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  How to be a leader
A clean heart

Serving young Christians
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launch 2.5

The Servant Leader

You’ve been chosen to lead, and boy, are you excited. At last, you are the "big cheese," "Numero Uno," "top dog," "the big kahuna"! You can’t wait to start leading people — telling them what to do and how to do it. After all, isn’t this the power model for leadership?

But wait! What’s that other word up there? Something about a "servant"? Aren’t those the "little people" who are supposed to wipe perspiration from your brow and keep your soda fresh?

Check this out and try to keep up! It seems like an oxymoron — you know, one of those apparent contradiction things — but it’s not.

Think about our own leader, Jesus Christ. What does He have to say about it? His words recorded in Mark 10:43-44 show that "whoever would be greatest among you must be servant of all." Wow!

Now, think about how you would describe a leader. Do words like "tough," "hard-nosed," or "pull-yourself-up- by-your-bootstraps" come to mind? Or maybe you’re thinking more like "popular," "smart" and "cool-and-collected." Wrong again! Thanks for playing!

How do words like "humility," "compassion," "gentleness," "merciful," "righteous," "pure in heart," and "peace-maker" sound? Not exactly words that come to mind as we look at our world leaders today, are they? Only Jesus is a worthy role model for being a servant leader. Let’s check out what else Jesus said and did about this subject.

His Example

First, Jesus shows us a perfect example of the servant leader. In Mark 10:45, He urges us to serve and even "give our lives" for the sake of others. The picture of a servant leader is shown no better than in Jesus washing the disciples’ feet (John 13). He continually encourages us to be more concerned for others than ourselves.

His Command

He commands us to be servant leaders. In Mark 8:35 and Mark 9:35, Jesus tells us that we must lose our lives (in service to Him and others) in order to find fulfillment and meaning. It doesn’t take a genius to see that Jesus’ definition of leadership has nothing to do with power or personal gain.

His Power

Jesus provides the ability for us to give up our selfish wants and take on the servant-leader role that faith in Christ demands. Just look at Ezekiel 11:19 (uh, that’s in the Old Testament). God tells us that He will take our heart of stone--cold, hard, consumed with selfishness--and give us a heart of flesh. You know, teachable, compassionate, sensitive to others (soft and squishy).

As 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, we are a new creation. Imagine that! Receiving Christ is like getting a heart transplant. With this heart change (remember, soft and squishy), our attitudes begin to change. And as attitudes change, guess what follows? Right, our actions begin to resemble those of a servant leader! Isn’t God awesome?!

Servant leaders are desperately needed. Young people are crying out for someone to show them the love of Christ in a clear and genuine way. That someone is you!

Are you up for the challenge? From what we’ve learned, Jesus Christ has given you the power to say "yes" to that question. So turn the "power model" upside down — be a servant leader and bring salt and light to a thirsty, dark world (Matthew 5:14-16).

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