John Markum

The Three Levels of Leadership

Recently at LifeCity Church, we began a series walking through 2 Timothy called The Leader in Me, where I’ve been walking through the leadership principals the Apostle Paul gives in his final farewell letter to Timothy. The point of this series has been simple: Leadership, in a word, is influence – and God has given all of us a degree of influence in this world that we should cultivate. One of the main points of his leadership dynamics is founded in 2Timothy 2:2, “The things you’ve heard and seen of me, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

Through this and other passages, I introduced our church to the three levels of leadership…

  • Leading self.
  • Leading others.
  • Leading leaders.

You must be able to lead yourself well, if you’re ever to be capable of leading others. Self-discipline, sacrifice, and the ability to follow all fall under this for me. Because you can’t lead, if you can’t follow.

The next step up is leading others, or leading a team. This is often coveted by short-sighted “leaders” who want to skip over level 1. I like to elevate people to this level who have demonstrated the ability to lead themselves, but are otherwise reluctant to be “over” someone else. Their humility and self-awareness often make them far better suited for leadership than they realize, and watching them grow in this capacity is inspiring.

The third level is leading leaders, more specifically, leading level 2 leaders. I’m reminded of the words of Jesus in Matthew 20:26, that the greatest among you must be “the servant of all”. Jesus ties greatness directly to the idea of servanthood. The greatest leader, therefore, should be striving to be the greatest servant. In God’s Kingdom where everything is backwards to our human perspective, this is the model of a growing leader.

Levels 2 and 3 are contingent on level 1. You can’t lead others somewhere you’re not going. If you’re undisciplined, unwilling to sacrifice, unwilling to follow others, then your leadership is ultimately based on yourself, not those whom you wish to lead.

I hope this is helpful as you consider your leadership growth.

Pastor John

Relocating to the South Bay


So a short, short time ago, in a state far, far away, we began the move of a lifetime. Since the first time I felt God leading me into ministry, I knew this day was coming – the day I would leave the “known”, comfortable, and familiar to take the Gospel to a new place and a new culture.
Now we’re here – and there’s nothing like being in the place you were called to, to do what you were called to do. I’m working hard to establish some routine, take care of basic obligations, and develop some early connections. So far, things are going GREAT! And God has been profoundly working on our behalf already:
1. Our entire Launch Team who has already moved out here has found housing in less than 4 days!
2. Most of them have jobs or solid leads including a second interview.
3. We were able to touch base with a good friend, Phil McGee, who works a lot in the South Bay.
4. We’re already planning and looking forward to our first couple of events to connect with people quickly!

Soon I’ll be posting more about our trip including pictures. In the meantime, on behalf of my family, and the four other adults who have already moved out here (we’re expecting a few more soon!), I want to express my sincere gratitude to all of those who are financially supporting LifeCity Church – you make it possible for us to bring the Gospel to this area. And also to our sending church family, Edgewood – you have all overwhelmed us with your love and appreciation toward us, and we are so blessed to be your church planting team to the South Bay area.
We can’t wait to share more with you in the coming weeks and months that lie ahead!

Pastor John

Worship Perspective

With our consumer culture and love of music, it’s easy to get the wrong attitude for how we worship in church. Some people, quite honestly, annoy me with how they criticize worship music in churches. Like they’re the Simon Cowell of worship leaders.

Now don’t get me wrong… no one in church appreciates good, powerful music more than I do. And because of my church background, I have as much appreciation for the old hymns as I do RED. But regardless, if the song is something that challenges the people of God to be Christ-like, or lifts up the name of Jesus, it is something to glorify God.

I think we get it mixed up so much because we confuse ourselves with the three participating groups in church worship services:

  • The Performer(s) – The person(s) doing the actual worshiping.
  • The Audience – The one(s) for whom the worship is intended.
  • The Catalyst – The one responsible for prompting The Performer(s).

Typically, we see the people on the stage as The Performers, God as The Catalyst, and the people in the seats as The Audience. With this mentality, worship in our churches often becomes entertainment: the people on the stage are easy to criticize based on how well they did, or (as we’ve learned from American Idol) what songs they chose, and the people in the service are either mostly passive, or critical of what they liked and didn’t like, while God’s presence is judged by how well the band entertained us. This problem occurs in every flavor of “worship styles” too. So this is not just a generational thing.

But God intended differently. The people playing and singing on the stage are not The Performers… they are The Catalyst. the people in the service are not The Audience, they are in fact The Performers. And God is not The Catalyst, He is The Audience. When we see worship in our churches this way, we realize that the job of the worship leader is to call us into God’s presence with praise. The Audience (the people) has the job of accepting the invitation and bringing their praise before God. And God takes His place as the rightful recipient of our worship.

I find it offensive toward God when we talk about “what we got” out of worship. Since when has worship ever been about what we get?!? It’s about what we bring before Him.

We receive the greatest benefit of worship, but only because true worship requires us to be surrendered to the One we worship.



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