I’m a strong proponent of servant leadership. I’ve previously shared four reasons why I aspire to be a servant leader. You can read that article here.
I’ve read many books about leadership over the years, and several about servant leadership in particular. Below are 5 books on servant leadership, plus a bonus chapter, that I recommend you read if you would like to find out more about the topic.
Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles
- Why Do You Work? Stephen Nichols writes “The chief end of our work comes in verse 31: “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works.” Our work has meaning. Our work points to the One in whose image we are made. As we work, we bring glory to God. As we work, God is delighted with us. Now we have stumbled upon our answer to why we work.”
- Is Your Work Spiritual Enough? Art Lindsley writes “How many of us feel our work is not “spiritual” enough or doesn’t matter in God’s grand design? Understanding this concept of a “priesthood of all believers” can help us see how all our vocations bear great importance.”
- Can Meaningful Work Truly Be Found? Hugh Whelchel writes “For the Christian, life without work is meaningless, but work must never become the meaning of one’s life. We must find our identity in Christ, not in our work. Our union with Christ transforms our hearts and gives us the desire to serve him out of gratitude as we engage the world through our work.”
- Are Biblical Principles Shaping Your Values? Hugh Whelchel writes “The more we are “all in,” the more our thoughts and actions align with God’s principles, the more we can glorify God, serve the common good, and further his kingdom in this time and this place—in our particular season on this earth. And it is in the process of bringing more flourishing to the communities we serve that we flourish, too ( 29:7).”
- Faith and Work Integration: Trendy or Essential? Mark D. Roberts writes “It’s not just trendy to seek to do everything in the Lord’s name, including those things that fill most of our waking hours. Doing our ordinary work in the Lord’s name is an essential, though often overlooked, element of our calling. So, whatever you do—whether managing staff, selling products, leading organizations, changing diapers, teaching children, building start-ups, preaching sermons, making films, writing books, molding clay, or cleaning houses—do everything, yes, everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Here are 8 upcoming books, and a brief description of them, that I’m looking forward to:
The Affectionate Theology of Richard Sibbes by Mark Dever
To be published March 1.
From Amazon’s description:
“In a time of political turmoil and religious upheaval, Richard Sibbes sought to consistently apply the riches of Reformation theology to his hearers’ lives. He emphasized the security of God’s covenant, the call for assurance of salvation, and the place of the heart in the Christian life. In The Affectionate Theology of Richard Sibbes, Dr. Mark Dever gives readers a penetrating look into the life and theology of this fascinating figure.”
This book is a part of the Long Line of Godly Men series, edited by Steven Lawson.
Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results. Edited by Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell.
To be published March 6.
From Amazon’s description:
“We’ve all seen the negative impact of self-serving leaders in every sector of our society. Not infrequently, they end up bringing down their entire organization. But there is another way: servant leadership. Servant leaders lead by serving their people, not by exalting themselves. This collection features forty-four renowned servant leadership experts and practitioners–prominent business executives, bestselling authors, and respected spiritual leaders–who offer advice and tools for implementing this proven, but for some still radical, leadership model. Edited by legendary business author and lifelong servant leader Ken Blanchard and his longtime editor Renee Broadwell, this is the most comprehensive and wide-ranging guide ever published for what is, in every sense, a better way to lead.” I’m reading an advance copy of this book now. It includes contributions from some of my favorite leadership authors such as Ken Blanchard, Patrick Lencioni, Dave Ramsey, Mark Miller, Henry Cloud, Stephen M.R. Covey, Simon Sinek. It’s a wonderful book for those who want to lead like Jesus did.
Take Heart: Christian Courage in the Age of Unbelief by Matt Chandler
To be published March 20.
From Amazon’s description:
“The Christian culture that has underpinned Western society for centuries has been eroded. We’re now at the point where to disagree with people on issues such as marriage and sexuality, is seen as hateful. Christians are no longer seen as honorable, but as bigots. But history testifies that the more people try to destroy Christianity, the more it grows. So, we are entering an exciting period of time because we’re back in the place where Christ’s church can thrive – at the margins of society. In this stirring, passionate book, Matt Chandler shows us we need Christian courage like never before, and how to live with compassion and conviction, able to look around positively and reach out confidently. It encourages us not to be thwarted by fear, but to depend on God and have confidence that Christ will build his church, despite continual marginalization. A must-read for any Christian who wants to understand how to stand firm and walk forwards in an increasingly secular culture.” Continue reading
- Pastor, Visit Their Workplace. Justin Buzzard writes “Because God designed people to work, my congregants spend most of the week at their workplace. I realized years ago that a powerful way to know and love my church members is to visit them there. I want to know this massive part of their lives. There’s a connection that can happen in the workplace that’s more holistic than a conversation in the pews or at a coffee shop.”
- Community and the Cubicle. The High Calling blog writes “What would it look like to extend the community-cultivating power of the gospel into our cities, into our workplaces, into our churches? How would the workplace change?”
- Astros Chaplain: Play for God and Pray to Win Kate Shellnutt interviews the Houston Astros Chaplain Juan Jesus Alaniz. Alaniz states “We try to get them to that higher-level perspective, instead of just “I’m playing for my country. I’m playing for my family. I’m playing for my Astros fans.” No, you’re playing for the Lord. The Word of the Lord never comes back empty, so we keep sharing those things with them. It’s nice to see them respond.”
- World Series Winning Baseball Player Shares His Faith in God. Kristen Undset writes about World Series Champion Jose Altuve, who states ““We need to not just ask God but thank Him for everything like our health, our family. And ask Him to bless our homes and to always be present in our daily lives. And to keep us safe is most important.”
- Faith at Work. Russell Shorto writes “Chuck Ripka is a money lender – that is to say a mortgage banker – and his institution, the Riverview Community Bank in Otsego, Minnesota, is a way station for Christ.”
- Building Houses for God’s Glory | Merle and Dave Stoltzfus. Bill Peel writes “David and Merle Stoltzfus take Psalm 127 very personally as residential developers in eastern Pennsylvania. But they don’t just build structures, they build communities. Because they believe that God is in their work, the Stoltzfus brothers take Jesus’ command to love our neighbor seriously.”
- The Kind of Leader Worth Following. Scott Sauls writes this tribute to Tim Keller.
YOUR WORK MATTERS TO GOD:
- The Value of Our Work. Listen to this interview with Bryan Chapell about how God values our work.
- How the Reformation Revolutionized Diaper Changing. Greg Forster writes “Luther wasn’t the first to see this calling to serve God in all of life, which theologians call the doctrine of vocation. And those who came after him have contributed significantly to our understanding of it. But Luther was one of the most important champions of this doctrine in history.”
- Why Dishwashing Matters in God’s Kingdom. Hugh Whelchel writes “Even though our work has eternal meaning, it doesn’t mean it will be easy. But it does mean that we can live a fully integrated life, where there is no division between the sacred and the secular, where our Christian faith infiltrates all of who we are and what we do, not just on Sundays, but on Mondays, too.”
REAL-LIFE EXAMPLES OF COMBINING YOUR FAITH AND WORK:
- Lessons on Christian Vocation from “Chewbacca Mom”. Joseph Sunde writes “For Candace Payne, a 37-year-old stay-at-home mom and worship leader, her calling and influence began long ago, starting as a teenager, and proceeding with faithfulness to God in her daily life”.
- When You Don’t Hide Your Faith at Work. Bethany Jenkins writes “The women featured below have (at least) one thing in common—they have shared the reason for their hope (1 Pet. 3:15). Their joy, their wisdom, their kindness, and their vulnerability has been so attractive to their colleagues that their colleagues—many of whom “heard” the gospel first by watching their lives—have begun reading the Bible, attending church, and worshiping Christ.”
- Making a Living Is Loving a Neighbor. Bethany Jenkins writes “The women featured provide for others in their work. Whether that means advising clients on giving to missions, making the internet work, answering customers’ concerns, or planning melon production, these women see themselves as “the fingers of God,” going into their workplaces as agents of his providential love.”
- How Our Work Embodies God’s Love. Bethany Jenkins writes “These women are working in ways that they incarnate the love of God to their neighbors.” Also read Bethany’s article “In Awe of God in Unexpected Places”
- Faith Works at Omni Hotels – An Interview with Bob Rowling. Bill Peel interviews Bob Rowling, of Omni Hotels. Peel writes “Faith lived out at work inevitably leads to tough choices. For some it may mean risking ridicule for turning down dishonest gain. Others may forfeit promotion — or even lose a job — for drawing a line in the sand between right and wrong.”
- 15 Practices of the World’s Most Creative People in Business. Brian Dodd shares the 15 practices of the world’s most creative leaders, based on Fast Company magazine editor Robert Safian’s 15 common threads of the magazine’s top 100 most creative people in business.
- The Janitor Who Taught the U.S. President a Thing or Two About Work. Scott Sauls writes “Clearly we must integrate faith and work. But how do we do this? It starts with perspective.”
- I Advocate for Convicted Criminals. Cara Wieneke is a post-conviction criminal defense attorney and, unlike a trial lawyer, she represents people after they have been found guilty and sentenced to prison. She writes “I struggled with finding God in all this—and sometimes still do. There have been days when I’ve felt as if there is nothing good in the world, only evil.”
Lead Like Jesus Revisited by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges and Phyliss Hendry. Thomas Nelson. 272 pages. 2016
In this revised and updated 10th anniversary edition of Lead Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, Phyliss Hodges, President and CEO of the Lead Like Jesus ministry joins the original book’s authors. They write that “Leading like Jesus is essentially a matter of the heart. It is also the highest thought of the head, it is the principal work of the hands, and it is both expressed through and replenished by the habits.” The authors teach to lead like Jesus whether you are leading at home, at church, or in an organization.
The authors state that self-promotion (pride) and self-protection (fear) dominate today’s leadership style. Many leaders act as if the sheep are there only for the benefit of the shepherd. The Lead Like Jesus alternative approach to leadership is driven by four basic beliefs that have become central to the author’s ministry:
- Leadership happens anytime we influence the thinking, behavior, or development of another person.
- Jesus is the greatest leadership role model of all time.
- Servant leadership is the only approach to leadership that Jesus validates for His followers.
- Effective leadership begins on the inside, with our hearts.
The authors tells us that Leading like Jesus is a transformational journey. They discuss the role of the Heart, Head and Hands in this alternative way of leading. They also discuss Habits, both Being and Doing. They state that the greatest barrier to leading like Jesus is Edging God Out of our lives (EGO).
This new edition features helpful “Pause and Reflect” sections throughout the book, a “Next Steps to Leading Like Jesus Checklist”, resource list and a Discussion Guide, which is useful for individual study, but it is designed primarily for use in a group setting after everyone in the group has read the book.
I’m a strong believer in servant leadership. This would be an excellent book to read and discuss with others to learn how to Lead Like Jesus.
35 Quotes from Lead Like Jesus Revisited by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges and Phyllis Hendry
- Self-promotion (pride) and self-protection (fear) dominate today’s leadership style. Many leaders act as if the sheep are there only for the benefit of the shepherd.
- This alternative approach to leadership is driven by four basic beliefs that have become central to our ministry: • Leadership happens anytime we influence the thinking, behavior, or development of another person. • Jesus is the greatest leadership role model of all time. • Servant leadership is the only approach to leadership that Jesus validates for His followers. • Effective leadership begins on the inside, with our hearts.
- For followers of Jesus, servant leadership is not an option; servant leadership is a mandate.
- Leading like Jesus is a transformational journey. This transformational journey begins with the willingness to do whatever Jesus commands, with a heart surrendered to doing His will, and with the commitment to lead the way He leads.
- We believe that leaders who desire to lead like Jesus must first examine themselves by answering these two questions: Whose am I? and Who am I?
- Leading like Jesus in an organization creates a new culture that affects all relationships and every result.
- Wherever we live or work, whether we are influencing at home, at church, or in an organization, our paramount task as leaders is to create a culture that reflects Jesus’ core value: love. and Work, Lead Like Jesus Revisited by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges, Phyllis Hendry
- Leading like Jesus requires leaders to be shepherds and servants, who value each person as an integral part of the organization.
- HEART. Leadership is first a spiritual matter of the heart. Simply put, the heart question is this: Are you a serving leader or a self-serving leader?
- HEAD. The journey to leading like Jesus starts in the heart as you consider your motivation. This intent then travels to the internal domain of the head, where you examine your beliefs and theories about leading and motivating people.
- HANDS. You show what is in your heart and head in what you do with your hands: your motivations and beliefs about leadership affect your actions.
- HABITS. Your habits are those activities you do in order to stay on track with God and others.
- As a leader committed to leading like Jesus, you must make time to replenish your energy and refocus your perspective. Jesus did this through His five Being Habits: solitude, prayer, study of God’s Word, the application of Scripture to real life, and supportive relationships.
- Jesus expressed obedience to His Father and shared the Father’s love for His disciples through His Doing Habits of grace, forgiveness, encouragement, and community. As leaders desiring to lead like Jesus, we are encouraged to engage in both the Being Habits and the Doing Habits.
- To lead like Jesus, we have found that leadership improves when there is first a change on the inside: leadership is primarily a heart issue. We believe that if we don’t get our hearts right, we simply won’t ever lead like Jesus.
- Leading like Jesus—leading with love—is very difficult. It requires that you love those you influence so much that you help them move from who they are to who God wants them to be, and that process can be painful.
- Leading like Jesus means that relationships and results are intertwined. It means being committed to both developing others and achieving results in a way that honors God and reflects your core beliefs about whose you are and who you are.
- We continue to see that the most persistent barrier to leading like Jesus is a heart motivated by self-interest.
- The greatest barrier to leading like Jesus is Edging God Out of our lives (EGO). We believe you can Edge God Out in three ways: you can replace Him as the object of your worship; as the source of your security, self-worth, and wisdom; and as the audience for and authority over your daily work and life story.
- When leaders are filled with pride or fear, they react to things that happen to them. People who want to lead like Jesus, on the other hand, respond to things that happen to them.
- One of the greatest challenges in seeking to lead like Jesus is the intimacy with Him that this approach requires. The biggest barrier to intimacy is a fear of vulnerability—the fear of having to admit you don’t know all the answers, that you may need help, and that your abilities as a leader may be questioned..
- One of the key distortions affecting leader effectiveness is an EGO-driven fixation on short-term results at the expense of long-term integrity.
- Driven people think they own everything. Called people, on the other hand, believe everything they have is on loan to them from the Lord.
- Leading like Jesus means leading with humility. Humility requires knowing whose you are and who you are. Humility is realizing and emphasizing the importance of other people. It is not putting yourself down; it is lifting others up.
- God’s love will change you and, by extension, change your leadership. You will see leadership differently: it becomes less about power and control and more about the stewardship of the people you touch and of the work God has given you to do. You will see people differently, too: rather than seeing them as a means to accomplish the results you want, you realize that God has the same love for them that He has for you. Work becomes an act of worship and your workplace an outpost of God’s kingdom. You are no longer threatened by feedback; you no longer lead out of fear or cause others to be fearful of you.
- When we want to lead like Jesus, prayer becomes our first response, not our last resort.
- The two parts to the great leadership that Jesus exemplified: 1. The visionary role—setting the course and the destination—is the leadership aspect. 2. The implementation role—doing things the right way with a focus on serving—is the servant aspect.
- As a Jesus-like leader or manager, you still maintain your power, but your effectiveness soars because you are responding to the needs of your people.
- An effective Jesus-like leader acts as a performance coach. An essential duty of servant leaders is their ongoing investment in the lives of their followers.
- Servant leaders aren’t threatened by people around them who perform well, because their confidence is secure in the unconditional love of God. Being rooted in God’s love permits servant leaders to see and respond to the success of others in a different way: they celebrate it rather than fear it.
- If you seek to inspire and equip others to attain higher standards of performance and commitment, the best first step is modeling integrity in your own journey.
- Love is a core value of leadership, especially for a Jesus-like leader.
- As leaders, we are dispensers of grace in our families, churches, and organizations. We can extend the grace of believing that people are doing the best they can, given their level of awareness. It is up to us to make sure grace is extended; we lead in the way of grace.
- One test of whether we have the heart attitude required to lead like Jesus is how we respond when those we lead fail to perform according to our expectations.
- As leaders who desire to lead like Jesus, we are to be distributors of encouragement.
Are you a self-serving leader, or a servant leader? Ken Blanchard has written that effective leaders should serve their people, not be served by them, which is different than the norm. Similarly, John Maxwell states that the leader should be there for their people, not the people there for the leader. This is what is referred to as servant leadership.
I speak about servant leadership in the expectations/philosophies document that I provide to all of my new team members:
I believe in the concept of servant leadership, which encourages leaders to serve others while staying focused on achieving results in line with the organization’s values. An excellent book that explains this leadership philosophy is The Mentor Leader by Tony Dungy.
There are many reasons why this form of leadership resonates with me. Here are just three of them:
- It aligns well with my faith ~ Jesus is my model here. The first section of Mark 10:45 states, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve”. It is my aim to serve my team members well. Now some will say that the terms “servant” and “leader” conflict with each other, and cannot be used together. But I have found them to be perfectly in alignment, and I find joy in leading this way. Does the concept of a servant leader make sense to you? Can you get your ego out of the way and instead build up others?
- It is a successful leadership model. Blanchard states that the servant leader provides the vision and values for their team. Once the direction is clear, the servant leader’s role is to help their team members to achieve their goals. They teach and coach their team members so that they can do their best, achieve their goals and reach their highest potential. Servant leaders listen to their team members, praise them, support them and redirect them when they deviate from the path. That is a model that I can support and get behind and it’s how I try to lead. Do you see how this can be a successful model?
- It helps team members be successful. Blanchard states that the servant leader is constantly trying to find out what their people need to be successful. They are interested in making a difference in their people’s lives, and in the process, positively impacting their organization by delivering good results. The role of the servant leader is to help their people win and accomplish their goals. If you are a leader, what are you doing to help your team members win and accomplish their goals?
- It’s the way I would like to be led. Think of the “Golden Rule”. The first section of Matthew 7:12 states “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them”. If I apply that to how I would like to be led, it would be to be led by a servant leader. That type of leader that is always there to help you win and accomplish your goals. You can relax, do your best and know that you have a leader who has your best interests in mind. Have you worked with any servant leaders in the past? How did that make a difference for you?
These are just a few of the reasons that I aspire to be a servant leader. There are many more. Can you think of more to add to this list? Have I made the case that this is the best way to lead? Why or why not?