A void exists in our world today, one that is not limited to any race, creed, socioeconomic, political, or positional status. Broken homes, fractured families, low educational achievement, business failures, and ineffective churches and ministries are all the results of this void.
What’s missing is leadership. Specifically, servant leadership. What can be done about it?
First, we must understand that we are each leaders, and we are responsible for leading those who are following. The question then becomes, what kind of leader are we?
We are the sum of our experiences, and we need to realize those experiences have led us to repeat the same habits and make the same mistakes of those we have followed. Our parents, siblings, friends, coworkers, and mentors have all played a role in shaping who we are and how we currently lead those in our sphere of influence.
Regardless of whom we have followed to this point and how that has affected the way we lead, we can become a servant leader by following a model that has not only been proven over time but has transcended every cultural dynamic for the last two thousand years.
That model is the one lived out by Jesus of Nazareth. His servant leadership example is the most effective and transformational model in history and is readily available to us today.
Servant Leadership: Leading Today for a Better Tomorrow was written to impress upon people that no matter who you are or what you do, the model Jesus left to us can teach us to lead in a way that fills the void many of us have faced.
When we begin to care enough for those who follow us, we can change the trajectory of our world one person at a time. When we do, we will create a better tomorrow for everyone.
At present, we may find ourselves spending time considering our lives and the value of living. “Wondering while we wait” is normal and natural. It is what we spend our time wondering about that matters most.
As everything is essentially put on pause and even the most basic aspects of our lives are being held up, we can all see how difficult the process of “holding up” can be. Waiting and wonder what is coming next creates stress, tension and anxiety for most of us.
As our world seems to be giving way to chaos and panic. We see that people fear what they don’t understand. In the middle of all this, I long for that “peaceful easy feeling” that comes from the certainty and routine of everyday life. Now is the time to foster, remember and focus on that feeling.
The idea of “giving thanks” is a concept that does not accurately reflect today’s culture. The dissatisfaction in who we are, what we have and what we do is real and growing. To feel this way, is seen as both acceptable and understandable.
We have all heard the adage “this is the first day” of the rest of your life. I am sure we have considered this from time to time and have our own thoughts regarding what it means and how we apply it to each day. But what if this was the last day we had? How would we approach it any differently?
In today’s world, and yes in the Church today, humility is not a dominating characteristic. Instead we see arrogance, pridefulness and self-promotion. Though this should not be what a leader looks like, it seems to be what the world is looking for in its leaders. These traits are seen by many as being confident, capable and self-assured.
The question “why not me” is something many of us will struggle with as we go through life. It starts as children in school, when we are not picked for a part in a play or chosen for a team. It continues as adults in our relationships, when someone we desire to know has no desire to know us.
As we go through life there are those who seek to live in relative safety and comfort and there are those who seem to be living on the edge. I am not certain which lifestyle is the right one, but I do know it is usually one or the other. It is almost never an either or situation.
At this point in life, I am always striving to live in a way that points to what I believe. That leads me to ponder if, “I am for real.” Why does this matter? It matters because what I believe should be reflected in how I live.
John Wallace Whitehead has long seen the need for a leader worth following. He believes, he might have avoided the pitfalls and trials in his early life had he been shown a better way. His life has since transformed from dysfunction and self-absorption to one of longing and introspection, and he now desires to share what he has learned and help others find a better way.
John believes that leaders who are dedicated to seeing those in their spheres of influence achieve all they are capable of will make the entire world a better place, one person at a time.
For the past thirty years, John and his wife, Bonnie, have owned and managed JW Companies, specializing in fire sprinkler service and inspections, fire & security systems, and design services. JW Companies is located in West Palm Beach, Florida.
John recently resigned as the chairman of the board of trustees at Trinity College of Florida in the Newport Richey area, where he served for the past thirteen years. Since 2006, John has served as an interim pastor in the Palm Beach County area, and he is currently an associate pastor at Christ Fellowship in Palm Beach Gardens.
John’s first book, Where Is God in His Church?, was published in 2011 by WestBow Press.
John and his wife, Bonnie, have been married for thirty-eight years and have known each other since they were fourteen years old. The couple has two adult children, Lindsay and John P., and two grandsons, Ryder, age ten, and Easton, age seven. John and Bonnie live in West Palm Beach.
The effect of Jesus’s influence on our world cannot be denied, as His impact has grown from twelve to more than two billion followers today.
Leadership in every context requires a willingness to serve others rather than a need to be served by others.
Trust requires faith and faith leads to following. People follow people first, and they must trust you before they will follow you.
Praying for God to do what He has called you to do is not leading. Waiting to hear from the Lord is not an excuse for inactivity.
Self-serving leadership will always lead itself to self-aggrandizement, simply because the interest in those leading this way is ultimately for themselves.
Effective leadership reproduces effective leaders and conversely, ineffective leadership produces ineffective leaders.
The lack of good examples of leadership has led our culture to becoming self-centered, self-focused and self-absorbed.
Servant Leaders realize they can be both a catalyst and a diminishing factor in the lives of those around them, and they care enough to be a catalyst.
Servant Leaders love unconditionally, live sacrificially and leave a legacy worth following.
We are all “following someone” and in turn, someone is following us. This makes us all leaders at one level or another