Leading with a servant heart

Around this time of year most leadership positions in schools or universities are filled and I really felt God stir my heart to write a post on it. I thought long about what makes a good leader and all the obvious traits came out. A leader should be just, consistent, lead by example, do what’s right despite what others are saying and most importantly a leader shouldn’t aim to please everyone all the time. But something was missing and to find what’s missing I looked at the greatest leader of all time: Jesus.

I could sum up this whole blog by this quote from Doug Rice in an article found on  http://12most.com/2011/12/13/12-inspiring-leadership-lessons-bible-characters/

One of the most powerful images in the life of Jesus is when he washes his disciples’ feet in John 13. When he is finished, he says to them, “You call me teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” Jesus, of course, isn’t talking about feet. He’s talking about servant-leadership. Great leaders focus on serving those who follow them. Great leaders wash their people’s feet

If we look back on the life of Jesus we will never once see him shouting and dictating His disciples. His life alone is so perfect that we strive to be like Him. He treated everyone, despite their occupations or reputations with the same respect and loved them all. He served God’s people through the miracles He performed and through sacrificing Himself. He was the ultimate servant leader.

I love what it says in Mark 10,

45: For the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom to many

We all want to be put in a leadership position and do the best we can and sometimes the power goes to our heads. We become so full of ourselves, lose our humility and lose sight of the original point of leading; to serve others and create more leaders for the future.

One of the greatest leaders I’ve ever met is Gabriella Camara. She was the head girl of my high school in my matric year and I had the honour of serving under her as a prefect. Gabby showed so many qualities that Jesus showed His disciples. She was always humble in everything she did, never shouted at anyone or let her personal problems interfere with her leadership role. All of her actions reflected her words and she could be held accountable for them. Gabby was and still remains one of the most influential people in my life because she served the people she was leading and never dictated the ones following her.

The thing that made Gabby and Jesus such great servant leaders is how much they love the people they led. Their hearts were in it 100%. Jesus loved His disciples so much that He washed their feet. Now I’m not saying you should go out and wash feet but I am asking if you would go that far in serving for the ones you’re leading?

The best leaders are the ones who serve and not necessarily the popular ones. Jesus wasn’t loved by everyone but that never stopped Him from showing those “haters” love. The saying “Fight fire with fire” always bugged me. Adding flames to a fire just fuels it more so why would you do that? Your goal as a leader should be to kill the fire not grow it. Your goal is to build and not destroy. There are three things I want to emphasize most

1. Don’t put yourself above the ones you are serving

2. Serve with a pure heart
3. Be consistent in your serving

When you retire from your leadership position there should always be someone who can take over from you and not a bunch of sheep like followers. Are you building up a future generation of leaders or growing your followers?


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