A Servant Leader-Part 1

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Acts 20:28 “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with His own blood.”  NIV Bible

Extra Reading: 20:13-38

We need to look at the importance of servanthood as an attitude for leadership in the church.  One Bible teacher once said that leadership is “what” and servanthood is “how”. I tend to agree with him fully here. Servant leadership is the biblical model for Christian leaders. Our prayer should be to ask God to show us the difference between worldly leadership and servant leadership. Be committed to leading as a servant rather than as a boss. One of the greatest need for the church today is for biblically motivated leadership. When worldly approaches to leadership are imported into the church, the tendency is towards power-motivated, controlling leaders. If we do not engage in radical efforts to break this yoke of non-biblical leadership and unleash the resources of the Body of Christ, there is little hope that the world can be evangelized and brought under the Lordship of Christ in our lifetime. Our Lord Jesus Christ left us with an example of how to lead others, and our pattern for leadership should come from His example. His approach to leadership involved the giving of Himself to His followers. There is a tendency to view leadership as a matter of authority. Some feel that authority gives them the right to lead by ruling others. Thinking this way can result in devious and self-serving leadership. We see examples of this in politics, education, business and other areas of our world, which can create a tendency for us to lead according to the ways of the world, since those ways are familiar to us.

Worldly leadership is based on certain assumptions about how people are motivated, such as:

-You can’t trust people to do what you want them to do.

-If you trust others too much, they will take advantage of you.

-Leaders assume authority on the basis of either their position or by their personality.

-People will do what you want them to do only when motivated by reward, or threatened by punishment.

-Leaders should avoid close contact with their followers, or they will view them as weak.

Let me ask you a question. Do you agree with any of these statements? Why or why not? The assumptions above are common in many leaders. They may not say it outwardly, but inwardly, they may think of their leadership task from a selfish, despotic perspective. I overheard one leader speak to his fellow leader saying: “I know best what is to be done. After all, I am the best trained, most experienced, and better informed about our task than anyone else. My followers expect that from me as the leader.” What does this say to you? This is pure worldly leadership style.

Prayer: Father God, teach us true servant leadership. In Jesus’ mighty name we pray, Amen!

Rev. Samuel N. Modise    

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