Follow Or Flee

Leadership By Office or Service?


When you serve, others following your lead and serve too!Leadership should never be based on position, but on service, for you only “respect” the leadership that serves you. You are willing to follow and become loyal to them.  From those who dictate and control, you flee.

If anyone should know “service”, it should be the Church.  Jesus washed his disciples feet to show that even He, the Son of God, the Messiah, came to serve not to be served.  When the disciples fought over who should be on his right and left in the kingdom, Jesus soundly rebuked them, reminding them that His kingdom is built on service, not position; the least is the greatest.

In the field of public education, I have had trouble finding administrators who will serve rather than dictate, especially young administrators who think they have to “prove” themselves in their new position.  Administrators administrate. Good administrators see over their domain of influence, by serving those under their leadership to free them to do what they have been trained to do for the good of the entire building, school district, etc.

In the world of Public Education “professional development” is like “equipping the saints for the work of service”. To become a teacher you have to earn a Bachelor’s Degree, then have six years to earn a Master’s Degree.  To reach the top of most pay scales earn another 60 graduate credits (or two more Master’s Degrees).  What other profession has to earn a Bachelor’s and three Master’s Degrees to reach their pinnacle?  They also have to earn Act 48 Credits of “Professional Development”, which means more conferences, workshops, In-Service Training usually lead by administrators who are trying to teach, not administrate.  In spite of all this training many administrators, school board members, and most of the general public do not look at the teacher as a “professional” because of this mindset that they always need developed and teach in “failing schools”.

I am sorry, but the church has a lot of the same mentality.  Pastors and staff, like administrators, are always trying to develop their congregations, not necessarily equip them.  “Professional Development” in the church is called “Discipleship Training”.  Many a Senior Pastor administrates his church as a Superintendent of School administrates his district.  I am not criticizing the people who are pastors or staff personally.  I am criticizing their “leadership” style, for both the School Administrator and the Sr. Pastor or Pastor is missing the mark if their leadership style is not built on service.

School Administrators are to serve their students, the parents, their teachers, their custodial, secretarial, and kitchen staffs, and free everyone under his influence to do what they have been trained and are gifted to do!  Any administrator who actually “serves” has an awesome task.  The Superintendent is to serve his principals, not dictate and make them accountable to him for everything they do.  He needs to serve his principals, so they can serve their elementary or secondary school staffs.

The purpose of a “serving” leader is never to dictate, but to “free” those under his domain or sphere of influence to do what they have been called to do, and be willing to do anything in his power or sphere or domain of influence to free them to succeed.  I will gladly “serve” any administrator who “serves” me, and I will “serve” any Sr. Pastor, Pastor, or Staff member who “serves” me.  That’s leadership, setting the model that others will follow. You serve; they follow and serve too! Any stand-offish administrator, by his very nature has created a distance by “position”, while any administrator who “serves” draws those under his leadership near. The same is with leadership in the church. 

As we shall see in future blogs, Church leadership is built on service, not dictation or control.  Without service, the church is nothing but another institution where people follow out of fear or control and flee when given the chance.