Patrick Lencioni once said that he was tired of the term servant leadership because, in his view, there isn’t any other kind of leadership.
I agree with the sentiment, but not the reality. The world is filled with leaders who view leadership through the lens of power, position, prestige, command, and control.
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
A mustard seed is a small things that grows into a big thing. A small beginning that leads into a big ending.
If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. ~ Matthew 17:20
Servanthood is like that. Service is a small thing that can grow into a big impact.
Leadership styles are less about what a leader thinks is effective and more what they truly believe in their hearts about people and power.
Servant Leadership is an attitude, a posture, and an outcome.
Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it will remain only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. ~ John 12:24
Servant leaders die to self, serve others, and produce fruit in the lives of many future leaders.
Poor leaders usually think about what a follower has done and what they are doing now. A servant leader thinks also of who they are becoming. Your church or ministry leadership intertwines the most crucial and important parts of an organization…its people…and its future. Both must be served. Servanthood can create a leadership pipeleline by serving and developing others.
And even the smallest amounts of service can have a big impact because servant leaders can get more than a 100% from those they lead and serve through helping them learn, grow, and stretch to new levels. People stretched to new levels do so also for the church or ministry.
A small seed of service can grow into a large impact through the people you serve and lead.
The Seed of Weaknesss
Poor leaders use power to hide their weakness. A servant leader believes…”…my power is made perfect in weakness.” This is the only sort of power leaders should pursue. The power that is made perfect in weakness.
For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you. ~ 2 Corinthians 13:4
Strength creates competition and comparison, but weakness creates community and collaboration. Community and collaboration create health and growth. Nothing grows unless it is healthy. The seed of service that creates community and collaboration among those you lead can lead to a thriving ministry.
The Seed of Humility
Growth is nutured by humilty and strangled by pride. A seed of humility can grow large. A poor leader demands to be treated like a king. A servant leader joyfully treats others as if they are a king and that leads to a big impact on your church, your ministry, and on those you lead.
Poor leaders act like they are the gift to those they lead. A servant leaders sees others as a gift and sees the gifts inside others and this is the way to growing others.
And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’ ~ Matthew 18:3-4
Whoever humbles himself will be exalted~ Matthew 23:12
Henri Nouwen said, “Still, real greatness is often hidden, humble, simple, and unobtrusive.”
The Seed of Servanthood
Poor leaders seek to avoid carrying their cross. Servant Leaders seek to carry their cross and help others carry theirs. Imagine the impact of your leadership from a seed of serving others and bearing the burdens of those you lead.
You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave ~ Matthew 20:25-27
The greatest among you will be your servant ~ Matthhew 23:11
Servant leadership applies to all leadership contexts because people in all contexts need love and deeply value being served and developed.
It is a small seed that grows into a large of impact.
Service Is The Seed
If we desire to have the impact of Jesus, then we must pursue the way of Jesus and lead like Jesus. This is the way of the mustard seed. The way of smallness, humility, weakness, and servanthood.
Servant leaders don’t just add “service” to their leadership style. They integrate leadership into their service because service is the genesis of their leadership.
They seek to serve before they seek to lead. And it’s starts with just a little seed of service.
Servant Leadership makes leadership available to everyone. No one needs power, title, status, or position to serve.
Service is the seed.