Servant leadership

“‘Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, [Servitude-normally only the servant carried out this dirty job in a household.]you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you…. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them’” (John 13:14-17).

Taking on the role of a servant is difficult because it goes against the natural gain of man.  Leadership outside of the context of the Bible is more about the exaltation of self or the increase of profit. The corporate world has certain parameters for its CEO. The corporate world has certain parameters for its CEO.  According to  Myerscough,  “The CEO’s general point of view is that the CMO should think and act like the CEO does–focused on the big-ticket items, such as business alignment, innovation, collaboration, market intelligence, and creativity. [1]  Nowhere in this final analysis of the leader’s role does it even mention serving the company’s stakeholders, its employees, which would give them a sense of belonging, or even serving the public.[2]

The other reason why it is so difficult is, “The words servant and leader are usually thought of as being opposites. When two opposites are brought together in a creative and meaningful way, a paradox emerges”.[3] The amelioration of his paradox occurs through the power and force of the Holy Spirit. Howell provided a convincing argument for necessity and usefulness of “kingdom greatness through servanthood”.[4]  Christians were given a road map to “kingdom greatness” through the example set by Christ.  However, it is not in the human “leadership” DNA to want to serve.  Howell noted, “elevation [leads to the vices that plague mankind] greed, arrogance, and vanity. . .”[5]

When Christian leaders follow the roadmap then “kingdom servanthood” is not as difficult as it appears. Christ was a suffering servant.  He served His disciples and the public by providing for them.[6]  Christ took on the role of the servant at His last meal with the disciples. He, “occup[ied] the less esteemed role and menial task that was normally given to the lowliest servant of the household by washing the disciples’ feet.] A pastor friend of this writer demonstrated the characteristics of servanthood in his ministry.  He was humble, effective in how he made each member of the congregation feel as if he was their personal friend, and he served each person based on their needs, not his own.[7]  Even though this writer is no longer a part of that congregation all I have to do is call him and he is right there to “serve”.  He did not preach about servanthood He demonstrated it by the manner in which he treated his employees, the praise team, the leadership team, and each member of the congregation.

 


Notes

[1] Paul Myerscough, “Think Like A CEO: Great Leaders Have Great Expectations For Their CMOs,” Think Like A CEO: Great Leaders Have Great Expectations For Their CMOs, June 19, 2014, Section 7, accessed April 13, 2015.

[2] Reggie McNeal, Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2006), Loc. 2311, Kindle.

[3] Larry C. Spears, “The Understanding and Practice of Servant Leadership” (speech, Servant Leadership Research Roundtable, Regent University, Virginia Beach, August 2005).

[4] Don N. Howell, Servants of the Servant: A Biblical Theology of Leadership(Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2003), 189.

[5] Ibid., 189

[6] Ibid., 201

[7] Reggie McNeal, Practicing Greatness, Introduction.

Bibliography

Howell, Don N. Servants of the Servant: A Biblical Theology of Leadership. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2003.

McNeal, Reggie. Practicing Greatness: 7 Disciplines of Extraordinary Spiritual Leaders. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2006.

Myerscough, Paul. “Think Like A CEO: Great Leaders Have Great Expectations For Their CMOs.” Think Like A CEO: Great Leaders Have Great Expectations For Their CMOs. June 19, 2014. Accessed April 13, 2015. http://www.cmo.com/articles/2014/6/19/think_like_a_ceo_gre.html.

Spears, Larry C. “The Understanding and Practice of Servant Leadership.” Speech, Servant Leadership Research Roundtable, Regent University, Virginia Beach, August 2005.

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You’re Not the Only One

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