Modeling Servant Leadership
Every organization has its leaders. Some lead by intimidation, some by example, and others by encouragement. Even within the Church, leadership styles differ greatly. The scriptures say a great deal about leadership within the covenant community, drawing on the model of Jesus’ life and death to advocate a servant model.
Peter stresses several key themes for leaders in the Church. Their role is first to care for the people (or flock), without concern for personal gain or honor. They should lead by example, in contrast to those who lead by dictating what others should do. Humility is an essential quality in those who would be leaders in the Church.
The calling to leadership in the Church is a gift and trust from God. As stewards of God’s gifts, those who are called to positions of leadership are responsible to use that gift for the benefit of the whole Church. In the same way, those of us who follow are to respect and encourage our leaders, always giving thanks to God for their faithful service.
—Dr. Jay Earheart-Brown
- What qualities do you appreciate most in leaders? Is there any difference in what you want from leaders outside the Church and inside? Why or why not?
- What specific actions by leaders demonstrate humility?
- In what ways should we “accept the authority of the elder,” as Peter says we should do?
- How does your church select its leaders (elders, deacons, teachers, etc.)? Does that process need to be improved or refined in any way?
How Do I Act?
- Pray specifically for your pastor, elders, deacons, and teachers each day this week that God will use them as effective leaders for the Church.
- Interview one or more elders in your church and/or your pastor to find out what you, as an individual, can do to support them in their work.
- Write a litany for leaders and followers in the church, incorporating some of the themes from 1 Peter 5, for use in a service of worship when new elders are ordained/installed, or when other leaders are recognized.
- Write a note to one or more of the leaders in your church, thanking them for their service and encouraging them in their ministry.