Servant Leadership

I like reading on topics about leadership, mentoring, and discipleship. I recently participated in the Dave Ramsey EntreLeadership event (held at Regent University). The seminar was primarily for business owners but the principles learned (many which I’ll share in later posts) can be adapted to my church staff leadership situation, and as I seek to lead others to be ministry and small group leaders. Another servant leadership promoter is Ken Blanchard, the one minute manager guy. He has an entire ministry focusing on Jesus as the ultimate example of leadership (Lead Like Jesus). Men, as you consider your leadership qualities, have you emphasized developing as a servant-leader?

He sat down, called the twelve disciples over to him, and said, “Whoever wants to be first must take last place and be the servant of everyone else.” (Mark 9:35)

The world tells us that leadership is about power and domination. The stronger, richer, smarter, and better looking you are, the better leader you’ll be. Studies have even shown that a beautiful woman will get a job before a plain woman, even if the latter is more qualified. The world looks on the outwardly aspects as a form of leadership. But that”s a leadership that only goes so far and can actually hinder your influence on people around you.

True leadership is found on the inside. It’s the leader who humbles himself and puts others’ needs before his own. It’s the boss who is willing to put in the extra hours to help you with the work instead of cutting out early. It’s the pastor or staff person who sees himself as much of a sinner as everyone else. In order to be a good leader, you have to learn how to serve others, to put others before you.

Jesus shows us true leadership. Even when he was incredibly weary from travel, he would help and heal. The night before his death, he washed his disciples’ feet. He never asked to be honored on earth, and he’s the Son of God! Jesus knew what it meant to be a leader.

Application: How do you lead the people around you? Do you find yourself becoming authoritarian? Do you lead from a position or a purpose? Do you influence people with fancy words, a nice house, and fancy clothes? Do you influence people by helping them move, cooking a meal for them, or washing the dishes? Husbands, as a leader in the home, do you take the time to make the bed or fold the laundry, straighten the kitchen? We can show our love and God’s love through our service to others. Take inventory on how you use your time to serve those in need. Are you a godly influence?

Related Images:

LifeShape 4 the Square

This information is not original with me, but from a fascinating book I found entitled, “The Passionate Church: The Art of Life-Changing Discipleship.” Since I am a visual learner, I have included my personally designed diagrams along with my own notes to help in my disciple-making and teaching efforts.

The square lays out the stages every disciple experiences and gives you the corresponding style of leadership.

You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant. –Mark 10:42-43

The leadership of Jesus provides us with powerful tools for leading the church through the challenges of cultural change. Leadership style is not about position, but about how we relate to one another.

We are in a management-oriented society that is in need of leaders. We can manage growth, productivity and human resources, but in times of crises people do not look to managers, but to leaders.

A true leader looks like a sheep from the front and a shepherd from behind.

“The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!” One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.Mark 1:15-20

Stage one: (Jesus does not really choose these guys based on their resumes or spiritual gift inventories, but they join up ready to take on the world). When we start out on a new trail, we need a strong confident leader to show us the way.

Disciple Style D1 = Confident / Incompetent Leadership Style L1 = Directive / Set Example
  • High enthusiasm
  • High confidence
  • Low experience
  • Low competence
  • High direction
  • High example
  • Low consensus
  • Low explanation

“So don’t be afraid, little flock. For it gives your Father great happiness to give you the Kingdom. “Sell your possessions and give to those in need. This will store up treasure for you in heaven! And the purses of heaven never get old or develop holes. Your treasure will be safe; no thief can steal it and no moth can destroy it. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.Luke 12:32-34

Stage Two: (Reality sets in when they discover they have no idea what they are doing, and they hit rock bottom. They are not having fun anymore). When a person is in a time of discouragement and despair, vision is critical.

Disciple Style D2 = Unenthusiastic / Incompetent Leadership Style L2 = Visionary / Coach
  • Low enthusiasm
  • Low confidence
  • Low experience
  • Low competence
  • High direction
  • High discussion
  • High example
  • High accessibility

This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.John 15:12-17

Stage Three: (Jesus turns away from the crowds to spend more time with His disciples, to boost confidence based on experience). Friends have common objectives and share their lives together.

Disciple Style D3 = Growing Confidence Leadership Style L3 = Pastoral / Consensus
  • Increasing enthusiasm
  • Growing experience
  • Intermittent confidence
  • Growing competence
  • Lower direction
  • Higher consensus
  • High discussion
  • High accessibility

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20

Stage Four: (Jesus is taken away and He has prepared them to carry on the ministry without Him, confident in partnership with them in reaching the world). Good leaders always get people to the stage where they are ready to accept delegated responsibility.

Disciple Style D4 = The end is in sight Leadership Style L4 = Delegation / Partnership
  • High enthusiasm
  • High confidence
  • High experience
  • High competence
  • Low direction
  • High consensus
  • Low example
  • High explanation

Summary of the Four Stages:

  1. I do, you watch
  2. I do, you help
  3. You do, I help
  4. You do, I watch

Related Images: