I struggle with the title “servant leader”. In our Christian world – nationally or internationally – there are myths and mysteries surrounding this title. Many books and articles are written on this title because it captures our attention. But the reality is only hidden in the passages of the Bible. Jesus as servant leader – leader as mentor.

In my own experience of 49 years in Christian ministry, I haven’t addressed someone as servant leader in its true sense. So who can model Christ as mentor – servant – leader. Mentoring is more costlier and riskier than simply dictating terms and conditions to their followers.

Many leaders are a combination of pride, arrogance and ignorance and they also like to be judge, jury and executioner at the same time. Sadly, there are many examples that I can share. For example, some time back, I wanted to meet a Christian leader. When I went to meet him, I saw that the leader had three kinds of security arrangements. First, I had to record my name and purpose of my visit at the first security person. A second security person then took those details to his boss. When the boss felt comfortable meeting with me, a third security person led me to the boss. What we see here is, instead of a servant leader attitude, there are protocols, barriers, red-tapes, rules and regulations without relationship. These rules and regulations without relationships breed rebellion and resentment. This shows that many leaders would like to control and manipulate. For the last 49 years I have worked with 5 international organizations and several national organizations. My experience points to the above. I do not stay with the negative thinking but I have a glaring example of Jesus Christ, Him as servant leader marked as a mentor.

Credibility is the acid test of a servant leader. This calls for a high standard of Christ like integrity. John C. Maxwell writes in his book a detail chapter of this above quality. We need to be a practicener.

  • Integrity builds trust
  • Integrity has high influence value
  • Integrity facilitates high standards.
  • Integrity results in a solid reputation, not just image
  • Integrity means living it myself before leading others.
  • Integrity helps a leader to be credible, not just clever.
  • Integrity is a hard –won achievement.

This is the matter of greatest urgency, if the church is to meet the opportunity and responsibility in these tremendous days. It is said that the leaders are born not made; but it is my belief that more leaders are made than were ever born. Leadership is largely a matter of training. It is a relative matter. Our capacity grows with experience as we develop the qualities of leadership. Jesus explained in three steps as to how we learn from Him, Ii Matthew 11:28 & 29. 1. Come to me. 2. Be with me. 3. And learn of me.

  • Jesus’ basic motivation was love for His followers. John 13:1
  • Jesus was fully aware of His position as Leader. John 13:14
  • Jesus voluntarily becomes a servant to His followers. John 13:1 -12
  • Jesus wanted to set an example for His followers to follow. John 13:14-15

Because His Yoke is wholesome, useful, good, comfortable, gracious and pleasant. This is the point of learning from Jesus. And our basic tool of learning is
His obedience to Father’s will, even to the extent of His death on the cross.
His humility as recorded in Philippians 2: 5-11
This leads and exemplifies Jesus Christ’s maturity. Now we can call for action to our church servant leaders.
How do we measure up to what is required of a servant leader?
What are we doing to train ourselves and others for this responsibility?
We need to see the spiritual maturity of a servant leader, a man of faith and a man living a spirit-filled life. God will not entrust spiritual authority and leadership to those who have not been tested. What should we look for in seeking spiritual maturity?

  • Stability of character
  • A settled and undivided heart
  • Untroubled heart
  • An unaffected heart
  • An unmoved heart

A settled and undivided heart
Untroubled heart
An unaffected heart
An unmoved heart

This will lead a man towards loyalty and fidelity.

Here are a few quotations about a savant leader.

  • Decision making – “Move fast with reversible decisions” – Richard S Sloma
  • Effectiveness – “efficiency in doing things right; effectiveness is doing right things” – Peter F Drucker
  • Influence – “Oppose wrong beginnings” – Francis Schaeffer
  • Servanthood – “There is always room for one more servant. The small area in the spotlight can get a bit crowded, but there is always room in the shadows (Saints in the Shadows) for the person who is eager to serve.” – Leroyeims.
  • Vantage – “the eagle that sores in the upper air does not worry
    itself how it is to cross rivers” – Gladys Aylward
  • Faith – “Attempt great things for God and expect great things from God” – William Carey

In closing I would like to quote Bobb Biehl on influencing.
When you influence a child – you influence a life.
When you influence a father – you influence a family
When you influence a president – you influence a corporate
When you influence a pastor – you influence a church.
When you influence a leader – you influence all who look to him or her for leadership.

Christian leadership is a life of sacrificial ministry on behalf of others. No man can jump into a place of leadership. A price has to be paid. He must start low down. No board or bishop, no man or committee can appoint a spiritual leader or make a lord, but only God can.”

Rev. Dr. Subrata Fullonton, Serving the Most High God since 1970

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