Jesus on Leading: Serving: Lead Servant

Beginning with an earlier post about Authentic Leadership, or Taking our Cues on Leading from Jesus, I am doing a series of posts about some of the heart qualities of leadership that Jesus exhibited and exhorted us to.  Today’s post is about serving.

Patches, our Australian Shepherd, took her breeding seriously.  She was a shepherd dog, with no sheep or cattle to herd, so she sought to shepherd people.

Ever so gently she would grab wrists with her mouth and seek to lead—almost anyone she encountered.  Unfortunately we lived at a conference grounds, and the conferees she took hold of were first, terrified, and second, totally unwilling to go where she was leading them.

That’s a problem a lot of leaders have:  getting people to follow them.  What’s a leader without followers?

In the Kingdom of God, leaders must also be followers.

When Jesus called Peter and Andrew, James and John, Matthew as his disciples, he said simply, “Follow me.”

What does it mean to follow?  Here are some concepts and synonyms: to go or come after; move behind in the same direction; to accept as a guide or leader; accept the authority of or give allegiance to;  to conform to, comply with; to obey; to act like; to imitate or copy.

These “called to follow" ones became the leaders of the fledgling church.

Surely all Jesus’ disciples—then and now--are called to be leaders in the Kingdom in some way.  Some are called to more prominent leadership, and there is much conversation about that today.  It is good to desire to be good stewards of our giftings, but I fear too many are over focused on being leaders.  Over and over I hear, “God has called me to be a leader.”

Jesus has some pretty definitive things to say about leading in His Kingdom:

When he had finished washing their feet,… he returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master,… Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:12-17)

Leaders wash feet?  Perhaps.  But for certain leaders are to serve:…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant… just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve… (Matthew 20:26,28)

The greatest among you will be your servant. (Matthew 23:11)

Jesus was a leader who served.  He asks the same of us.Has Jesus called you to lead?  Then your higher callings are to follow and to serve.

Most have understood this.  So we talk about servant leadership.  In our church we are talking about shepherd leadership—Patches fits right in.  But it seems the focus is always on being a leader.  Jesus emphasized being a servant.

In Invitations from God Adele Calhoun suggests a great concept for how we follow Jesus in this:  Lead Servant.I think Jesus would like that.

What about you?  How are you serving as a leader?

C2013 Judy Douglass

Related posts:

Jesus on the Heart of a Leader

Jesus on Leading: Submission in Leadership