Matthew 20:26-28 “But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Many who read this title, “Servant Leadership” would think it an oxymoron, containing conflicting thoughts. Servitude and leadership seem in opposition. Yet, it is Jesus Christ, the Son of God that brings this truth to light.
One may see leadership as achieving a position that allows them the privilege of being served for their ability to lead. Corporate leaders who have worked to gain their position often lead lives of luxury, affording a lifestyle where others serve them.
But the church should not model the world in any way, shape, or form. The ideas and principles of leadership that are in business will not necessarily work in the church.
It is God who gifts His children with the ability to administrate and lead. Through applying business understanding and framework to church leadership, Jesus Himself showed every pastor, staff member, and leader in the church how they should conduct themselves.
John 13:4-5 “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.”
Jesus did something so uncharacteristic to what the disciples knew Him to be previously. They thought Him to be their coming King. A king such as He should not serve, but be served. Peter was so taken aback by the situation that when Jesus came to wash his feet, he refused.
Then Jesus revealed a portion of what was to come.
John 13:7-8 “Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.”
Most leaders come into their position through faithful service. When they are appointed or given the job of leadership, the next step can either make or break them. Good leaders will take the added responsibility in stride and keep the same attitude and perspective they once had.
Some are deceived into thinking they are better, or more than those they are given to lead. We must all remember that Satan, Lucifer, allowed his position to consider himself more than the One he served. Someone once said, “New levels, new devils.”
Every step taken in the path of becoming what God created us to do will reveal weaknesses in our character, which need to be given to God. He will fill in the gaps to show Himself faithful when we submit to His leadership in our life.
A leader who is willing to submit to following God’s path to leadership finds that there is a bond that is formed between leader and follower that can only be established through the leader’s ability to serve.
Our leaders are just men and women who are filling a position God created to lead us on a path or area of life. As they display their servitude openly to us and others, we grow to respect them even more. Pride begets exclusivity. The distance between a leader and their followers is shortened when they are side by side serving.
Cleaning up after an event and taking out the garbage. Washing dishes. You are doing what is viewed as menial tasks. The larger the ministry, the more need for a display of servant leadership.
When you and I can embrace the servant aspect of ministry and keep it, no matter what position we may hold, we will be used of God to lead others with joy. I know that I must never think myself above cleaning any mess. The world may think that their way is best.
We, in the church, must not be lured into thinking that we can apply the world’s methods to God’s purchased possession. He covets those in it and desires us to operate as He designed.