Servant-Leaders Create Change
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
The focus of this book has been to help explain how Jesus defined service and leadership. The overall goal has been to show how these two actions work together. To become a servant-leader there must be a merging of “strong leadership with the quality of a servant’s heart.”  To appreciate that these two words are not in contradiction with each other one must first have a clear understanding of the characteristics of a faithful servant. Consider the following verses from the book of Matthew:
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:25-28
Those who follow Jesus’ teachings have distinct characteristics in the way they behave. Because of these characteristics they have a personal behavior that invests in people around them. They are not self-centered people. These types of believers are also those who demonstrate a willingness to help others. They remember the words of Jesus when He said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Leaders who are willing to embrace the challenges of change must have a lower than average need for affirmation; a high level of curiosity and a healthy attitude of not allowing failures to bring them down.
Those who have accepted the invitation of Christ to follow His teachings are also those who are willing to encourage the personal growth of those people under their influence. These types of leaders are not self-centered and because of the influence of the Holy Spirit they have the ability to focus on the needs of others. They invest themselves in the constant development of others.
The call for every Christian is to give of themselves in service to Jesus and the Kingdom of God, and to their fellow man, including those inside and outside the church. According to the teaching of Jesus, it is not impossible to be a leader and a servant at the same time. Even after reading this book, it may still seem that these two words are in opposition to one another. Not so with Jesus. The bottom line of being a Christian and a servant-leader is to show the character of Jesus in our daily behavior.
How can the average Christian become a servant-leader that imitates Jesus? For this to happen it must begin with those who are willing to set an example. And those folks with willing hearts to lead are desperately needed! Without leaders, followers will disappear.
A church without servant-leaders can never expect their congregation to catch the fire of the Holy Spirit and the teachings of Jesus. Servant-leadership is the type of leading that will help create enthusiasm and dreams in a church of believers. Those who see beyond themselves have had their eyes opened to a bright future. These are the kinds of people who can create enthusiasm because they see a future that is being created by the example that Jesus set.
When a Christian agrees to become a servant-leader, like Jesus, they help to create a learning environment among other believers. One fact can never be forgotten: humility is the key! Servant-leaders must be willing to humbly admit that they do not have all the answers. This type of attitude will help create an environment that will draw many people.
An environment of real servant-leaders helps to cultivate a learning desire in all church members. When those who work within a congregation of people recognize that other people are the greatest resources the church has, servant-leadership will grow naturally. This type of attitude will cause people to listen to and take the time to teach one another.
It Is All About Grace
Servant-leadership, designed by Jesus, is the perfect example of grace. If a congregation of believers follows this expression of faith it will destroy practices of Christians being too hard on each other, and the conflicts that evolve and destroy many congregations will be overpowered. This will change the environment of the average church. Any congregation that has a desire to grow and flourish should base all they do on the most powerful expression of grace known to man. True servant-leaders, faithful followers of Jesus, approach their world in a spirit of grace that has room for failures. This does not mean that the church should be accepting of sick or habitual sins; however, it does mean that the overall goal of any servant-leader is to follow the teaching of the Master.
Peter had some advice for the early church in his first epistle about servant-leadership. His words can be a solid foundation for everyone who is trying to follow the example of Jesus.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. – 1 Peter 4:10-11
The strategy of Jesus was a simple, yet powerful plan. He showed His disciples and followers that a true servant-leader is someone who invests himself or herself into those who follow. They also have a character that demonstrates a willingness to give of themselves to help others. This plan encourages the personal growth of those who are being led over the personal desires or self-interest. Jesus set an example of giving of Himself that was for the constant development of others.
The character of a true servant-leader is not fake or misleading. True servant-leaders do not try and create other leaders who are fake. They pursue creating leaders who lead by doing what the Lord created them to do. When we use our unique personalities under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we become a powerful and useful tool in the hands of God.