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The Secret of Servant Leadership

Of the four essential elements that every leader must exercise—Integrity, Passion, Servanthood, and Imagination—Servanthood seems like it would be the most intuitive and easiest for followers of Jesus.

But let’s be honest: servanthood feels antithetical to leadership.

So here’s another way to think about it…and it has to do with identity, both how it’s internally perceived and what the truth is.

For instance, do you really know who you are? For those who have received the gift of Life from the Father—and this is going to get a little cosmic—the New Testament calls them a new creation. A child of God. Called. Now sharing His divine nature. More than a conqueror. The righteousness of God. Chosen. Set free. Strong in Him. Joint heirs with Christ. Accepted in the Beloved. Complete in Him.

That’s pretty heady stuff.

Truth is, anything other than that is a lie. And someone or something is trying to trick you out of who you really are, because who you really are will change the way you live—and that’s a threat to the spiritual Mafia that runs this planet. Despite your feelings, despite your circumstances, there is One who fought for you, and calls you those names and titles because that’s who you really are.

Sometimes followers of Jesus remind me of a bull in a bullfight. They keep charging at the red cape. The problem is: that’s the wrong enemy. If the bull would readjust his target slightly and take out the guy with the tight pants and funny hat, he’d be back in the bull locker room in no time—high-fiving each other’s horns and downing tequila with his fellow bovines.

Have you ever wondered why every great movie, every great story, has a villain? It’s because it’s built into the drama of the universe. It is The Story of an angel who would be King, who rebels and subjugates a planet by deceiving an entire world and telling a different story. Jesus calls him a liar. There is a reason why there were serious consequences in the Hebrew scriptures for anyone fooling around with the occult…with spiritism, with talking to the dead, with witchcraft, with idol worship, etcetera. It’s because it distorts the true story, the Story of Love. It is the lie of a great villain who doesn’t want carbon-based bipeds to hear the truth of God’s love.

When we know who we truly are, it liberates us to become, of all things, a servant. What a twist in the tale. Think about it: what if you had nothing to prove to anyone?

  • You didn't have to be The Big Shot.

  • You didn't have to be the smartest person in the room.

  • You didn't have to have more _____ (fill in the blank) than the next poor slob.

  • You’re weren't defined by what you did or what you've done.

God has already told you who you are. And because of that, it makes it easy—or at least easier—to become a servant.

A major part of leadership is helping people make that journey. It’s critical work and sets our people free.

Because when cosmologists and astronomers finally discover the center of the universe, some of us will be surprised to find we’re not there.

Dave Workman | The Elemental Group


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