Monday, March 17, 2008

Jesus as Servant-Leader

“When an organization’s vision stems from the innermost values and beliefs … it generates a tremendous excitement, a compelling spirit, and a passionate commitment… Enormous energy is … unleashed” (Stoner, Zigarmi, & Blanchard, 2003, p. 1). Jesus best exemplifies “…vision stem[ing] from innermost values and beliefs” (Stoner et al., p. 1).

Jesus generated commitment because “Knowing your purpose motivates your life… produces passion. Nothing energizes like a clear purpose” (Warren, 2002, p. 33). “’My food…is to do the will of him who sent me…’” (John 4:34, Today’s New International Version). Followers are freed to “feel … empowered to act independently and be assured that they are benefiting the organization” (Stoner et al., 2003), p. 1).

Jesus was credible. “Do What You Say You Will Do [is a] …commonsense definition of credibility … To be credible in action, leaders must be clear about their beliefs… know what they stand for” (Kouzes & Posner, 2002, p. 38). Jesus’ words were supported by miracles, healing, giving the Holy Spirit as guide.

Jesus empowered followers, evidenced in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20. Earlier in ministry, he prepared them for the greater empowerment in Matthew 10:8. His default of trust was in God’s ability to work.

Jesus communicated effectively via stories and parables. In this way, “by talking story…degrees of separation between people melt away, creating new understandings across cultures and contexts” (Stanford-Blair & Dickmann, 2005, p. xv). This also breaks down the wall of separation between God and humanity (Ephesians 2:14).

As a servant-leader, Jesus laid down his life for his followers (John 15:13). Documented throughout the gospels is his motivation of compassion. We should each emulate such core values. Servant leadership speaks to the characteristics I hope my life and work model. Empowering communicators of vision, purpose, and credibility are most effective.


Holy Bible (2005). Today’s New International Version. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

(Kouzes J M Posner B Z 2002 Leadrship Challenge)Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2002). Leadership Challenge (3rd ed.). San
: Jossey-Bass.

(Stanford-Blair N Dickmann M H 2005 Leading Coherently: Reflections from Leaders Around the World)Stanford-Blair, N., & Dickmann, M. H. (2005). Leading Coherently: Reflections
from Leaders Around the World
. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

(Stoner J Zigarmi D Blanchard K 2003 Creating Your Organization's Future: the Full Steam Ahead Field Guide)Stoner, J., Zigarmi, D., & Blanchard, K. (2003). Creating Your Organization's
Future: the Full Steam Ahead Field Guide
. San Diego: The Ken Blanchard

(Warren R 2002 Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here Here For?)Warren, R. (2002). Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here For? Grand
: Zondervan.

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