Leading as a Servant

Updated: Feb 4


How do you describe yourself as a leader of your nonprofit organization?

When choosing to launch and lead a nonprofit organization, most of us were motivated by the well-being of others, helping our community, and empowering those around us. We are servant leaders - a leader who sees themselves as one who serves and meets the needs of others.

How is a servant leader different from any other leader?

  • Servant leaders see leadership as an opportunity to serve others instead of obtaining a rank.

  • Servant leaders share their power and control to drive engagement instead of using their power and control to drive performance.

  • Servant leaders seek to grow and develop those they lead instead of measuring only the output of those they lead.

  • Servant Leaders listen more and speak less.

  • Servant leaders see the bigger vision and understand it is not about them.

Even if you do not have many employees in your organization yet, you are in a leadership role.

You are leading in your community, you are leading your board or donors, and you are leading those who are volunteering their time with your organization. As a servant leader, your role is to support and address the needs of those around you while maintaining your vision for your organization.

We can look to John 13 for the greatest example of a servant leader.


In this passage, Jesus models how to both lead and serve simultaneously in a familiar story - the washing of the disciples’ feet. Here are four things Jesus revealed that we need if we desire to follow in His footsteps and become a servant leader:

  1. A servant leader is motivated by a love and care for others (John 13:1-2). Jesus served them all, even the one who would betray Him.

  2. A servant leader has a security in themselves and their identity in Christ that allows them to serve others (John 13:3). Jesus knew who He was and whose He was, so He was able to grab the towel and get on His knees. He had nothing to prove to anyone.

  3. A servant leader takes the initiative to serve others (John 13:4-5). Jesus saw a need and met it. He did not stand and wait to see who would step up.

  4. A servant leader teaches and expects servanthood in those they lead (John 13:12,15). Jesus uses this as a teaching lesson and model for His followers and told them to go and do the same for others.

Praying for each one of you as you lead well and serve those around you!



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