Cnr High Street & President Boshoff Street, Bethlehem, Free State, South Africa
Sunday Service and Sunday School at 9:00am
Rev Cecil Rhodes 062 1230 640

Monday, July 6, 2015

Servant Leadership

I want to write about leadership in general, and not just ministry, which by definition is service. My understanding is that the greatest leader is the servant leader, and true leadership equals service. I am not sure where that got lost, and how other models of leadership took over. Luckily in South Africa we have Nelson Mandela as a great model of servant leadership. He seems to stand alone in the modern world. Jesus is the perfect model of servant leadership! He not only taught it (‘the first shall be last’, ‘the least among you is the greatest’), acted it out in the foot washing, he lived it out in the way he lived, and died. I remember sitting in a lecturer’s lounge at Rhodes University listening to a visiting Professor of Sociology and a Conflict Resolution expert from the USA speak to us, when the resident fox terrier walked into the middle of the lounge and vomited. We all sat in silence as the Professor got up, fetched a cloth from the kitchen, cleaned it up, and carried on with the lecture as if nothing had happened. Today it seems the need for status, financial reward, and power have moved servant leadership to the backseat. So many leaders today model the powerful status model. It is true even in ministry, the very definition of servant leadership, where we ministers are trying to balance sacrificial service with status, financial reward and power. Not that status, financial reward and power are wrong, great servant leaders can attain to these, it is just not what motivates them or the secret of their success. The desire and ability to serve is innate. In his research book, “From Good to Great” Jim Collins and his team discovered the first and foremost reason why companies were able to move from good companies to great companies was in the nature of their leader. The great leader turns out to be “Not the charismatic upfront leader, but the hard working unassuming, inner strength leader. We were surprised, shocked really to discover the types of leadership required for turning a good company into a great one. Compared to high-profile leaders with big personalities who make headlines and become celebrities, the good-to-great leaders seem to have come from Mars. Self-effacing, quiet, reserved, even shy – these leaders are a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will. They are more like Lincoln and Socrates than Patton or Caesar.”

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