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Servant leaders?

One day, Jesus' disciples were squabbling over which of them was the greatest. In fact, two brothers, James and John, had persuaded their mother to ask Jesus if they could have privileged positions in his Kingdom. The other disciples were indignant; they wanted those positions for themselves!

Matthew 20:25-28 continues: 

But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” 

We know how leadership works in the world. It's hierarchical. Whether you're talking about government or the army, industry or education, the world's way of leadership is based on a hierarchical model.

Jesus said we shouldn't do it that way. So what have we done throughout history in the church? We've built a hierarchy–bishops and senior pastors, vicars and denominational superintendents. 

What does it look like for leadership to be servant and slave? Jesus demonstrated it for us when he washed his disciples feet.

Ross Rohde wrote a thought-provoking post on his blog recently (

Do we aspire to leadership or servanthood?

Shoe shiner




8 replies on “Servant leaders?”

Jesus didn’t say that we should not have a hierarchy , he said we should not lord it over.
We should be careful about making connections and conclusions where none are warranted.

I thought Ross’s post was one of the most profound articles about leadership I’ve ever read. And I’ve read quite a few. A church full of servants would change the world. A church full of leaders and aspiring leaders seems to be what we have instead.

Our goal should be, as Paul wrote, to “consider others better than yourself.” This means the leader should want to promote the ministry of others rather than his/her own ministry. If one persons ministers to a lot of people, that is good. However, if one person can get out of the way and encourage, empower, and allow lots of people to minister to lots of people, the impact for Christ is greatly multiplied.

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