Once in a while there comes a person who joins your team that is an absolute game-changer. Growing up in the Chestnut Creek subdivision in Marietta, Georgia we had an excellent tennis team. We competed against other neighborhoods in the area and then once a year we went to Atlanta to compete in the city championship. We never could win the championship but one year a guy named Joe Prado moved into the area. He was an athletic phenom and was amazing at any sport he tried from swimming to soccer and even tennis. When Joe got on our team we went from merely competing to absolutely dominating. We won the A.L.T.A. championship for our division.
I tell you this because there is a game-changer that will instantly change the dynamic of your team. He is seldom utilized and, as far as I know, under-appreciated in most churches and businesses. Many institutions would not have gone under if they had invited this guy on their team. On the flip side, the churches and businesses that are booming long ago hired him and since then their organization has grown leaps and bounds.
I want you to say these words:
Think of all the struggles in your organization that never found closure and I bet I can link them all to a similar root cause: selfishness. Using the analogy above we could say that it was one who did not want to sacrifice for the team. Looking back in my years of ministry I see some times where I just could not wrap my brain around sacrificing for someone else. I wanted it to be about me.
Robert Greenleaf, author of the book The Servant as Leader, has some amazing points about what I am trying to say:
“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.
“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?“ (Source)
Jesus did this long before Greenleaf coined the phrase “servant leader”. When the mother of James and John wanted them to sit where Jesus was he lectured her and the others on the It’s-not-about-me component:
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:25-28).
How many churches have split because they forgot about this component?
How many ministers have burned out because they neglected this mindset?
How many businesses remained stagnate because this way of life was not instilled in its psyche?
So here are five quick ways to invite this into your organization…
- Do a quick self-assessment to see if your organization is selfish. (The guys at Modern Servant Leader have come up with one here.)
- Look for ways to help others grow.
- Sit down as a team and brainstorm ways to make your team more “other” focused.
- Have honest conversations with those on your team that do not buy-in to this concept.
- Come up with a game plan as to how you might accomplish becoming more of a servant type institution.