Jesus is clear about what is important. It is not about being a leader. It is not about who sits in authority at the right hand of Jesus. It is not even about being a servant leader. Jesus never talks about that.
Jesus only came to serve us and sacrifice for us. It is God that put Jesus in charge of God’s country (aka Kingdom). Jesus simply did what his Father wanted him to do.
Jesus is unequivocal. It is only about being a servant and a slave. That is my role. That is God’s goal for me. There is nothing else. I am to serve others and be a slave of Jesus.
When the other ten heard of this conversation, they lost their tempers with James and John. Jesus got them together to settle things down. “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not to be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for many who are held hostage.”
Source: Mark 10:41-45
Jesus, of course, wants purposeful slaves [servants] who are focused on what God wants to have done today. Purposeful leadership is key to a culture in our ministries that is focused on delivering amazing God-experiences for disciples.
Bruce Temkin at Customer Experience Matters has done a masterful survey on what distinguishes purposeful leaders.
We compared the frequency with which very successful leaders demonstrated the behaviors with the frequency demonstrated by other managers. The behaviors with the largest gaps represent the most distinguishing characteristics of purposeful leaders.
Here is my take: So, what are great servants of Jesus (who are in positions of leadership) much more likely to do?
- Motivate disciples to deliver their best work. They are servants, not leaders.
- Help disciples understand complex situations by describing things in simple terms.
- Help disciples make decisions by presenting clear options between following Jesus or not.
- Motivate disciples to work together to achieve God’s goal.
- Look beyond obvious choices to find God’s solutions.
- Admit to his or her mistakes when there is a problem.
- Help disciples identify and achieve their personal goals that God has given them.
- Make decisions that will help the ministry achieve its long-term goals even if they do not benefit the ministry right away.
- Disciple others
- Communicate a clear and compelling vision of the future!