The servant leader must develop himself as a leader and as a servant so that together both he and his people can flourish and achieve their full potential in the service of a common, higher purpose.
This article focuses on some key realities about the growth of people and the Christian servant leader’s role in its facilitation. First it’s the recognition that growth in organizations is as dependent upon God as is growth in a garden. However, growth needs to be fostered; it requires sufficient room for the individual to grow but excessive growth on the part of one can constrain and deprive another. Even then the difficult process of “pruning” is required to help shape and direct people, increasing their fruitfulness. But perhaps the most uncomfortable aspect of growth is change. This is inevitable.
In many aspects, the task of the gardener in a garden is similar to the task of the Christian servant leader modelled on Jesus Both will study the environment, define a specific purpose, prepare a place that is conducive for growth, get the right plants/people in to be able to fulfil the purpose, and tend to the individual plants/people to help them grow and bear fruit. A garden is made up of single plants and much additional insight can be gained from considering the role of a single plant – or even parts of a plant – in the garden, and applying those insights to the role of a leader in an organization.
There is a lot that is said and written about Christian leadership. Much of it is not actually about leadership at all, but is focused on theological, expositional, hermeneutical, worship facilitation and communications skills. It’s also sad to say that Christian leadership today seems frequently to get confused with the modern concept of celebrity. Where consideration is given to the vital skills of people and organizational leadership, the Christian world so often seems to call upon secular, worldly models, passing over the one role model who should be in focus – Jesus Christ.