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Published August 2022
By Rev Dr Don Moore, Executive Director - Canadian Christian Business Federation

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Three requirements for Servant Leadership

CCBF Biblical Leadership Principle for the Month of August 2022

The rise and fall of many good businesses have been found to rest in the quality of leadership exercised. What are the essential traits of a successful leader? How can I learn to lead like that?

The most successful leaders have discovered that leading like a servant, as Jesus did, can make all the difference in the world. In Philippians 2:5-8, Paul describes Christ’s leadership by saying:

In your relationships with one another,
have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Philippians 2:5

So, let’s look at the mindset that Jesus modelled in His servant leadership. From within this passage, three requirements for servant leadership become evident.

1. Servant Leadership Requires Humility
In our world of leadership today, leadership is often all about position and power. It’s all about finding the right people to help me and our company succeed. This is quite different from Christ’s leadership. Being himself, God, he could readily have used this to His advantage. Instead, however, He did the exact opposite:

Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be used to his own advantage;
Philippians 2:6

In teaching His disciples, Jesus made it clear that leadership is all about humility and placing a higher value on those you work with than on yourself. He stated it succinctly when He said:

Anyone who wants to be first
must be the very last, and the servant of all.
Mark 9:35
In what ways do you humble yourself to
Serve the needs of your employees?

2. Servant Leadership Requires Transparency
Many leaders believe it’s important to “keep their cards close to their chest.” They want to create an image of having everything together and knowing everything. So, they posture to make themselves good. Rarely, if ever, do they admit to mistakes. Instead, they often spend more time fixing the blame than the problem.

Note the difference in Christ’s leadership. He chose to be honest and transparent, letting go of any image management.

Rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
Philippians 2:7

Christ went even further to say that the more we try to hang on to what we think is important, the more we lose it.

Whoever finds their life will lose it,
and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
Matthew 10:39

When was the last time you admitted to your employees
that you don’t know it all or that you made a mistake?

3. Servant Leadership Requires Selflessness
Leaders out to serve and protect their self-interests do not build an environment of trust. Instead, they tend to repel employees rather than attract them. Ironically, the more focused on meeting their needs, the less likely they’ll be satisfied. Look after the needs of others, and you will be cared for.

Christ was so willing to look after the needs of others that He ultimately went to His death to meet our needs.

And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:8

Ultimately, Christ came serve others and not to be served Himself so He could fulfill His lifelong purpose for you and me.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served,
but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Mark 10:45

The definition of Christ’s servant leadership model is that it brings an influence to bear on others through personal humility and transparency while serving selflessly.

Don Moore
Executive Director Canadian Christian Business Federation

Don strongly believes that people are our nation’s most valuable asset. His Listen-Learn-Lead” approach to leadership has made him highly effective in executive roles in a variety of organizations with local, regional, national, and international reach.

An entrepreneurial thinker and strategist, Don built a grassroots movement of denominational and ministry leaders committed to evangelism with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) and led a National Consultation in Ottawa.

Canadian Christian Business Federation
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