Engage Magazine: You Cannot Lead Until You Serve
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Engage exists to provide perspective on culture through the eyes of a Biblical worldview, showing how that worldview intersects with culture and engages it.

We are a team of 20-somethings brought together by a common faith in Jesus Christ and employment in our parent organization American Family Association

You Cannot Lead Until You Serve

02/27/2017

We are Millennials. We are Generation Z. We are the future of the world.

With this comes immense responsibility.

It seems that as the current generation of young adults, we’re striving to advance ourselves and our desires. It’s foolish to believe we can upend this mindset and establish an entire generation of thinkers devoted to advancing others and not themselves. However, should that not be our focus?

Our goal, as young Christian leaders, should be to show others that selfishness is destructive and selflessness is productive. Unlike today’s popular leaders, we shouldn’t command others to align their thought processes with ours. It should be our actions, and not our words, that encourage others to put down less productive ways of thinking.

Our world is being bombarded with empty leadership. Leaders are worried about the end goal but not the means by which that end is reached. When leaders fail to care about others, their leadership capabilities are empty of emotional connection. It is for this reason they hardly ever see an overwhelming, radical change. People like to be cared about; they don’t like to be bossed around.

True leadership – biblical leadership – stems from a desire to serve. Unfortunately, our generation has forgotten the importance of servant leadership. This is destroying opportunities for people, especially Christians, to influence the world around them – whether it’s in a secular realm or not. People tend to respond positively to love, and the purest form of love is serving.

That is why rejecting the role of a servant leader is detrimental to changing our society. Our lives as Christians changed because of love and sacrifice. How can we expect to change the world without loving others and sacrificing for them?

It’s simple: we can’t.

So, how do we transform ourselves from being empty leaders to becoming servant leaders?

First, as leaders, we must recognize that we are equal to those we are leading. The concept that a leader is an unattainable person who is unwilling to do anything but be above others is absurd. A condescending spirit accomplishes nothing. A leader has to be much more than that. We need to become someone people look up to because they feel comfortable around us. We need to be someone willing to get his or her hands dirty, to work hard, and to set an example. We need to be accessible and open. As true leaders, we must realize that we aren’t above anyone; and therefore, we must be willing to serve alongside everyone.

Secondly, we must love. As Christians, and as leaders, our job is to create peace by minimizing the things threatening to separate us. The only way to overlook the differences that cause strife among people is to love. This must start with us. As leaders, we can’t expect our followers to love each other if we don’t first love them. Similarly, we can’t love our followers if we don’t dwell constantly in the love of Christ. So, we must take the initiative to make sure that each one of our followers feels loved, and thus, needed and wanted. With love at the heart of a leader, followers flourish.

Finally, we must be willing to sacrifice. Great leaders are great because they aren’t afraid to lower themselves in order to lift everyone else up. They’re willing to sacrifice their own selfish desires for the benefit of the group. Without sacrifice and compromise, people achieve nothing. As leaders, we must understand this and minimize any of our ulterior motives. Our sole purpose should be to lead, not to overpower. This is why great leaders are servants to their followers.

Being an empty leader is easy, but ultimately, its selfish roots are destructive. Being a servant leader is difficult. It requires immense humility, encompassing love, and a servant’s heart. However, in the end, it’s worth the effort because these things make a Christ-like leader.

Let us be the next generation of servant leaders not for our own praise, but to show others the love of Jesus through our actions. Remember, this life isn’t about us; it’s about Jesus and pointing others to Him. Our leadership should reflect that.

 

Hannah Tybor is currently a public relations student at Middle Tennessee State University. When she isn’t spending her time studying, she enjoys writing, watching Netflix, and late night Taco Bell trips.

From a young age, Hannah began sharing her passion for Jesus through her two favorite avenues: adoption and disaster-relief work. Recently, she spoke at an adoption fundraiser, encouraging families to consider adoption. She has also published several articles about her own adoption experiences. Hannah is also on the leadership team for the nonprofit organization Eight Days of Hope which helps rebuild homes following natural disasters.

In the future, Hannah hopes to have a job that allows her further the Kingdom of God through one of these avenues.

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