As a follower of Jesus Christ, ministry leaders should be actively discipling others on a regular basis, including within the organizational structure of the ministry that has been entrusted to them. Greenleaf’s (2012) model of leadership, servant leadership, captures what Christ exemplified in his relationship with his disciples, and Christ’s behavior, including his succession planning, serves as a model for organizational leadership two thousand years later.
Servant leadership begins with an individual’s innate desire to serve others, then to lead them, operating out of a philosophical understanding that as the leader it is imperative to first meet the highest needs of followers (Greenleaf, 2012). Unfortunately, servant leadership is a paradoxical approach which seems to work against common sense (Northouse, 2013), but that may be due to the fact that leadership has been modeled from a self-serving ambitious perspective that views followers as cogs to accomplishing the goals of the leader and the organization. As a servant leader, the goal is to provide an atmosphere of relationship where followers are becoming healthier, wiser, freer, and autonomous individuals who are likely to serve as servant leaders themselves (Greenleaf, 2012). The assumption is that if the leader acts in a servant model, provides for the needs of the followers, those followers will grow to be autonomous servant leaders themselves, and will successfully reach organizational objectives and advance the organization forward willingly and enthusiastically.
Greenleaf’s model of servant leadership, and Christ’s example of servant leadership, serve as a template for any leader in any sector and any area of organizational leadership. If followers of an organization feel as though they are valued, secure, empowered, and resourced, they will provide organization success through their loyalty, commitment, and faithfulness to the organization and the leader (Northouse, 2013).
Greenleaf, R. (2012). The Servant as Leader. The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.