Thursday, September 5, 2013

Servant Leadership

Statue of Jesus Washing Disciple's feet at Dallas Theological Seminary
I want to share with you all a concept called "Servant Leadership". If you have never heard of it, I know it can strike you up side the head with confusion. However, never fear, Antoine is here to break all the moves down real slow so you can understand them.


Well what is servant leadership? It seems that the two words are the exact opposite of each other. How can you serve folks and be a leader at the same time?  That is another good question. Let's get a few  working definitions, then we will bring up the rear with some scriptures.

Servant leadership is a term that is circulating among business owners and organization leaders today. It was coined by a man named Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970 however, the act of servant leadership has been around since Jesus' times. Today the Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership (http://www.greenleaf.org, Retrieved Wed Sep 28, 2005) defines it as:
"Servant-Leadership is a practical philosophy which supports people who choose to serve first, and then lead as a way of expanding service to individuals and institutions. Servant-leaders may or may not hold formal leadership positions. Servant-leadership encourages collaboration, trust, foresight, listening, and the ethical use of power and empowerment."
It makes you want to scratch you head right? Well, it shouldn't. The concept was revealed to me through the book "God is my CEO" by Larry Julian. But see, the idea is not just for the corporate world, it is for other non-profit organizations, and more importantly the church. I later realized that I had known of the concept all along through biblical experience and you probably did too. Amazing how the Holy Spirit works!

Think about it, you as the leader have to first be humble because in order to serve someone else you must be humble despite your title. This is a great time to look at someone who is very humble. SCRIPTURE TIME!!!!   First let's go to John 13:4-5,
(4) He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. (5) 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. (KJV)
WHAT? Why would Jesus need to do anything like that? I mean after all, he knew "that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God" (John 13:3, KJV). I mean why would he have to serve the disciples? It is also about knowing who you are, where you are coming from, and where you are going. If you know those three things, then there will no problem with serving those whom you lead.  After Jesus washed the disciples feet he says, in John 13:14-16
(14) If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.  (15) For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. (16) Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. (KJV)
Let's just remember that as leaders, we don't have to ram things down people throats nor use them as objects or a means to an end. The bottom line should not be your priority. The bottom line can be about the profit driven corporate world or your organizations goal and mission, and/or spreading and preaching the gospel. If you take care of your disciples, employees, and/or volunteers and serve their needs, the bottom line will take care of itself. Not only will they feel good about themselves, but they will feel empowered to do what's best for the organization. Again, the bottom line takes care of itself.

Now, if only we can began to apply this in our spiritual walk. The phrase for today is "Servant Leadership". Are you a position or title hog? Or, are you a humble servant, leading those you serve? Marinate on that a minute.

Antoine E. Hall

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." - James 1:22


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