Summary: Servant Leaders build communities which are different from Institutions. They are able to provide the feeling of community living for the people.
Servant Leadership-Part 10
My topic for the past many sermons has been that of Servant Leadership. Yes, the leadership style that was advised by Jesus Christ when he said to his disciples “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)
Over past many sermons on this topic, we have established that Servant Leadership is not for those “others” we call Leaders, but it is for every one of us. This is so true in our Church. We are all called to be leaders and we are all called to be Servant Leaders. So the question is what does it take to be a Servant Leader? Again over the past many sermons I have dwelt on different aspects of this. This time I am going to touch upon a subject called “Building a community”. We will see that one of the ways to become a true Servant Leader is by “Building a community”
Leadership is a fascinating topic. There is plenty of research available out there on this topic. There has been research even on leadership behaviour among non humans. Let me give you some examples.
• Bee leaders do a “waggle dance” that lets other hive members know where to find the best nectar. They perform a “figure-of-eight movement,” skipping wildly around. The direction the bee faces points to the nectar’s location. The length of the waggle dance indicates the distance to the nectar.
• Temnothorax ants employ “tandem running,” in which one ant leads another to a food source. The leader ant – who knows the way to the food – periodically slows down so the follower ant can acclimate to new territory. When the follower ant is ready, it taps the leader ant, and both resume full-speed running.
• Elephants are matriarchal. When searching for waterholes, they normally trail an elderly female. Follower elephants value her “long memory.”
• Chimpanzees live in “dominance hierarchies,” with alpha males on top, taking their pick of “food or mates.” Chickens exhibit similar social structures. The alpha chicken pecks other birds, but they cannot peck back. Hence, the term “pecking order.”
But let us get back to Human leadership. In ancient times human beings used to live in closed communities. The community meant everything for them. It used to take care of every need of the individual. However, we living in the modern times have lost that advantage. We have moved out of communities into very individualistic lives. That has got it’s dangers, and many of the social issues that we see around us are a result of this. I strongly believe that all of us have a great role to play here. I believe that Servant Leaders have a great role to play here. Servant-Leaders are aware that the shift from local communities to large institutions as the primary shaper of human lives has changed our perceptions and caused a sense of loss. Servant-Leaders seek to identify a means for building community among those who work within a given institution.
And we have a great advantage; we belong to the Church, the universal Church, which is the body of Christ. Church is the highest form of community that we can think about. And Christ has given it to us. He has entrusted His body to us. As leaders of the Church , it is essential that we continue to take action to build this community.
But before we see how we can build this community called Church, let us address the question, Is today’s Church an Institution or is it a community? We all have heard this statement multiple times “This building is not the Church, we, the people are the Church”. Let me substantiate this. The English word “church” is derived from the Greek word kyriakon which means “belonging to the Lord.”. The Hebrew word qahal means simply an assembly. However, it does not necessarily refer to a religious assembly (Gen. 28:3; 49:6; Ps. 26:5), nor even to a congregation of human beings (Ps. 89:5), though most often it does refer to the congregation of Israel. The Greek word, ekklesia, meant an assembly and was used in a political, not a religious sense. It did not refer to the people but to the meeting; in other words, when the people were not assembled formally they were not referred to as an ekklesia. However, when the Greek word is used in the New Testament, it takes on much richer and fuller aspects to that basic secular meaning. For example, the people themselves, whether assembled or not, are the ekklesia. The word translated on the basis of etymology would mean “called together”.