04 Feb Role Modelling
These days ‘models’ are flashed in the media superfluously. People are crazy about modeling. Modeling is just acting and it is not real. It is expensive & self centered. It is selective and only for some glamorous people. And yet the world is after such models as they are attractive from the outside. But role modeling is different. It is becoming transparent as it is all about real life. It is even more attractive from the inside that leads others as well to a life that helps, love and serves others. The scope is for all. Let us try to understand the role modeling in a deeper way with the following points.
Call to be A Role-model
Be examples to the flock under your care. 1 Pet. 5. 2-3. ‘Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers–not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock’.
Once I had observed in a primary school where teachers with a stick making the small kids to pick up the litter. I was thinking if only the teachers showed them how to pick them up! We are called to be role models by being servant leaders following the Master. I remember my first encounter with a role model in UESI, as a plus-one student. A Professor in Kerala, from EGF background, carrying my luggage when I reached a campsite, was heart-touching to me and I fondly cherish this memory even now. Then I started doing it to other students in UESI. Another time he took me inside his kitchen as his home was open for students. He started making coffee for me and as soon as I finished drinking he washed my glass. A boy like me, who had never ever entered our kitchen because of my bringing, was attracted so much to this new experience and I have started enjoying doing those things emulating my role model.
It cannot automatically become a role model. It needs equipping ourselves. Our minds should be stronger to accommodate the mistakes of others, especially, juniors. Our hearts should be large enough to love and accept people as they are. We need strength to do it and show that others may follow us. For that, our identity in Christ matters. Once it is in place, we are not bothered about acceptance or recognition from others. We will be equipped to keep on going ahead in serving others which is role modeling.
Life Speaks Louder
It is a thought provoking quote ‘Life speaks louder than words that the words are not heard’. Whatever we speak and advice others, if that is not evident in our lives, it is of no use. It is useless to advise others that which is not present in our lives. Many are speakers; but doers are less & demonstration is rare. When we practise what we speak, the credibility of what we speak increases due to its value. Or it is better to say speak only what we practise. Transparent life shows a model for others to emulate.
We tend to think that we will wait to speak until we practise. Yes, it’s a good idea. At the same time we can’t be perfect in every area and then start speaking. Many may hesitate to be involved in preaching as they think they are
not perfect. But the emphasis is to try to practise than avoiding ministry involvement. Another risk is that people watch our lives and they will reject what we speak if they are not visible in our lives. They verify whether our life is in line with our words. And we may lose our credibility to speak if they are different. Therefore we should try to augment the value of our speeches by doing them. When people see a model it’s easier for them to follow. They will come to know our weaknesses / humanness also. But they will learn how to get over it as we do it. One has to be extra watchful of his/her own words & deeds as others are observing. There is a powerful communication happening as it is visible in life. Life speaks to the heart always.
Jesus as Role model
Jesus is the best role model for us. Jesus wanted to teach about servant-hood to His disciples. He was not commanding or teaching the theory; but actually doing it and they were seeing what and how He was doing. For that, fi rst of all He washed their feet and then asked them whether they understood what He did. And He went on to say in John. 13.14-15. ‘If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet; For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.’ It is astounding to note that Judas who had betrayed/sold His Master was also part of them whose feet also were washed by Jesus. What a challenge to follow our Master. Jesus said that He had come not to be served but to serve and give away His life Mk.10.45.
Students, Graduates and Staff as Role-models
As students they can be role models in their studies & witness. So also in their life style such as dressing, the kind of language they use, punctuality, relationship with fellow students, teachers and parents and in their leadership qualities as well. When I talk about dressing, I don’t mean it to be old fashioned. It is wonderful to look good and be modern with new fashions which are prevalent in our days, provided it is modest & economic. Being fashionable is not necessarily be expensive always and not to be condemned. Let EU members be excellent in everything mentioned above. As Graduates they can be excellent in their jobs, relationship with colleagues, Christian giving, opening their homes for students, ministry involvement and in hospitality.
As staff being excellent in all areas of life and ministry, excited about God’s call and contentment in life in Christ.
In the areas of spiritual disciplines, Christian values & character, money matters etc. People should say ‘I wish I could be like him/ her’. That is role modeling. Reward of Role-modeling Our hearers will follow us blindly when they see our life and words go together. The impact of a life that is a role model is immense and will make rippling effects. It will make indelible mark in the lives of people. They will be eager to see our examples in order to follow them. And they will also live a transparent life. All would respect transparent lives. If all believers do what they preach or claim, that is the beginning of the Kingdom of God. How right it is when Francis of Assisi said ‘Preach the Gospel, use words if necessary’. A life that is in service for others!
The author is the Secretary of the Staff Development Dept of UESI, lives in Chandigarh with his wife Lizy and children Jyothis, Jwala & Jeevan and his mother. He has been an EU member since 1981 and on staff since 1986 worked as fi eld staff, Missions Secretary of UESI, State Secretary of UESI Kerala earlier. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.