Embracing Servant Leadership


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Embracing Servant Leadership

  1. 1. Lesson 3 Embracing Servant LeadershipIntroductionWhen discussing the issue of servant-hood we can categorise our discussion into two:The inner attitudes of serving and the outer service of a servant. For the sake of our study in thismanual we will focus on the attitude of a servant. The issue of being a servant leader is really anissue of inner attitude. Our focus is not so much on what someone does but on who they are. It isone thing to do acts of kindness, it is quite another to be a kind person. When you are a kindperson, everything you do is stamped with kindliness. It’s the same with being a servant leader;it’s your nature as opposed to acts you do from time to time depending on how you are feeling.When you hear the word “servant” what do you think of?From what you know about servant-hood, would you say you have taken on the nature of aservant or is it something you simply add on to your daily life?Because of our various backgrounds and experiences, we all have a different picture of what itmeans to be a servant. But what was in Jesus’ mind when he said we must be a servant of wewant to be great? Let’s explore some biblical definitions of servant-hood.I. What is a servant?A. A servant is someone at the complete disposal of another.The Hebrew word Ebed means a person who is at the complete disposal of another (Gen.24:1 –67). This applies to a slave who has given up personal rights in order to serve his master.B. A servant is someone who worksAbad is another Hebrew word which generally means to work. In Gen 2:5; 3:23, it uses the wordmeaning a person who tills the ground.C. A servant is willing to do menial tasks (Ex 28:35-43)Sharath means a doer of menial and insignificant tasks. In Ex 28: 35 – 43 we see priestsreferred to as a sharath.How wiling are you to do menial and seemingly insignificant tasks?Are there any tasks that you see as being beneath you? Perhaps you force yourself to do them,but still feel embarrassed in your heart. Reflect on this for a while.D. A servant is bonded to something (Rom 1:1; Phil 1:1; Titus 1:1)The word doulos is used in the Greek. It signifies bondage. It speaks of a servant who haswillingly bonded himself to a master by some legal obligation. Paul refers to himself as this inhis letters: Rom 1:1; Phil 1:1; and Titus 1:1. It’s important to be a servant of Christ. If you arenot bonded to Christ you will be bonded to something else.Business God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda, City Life Church (Student Notes) Page 15
  2. 2. What are you in bondage to? Jesus is our model for servant-hood. He was not a pushover. It is interesting that this is thespecific thing he says we must emulate; “Come to me, for I am gentle and humble in heart”. Healso commands us to serve like he did. In Philippians we are told we need to have the sameattitude as Jesus specifically speaking of how he humbled himself.Some may think this is an impossible task but the reality is that Christians are empowered toserve. Read 1 Pet 4:10,11b. Sometimes people do not serve because they feel they will get norecognition for it but in Rev 2:19 we see that Jesus notices it.E. A servant has a target or directionWhat do you think is important to the Lord out of all your activities? Which ones does the Lordreally notice?We can make a choice concerning who we will serve; God or Satan. We will always be servingin either camp. The following scriptures illustrate this:2 Cor 11: 14-15: serving Satan2 Cor 6: 3: serving God1 Tim 4: 6: serving Christ2 Cor 11:23: servant of the gospel2 Cor 3: 6: servant of the new covenantCol 1:25 a servant of the churchThe questions to answer are:What or who are you serving?Who or what have you had to stop serving?F. A servant can be trusted.Warren Bennis describes four ingredients that leaders have that generate and sustain trust:1. Constancy: Whatever surprises leaders may face, they themselves do not create any for thegroup. Leaders are all of a piece; they stay on course.2. Congruity: Leaders walk their talk. In true leaders there is no gap between theories theyespouse and the life they practice.3. Reliability: Leaders are there when it counts; they are ready to support their co-workers in themoments that matter.4. Integrity: Leaders honour their commitments and promises.Business God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda, City Life Church (Student Notes) Page 16
  3. 3. II. What are the marks of true servant-hood?A. True servant-hood is a key aspect of Christ-likeness.Key scriptures in the example of Jesus:Luke 12:37; Luke 22:27; Jn 13; Mark 10 43; Jn 12:24-26; Phil 2:8Are you a servant in terms of your thinking, your emotions and your will? Sadly, many areservants only in part.B. True servant-hood requires death to self.The “kenosis” is the divine self-emptying of the Son of God, and because of this, we also whoare in Him can do the same; empty of ourselves. Tom Marshall states that “ in the IncarnationJesus created a servant nature, and became a servant, and that through our incorporation in himin His death and resurrection we can come in touch with and into union with that nature.”In verse 6 of Phil 2 we see that we need to give up any grasping. What have you been grasping?Look at the following examples and discuss Jesus’ view of status. Luke 14:8-11; John 13:12-15.What did Jesus do with status?In becoming a servant we need to first overcome man’s ways. This really means, dying to self.Jn 12:24,25.What aspects of self do you have to die to?God’s ways are fundamentally different from man’s ways (Is 55:10,11). We are told in Romans12:1-2; do not conform to the pattern of this world.Study the following scriptures with regards to this and ask God to work His word in you. Let theword dwell richly within you:Mt 16:24; Col 3:3; 1 Cor. 6:19-20Before you can truly serve others you have to be a bondservant of Christ. This is an essential partof servant leadership and is necessary if the nature of our service is going to be pure. If not, ourservice will always have a hook on it. In other words we will serve people in order to getsomething out of it.What are the different motives people can have for serving?C. True servant-hood involves purity of motive.Another word which is translated as servant is the Hebrew word Sakiyr. This is a person whoworks for wages by day or by year. This was a hireling who could not eat the Passover of themaster’s family (Ex 12:3 – 45). The aim of the believer should be to forsake being a Sakiyr andBusiness God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda, City Life Church (Student Notes) Page 17
  4. 4. move to a place where one is a love-slave. Leviticus 25:39 –42. A Sakiyr was not worth nearly asmuch as a love-slave was to his master. Sadly, in the church today we have many Sakiyrs. Theyserve God only for what they can get out of it. Their mindset is “God and the whole world oweme everything”. The Love-slave has a different mindset, “I owe God everything, and He owesme nothing”. When we come to this place, we place ourselves at God’s disposal and He can useus mightily. The motivation of a servant is so important, as Jeremiah 17 states “God searches theheart and examines the mind to reward each one according to his conduct.”Do you see yourself acting as a sakiyr at times? If so, what do you think causes this attitude?2 Cor 9:7 shows that all we do, must be done cheerfully and not under compulsion. Those whofollow servant leaders do not do things out of manipulation, flattery or guilt.Is there any following you are doing out of manipulation, flattery or guilt? If so, reflect onwhy and allow the Lord to deal your heart.We see that Jesus was so focused on His Father’s will even from childhood. This shows us thatwe can teach our children the same. Already in Mt 18:3 we see Jesus state that He was about hisfather’s business.D. True servant-hood is voluntary.The first thing to understand about the biblical concept of bondservants is that it was voluntary.Our view of servant-hood has been marred by events which have taken place in history and as aresult this has eroded in our minds this powerful biblical metaphor.In 2 Cor 6:11 we see how Paul exchanged all which is valued highly by man, for this servant-hood. Why would someone do this? He was a love-slave. Remember how a love-slave wouldsay, “Where I am going to go no one has ever treated me like you do.”Have you come to a point in your life where you have aligned your will to God’s will? Reflecton this for a while.Do you have a puncture in your ear, marking that you are a love-slave? Reflect on this.In Romans 1:14 Paul speaks of being obligated. Once he’d chosen to indenture himself to Christhe was obligated to carry this out. He did not feel the Lord owed him anything.E. True servant-hood requires inner strength.What images come up in your mind when you think of Jesus?One of the things that amazes me is that many Christians think that Jesus was a wimp. Theythink that being a servant means one is a wimp. Yet when we look in scripture we are told thatthe people were amazed because he taught as one with authority, unlike the scribes and theBusiness God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda, City Life Church (Student Notes) Page 18
  5. 5. Pharisees. Therefore, if we want to be Christ-like, one of the main qualities we need is to walk inauthority. Authority and Christ-likeness cannot be separated. Look at how Jesus could be direct:“Satan, get behind me” Mt 16:23“Obey what I command you” Jn 14:15“Jesus’ hand of authority is always directed by His heart of compassion and grace” MarcDupontWere you taught servant-hood as a child? Was it effective?How can we train children to be servants?F. True servant-hood involves inner security.Jesus’ security and significance:As a servant, Jesus was whole. When we do not deal with our insecurities the tendency is tocompensate in all sorts of ways which are contrary to true servant-hood.The following verses show that a servant knows who he is:Luke 3:22; Ps 2: 8;1 Jn 4:18;1 Cor 3:21-23In John 13 we see that Jesus knew He had come from God. In Jn 14:30 he stated that Satan hasnothing in him.G. True Servant-hood involves passing the Servant Test.The servant test is illustrated in the following scriptures:1 Kings 19; 1 Kings 19:21; 2 Kings 3:11dWe see here that Elisha’s larger ministry began with menial service. It is also important tounderstand that a leader continues to serve throughout his or her life.Describe situations where you have had to go through the servant test. Did you pass?It’s important to note that as a leader grows in spiritual authority he must now serve even morepeople in an even greater capacity.A prospective servant-leader indicates that they do not have a servant heart when he or she asksquestions like: • Why am I overlooked every time? • Why should I have to suffer? • Why do people not give me proper appreciation or my rights? • What are other signs that someone is not yet a servant?Business God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda, City Life Church (Student Notes) Page 19
  6. 6. “In short, the enemy is strong natural servants who have the potential to lead but do not lead, or who choose to follow a non-servant.” -Robert Greenleaf Appendix I The Diako Project1. Planning your servingAs we attempt to grow as servants we need to ask ourselves the following questions: • Whom am I to serve? • How am I to serve? • Where is their pain? • What do they value? • What do they fear?2. The ProjectFor 3 consecutive weeks you need to carry out a specific servant endeavor and then documentyour reflections at the end of each week, based on the questions outlined below. In the fourthweek your task is to influence someone else to do a servant endeavor and then interview themusing the same questions that are outlined below. These questions are to help you in reflecting and not to limit your response: • Describe what your act of service was? • Who did you serve and why? • How did you influence and impact the person you served? • How did you impact and influence anyone else to do the same? • How has this endeavor affected your relationship with the person you served? • Describe your attitude and feelings while serving? • How is this different from the last time you served? (Last week’s endeavor)Business God’s Way © Paul Nyamuda, City Life Church (Student Notes) Page 20