It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
In contrast to the leadership methodologies of the pagan world, spiritual leaders are to demonstrate a different approach. A Christian leader is humble, not ego driven. He is not to “lord over the flock.” He is also a servant. The essence of his leadership is giving to others and not looking to always receive. A Christian leader is a servant, and the Bible uses the term “slave” which is a direct contrast to how some see leaders as being “masters.” His focus of leadership is on others. He is to give up his time and life for the many and not just for himself.
Fortunately, God is actively making spiritual leaders throughout time. This idea of God’s shaping leaders is throughout the pages of the Bible. The Old Testament provides lengthier narrative on Biblical characters, which helps us to see the divine shaping of God on these individuals. Abram was instructed to leaveUrand travel to an unknown land, and all through this time God was shaping him to become a father to the faithful.
Joseph was enslaved, imprisoned, but God was shaping him providentially to become a leader to his people. Genesis 45:7-8 states:
And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Even though Joseph was going through various traumatic experiences, there was more than history happening; rather God was shaping this young man’s character into someone who would be a great leader and advocate for God’s people. The Bible confirms this in Exodus 1:6-8:
Then Joseph died, and all his brothers and all that generation. But the people ofIsraelwere fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them. Now there arose a new king overEgypt, who did not know Joseph.
Joseph was a highly influential person within the Egyptian nation, but after his death and memory faded, a Pharaoh who enslaved God’s people, came to power. The Bible states that he did this because he “did not know Joseph.”
 Aubrey Malphurs, Being Leaders (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003), 40.
- Successful Service for Leaders: The Three Dynamics
- Review of “Why We are Bad at Picking Good Leaders”
- Church Leaders Living Through Business
- Review of “Building Leaders”
- The End Result to Lads to Leaders