The American heritage dictionary states a servant is “One who expresses submission, recognizance, or debt to another.” This above definition is a description of the master servant and teacher the Lord Jesus Christ. He was to spend and to be spent for the sake of our salvation and daily life. The personal operating policy and philosophy of any man of God should be patterned after the Lord’s heart. The practical application of policy and philosophy is evident throughout the life of Jesus. God states in His Word that “He Has called men to be Shepard’s after his own heart.”
My personal policy, a course of action and guiding principle in ministry is:
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
(King James Version )
Therefore, the course of action and guiding principle of my personal ministry is to resemble the pattern of Jesus Christ to wash the feet of everyone being no respecter of persons. This is an example of true humility and representation of the patterned character of the heart of a servant. In my personal ministry I want to have His heart and course of action of meeting people where they are at in life and cleansing them where they need to be cleansed with the accepting Love of Christ. This is my guiding principle to be a foot washer of the multitude. The biblical principle of promotion is very simple the humble shall be exalted. An illustration of how I implemented this in my personal ministry is with Grace Home Ministries, Inc. Founding this home and ministry by washing the feet of other leaders of the ministry and living the life of a servant to homeless and addicted men.
Grace Home Ministries Inc. Is a non-profit Christian organization that helps individuals who have recently been delivered from life controlling problems to become responsible, productive and caring individuals through its personal development program. This program ministers to the spiritual, psychological and physical needs of its clients.
This ministry served as a bridge between the streets and the local church community by preparing and training the individuals to live drug free, Christ-centered lives. It facilitated these goals by teaching its clients about addiction and presenting them the biblical alternative to life challenging problems and addiction by offering the biblical solution to freedom based upon “The Finished Work” of Jesus Christ and His principles.
A result of being broken in the right place, in the soul, yields a leader with the heart of a servant. Just as leadership is a relationship versus something a leader does, servant leadership is a type of relationship process. It is a relationship whereby a group of people choose to serve each other in unique roles. Servant leadership is about a group of people mutually submitting to each other for the purpose of achieving something they could not achieve alone.
What makes a leader a servant leader is not temperament, strength, or energy. What makes a leader a servant leader is first and foremost the type of motivation in the leader. When the motivation of the leader is to unleash the potential of the followers and primarily benefit the needs of the organization, that person is a servant leader. A person who is not a servant leader will tend toward more mixed motives in leading, striving to lead out of pride, manipulation, and force.
Servant leaders understand that means to ends are just as important as ends. A person can feign servanthood by claiming that the goals of the organization are for the benefit of all involved, and that whatever it takes to reach those goals is justified. Each of us know pastors who would claim to be serving the people and would consider themselves servant leaders, but who go about reaching church goals via manipulation, using people, and who privately exemplify a very prideful attitude.
A Servant Versus a Servant Leader
You can be a servant and not a leader. You can be a leader and not a servant. But to be a servant leader, you must first become a servant. A servant leader is one who both serves by leading and leads in such a way as to exemplify a servant’s attitude. Two people can do the exact same job, and one be a servant and the other not a servant. A leader ceases to be a servant leader when he ceases to lead with the right attitude. A servant ceases to be a servant leader when he ceases to lead. A leader is one who brings about change via an influence relationship. In the literal sense, a person ceases to be a servant leader when he is not seeking to bring about change.
Quite often, we describe servant leadership by inverting the pyramid, suggesting that in this view the leader is at the bottom, serving the needs of the people. The servant leader has the fewest rights in that the task is to help others find their potential and fulfillment as a part of the organism.
If we place leaders on a single line with others in the leadership relationship, the implication is that there are none higher or lower, but that all are peers in an influence relationship. The amount of one’s influence is represented by one’s length on the line. The wider the length, the more the influence. People who are not in the leadership relationship are not even on the line. This is perhaps a better view of what the New Testament means when discussing spiritual gifts and the Body of Christ. No part of the body is better than another, just because some are given more prominence. Thus, none are higher or lower, just different. This does not suggest that all are equal in impact. The heart plays a more vital role than the hand. In leadership, the leader fills the key role because without this person or persons the quality of the relationship would be severely reduced. At the same time, the leader is considered a peer, just another part doing her unique job. Because leaders are a minority, they are usually the hardest to replace as well. A linear peer relationship conveys se
rvanthood because it equalizes everyone when the tendency is to elevate leaders, even servant leaders.
Motives are difficult to measure. Perhaps only God can effectively judge such subconscious workings of the mind. However, servant leadership involves a much kinder, gentler approach to leading. It can be equally forceful and dynamic, but does not reduce the esteem of followers. Some managers debunk leadership because they have seen so many people get chewed up in the process. They equate strong leading with autocratic, dictatorial, love’em and leave tactics. This is an indication of ineffective leading and a lack of servant leading. Effective leading rarely leaves bodies strewn along its path due to blowing people over who will not bend to the new goals and vision. Effective leading communicates, motivates, inspires, and wins people’s wills. Servant leadership is a win-win proposition. Other types of leading take a win-lose approach, especially if a win-win is not possible or is too expensive. The reason why leadership has at times left bad impressions is almost always due to a lack of servanthood integrated into the process by the leader.
Without the love, theology makes no difference. Begin with love in your own heart. Love of Christ and love of people are uniquely important qualities to people who would be ministers, teachers, counselors and physicians.
They asked Jesus, What is the greatest commandment?
35. One of them, an expert in the law, tested Jesus with this question:
36. "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
37. Jesus replied: "`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
38. This is the first and greatest commandment.
39. And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’
40. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
The first person you must lead is yourself. Your time, your resources reflect something personal. So first you must lead yourself. It is hard to lead others, if you are a mess yourself. It is hard to teacher others if you don’t believe in what you have to say.
Jesus was very clear about what we should be committed to:
31. So do not worry, saying, `What shall we eat?’ or `What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’
32. For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Love trumps skill. Skills can be learned, but without love, skills have no value. So the servant leader gathers the skills needed to do the job, skills can be learned with love and commitment. Servant leaders must separate the important from the urgent. Information gathering, information presentation, feedback. With a vision for the Kingdom, we acquire the skills we need.
My personal philosophy, the system of values by which one lives in ministry is:
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
(King James Version )
Therefore, my personal philosophy, the system of values by which I live is to serve from the position of being the least. If I have this mind set then I will not elevate myself over another and always remember that I am no greater than the ones I serve. This philosophy will be the system of values by which I choose to model and pattern my family, personal life and ministry after.
The greatest servant is one who has a system of Values and course of action that is guided by the principles of charity.
1 Cor 13:13
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
(King James Version )
Yet some would ask: What’s love got to do with it? Aren’t the essential requirements of leadership to be results oriented and to personify authenticity and employ a variety of techniques and emphases?
Love is the greatest because it serves faith and hope. It serves faith because how can you believe in someone whom you don’t love and how can you hope in someone if you don’t know the root of the hope. The root is Christly love dwelling richly within us and working outwardly in service of faith and hope.
I believe that ministry must be a personal work of a personal God within us motivating our life to have faith in him for the results by encouraging hope in others. The whole essence of the belief of this principle is based upon the work of redemption on the Cross of Calvary.
We are called to be co-laborers together with God in reconciling the world to Him and this work must be motivated by the love of God dwelling in us or we will depend upon only a commandment and not the power of faith. We are to be hope-bringers to this ever so dying depraved world around us by being in the faith by Christ’s love.
The example of our Lord Jesus Christ is the pattern in which I have set to be my personal operating policy and philosophy. The pattern is one that is perfect and without error, but the one following the pattern is not perfect. I have found in ministry that my greatest failures and mistakes teach me to be molded into the pattern of being a servant. I believe that immediate bouncing back into the pattern when we fall out of it is the sign of growth. We fail to realize that crisis in our lives allows us to be tested so we may grow into His pattern and not into our own patterns of our old sin nature.
The greatest failure in Christianity is one who attempts to live up to the pattern of Jesus and fails to realize the heart of the pattern. The root of this comes from religion, which is man trying to find God, the truth is God has found us and is working in us. We see this in
the cults and comparative religions of the world because they are seeking to please their god and please him with some kind of service. This can also be found in Christianity in legalism and performance based works programs established to enforce outward servant-hood without the heart and power inwardly. These teachings don’t allow room for someone to grow up into the pattern of being a servant it produces failure and preoccupation with one’s own performance. When our focus remains upon the Finished and Completed Work of the Cross of Christ, His burial, and resurrection we will want to have our life patterned after the great commandment and great commission. The unfinished work is the Great Commission, to reach, preach, teach, baptize, and reproduce servants AFTER God’s own heart.
This paper has the policy and the philosophy of my personal ministry. I have determined to pattern my life because of the tremendous leadership of Christ that surrounds me and encourages me daily to mirror Christly servant-hood and His amazing leadership. These values and system of beliefs are not learned in a book but practiced in daily life and walk in God’s service. Failure has been my greatest teacher of all. Through life I have discovered victory and change in my personal practice of service. Failure is never final; it is the birth of a Change of mind. It is vital to recognize and learn in failure so we do not continue to fail over and over in the same area. Every failure in life is a unique learning experience, which God allows to sovereignty teach us to be more like Him. Does this mean that we should intentionally fail to get to know God? God forbid, I honestly believe that until we are perfected ultimately in Heaven we will continue to fail God and His commands. The more and more I get to know God intimately the more depraved I see myself and the greater God looks to me personally. The more I see my own heart as deceitful, depraved, and desperately wicked, the more I want to pattern my life after God’s own heart instead of relying upon my own hearts guidance.
In His Grace Forever,
Teddy Awad, CMHP
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