Welcome to The Online School of Leadership session on servant-leadership. Two days ago the first lesson defined leadership from a biblical perspective. Jesus’ servant leader model continues to work thousands of years later while producing billions of Christians worldwide. If you did not get a chance to read it, you can CLICK HERE.
Let’s begin today’s session with this question:
How can a Leader be a Servant at the same time?
When you picture a servant you probably think of someone with a low position. A leader by contrast is someone who is elevated by title. How is it possible then for a person to be both a servant and a leader? One of the best examples is Jesus Christ, who is arguable one of the most influential men and leaders of all time. He had thousands of people following him as he moved from town to town. He was looked up to as a great teacher and healer, and did many miraculous things. For believers he was the leader of all leaders. Yet one night while having dinner with a group of his closest friends, this leader stripped down to a servant’s attire and washed the feet of his followers (John 13:3-5). This was not an act of manipulation. It was an act of love. He had chosen them to lead and succeed him in his ministry. In washing their feet he was demonstrating that for them to be effective leaders, they needed to have a heart attitude of a servant.
The context of John 13 reveals to us that servant leaders:
1. Acquire their power from God
- They understand that they get authority from God
- They understand that they give account to God
2. Advance their people for God
- They demonstrate humility in leadership
- They demonstrate helpfulness in leadership
3. Achieve their purpose from God
- They serve the Savior
- They serve the saints
What’s remarkable about this story is how Jesus even washed Judas’s feet. Have you ever noticed that Judas already had the betrayal in his heart, yet Jesus still washed his feet too. Do you ever feel like you are doing things for people that don’t deserve it? Do you ever qualify your serving and give only to those who you deem worthy or deserving? Think about the example given to us by Jesus. There could have been no more undeserving than Judas, yet Jesus washed his feet too.
Characteristics of a Servant Leader
Further Reading Inspiration and References:
Scripture verses: Jesus washes the disciple’s feet as a servant – John 13 verses 3-5
- To be great you must be a servant – Mark 10 verses 43-44
- Christ’s attitude of being a servant – Philippians 2 verses 5-7
- God looks for a servant heart – 1 Samuel verse 7
- The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader – John C. Maxwell
- AX-I-OM Powerful Leadership Proverbs – Bill Hybels
- Developing the Leader Within You – John C. Maxwell
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