Christ-centred Servant Leadership in View

  • Take a Moment
    • Reflect upon what you have learned about servant leadership modeled on the character and teaching of Christ and how it compares to the default secular/worldly models. Jot down the key points that you come up with.
    • How does it relate to your own culture?

Kingdom leadership is built upon character and attitude not position and status.  Although some elements of the secular world use a form of servant leadership, true servanthood is personified in Jesus, the son of God. Jesus led his disciples and taught that leadership was about humility and servanthood. More than this he lived out servanthood as a leader and so his example models servant leadership for us.  As Christians, Christ abides in us and we in him (John 15) and as such, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are called to live out his character in our lives.

Building our leadership “style” upon the outworking of the character of Christ challenges us not to comply with the world’s approach. It challenges every culture, regardless of whether its origins are  national, ethnic, religious, educational or business school. The way of the Kingdom is different and emerges from Christ’s character through humility and servanthood.

We see that Jesus built solid relationships with his disciples and led them through influence. He taught and modeled the things he wanted them to do, he presented them with challenges to give them scope to try it out and he was there to coach and guide. When absolutely necessary he intervened and coached them through situations.

What he did not do was stand on his position and status as leader, Teacher, Son of God; nor did he relate to the disciples through command and control; in fact he taught them that this way was not the Kingdom way. Others were his important focus and his leadership was built upon deep relationships with them, treating each as an individual.

He focused upon developing the full potential of the disciples, seeking to grow them so that they would be able to stand when he was no longer with them and he taught them to serve a shared common purpose which aligned with his Father’s higher purposes.

This we refer to as Christ-centred servant leadership and it is this that needs to be absorbed into our Kingdom organisations so that they avoid the conflict of claiming to be Christian but actually embody secular/worldly values and outlooks. This need for Christian organisations to be distinctly Christian in character is a significant challenge for senior leaders in any and every Christian organisation.

Action Plan

Take time to reflect on what you have learned. Merge that with the things you learned from “Exploring Leadership in The Kingdom.”

What actions can you identify that you need to take to develop your transformation into a Christ-centred servant leader?

How can you impact your organisations culture so that its witness would be distinctly Christian?

Further Study

The Leadership Bible edited by Dr Sid Buzzell, Dr Kenneth Boa and Bill Perkins, published by Zondervan Systematically examines leadership from a Biblical perspective and provides study sets on many leadership topics.

What Next?

Explore the rest of Growing the Servant Heart on-line programme for Christian leaders.

The remaining modules build on the foundation of a Christ-centred approach to leadership and explore Emotional Intelligence, Teams, Leadership practices, communication skills and vision and change. The approaches identified are selected to allow the Christ-centred servant leader to develop practical skills that are sympathetic to being a Christ-centred leader in the Kingdom.


Business the Ultimate Resource – Third Edition –  A&C Black Publishers Ltd.

Peter Northouse (2001). Leadership Theory and Practice, second edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc

Robert Greenleaf “The Servant Within—a transformative Path”

Stacy T Rinehart “Upside Down—the paradox of Servant Leadership” Navpress

James C Hunter “The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle– How to become a servant Leader”

Dr Dan C Hammer “Servant Leadership—a concept that has come into its time”

Paul Chappell “Guided by Grace—servant leadership for the local church”

Ken Blanchard & Phil Hodges—”The Servant Leader—transforming your heart, head, hands & habits”

Rick Sessoms and Colin Buckland – “Culture Craft – leading for Organisational Health” Claybury International

S Buzzell (General Editor): The Leadership Bible – Leading by the Book, Zondervan