I’ve been in the church my entire life and I’ve watched “leaders” come and go. I am a student of Christian servant leadership not only from book learning, but also carefully observing those who model authentic spiritual leadership after the example of Christ.
I’ve come to a couple of conclusions: first, true spiritual leadership in the Evangelical church today is at an all time low, but most “leaders” in the American church today do not see it because they are enamored with corporate leadership principles which are mostly incompatible with a life of genuine spirituality. It’s like trying to hammer a square peg in a cross shaped form. It can be done, but in the process you destroy the cruciform contours.
Second, there are many essential qualities of servant/spiritual leadership following the example of Christ, but I’ve narrowed it down to the one indispensable trait that a Christ following servant leader will exhibit. I saw it quite clearly in Dr. Carl Clendenen (December 24, 1921 – January 8, 2013) the first time I met him. I saw this one indispensable trait distinctly in Tommy Barnett of the Assemblies of God the first time I met him (and it had absolutely nothing to do with the size and scope of his ministry, it never does). I’ve had a handful of college and seminary professors exhibit this one indispensable trait. My own father had this one indispensable trait. And I’ve been fortunate and blessed to know other extraordinary laypeople who lived out this one indispensable trait.
I’m not going to share publicaly what this one indispensable trait necessary for true Christlike servant/spiritual leadership is because it can be and is so easily counterfeited and manipulated (perhaps we can talk about it over a cup of coffee). It is a behavior that most people could not identity as essential for Christlike servant leadership, do not care about, do not believe it to be necessary, or believe they already have it mastered. It is an attribute that too many Christian leaders try to pass off as a quality they possess when in reality it is just a façade. The truth is, all of us striving to follow in the example of Christ struggle with this façade, but it is the rare few that actually break through and live it out with credibility and authenticity. I’m not there yet with this one indispensable trait, and the vast majority of us are not yet there either. But by the grace of God, He will help me. Hit me up for a cup of coffee and I’d love to talk to you more about this. Blessings.