Servant Leadership

“Then a dispute also arose among them about who should be considered the greatest. But he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who have authority over them have themselves called‘Benefactors.’ It is not to be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever is greatest among you should become like the youngest, and whoever leads, like the one serving” (Luke 22:24-26, CSB)

A simple definition of the term leadership could be stated as the act of leading a group or association. The term leadership is a buzz word in modern America. There are countless web articles, books, and seminars devoted to making people better leaders. These are often created by men and women who hold high leadership positions within society.

The evangelical church in 21st century America has turned to men and women who have had great success leading in the business world. However, these secular business models for leadership fail to translate to the church. The renowned pastor MacArthur notes “Some contemporary church leaders fancy themselves to be business men, media figures, entertainers, psychologists, philosophers, or lawyers.  Those notions contrast sharply with the tenor of the symbolism Scripture employs to depict spiritual leaders”.[1]

Leadership as defined by scripture calls the Christian to be a leader through being a servant. Leadership in the worldly sense can be a position of status and power. In the biblical sense the leader is often defined as a shepherd. As MacArthur notes “ Shepherds are without status. In most cultures shepherds occupy the lower rungs of society’s ladder”.[2] The role of shepherd is for all mature Christians in the church not just the pastor. It is the duty of all Christians to be servant leaders not only in the church, but in their homes and personal life.

What does it mean to be a servant leader? Christ himself demonstrated servant leadership when he washed the disciples feet. This was a task that was customarily performed by servants. This act showed the example of humbleness that is needed for Christian leadership. Just a shepherds serve their flocks by ensuring food, water, and safety, so should the Christian leaders ensure those around them are being taken care of in such a manner.



[1] John MacArthur, Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005), xii.

[2] Ibid.


MacArthur, John. Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. Nashville. TN: Thomas Nelson, 2005.


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