Biblical Models of Servant Leadership

We e these virtues demonstrated by Jesus. His life was completely lived to serve the course of the Father through reaching out to the disciples. He trained and gave them confidence to move into leadership and do even greater tasks (John 14:12-14). This chapter takes a look at a few Biblical models in the enterprise of servant leadership considering the principles they used. The Old Testament identifies two main servants of the Lord: Israel and the promised Messiah (Isaiah 49; 50; 52:1 if; 53). God showed that to be named a servant is to be recognized as one whom God has shaped with special care and for whom God is personally omitted.

We see both these themes in Isaiah 44:1-2. As we look at the leaders God called and used, it becomes evident that a covenant relationship was involved. It is this same attitude we see in Jesus who Himself was the greatest Servant of all. For Jesus, “leaders are servants who stoop to minister from the servant’s position and bring cleansing to the body of our Lord. “[2] 1. Moses and Joshua: The Preparation of Servant Leadership Preparation is considered an important aspect of any endeavor in order for the fulfillment of a successful enterprise; in particular, the business of dervish built upon principles of servant leadership.

Jesus referred to it as “counting the cost,” or the ‘taking up of one’s cross” as a reference to considering the consequences of the task ahead (Luke 9:23). Suffice it to say that few are willing to take the slow path of preparation and so face the temptation of choosing to cut corners and move ahead to the next rung of taking up leadership responsibility even without being prepared. It is in Median that Moses received his preparation to serve in leadership. His sphere of preparation being found in the shepherding of Jester’s flock agrees with “the literature of the Near Ancient

East and later’ that says “the role of the shepherd symbolizes leadership… And shepherding is considered a training ground for those destined to On the other hand, Moses’ humble beginning that resulted in a drastic change in his early status from a slave’s house to the palace (Exodus 2:1-10; Acts 7:20-22) may have had a drastic effect upon his personality. He grew up to be the proud child of the Pharaoh (Exodus 2:10), yet in his heart burnt the Hebrew love (Exodus 2:11-12)!

But considering the way and manner he went about, one can not help but notice he needed to be prepared for the task ahead (Exodus 11-15). Moses thought he was doing God’s will in God’s own way when took the initiate to defend the poor Hebrew slave by killing the Egyptian (Exodus 2:11-12)! It only led to confusion and failure. He realized that “people can not be managed; people must be led His willful defiance could not attract him a fellowship from his Hebrew brethren until he showed deep respect for their aspiration for deliverance forty years later.

Notice that he believed himself to be the deliverer, many years before he received his commissioning at the burning bush. “He assumed everyone else would realize it, too. He thought al he had to do was start the ball rolling and the Hebrews would rally around him, hailing him as their If defining a leader includes people following him, then certainly at this period Moses was alone, lost and not a leader! While Moses may have sensed God’s call upon him, success demands the proper and right kind of preparation. God prepared Moses through a process and over time and so Moses had to learn to wait.

Usually it is while the leader waits that his mind and perspective is broadened, his life matures in relation to knowing the One who enlists him, he is empowered to withstand the storms f leadership, and is humbled to be able to submit to serve. Moses had to submit to God’s way of preparing him for the task of pioneering a leadership for a people that had gone through decades of pain and misery. Charles R. Swindle particularly referred to Moses’ desert experience as a means for his preparation for the long lonely way of leadership that was ahead of him.

He adds: “some of the world’s greatest leaders have been people who lived lonely lives. In Moses’ long career as a leader he would be questioned, attacked, accused, hated, and betrayed. Through it all, he would stand alone. [6] It took the desert experience of preparation for him to stand alone. In the course of Moses’ preparation to leadership he had to learn that God appoints and directs leaders as He wills, and that the leader has little to say in all that. Swindle again adds: Moses learned that lesson from failure more often than not, God’s leadership candidates are aghast at their selection.

They look with chagrin at the assignment before them. They can hardly believe their ears when God says, ‘You are the man’; or ‘you are the woman. ‘[7] This came out clearly in Moses’ response when God confronted him with the dervish role he had to provide for the redemption of the Hebrews from Egyptian domination and enslavement (Exodus 3; 4). This is characteristic of godly servant leaders that they often wonder why they are chosen to serve the followers at the time they are chosen. Moses’ failure and retreat into Median broke him down and he became humbled (Exodus 2116-17).

The mighty Moses and prince of Egypt, now in the desert and stooping to water animals! He stayed with Jester’s family and was away from the popular and prestigious. This marker the turning point in the life of Israel’s future leader. Here he learned servant and total reliance upon God’s sufficiency, provision and direction. The temptation before Moses was to avoid the preparation stage for his leadership of the Hebrews. This is being repeated over and over again in the leadership quest of many pastors within the CAW leadership as they try to do God’s will their own way.

Most of the time desiring to carry out the will of God, eager to do great things for God, the leader often forces a situation that easily leads to personal and or corporate disaster. [8] Some of these pastors work to become giggly qualified in their field of endeavor but prove themselves completely useless, despite their credentials as “polished, capable, well-educated leaders of men. “CA] In the case of Moses, the program of leadership had to wait another forty years so God could take him through his second and final stage of preparation.

This became another painful forty years of hard and brutal labor for his people! However even in leadership we see the grace of God which may never be frustrated within the economy of God’s plan for the church; God would always accomplish His purpose in spite of the leaders’ temptations. Norma J. Cohen, a Jewish rabbi and writer summarizes Moses and his leadership thus: Who better than Moses to hold up as a paradigm from whom every future lead can learn? His vision, actions, and skills serve as models for future generations aspiring leaders, including those of our day…. N engaging with the Biblical text, we come across no more important character and model than Moses, the most celebrated, yet solitary. [10] He looks at Moses from the point of view of a Rabbi, nevertheless he agrees with the Biblical presentation of the call and commissioning of Moses to lead God’s covenant people. It is clear from the foregoing that Moses had to learn to wait on God so as to hear Him clearly regarding the call to serve, and by so doing submit to pursue that leading with resigned submission. Waiting is a tough exercise in the preparation of leaders. It takes a heart that is sold out to God to wait, listen and follow.

Joshua had to learn to be a leader through a tough and weary forty years of wilderness and painful confrontations between his master and the rough Hebrews. He had the opportunity to choose the easy way out yet he held on. He had the privilege of being prepared for leadership wrought a mentoring-discipleship relationship with Moses (Exodus 24:13; 32: 17) His was a smooth course since Moses went through the hard experiences of the desert preparation. This is the model CAW has being practicing over the years when young and newly engaged pastors are posted to serve under the supervision of older and experienced pastors.

However this hardly has the desired impact seeing that most of the time either the younger pastor becomes full of self or the older feels threatened by the younger one. The church has suffered from conflicts arising from either the senior pastor lording it over the nouns pastor and deliberately set to refuse mentoring him, or the young pastor choose to undermine the leadership of the senior pastor. Moses moved forward and shared his passion and knowledge with Joshua as his successor, thus he imbued in him the skills and the insights he needed to have when he assumed the leadership of Israel as they marched into the Promised Land.

Joshua gained this passion and knowledge from the time he was called to serve under Moses’ mentors through the experience of spying on Canaan. As Moses’ aid, he had the privilege to be with his leader and that could have given him an insight into Moses. Notice this gave Joshua the impetus, strength and courage to march the people into their territories. Thus “Joshua is also imbued with wisdom, a prerequisite for all successful Joshua choice as a leader shows us that leaders are chosen by God; however they must give their hearts to Him, be teachable, and possess a heart of justice toward the people they are called to lead.

In Numbers we see Joshua exhibiting this when he was called to stand against the majority even when it meant becoming unpopular (Numbers 13). The influence Moses left on Joshua paid off as he made up his mind to never give up in spite of the leadership challenges that loomed ahead. This is best noted at Joshua inauguration and commissioning when “Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the presence of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the LORD swore to their forefathers to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance'” Deuteron 31:7. 12] The “be strong and courageous” charge became a refrain as he led. Joshua case again confirms that leaders for the church are people chosen and ordained of God. Chuck Swindle could not have agreed better, noting that “spiritual leadership, which is the heart of servant leadership, is not carnal thing as it requires the right timing – not assumed – and it is God appointed – not self created,” and adds; We often feel that because someone is doing well elsewhere we want to force church leadership on him.

Servant leaders for the church are not “natural leaders,” but “super,” ones appointed by God, people who have surrendered, completely, first to God’s will and second to serve the body! [13] This was what Moses saw and he proceeded to hand over the mantle of dervish to Joshua, and history has shown it was a decision that led to a successful transition from being wandering nomads, to a nation on their own land. From the life of Moses to Joshua, it is evident that preparation for servant leadership is, first of all, a call to know and walk with God.

It is a call to see the powerlessness of the leader apart from God. It is a call to completely surrender to God and recognize that He is the one in charge and that without Him the leadership can never accomplish the God-given mandate. This is the challenge before the thousands of pastors within the CAW church across Nigeria and beyond. Joshua learned ‘the acquisition of … Skills that help a leader accomplish a ministry assignment”[14] under the mentors of Moses. Skills here refer to the leadership principles he saw in Moses.

The process for this acquisition took him through the period of time the Hebrews were in the wilderness. Joshua was able to “see the leading of God in each skill he learned and also recognized every one of them was part of the long process of leadership that lay ahead of This must have been one of the things that caused him to remain a consistent learner. 2. David: The Price of Servant Leadership Every student of the Bible knows that David has been credited to be a man after God’s own heart.

It is this statement that calls our attention to examine him as a model of servant leadership with emphasis on the price he had to pay to earn God’s commendation; “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22), and “the apple of {My} eye” (Psalm 17:8). This is captured in A Theology of Church Leadership; Servants is a high and special calling that involves a covenant relationship with God. It is not a forced obedience to a thoughtless master. There is instead a willing commitment by the servant to a Master who lull commits Himself to the servant as well. 1 6] In these words are summarized the price David paid for the cause of servant leadership, as can be seen from the encounter he had with Goliath, to the period he was hunted by King Saul (Samuel 17 – 24). In Samuel beginning at verse 24 we see the Israelites cowering in fear and dread of Goliath. There was a dire need of a leader who could point Israel back to God from the fear that had taken their heart captive. However such a leader had a price to pay: surrender his life for the cause of the people of God even at such a critical crossroad of the life of Israel.

In spite of the incentive by King Saul to whoever dared to defeat Goliath, no man was bold enough. This was when David decided to sacrifice himself. Notice Davit’s response was never based upon the king’s incentive; rather it was upon his experience of God’s call and faithfulness in keeping to His covenant promise (verses 34-37). David yet declared this position to Goliath later in verses 45-47 thus: David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give all of you into our hands. ” Walter Bargeman in his commentary on First and Second Samuel adds that “Davit’s speech is a positive witness to the power of the name of Heehaw.

It is also a real indictment of the Palestinian ‘champion’, for it is ho has been defied. It was borne out in the course of shepherding his father’s flock. Therefore we see the necessity of the wilderness experience in God’s methodology of the preparation of the leader. David learned even in his tough and difficult moments that he had to let go of his right to do things his own way and to hand over the right of his life to God. Thus in the battlefield he demonstrated an unequalled sacrifice in providing leadership for Israel at a most difficult period of their history.

The glory of God is worth sacrificing the whole of the leader’s life. [18] Only those who share Davit’s faith at this mom ND “have heard his confession would know that he has a massive resource beyond his power that operates for him: namely, the powerful, faithful, living God of Davit’s success as a leader could be gleaned from the response he uttered to Goliath in Samuel 17:45-47. Even in his teens David had discovered the secret of total abandonment in faith unto God and damn the consequences.

This reminisces with Daniels friends before the great furnace (Daniel 3:8-25) King Nebuchadnezzar made because they dare to De and challenge the king’s command to worship the golden image. Notice their If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is ABA espouse: save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship image of gold you have set up. 20] This captures the price David paid graphically beginning from his encounter Goliath on behalf Israel to his leadership of the people, more than anything A heart that is sold out to God is committed to do His bidding. Like any o executive, Davit’s career had its stages: preparation, rise, achievement, and finally, the passing of the torch. But what sets David apart, what made him t cost beloved king in Israelite history was his vision, both for himself and for people that grew out of the faith he had in Heehaw.

David placed God’s wish and laws before his own personal ambitions, and he inspired a similar dice in his followers. Despite many challenges and setbacks, he ruled Israel, remaining true to his God and his people, and inspired his subjects to achieve the impossible. In this he demonstrates precisely the kind of leader the church needs today. Davit’s desert experience compares favorably to that of M This resulted in God creating an obedient heart in him, a willingness to follow authority and leadership, and a commitment to surrender completely to SE the course of his people so they could become what God intended for them.

It also opened up in him a teachable spirit to learn in God’s school of servant leaders (Psalm 71, 119). This is demonstrated in his response to the prophet Antenna’s indictment following Davit’s adultery with Bathes and murder Uriah (Samuel 11-12). In The Maxwell Leadership Bible: New King James Ever John Maxwell asserts concerning David; “Somewhere along the way, he decide he didn’t need to sacrifice in order to lead well. He no longer prepared for nee halogens. When we stop growing, we stop leading.

When we stop sacrificing we stop The good news, however, is that he was willing stoop down and repent before Nathan (Samuel 12). It takes a humble lead own up to his evil and submit to an “ordinary” prophet in repentance (In Psalm 51, we see the repentant king before his Creator in total repentance, in which we hear the extreme cry: ‘be gracious to This demonstrates the kind surrender David had subjected himself to in order to serve his people. 3. Inhumane: The Commitment of Servant Leadership Inhumane can be compared to a modern day leader and manager.

Per it would be good to define what a manager is as it relates to a leader. Ooze and Posses comment on leadership and management thus: A major differ between management and leadership can be found in the root meaning of the two words: manage is a word meaning ‘hand’. Managing seems to con ‘handling’ things. Managers tend to focus on control and maintenance of the status quo… The root origin of the word ‘lead’ is a word meaning ‘to go’. … El can be said to be those who ‘go first’. They are those who step out to show the direction in which to head. They begin the quest for a new order. 23] This fits the person and commitment of Inhumane in his quest to lead the rebuilding of the broken walls of Jerusalem. By implication this restored her among the nations. Inhumane occupied a privileged position as King Aerate caperer (Inhumane 1:11). In this “he served as the screen between the PU and the king. It was a position of intimacy and trust” he enjoyed between him and the king. [24] In his introduction to Inhumane and the Dynamic of Effective Leadership, Barber sums the position of Inhumane the us; As a caperer, he is in a unique position.

He holds the offices of prime minister master of ceremonies rolled into one. Fear of intrigue and the constant fear of assassination caused a king to lead a quiet and relatively lonely life. It WA therefore, quite natural for him to gravitate toward a man of wisdom, discrete and ability. A caperer who had his monarch’s interest at heart, and who stayed abreast of the times, could frequently exert great influence upon the sovereign. Besides testing the king’s wine, he was also responsible for guard his sovereign’s sleeping quarters. 25] The challenge came when he realized he was the only person that could an the call of providing leadership toward the rebuilding of the walls. Anaheim ad the choice of leaving the luxuries and comfort of the palace. Ahead lay the frustrations of working with a people that are hard to deal with, and a leadership that would be faced with ridicule, conflicts, misrepresentation, s and spiritual backwardness. In all this Inhumane understood the strength o leadership lay in his trust on the God of Israel, building relationships Bette the leaders and the people, and that it is a shared responsibility.

He brought the people together in a team and in this he builds the spirit of “cooperation and trust rather than competition. “[26] Considering Amnesia’s credence ND successes as the kings caperer and the later imperial powers given t him for the rebuilding project, he chose to rely on God completely. This cam out clearly as “he found prayer to be a great source of Prayer no only establishes “Amnesia’s priorities, it also gave him a sense of purpose. Realization that God had sent him would sustain him through the vicissitudes would face as he began rebuilding the wall of the city. [28] Inhumane therefore is a leader who demonstrated that servant leadership is a call to abandon oneself completely on the Lord’s sufficiency. Thus he provided leadership from the knee A visionary leader that was motivated to accept the challenge to serve up. The course of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, and the people’s lives, Inhumane set himself to be committed to the following: 1 . Carry burdens. Inhumane demonstrated this from the moment he heard of the state of the returnees that were in Jerusalem (Inhumane 1).

Inhumane literally demonstrated his sadness over the state of the returnee Jews, expressing he identified with the struggles and sufferings of his people. [29] This was the passion that fueled his resolve to move ahead with the project. Leadership squires a motivation and for Inhumane his motivation was the welfare of his people as the broken walls exposed them to external harassment. Notice he carried this burden for about four months before God moved through the king thus demonstrating the importance of waiting as a leader carries his people’s burdens. . Deal with conflicts. Conflicts are an inevitable part of any leadership that is centered on serving. Note what Clinton says: “when people influence other people, conflict inevitably arises; because many of the decisions a leader makes affect Conflict is a powerful tool in the hand of God and can be seed to teach a leader lessons that he would not learn in any other way. Conflict may come from without – that is, from those who are not believers – and from within – from those who are believers.

Sometimes the conflict from within is the most difficult to face because a leader has higher expectations of believers. [31] In Chapters 4 and 6 Inhumane was faced with ridicule, threats of violence, discouragement, intrigue and intimidation. The response he employed was prayer, watchfulness and keeping everyone alert. In Chapter 5 it was internal conflict resulting from greed and oppression. He was decisive and engaged hem in confrontation, called for restitution and repentance.

Inhumane demonstrates that leaders must learn to face difficult situations objectively and realistically holding tight unto their faith in God. This is their link to the source of strength and the grounds of their confidence. In this way a leader is able to influence his followers toward their God-given mandate. Unfortunately we have many leaders today that are sources of conflicts rather than managing them as opportunities for growth and a means to salvage trust in their followers. These leaders choice to be bosses rather than servant leaders, often serve as potentials or conflicts. . Manage resources with integrity. Inhumane had great material resources that could have been turned into personal use and thus enriched him. However we see him converting all to the use and good of those he served. Inhumane identified the people’s struggles in their economic and social lives. Unnecessary debts were cancelled, the poor and needy were provided for, and the people were taught to trust God rather than spend their lives seven days a week pursuing economic activities (Chapters 5, 12). Build strong interpersonal relationships around trust. Inhumane set goals Inhumane 2: 17-20) and went on to motivate the people to team up and work. In Chapter Three we see the effect of that as families work side by side. He demonstrates that “the recognition a leader pays his subordinates creates a sense of belonging. “CA] 4. Jesus: The Supreme Sacrifice of Servant Leadership The concept of leadership in the gospels has the idea of one who holds light i the dark and is able to let it shine for others to see their way.

This is the approach Jesus adopted as He prepared the disciples for leadership roles. However, the status quo from which the disciples came, did not agree with Jesus’ approach. For Jesus is not only our Lord but our example. And in leadership, as in all else, He is the supreme pattern for human life” and to this we turn in this section. [33 What the disciples understood was a leadership based on the exercise of authority and lordship. This was seen in the Roman domination and rule, and t Jewish political and religious hierarchy.

It was “a domineering aristocracy in the Roman government” which usurped God’s authority, and divine revelation was perverted by human traditions of Jewish religious leadership cult. [34] With this understanding of leadership the disciples failed to grasp the significance of Jesus’ announcements of His leadership focus; that is He had come to serve by giving His life as a ransom (Mark 8:31; 9:31). The disciples may have understood this announcement (Mark 10. 33-34) to be the signal for the arrival of the long awaited kingdom, referred to as “glory” (Mark 1:1 5; 4:1 1, 26, 3 10:14, 15: CB. 0:37). Obviously, ‘they were still thinking in the old terms of a material kingdom; here there is not only the desire for reward, but a new note desire for precedence and Contrary to the disciples’ expectations, these verses express Jesus’ teaching ho is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. This opposes the status quo. A complete revolution which inaugurates an upside-down order and a shift from the known paradigm of leadership where the leader is to be served as the boss; the leader serving rather than being served!

This whole process of “servant- leadership” is described as; “A new moral principle that is emerging which holds that the only authority deserving one’s allegiance is that which is freely and knowingly granted by the led to the leader in response to, and in proportion to, the clearly evident servant stature of the leader. Those who choose to follow this principle will not casually accept the authority of existing institutions. Rather, they will freely respond only to individuals who are chosen as leaders because they are proven and trusted servants. CA] In the encounter between Jesus and the sons of Zebra we are able to have Jesus’ leadership call and task summarized. In verse 35 their request appears sincere as an expression of their heart yearning. It is also an earnest but wrong request, because they were demanding Jesus to submit to their desires and bidding rather than follow His direction. Their request for the place of ho which is symbolized by “the seat on the right and next to it, the seat on the left”[37] helps us have an understanding of the nature of Jesus’ leadership.

To them, Jesus may have appeared as a soon-to-be-crowned monarch who was t establish His ruling court and thus for them, a chance to be a part of the ruling monarchy! The cost of their request involves a “cup” and a “baptism. ” William puts Jesus’ reply thus: “You do not know that in requesting to participate in M glory you ask at the same time to share My painful destiny, an indispensable condition of My The cup and baptism in the Old Testament epic’s suffering, punishment and sorrow or grief (Psalm 43:2; Isaiah 51: 17-23 Ezekiel 23:31-34; Psalm 42: 7; Isaiah 43:2; etc).

The ability to drink is rendered the passive voice and it lays the emphasis on the cup to be drunk and the baptism to be entered into. This means that the “cup” and “baptism” are ever present realities, but the question is whether James and John knew it is to be “enjoyed” by those who are leaders! Therefore the implication of this is that all servant leaders have the accompanying marks of the cross. Early in Chapter 9 when Jesus had announced to the disciples of His coming death, Peter spooned by rebuking Him (verse 32).