Article by Teresa Chang
One of our annual Passion Week traditions is that our church leaders will wash the feet of every church member. It is a powerful time and demonstrates Jesus’ love for us as He washed the disciples’ feet. It is also a reminder to us church leaders of the heart posture we are to have as we serve the members of our church.
Servanthood should be the heart that drives us as we go out to change the world. It is the combination of activity and humility; we see the good that ought to be done, and so we activate ourselves to serve with hearts of genuine love and compassion. Unfortunately, the Church has built a reputation for having the opposite spirit. Some of us haven’t served in humility and gentleness; instead, we rode in like bosses and tried to rule people and legislate morality over them.
The Church has lost the right to lead
because we have lost the will to serve.
Until we are willing to serve the poor and ungodly, the just and the unjust, those who are unrighteous along with the righteous, we have no right to expect to be heard. Servanthood opens the door to leadership.
How to Build a Vision for Servanthood in Your Church
1. Make the vision practical.
The concept of serving others doesn’t have to be hard. We can think about it in simple ways. We find servanthood in the very heart of God. Having embraced the form of a servant, Jesus told the disciples, “I am among you as the One who serves” (Luke 22:27). Even many of the prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament refer to Him as the “suffering servant.” Philippians 2 encourages us to have the same mind as Christ, who became the servant of all.
Servanthood is an act of love that is deeply embedded in God’s heart. He is the One who sees to our needs and provides for us. That is where the vision to serve comes from—the heart of God. If we want to be leaders in the world, we need to be the servants of all (Mark 9:35). Think about what that means for you and your church.
2. Model your vision for servanthood.
Practice being a servant in simple, everyday ways. Consider these questions with your team: Why is it important to be a servant? How will people come to know God better as they serve others?
Be careful not to instill within yourself a sense of legalism when it comes to serving. Joy is a much better motivator, one with a phenomenal amount of power. You can motivate people for a season with duty—or you can motivate them for a lifetime with joy. Discover the delight aspect of serving others and then spread that delight to your leadership team.
3. Make the vision for servanthood a priority.
We are all servants of the Lord doing our part. When the day is done, the pay’s the same—we all get to go be with Him. Equip your church to be servants, both to one another and your city. Spend time preaching about servanthood and how it functions in the Body of Christ. This is not manipulation or an attempt to compel people to help out; it is insight into the servant heart of God and how He called us to serve as He serves.
Celebrate acts of servanthood in your core leadership group so your vision for servanthood naturally extends to the rest of the church. As people see the importance of servanthood, they will begin to adopt it as a value in their own lives.