Understanding the biblical definition of leadership

The Bible’s view on leadership may seem different from what believers witness in their daily lives. Instead of leading to obtain a position that empowers one to order others around, the scriptures teach that the first should be last and that whoever wants to lead must be like a servant.

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Exemplified by Jesus himself in the gospel, servant leadership is more than just getting perks and respect that come with the position. It also comes with a cost that requires a person to care for those who might be in need of guidance. It involves putting oneself last for the good of others.

In a competitive workplace, obeying this command from the Lord Jesus can be challenging. In a context where position means power, it can sometimes be difficult to think of another person. However, as the gospels have shown, it is still possible to lead while being the servant of all. Before Jesus was crucified, he invested in the lives of his disciples. He taught and trained them for ministry day and night. Though he knows that he is the Son of God, he healed, taught, and trained people from all walks of life. His genuine friendship with people gave them comfort and strengthened their faith.

Being a servant leader allows a person to lift others up through their influence. It also makes them aware of what is going on in the world around them. When Jesus said that a leader must be like a servant, he did not mean for them to become suffering slaves. Perhaps he also wanted his people to experience the joy in seeing others grow to become individuals with purpose. He might have intended this to build up a community of people who strengthen each other.

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