Servant Leadership


A servant leader is one who serves from a heart soaked in the love of God, allowing it to overflow with love and service for others.

It seems to me the words “servant leader” have been hijacked. For some, servant leadership is a means to an end, a leadership behavior to get people to produce a desired result. Servant leadership can be a way to use people to get what we want. Servant leadership can serve as a method to be sure others are thinking good things about me. It can also be used by me to get what I need most—value, respect, and greatness. Sometimes the idea of serving others becomes a way to climb the ladder of expectations for my life and I go with dragging feet to serve.

However, if the focus of being a servant leader is only behavior, the Pharisees could be our model. They had the behavior part locked in. They kept the law; they understood what had to be done to meet the standard God had given to them. Yet Jesus said, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Then as Jesus continues in His sermon in Matthew 5-7, He articulates again and again, the law plus His additional requirement that involves motives, intentions, and emotions. Jesus never looks at just behavior modification, He always looks at the heart.

What does a servant heart look like? I believe it is a heart that has met one on one with our Heavenly Father confessing, "I just can’t do it. I can’t do everything required. I can’t do one more service project; I can’t change the world, I can’t even change me."  As we come to say, “I just can’t do it,” and realize that Jesus has already given us all we will ever need, we are free to stop thinking about ourselves and really think about others. Thank you, Jesus! At Lead Like Jesus, servant leadership means leadership poured out for others from a heart deeply connected to the Father. This new heart is born when we “die” and soak in God’s amazing love causing us to run to serve. We are reclaiming the words, “servant leader” with the following definition: a servant leader is one who serves from a heart soaked in the love of God, allowing it to overflow with love and service for others.

Written by Phyllis H. Hendry

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