Study Guide: Out from Control

Sunday January 3, 2010 | Scott Boren

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Jesus shows us what godly leadership looks like in two ways. First by modeling it with his own life and second by confronting those who abuse the authority that comes with leadership.

Extended Summary:

Jesus warns his followers against those who abuse the authority they have been given as leaders. He pointed out the ways they made a big deal out of themselves by the way they dressed, how they required their followers to address them formally, and how they assumed places of honor and privilege at banquets. Beyond these things, these leaders also abused their power and authority by taking advantage of those who followed them, especially the most vulnerable groups of people at the time—such as widows.

Scott Boren reminded us that just as religious leaders of Jesus’ time sometimes abused power, so also today there are those in the church who abuse their power. Scott suggested that we could use the same identifiers that Jesus used two thousand years ago to help us be alert to where abuses may lie in our own time.

True leadership, power and authority are made evident in Jesus. Rather than creating relationships that can feel like bondage or entrapment, Jesus makes us free! Free from sin, free from guilt, free from oppressive powers, and more importantly, free TO live as we were intended to live. Free to use our gifts and be who God created us to be.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What stood out to you most from this message and the supporting text?
  2. When have you witnessed abuses of power and authority in your life? How did you get free from this? If you haven’t, how can your faith and this community help you to move toward genuine freedom?
  3. What do true power and authority look like in Jesus’ ministry? Be as specific as you can.
  4. What is God leading this group toward? As we start this new year, it’s a great time to revisit the group agreement and see how things went this past year and what new things are on the horizon for your group!