Leadership is a word that is applied across many different areas. Children and teenagers can be leaders as well as older adults, and leadership exists in many different occupations including education, medical, religious and finance. So with such a broad range of leadership, how can each person learn how to lead? One person may lead in their job, at home, at church or on a sports team, with each leadership position having different aspects the person has to learn.
I believe that every follower of Jesus can develop their leadership so they are ready to lead in whatever sphere God calls them to be a leader. The area of leadership I want to focus on is servant leadership with Jesus as the ultimate example of servant leadership. During the last few days of Jesus’ life on earth, He participated in what is known as “the Last Supper” with His disciples (John 13:1-17). The disciples were being trained (discipled) to carry the message of Jesus as the only way for salvation. They were being trained “to lead.” The custom during this time of John 13 was for the host to arrange to wash feet since they sat on the floor at a low table. A servant, or house help, usually was the one who washed feet. As Jesus and the disciples were getting ready to eat Jesus went around the table to wash the feet of the disciples. Wait! Jesus, the Son of God, did the job of a servant? Jesus did this to show that a leader in Christ joyfully serves others even in the lowest tasks. He said, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done for you” (John 13:14-15).
This is an area I am striving for day by day. One of the gifts God has given me is delegation and I tend to get people involved in various aspects of ministry. I remind myself often that I have to also get my hands dirty if I am asking others to get their hands dirty. To lead and not also be a servant is the opposite of Jesus’ leadership. Being a servant leader is one of the most important aspects of leadership that applies to all spheres of leading and not just at church. Others will see the difference in leadership if we lead the way Jesus calls us to lead versus the way the world tells us to lead. You may even be able to lead some to Christ through your servant leadership! Take a step in that direction. As adopted sons and daughters of God we are all leaders for both this present time and for eternity.