Thursday, 20 February 2014


If you were to ask any random group of people to define leadership, I imagine you would find most answers would be framed in terms of title, power and position. If you posed that same question within the church, my guess is your results would differ only in the use of the word ‘servant’ as a prefix.

Yet I suspect you would find that the addition of that word makes precious little difference to the observable behaviours of many in leadership. Personally, I have seen and heard of too many instances where leaders are willing to use their position to coerce, constrain and compel. Playing the authority card, pulling rank and enforcing conformity are all too common in the church today.

However, Jesus was quite adamant that we were not to operate in this way. When the mother of James and John started lobbying for position for her sons, Jesus actually disclaimed the authority to make that call. (See Matthew 20:20-27)

He then went on to say, “You know that foreign rulers like to order their people around. And their great leaders have full power over everyone they rule. But don’t act like them. If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others. And if you want to be first, you must be the slave of the rest.”

He challenged his followers to put aside their desire for high position and prestige, and he set the example by assuming the posture of a servant. He was willing to abase himself before his own creation. He who could claim the throne of heaven stepped down in humility and love, serving those he could rightfully have claimed as servants.


Because he wanted us to understand that in the Kingdom he was establishing leadership is serving. Simply serving.


  1. You're dead-on target. The scripture is as clear as it could possibly be. The shocking thing is, so many are unaware of this and are OK with "leadership" as it typically exists.

    Jeremiah 5 says: 30 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;
    31 the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

    Well, perhaps it's not so shocking. "Church" as we know, see and experience it is far removed from God's design and purposes in countless ways.

  2. Thanks for your feedback Geno. It's good to know there are others who see these things :)

  3. Using the word "servant" as a prefix almost makes it seem as if it's hung on merely for window-dressing sometimes. I really like your conclusion of how leadership in the kingdom is merely serving; that's excellent!


  4. So...perhaps questions like, "What is leadership?" and "How do we create a leadership culture in our church?" are the wrong questions.

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