Servant Leadership: Practices
“Practices Overview: Charting Your Course Today” (SL#61)
by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., adapted from SkillTrack® 1:3 - Charting Your Course

Servant leaders today have extraordinary challenges and exciting opportunities to make choices about life, ministry, and world citizenship. The objective of this article, and the subsequent series, is to help with those choices:

To enable you to chart your own course in the practice of servant leadership toward achieving kingdom goals by examining the content of servant leadership, the context of its challenges and situations, and its conduct expressed in contemporary styles and models.--Lloyd Elder

As a series overview on charting your course today, this article will introduce key biblical texts, the servant leadership scope, a visual of servant leadership in practice. Max DePree in Leadership Jazz (p. 10) succinctly lays down a challenge for all us in the ministry of Christ: “The servanthood of leadership needs to be felt, understood, believed, and practiced if we are to be faithful.”

1. Key Biblical Texts
These biblical texts and situations may vary, but each one could contribute to “charting your own course” as a servant leader for today's church and world.

2. Charting Your Course contemplates the scope and builds on two other sets of articles in this series on “your journey toward servant leadership.” How do they intersect in your path?

3. Servant Leadership Practices--A Visual representing the fundamental movement of this course of study inviting you along the journey: the following visual makes its own charting message, so consider these elements:

4. Just Who Is A Leader?
How would you respond to that question? If you ask members in the pew or “scholars” in the study, you would receive a wide diversity of answers; some do not represent the essence of being a servant leader. For example, a leader is:

Reflection: These lessons should help to prepare you to develop your own understanding of servant leadership and shape it into statements and practices. What would you add to these descriptions?

5. Charting your course could profit from valuable insights provided in “The Attributes of Leadership: A Checklist,” (Leadership Jazz, Max DePree, pp. 218-225).

Max DePree readily confesses that friends call him a man for many lists. But as he provides this list, he also acknowledges that his--or his checklist--is never complete. “One quality of leadership always implies another,” he affirms and launches into his own effort to describe the attributes of leadership:

6. Practicing Servant Leadership - Today:

7. Servant Leaders and the Congregation
Servant leaders make special contributions inside the life and ministry of a congregation. The following ten charting questions are asked and answered inside a three-fold context:

Now let me close this article with ten charting questions stimulated by Peter Drucker and other experts in the field:

Ten Leadership Charting Questions
for the Congregation and its Leadership Teams
1. What is your mission/vision? your business?
2. Who are your constituencies? your stakeholders?
3. What are their valued needs and wants?
4. What are your ministry/service strengths?
5. What new opportunities does your church have?
6. What weaknesses, threats, obstacles do you face?
7. What are your available resources for the task?
8. What are your congregation’s strategic priorities?
9. What is your plan for action? short, & long-range?
10. How will you know if you achieve success?

Keep the end of your journey forever in view: “I have finished the race [course], I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). From servant leadership (content) to congregational leadership situation (context), to styles and models (conduct): as you chart your course, keep your focus on leading in order to achieve kingdom mission and goals. Write up your own “trip-tic” mile posts in your journey toward servant leadership.

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© 2006; hosted and copyrighted by Lloyd Elder & Associates, Inc.
For full citation of referenced works, see Bibliography/Links at
Adapted by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., Founding Director, Moench Center for Church Leadership