Servant Leadership

There is a lot of talk about leadership, but one resource I have experienced is called, “Lead Like Jesus” by Ken Blanchard. He promotes Jesus as the extreme example of leadership, servant leadership.

Do you have what it takes to be a servant leader? Let’s take a look at John 2:1-11 for a few principles.

In this story we learn of the time when Jesus attended a wedding with his brand new disciples. The host of the wedding ran out of wine. From this story and others from Jesus’ life, we find what it means to be a servant leader.

Servant leaders serve at all times: Even as an honored guest, Jesus was “on the clock” to serve the people around him. When people come to a wedding, they expect to be served! Jesus didn’t come to the wedding expecting to serve, but he served anyway.

Servant leaders take initiative: Even though Mary brought the matter to his attention (John 2:3), Jesus knew what needed to be done to meet the need. Notice in John 2:9 that the wedding host is not present for the miracle; Jesus performs this miraculous event without the wedding manager’s knowledge or consent. Jesus knew what needed to be done, and does it, behind the scenes. When you see something that needs to be done, do you take action or assume someone else will take care of it? Don’t reason within yourself that it is someone else’s job to do it. See the need; meet the need; call for help if your need it (which enlists others into service).

Servant leaders know their resources: When the need arose for more wine at the wedding, Jesus looked around and discovered those six stone jars (John 2:6). A servant leader never has excuses for why something can’t be done, but rather is a problem-solver who looks for ways to use old resources or discovers new ways to meet a need.

Servant leaders serve with excellence: When the banquet master at the wedding feast drank the wine that Jesus had produced, he said it was the best (John 2:10)! There’s no such thing as “good enough” with a servant leader, because this kind of leader is always striving to do his or her very best.

Servant leaders are not concerned with who gets the credit: Jesus was so behind the scenes with this miracle that the host goes to the bridegroom to brag about the quality of this recent discovery of wine (John 2:10). How many of us would have corrected the host to make sure Jesus got the credit? John 2:9 tells us that the other servants knew from where the wine had come (but did not tell the host). I think this happened because servant leaders take joy in the act of service, not who gets the credit.

Servant leaders serve thankfully, not grudgingly: In another event in the life of Jesus (John 6:11) he took the loaves of bread and gave thanks. He didn’t grab them, sigh heavily, and begin breaking them impatiently. He graciously paused to give thanks to his father. When you serve thankfully, your volunteers and your ministry will be blessed in abundance.

So how do you measure up? Determine which areas need strengthening and what you can do to move forward. Servant-style leadership begins with a spirit of genuine humility. Are you an open vessel ready to be filled with whatever God has for you to build up his kingdom?

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