Understanding Church Leadership 7

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By Pastor Raphael Adegoke

16Woe to you, O land whose king is a youth, and whose princes feast in the morning. 17Blessed are you, O land whose king is a son of nobles, and whose princes feast at the proper time—for strength and not for drunkenness. (Eccl 10: 16-17)

Glory be to God in the Highest. It is a privilege to be together once again today and I pray that the pleasantness of togetherness shall be our lot.

Last Tuesday, we focused on the self emptying of our Lord Jesus Christ as an example of true leadership. Today, still learning from Jesus, we shall be focusing on Jesus taking the form of a servant.

It has been previously mentioned that we cannot become the kind of leader God wants us to bei if we don’t have a good understanding of spiritual leadership as it differs from traditional leadership. The disciples, though stayed with Jesus, yet would not learn from Him. At a point in time they went to Jesus to inquire of him who amongst them would be the head and Jesus made them to understand that the one that would be the servant of all would lead all.

If care is not taken, we may take being the servant of all as doing menial jobs or chores for all. It was not about Jesus going to the market for the disciples, or going to the well to fetch water for the disciples while they sat back at home or Jesus doing the cooking for them while they relaxed. Jesus wasn’t their servant but their servant leader.

 Who then is a servant? A servant is the one that serves others. That is, one that performs duties about the person or home of a master or personal employer. If that’s who a servant is and Jesus didn’t live like that, then what is servant leadership? Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy in which the main goal of the leader is to serve. This is different from traditional leadership where the leader’s main focus is the thriving of their company or organizations.

For there to be clear understanding of the principle of servant leadership, there is a need to know the difference between a people and an organization. While traditional leaders focus on the organization, the focus of the servant leaders is the people. Jesus built nothing around the title given to Him, that is, “The King of the Jews”, but built all around the salvation of the people. While Jesus was addressed as the King of the Jews, the disciples thought about someone that would build an invincible empire around them or himself, but never knew it was all about Him dying for them to live, not them dying for Him to live.

In traditional leadership, leaders sacrifice the lives of their subjects so they would live, but in servant leadership, the leaders protect the lives of their subjects at the expense of their own lives. This is uncommon in our generation. We are in a generation where leaders care less about their subjects as long as they (the leaders) are fine.

There are several characteristics of servant leadership. Some of these include active listening, empathy, awareness, persuasion, foresight, conceptualization, stewardship, commitment to growth and emancipation, and community building. (To be continued)

Pastor Raphael Adegoke is a Pastor in Christ Apostolic Church (Nigeria & Overseas) and a Lecturer in Christ Apostolic Church Theological Seminary.

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