Are you reaching for the trophy or the towel? A checklist for Christian business or ministry leaders that examines 5 keys to servant leadership.
I used to reach for trophies. I set goals that included promotions, awards, recognitions, and things designed to advance my career. Today I have a much deeper desire to pour into others through mentoring, coaching and discipling. I call it reaching for the towel, and it’s an important question for the Christian business or ministry leader. Jesus didn’t reach for trophies. He reached for a towel to wash his disciples’ feet. He modeled servant leadership.
To serve others, we need to carve out time from our busy schedule to connect, listen and have in-depth conversations. Joshua MacLeod, CEO of Growability Consulting, is someone I have done business with over the years. Joshua provides leadership, management and marketing consultation for business leaders. He designs my websites and takes photographs for my business. I am an enthusiastic supporter of his not-for-profit work at Watermelon Ministries. As we meet to discuss business, we often talk about spiritual growth, our faith and servant leadership.
A couple of months ago, Joshua 5 keys to servant leadership he’d taken away from our conversations. To say I was blown away would be an understatement. I saw how an unplanned, but in-depth conversation can have deep fruit. It was a gift from God. I asked Josh to share those keys to servant leadership with you.
From Joshua: Nancy Reece is one of my mentors. She asks the kind of questions that require a long walk in the woods and prayer to answer. Recently I shared with Nancy a few notes from conversations we’ve had over the years. I use the notes as a checklist for important decisions.
Emotion Check – Am I being led by emotion or truth?
- Nancy: Feelings are not truth. So they create opportunities for satan to manipulate the truth. He specializes in stuffing the skin of a truth with a lie. That’s why you need the belt of truth buckled around your waist.
- Joshua – Emotions are a better follower than a leader. Truth should be the leader.
Mission Check – Are you reaching for the trophy or reaching for the towel?
- Nancy: Shadow mission is where pride and ego take you slightly off path toward the mission that God has set in your heart. If you stay on that slightly altered course, you end missing your mission and calling entirely.
- Joshua – Your true mission is the one Jesus gave you. You can abide here and produce kingdom fruit. When you get caught up in “shadow mission”, Jesus is patiently waiting for you to repent (change direction) and stop wasting time. Shadow mission brings stuff with no joy.
Accountability Check – Who is courageous enough to speak the truth to me?
- Nancy: We all need courageous friends who are willing to hold us accountable to the truth.
- Joshua – Who are the people in my life that will hold me accountable to the truth? Am I open to receiving their truth spoken in love?
Grace Check – Am I assured of God’s love or am I trying to earn it?
- Nancy: Your image of God influences every choice you make. Unless you truly understand Jesus delights in you, you will make choices that deny his grace and fail to serve.
- Joshua – Am I cheapening the cross of Christ by trying to prove my worth to God?
Pride Check – Is this really all about me?
- Nancy: The Pharisees were more concerned with image than with serving. They chose pride over love.
- Joshua – Am I raising the status of my product, service, position, or influence above the greatness of God?
As Joshua shared these lessons, I was reminded of others who had poured into my life through in-depth conversations. How are you applying the 5 keys to servant leadership? Are you reaching for trophies or the towel?
The Towel Challenge:
Will you model servant leadership for the next person you encounter today by listening and taking the time have a in-depth conversation?