Next Generation Leaders: Most Importantly...Servant Leadership

There were three interns serving at a church for the summer and all were in their late teens and early twenties. There were 2 young men pursuing a teaching ministry and 1 girl who didn't necessarily seek out to teach but just wanted to build the church. On their last week of the internship, all three were given an opportunity to preach 15 minutes of the service.

The next day only one person returned to the church building to clean up after the event. The young lady who had just the night before preached to hundreds returned to the unseen work of cleaning, but not the other two. Interestingly enough, people raved about this women's teaching above the rest because it was real, personal, and authentic. 

What I love about this [true] story is that it was the person who didn't seek platform, but to build the church, that returned for the unglamorous work. And that people responded to her teaching the night before the most!

This story highlights the most important lesson a young leader must learn before taking the platform: SERVANT LEADERSHIP.

All of the men I mentioned from the Bible in week 2 learned this very valuable lesson prior to their platform ministry. Joseph was a servant and prisoner with a dream before rising to command. David was anointed and then served Saul for many years before sitting on the throne. Elisha was a servant to Elijah and Moses served as a shepherd before leading Israel out of captivity.

Do you think any of them would have been prepared for the great ministry God had planned for them if they hadn't first learned how to serve? Certainly not! In order to lead one must first learn to serve.

Jesus illustrated this beautifully the night of the last supper. Covered with the dust from the streets, the feet of the disciples were left black and sore with cuts as they entered the room for the last supper. It was a servant’s job to wash the feet of those entering the house, but no servant was to be found. Reclining next to each other as they ate at the dinner table, Jesus laid aside his outer garments, took up a towel, and carried the basin of water over to Simon Peter. One by one Jesus, the Son of God, humbled himself to wash the grime and dirt off of the feet of each man. 

Can you imagine sitting there at the dinner table as God washed the mud off of your feet? The task, however disagreeable, had to be done and only Jesus took the initiative to see it accomplished. It was out of love that he performed the service of a slave and showed what it really meant to minister.

I know you don't go into ministry excited to clean the bathroom or pick-up trash, or to stop and sit with the homeless person who enters your church doors, or stuff envelopes and enter contact info into a database. But truth is, that's ministry just as much as anything on the platform. Unless you can do those items with joy and thanksgiving then you shouldn't be preaching or leading worship.

I hope you'll make serving others a priority. That you'll embrace what Jesus modeled for us the night of the last servant. That nothing will be below you and that every need presented is embraced as a way to serve Jesus and the body of Christ.

And he said to them, ‘If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.’
— Mark 9:35 (ESV)