Last week, I finished reading Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth. As he closes, he mentions the household of Stephanas. “(They) have devoted themselves to serving the saints. I urge you also to submit to such people, and to everyone who works and labors with them” (1 Cor. 16: 15-16).
Paul gives practical expression to a Kingdom principle—leaders serve. Servants will eventually exercise authority. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve. Stephanas earned the right to lead through hard work and sacrificial service to others.
Over the past few weeks, I have often been introduced as the new leader of Oklahoma Baptists. I want you to know that I know Kingdom leadership does not come from a title or an office. It is earned through sacrificial service. I am committed to serving my Oklahoma Baptist brothers and sisters. I want to serve the brethren from our churches in every region of the state, big and small, new and established, strong and struggling, rural and urban. God has called me to serve the churches.
In doing so, I will be following the example of Anthony Jordan. He has devoted himself to serving the saints for 22 years. In the providence of God, I was on the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma board of directors when Dr. Jordan was elected in 1996. I have watched him over the past two decades in settings, both public and private. In the public arena, you might observe his courage to set direction or his boldness in standing firm on moral issues.
In truth, he leads well because he serves. He works hard as servant, steward and shepherd. These are the marks of Kingdom leadership.
Dr. Jordan has worked and labored for us. He has been a strong voice on behalf of the unborn. He sounded steady support for the Cooperative Program. Anthony Jordan has challenged us to focus on impacting lostness with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Of course, Dr. Jordan leaves the legacy of Falls Creek, the camp developed through his blood, sweat and tears. In all this work and more, he has been striving to serve his Oklahoma brothers and sisters. His faithful service has earned our respect; his willing service has allowed him to lead.
I am honored to call Anthony Jordan my friend. I am humbled to follow in his service.