The Urgent Need for Servant Leaders(Part 2)
What Is “Success” In Leadership?
A few years ago, we heard (to our shock) the violence, bloodshed and anarchy in Libya. All this happened at the hands of one man, the leader, who called himself “the king of kings.” He started well, by building a nation; but all of a sudden he turned around and begun destroying it. Reason: he just couldn’t let go of power. He felt he had to stay in power, at whatever cost.
Now, when it comes to servant leadership, holding onto power is just not the way to go.
I attended a conference many years ago and out of all the words the speaker spoke, this one caught my attention: “Success without a successor is not success.” The test of success for any leader is not in the number of buildings he owns nor is it in the size of his annual budget. The test of success for a servant leader is whether the nation, church or organization will survive and thrive on after he has gone. If not, then he has failed.
Someone said that the minute you sit in a chair to lead, begin working yourself out of that place.
It is a very tragic situation whenever a leader declares that there is no one as good as themselves or that there is no one with a vision or passion that the top leader has. When this happens, it simply means that we as leaders have not cared enough to identify, mentor, train and release others to do what we do. If a leader says there is no one who can lead apart from him, then he is not a real leader.
Young People Are the Future
The future for any nation, church or organization lies in the young generation that we presently have. This always makes me tremble every time I look at my own kids, the children and youth in our churches and the young people on every street corner in my city. Sooner than later, they are going to be in charge; and they are going to either make this country better or worse. As we all know, the young people do not always know much, and they probably don’t realize that the future is their responsibility. For this reason, many times they don’t have a vision that stretches beyond their present.
Again, it is our responsibility to think beyond today and prepare our nation for tomorrow. That is why we need to invest time, money and care in shaping these future leaders. This involves training our young people in character, leadership skills, ethics, communication skills, the importance of work, caring for the environment and all those other things that will ensure a better community, a better nation, a better continent, a better world, and a better church of Christ.
What Is the Church’s Role in Providing Leadership to the Nation?
We can influence change through our prayers.
In 1 Timothy 2:2, Paul calls upon the church to pray “for kings and all who are in positions of authority or high responsibility” to lead well. This is because so much depends on their character and plans. In fact, the security of life, liberty, and property, depends so much on the leaders. Nevertheless, we Christians know that God has the power to influence their hearts, and to incline them to what is just and equal. For that reason, we should pray that a divine influence may descend upon our leaders. The salvation of a leader is of itself of no more importance than that of a follower; but the welfare of thousands may depend on him, and hence he should be made the special subject of prayer.
Also, if the state is not in safety, the individual cannot be secure. That is why self-preservation, if nothing else, should lead men to pray for the government under which they live. On that note, the church should pray for the government and other leaders so that public peace may be preserved. Good leaders have the power to do much good; therefore, we should pray that their authority may be ever preserved and well directed. On the other hand, bad leaders have the power to do much evil; therefore, we should pray that they may be prevented from thus using their power. This means that, whether the leaders be good or bad, prayer for them is the positive duty of all of us Christians.
The bible teaches that God has given gifts to his church and the purpose is to prepare God’s people to serve (Ephesians 4:12). The purpose of the gifted men is to prepare God’s people for works of service. Gifted people in church (Eph 4:11) are to minister the Word to others so that they in turn are readied to get involved in ministering to others (cf. 2 Tim 2:2). All saints are gifted to serve others spiritually if not physically. The church must therefore, undertake intentional discipleship and equipping of the saints for works of service and leadership in and outside church. This can intentionally be done through teaching, training and mentoring Christ’s followers into servant leaders.
When it comes to the church, you and I who are followers of Jesus Christ, the Bible says; “You are the salt of the earth.” “The light of the world.” “A city on a hill that cannot be hidden.” “A lamp that is put on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” God says; “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (see Matthew 5:13-16).
Accordingly, Christian ministers, leaders who are Christian and all Christians everywhere are lights of the world, because they, by their instructions and example, show what our God requires. Christians, by their lives and instructions, can set out to be leaders with a difference. They can step up to be the servant leaders that this world so badly needs. It is by so doing that the church can help to keep the world from entire moral corruption. As Edmund Burke has observed; “All it takes for evil to triumph in this world is for the good men to do nothing.
Let me end by saying this to the Christian and especially to the Christian leader reading this: always, in all societies, in all business, at home and abroad, in prosperity and adversity, let it be seen that you are a real Christian. My prayer is that in your area of service and at your present state in life you will resolve to be the leader that God desires for you to be. I pray that you will be God’s agent of change. I pray that you will be a servant leader. To the glory of God almighty. Amen.