Defining Servant Leadership


Would you like to live the principles of servant leadership?  If so, this picture of Jesus in his life on earth is a self-explanatory lesson in the value of servant leading.  I am not sure I have enough time left in my life to hone these skills and attitude to where I’d like to be….

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant
Philippians 2:3-7

A colleague shared this with some church leaders as a devotional.  He was focused on the mind, joy, and peace themes which flow through Philippians.  I heard servant leadership loud and clear.  I had been speaking about servant leadership earlier that day to new team members in the organization in which I work.  I had talked about foot washing and coming to serve and not be served. 

All good pictures of the servant leadership of Jesus.

The rubber, however, meets the road in Philippians 2.  How do you do it?  How do you act as a servant leader?

  • Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit
  • In humility, value others above yourselves
  • Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
  • In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
    • Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
    • he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant

When we read this in a bulleted, how-to list, there isn’t much to be said to clarify.  For me, whether it’s the organization or the church or even in the family, putting the interests of the whole over the interests of me is servant leadership.  It’s Christ-like.  And it’s hard work.

If you are in a position of leadership, all the more complicated, because you are challenged with having power by definition or role identity, yet not considering that to be something to use as your advantage.

Instead, if we want to be Christ-like and live as servant leaders, we reduce ourselves to the role of servants in order to ensure that we put others first.

Again, not much commentary needed.  Just more grace and help from God to live this out…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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