom of God, and you have any other incentive or goal, you must carefully and rigorously examine the motives of your heart. Please understand that the deceptions that lead someone to build the "empire of self" instead of the Kingdom of God are extremely subtle. We are all so very easily influenced by the power and needs of "self." Diligent self-examination, open-faced humble prayer (i.e. prayer that entreats God to test you and reveal your own motives) and trusted Godly relationships are a few of the weapons we can use to keep the motivations of our hearts pure.
When his disciples came to Him asking about greatness, the Messiah explained to them one of the fundamental principles of leadership in His Kingdom. He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves" (Luke 22:25-26). This theme is repeated in Matthew 20:24-28 when He said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become 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 as a ransom for many."
This is the fundamental motivation of the heart of a leader that is revealed in our Hebraic religion. It is a heart that is motivated to serve. It is a heart that only wants to see the King glorified and to see His people come into the completeness that He desires. It is a heart that is ready, willing, and able to give its life for the purposes of God to be established in others. It does not think about itself first, it thinks about the King and His aspirations for His people. Its only motivation is to be pleasing to the Lord and to see Him glorified. It does not care what others may say or do. It only cares about being faithful to the King and doing what He desires in the lives of His children. It is always focused on the will of God, not the desires of men.
Such a leader is willing to risk the rejection of people in order to accomplish the purposes of God. Leaders with a Hebraic heart are willing to suffer personal rejection because they will not acquiesce to anyone's agenda. They firmly resist being compromised by anyone or anything. They will not commit spiritual treason by usurping or misusing the delegated authority that they received from the King. They will use that authority for building up the Body of Christ and not for building their own religious empires. Do not be deceived, people with corrupt motivations can still exercise spiritual authority. "The gifts and callings of God are without repentance" (Romans 11:29). This is why Jesus told us that on the day of Judgment many will come to him declaring what they have done and He will order them to depart (Matthew 7:21-23).
God's servants are not slaves, at the beck and call of other people's selfish, self-centered demands. They seek only to serve the purposes of God in other peoples lives. They seek to disciple and equip the saints so that they can fulfill God's will in their lives. Discipling and equipping others can sometimes call for uncomfortable confrontations and somber exhortations to repentance and godly living. Not only do leaders need the right motivation for serving, they need the right strategies to implement the purposes of God. Discipling others is not easy. It requires much wisdom and spiritual maturity. These qualities are not obtained easily or cheaply. It is precisely because these qualities are purchased with great personal expense that we see so little of it. But God is raising up a new generation of leaders, a generation of leaders with a Hebraic heart, a heart to see the people of God become all that He desires.
When we begin to carefully examine the heart of a leader, we are confronted with the degree of sacrifice and servanthood the King demands of those who would lead in His Kingdom. We must look inwardly at our deepest motivations. If they are not purely Kingdom focused, then we need to earnestly pray that God work in our hearts so that our motivations and desires would mirror His. We are all so easily prone to allow our "self" to dictate our thoughts, feelings, decisions and behaviors. Because of this we must always guard our hearts.
Are you a leader in the Body of the Messiah? Do you aspire to leadership? Do you have a Hebraic heart? Are you willing to pay the price to be such a leader?
Scripture quotation from the Holy Bible, New International Version (R). NIV (R). Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Dr. Howard Morgan is an internationally renowned prophetic teacher whose insightful, humorous and anointed ministry is inspiring, empowering and equipping believers around the world. A Jewish believer in the Messiah Jesus since 1971, he planted and pastored churches in New York City from 1976 to 1987. Since 1987 he has been traveling in a full time prophetic and teaching ministry, establishing and overseeing churches and ministries, and pastoring pastors. He is a gifted communicator who is able to present Scriptural truths clearly and precisely, so that the principles of the Kingdom of God are plainly understood and easily applied. His ministry is often accompanied by clear demonstrations of the revelatory gifts of the Holy Spirit.
He is the founder and president of Howard Morgan Ministries (http://www.howardmorganministries.org/), his own teaching and equipping ministry, Kingdom Ministries International, which gives apostolic and prophetic oversight to a network of Churches and Ministries, and CEASE an international ministry inspiring and training Christians to Eradicate Anti-Semitism in the Earth.
He has an intense passion to see the entire Body of Christ come to spiritual maturity and unity, as well as a vision to see the Church restored to her Hebraic roots, and to her Biblical relationship and responsibility to the Jewish people. Dr. Morgan has a B.A. in Psychology from Hunter College, an M.A. in Counseling from New York University, and a Doctorate in Ministry from Logos Graduate School.