So you’re becoming a servant leader, what’s next?*
By Jim Boesch
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Doing habit: Obeying and expressing God’s love
James encourages us to be doers of the Word, and not merely hearers of it (James 1:22).
Therefore, the natural flow of accepting and abiding in God’s love calls us to express it to those we love and lead.
We have identified four doing habits that are central to obeying God and expressing His love and true character to others. You may think of others.
As we are transformed from the inside out, we will bear the “good fruit” of our internal change.
As we walk the talk by exercising these doing habits, all who come in contact with us and all those we influence will “see our good deeds and praise our Father who is in heaven.”
“Grace is the currency of all true relationships.” Grace has also been defined as “the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.”
Grace is extending unrestrained fellowship to others in celebration of their inherent dignity as being made in God’s image and as the object of His affection, regardless whether they merit it or not. Grace is at work in relationships when we:
- are present for one another;
- accept our mutual limitations;
- exchange mutual efforts to enhance each other’s wellbeing.
It is only in freely-extended intimacy that grace abounds.
God has reached out in the most profound way to restore our intimate relationship with Him. Even when we walk away from Him in our sin His grace abounds in that
“While we are still sinners, Christ died for us.”
During His season of leadership, Jesus constantly reached out His hand in unrestrained fellowship and acceptance to heal and restore people to relationships of grace and acceptance. To lead like Jesus we must come to understand the spiritual dynamics of our relationships as both leaders and followers so that we may be agents of grace in a like manner.
And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
Forgiveness is a supernatural act, not one that we are automatically drawn to extend as a part of our natural response to being hurt or let down. It is an act of the will of one who has surrendered control to a higher court of judgment. Forgiveness is a hallmark of what it means to lead like Jesus. He taught it to His disciples; He practiced it with those who betrayed Him; and, He granted it willingly to those who participated in His death on the cross.
For a leader, the journey of forgiveness must start with oneself. Unlike Jesus, we will fall short of 100 percent in our journey as leaders. Sometimes we will make mistakes that could have been avoided. Sometimes we will say or do things in the heat of the moment that we regret. If our ego is wrapped up in our performance and the opinion of others, we will be unable to forgive our own shortcomings, let alone anyone else’s. Once we fully grasp and accept God’s forgiveness towards us, we will be able to “forgive the inexcusable” in others “because God has forgiven the inexcusable” in us. (C.S.Lewis)
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Encouragement is often overlooked, and may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Encouraging words of Jesus like “you can do all things through me” and “I will never leave you nor forsake you” gave His disciples the power to live their lives to the fullest and to do the impossible!
Do you recall the moment when Peter and the other disciples were in a boat amidst a storm, fearing for their lives? Jesus’ encouraging words, “Don’t be afraid, take courage” gave Peter the courage to step out of the boat. Jesus’ encouraging words enabled a fearful man to walk on water!
As we feast on God’s Word and His constant encouragement for us, let’s use every opportunity we get to encourage those around us. We never know what a “little encouraging word” can do in someone’s life!
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”
––2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Community was always a part of God’s design. Going back to the Garden of Eden we see God create man and woman so they can be in community with their Maker and with one another. In Romans 12, we get a wonderful picture of how, even though we are many members, we are all part of one body, designed to work together in perfect harmony.
Christian community is simply sharing a common life in Jesus with others. It helps us move beyond the isolation of private lives to a commitment to live together as the people of God.
Community is a way for us to live out the mandate of “one another” found throughout the Scriptures. For example: Love one another, forgive each other, regard each other more highly than yourselves. Teach and correct each other, encourage each other, pray for each other, and bear each other’s burdens. Be friends with one another, kind, compassionate, and generous in hospitality. Serve one another and submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Sharing this common life is where we learn to be “Jesus with skin on” for others. It’s where we can be ourselves and be challenged to be more than we are. In his book, Just Like Jesus, Max Lucado says, “God loves us just like we are but He doesn’t mean to leave us that way. He wants to make us just like Jesus.” That’s what happens in community!
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A servant leader is a lifelong learner and their role of influencing others for the benefit of building and serving God’s kingdom for His glory will be enhanced greatly through the consistent, authentic use of this arsenal of doing habits and behaviors.
*This information is included in the Lead like Jesus servant leadership equipping ministry. It introduces the final, continual area of growth undertaken by a leader as they begin to apply skills experienced in the leadership domains of the Heart, Being Habits, Head and Hands domains of Leading Like Jesus. If you are unaware of the details of this ministry, please contact me for more information.)
Jim is a master trainer in facilitating workshops for “Lead Like Jesus,” servant leadership training; “Understanding Men's Ministry,” discipling leadership training; and “Equipping Equippers” learning-facilitation training. You may host any of these workshops in your area by calling him (407-721-0416) or by e-mail
Jim Boesch, deployed staff
General Commission on UM Men