Servant Leadership

Dictators make poor role models for Christian leadership. Oh, they get things done. Their orders get followed– or else. But they are not the example for what God wants for pastors, teachers, parents or any others who aspire to lead like Jesus.

The cautionary story of Rehoboam in I Kings 12 serves as a reminder that dictatorship is a poor replacement for true servant leadership. Remember the advice given him by his wisest, most experienced counselors? “If you will be a servant to these people and serve them, and if you respond to them by speaking kind words to them, they will be your servants forever.” (1 Kings 12:7)

Good advice rejected.

Somehow young Rehoboam thought he would be a better leader if he demanded and threatened and cajoled. (And, let’s face it. Who doesn’t enjoy a little cajoling?) But, to his great surprise, the folks didn’t respond favorably.

Leadership rejected.

Young leader, choose to lead by service. Serve your family. Serve your small group members. Serve your church. Choose to lead by example.

Servant leaders are still leaders. They provide insight and direction and influence. But, instead of demanding leadership, they earn it. Instead of threats, they provide examples. Instead of anger, they lead by love. And, their leadership becomes something others want to follow and learn to emulate.

The Christian community needs strong leadership. We need it in our homes, churches, small groups and ministries. But we need our strong leadership lathered in a servant’s heart and provided on bended knee. We need strong leaders who will wash feet and pick up trash. We need strong leaders who will love us and set an example for us.

Dictators need not apply.


5 responses to “Servant Leadership

  1. That’s what I never understood about servant leadership, how so many men were praised for not only calling all the shots but also for having the final say / last word on all decisions. I just saw an article where a man couldn’t agree with his wife on what to name their son, so he asked his accountability buddies at church who voted that the name he had originally suggested be the one they call their son; so servant leadership is having your buddies side with you?

    • Jamie,
      Thanks for commenting. While I am a complementarian, that does not negate the need for leadership to be based in service rather than dictatorship. Blessings on you!

      • One of my favorite shows sometimes asked this question: “Does there even need to be a leader?” I think God would much prefer a family to walk side-by-side as equals, rather than single-file in order of authority/rank.

  2. Leadership can take so many forms, but I find that leading by example creates a better environment for groups. I have been reading Daniel Christian Bradley’s book Tailored Dreams and he has showed me what leaders who do for others really have all the right ideas. It’s worth the read to see how there are great leaders out there who can make a difference for good.

  3. Servant leadership is often sacrificial as well. Submitting to authority not because it is worthy or deserved but because it is instituted by God and instrumental to Godly virtues and sanctification is a blessing. Obedience and claiming Christ’s identity while abandoning our own is fundamental to our faith. There is always a leader, always authority, and poor leadership neglects its responsibilities or denies their responsibility. It would be a poor leader that would ask”does their need to be a leader?” Complementarian view of scripture magnifies the image of God in every human & purpose and plan for every human.

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