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Servant Leader


“Leaders we admire do not place themselves at the center; they place others there. They do not seek the attention of people; they give it to others. They do not focus on satisfying their own aims and desires; they look for ways to respond to the needs and interests of others Being a servant may not be what many leaders had in mind when they choose to take the responsibility of their organization, but serving others is the most glorious and rewarding of all leadership tasks.” James Kouzes and Barry Posner in Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It.

The chief teaching of Christ on leadership centers on servanthood. Five different times the issue comes up and Jesus has to continually teach the disciples issues which are at the heart of being a leader. 

1. Pride and Comparison

Matthew 18:1-4 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus is instructing the disciples that leadership is not a function of comparison or being the greatest. It is one of humility and being like a child. One of the greatest traps of leadership is to be prideful and be caught up with how you view yourself and how others view you. We are to be childlike and be in submission to the Lord.

2. Position and Ambition

Matthew 20:20-26 “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left.” “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. “It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant.

The mother and the two sons of Zebedee are told that leadership is not and issue of position or being ambitious, leadership is all about servanthood. Our downward position glorifies God and unlocks true greatness.

3. Modeling

Matthew 23:10-12 “And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. “But the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

We are told not to be even called a leader, but to be a servant. Many leaders seek the title and not the hard work. This is an issue of integrity – being the same inside and out. In fact if we seek a position we will be humbled. God exalts who he wants.

John 13:5, 15-17 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. … “For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. “Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master; neither is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. “If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

Leaders are to model servanthood. Jesus not only taught about servanthood but He modeled it in a way the disciples would not forget. Leaders are not to say one thing and do another. If your words match your walk you will be blessed.

4. Power and Relationships

Luke 22:24-27 And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ “But not so with you, but let him who is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant. “For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table, or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. 

Leadership Growth is an inside out process, not outside in. The world looks on the outward, God looks on the heart. Leadership among businessmen happens at many levels: family, business, ministry and happens in many ways. Seek to examine yourself in these areas and allow God to reveal areas for growth.

Bruce Witt

About the Author

Bruce is the President of Leadership Revolution, Inc. and also Managing Director at Global Alliance Compass. He is Married to Dana and has 2 sons, Robert (27) and Andrew (25). Bruce formed an international leadership development and consulting business working with leaders from over 50 countries. They equip business people in spiritual leadership and teambuilding through coaching, consulting, executive roundtables, and resource development. Bruce also developed an internationally accepted leadership development process partnering with many international ministries such as CBMCI, Walk Thru the Bible, Compass, FCA, Priority Associates, CBMC India, and Indonesia. He has facilitated consulting projects to reorganize and reposition numerous USA businesses for future growth and sustainability. http://www.leadershiprevolution.us/