Servant Leadership: Practices
“Content: Practicing Servant Leadership Today - Part 2” (SL#63)
by Lloyd Elder, Th.D., adapted from SkillTrack® 1:3 - Charting Your Course

Practice Content: continued. Two articles are companions, together presenting the content and a graph on servant leaders today. After this outline, we will continue with Practice #4.

Content - Part 1 (SL#62)

Practice #1 - Empowered Leadership
Practice #2 - Ethical Leadership
Practice #3 - Enabling Leadership

Content - Part 2 (SL#63)

Practice #4 - Effective Leadership
Practice #5 - Efficient Leadership

Practice #4. Effective Leadership:
“Doing the right things on purpose.”
Servant leaders intentionally seek to establish kingdom mission, goals, and direction with the church body and its members. That is the mark of effectiveness, or excellence, Paul sought in the service of Christ:

2 Tim. 2:15--Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Phil. 3:12-14-- Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Note: For further development of “effective leadership” see Transformative Leadership in SL#68 and Mission/Vision-Centered Leadership in SL#70.

1. Personal effectiveness. Commit yourself to a lifetime of growth, development, and contribution:

  1. Congregational effectiveness--work with your team or the congregation to establish and achieve kingdom goals.

James H. Landes: A Model of Servant Leadership:
Personal Tribute by Lloyd Elder

James H. Landes--pastor, executive, visionary, Christian gentleman--was for 25 years my friend and valued mentor; and for three years my “boss.” From extensive notes taken on many occasions and diverse circumstances in the 1970’s, I have gleaned his guidance about Christian ministry/leadership, which he consistently lived and practiced.

  1. Respect individuals and individuality.
  2. Develop those who work with you to their full potential.
  3. Develop a sense of gratitude; be gentle and caring in your relationship with others.
  4. Keep structures that permit change and renewal.
  5. Live your life fully motivated by the cross of Jesus Christ; seek to know the will of God for your life and work.
  6. Learn all you can about the institutions, churches, associations, BGCT, agencies, and the SBC.
  7. Constructive criticism of the denomination is in order.
  8. Make judgments knowing that your judgments are only approximations of the whole.
  9. Prevent dry-rot in the denomination: search for the right people; develop open, healthy environment and communications.
  10. Provide for self-criticism; build it into the process; know and accept yourself.
  11. Be more interested in what is going to be rather than in what has been; live with purpose.
  12. Love: first, last, in every way--love.

Practice #5. Efficient Leadership:
“Doing the right things in the right way.” Servant leadership competently organizes and administers ministries and tasks toward the support of kingdom mission and goals. “Management” and skill development are not unimportant disciplines--they are a must in a serving church. For additional development of “efficient leadership” see SL#72, Administrative Management Leadership.

  1. There is no single word in the Bible translated “efficient,” but . . .
  1. Management leadership within the congregation may be guided by the few but is implemented by many individuals and teams. There are typical roles and tasks such as:

Well, this concludes the presentation of a visual and explanation of five practices of being a servant leader today. If you were to lead a conference on “Practicing Servant Leadership,” what would your major points be? Where will you start your practice? How could this article assist your practice and teaching?

Robert Greenleaf: Ten Characteristics of the Servant-Leader
Study Abstract - Prepared by Lloyd Elder

The following ten characteristics of servant-leadership are abstracted from Reflections on Leadership, “Introduction: Servant-Leadership and The Greenleaf Legacy” (p. 4-7) by Larry Spears, who is editor of the book. Larry Spears, executive director of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, quotes from the New York Times:

Servant leadership deals with the reality of power in everyday life--its legitimacy, the ethical restraints upon it and the beneficial results that can be attained through the appropriate use of power.

After some years of carefully considering Greenleaf’s original writings, Larry Spears has identified the following 10 critical characteristics of the servant-leader:

Ten Critical Characteristics of the Servant-Leader:

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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