Surprise! I’m the Leader!

You may remember the children’s game “follow the leader.” One child chosen as the leader goes to the head of the line. All the other children line up behind the leader. The children mimic whatever actions the leader does. This silly example supports the oft-heard quote “You’re not a leader if no one is following you.”

So how does a leader get people to follow her? What does an effective leader do to keep followers and get new ones? She serves. The role of servant leader is what I have found to be the most effective tool in leading others. If I am not willing to serve others in His name and lead others by serving alongside them, how can I expect others to catch the vision of the ministry or the task?

The servant leader shares the responsibilities of the task and helps her team develop and perform to its best potential. She encourages team members and challenges them to use their spiritual gifts in serving the Lord by serving others.

I used to think you could motivate others to serve. Then, I heard a seasoned WMU conference leader say, “You cannot motivate others. You can only create an environment in which they will motivate themselves to act or serve.”

Seeing young adults who first served on missions teams where I modeled the servant leader role now involved in serving in missions in their local church and around the world makes my heart sing. It confirms the importance of both the servant leader and encourager qualifications.

A popular leadership quote says, “Leaders are made not born.” Other popular leadership gurus tout the reverse: “Leaders are born not made.” God gives each believer unique spiritual gifts He wants us to use in serving Him. One of those gifts is leadership. As a servant leader, I give this gift back to Him, giving Him all the glory for whatever is accomplished.

“Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58 NIV).

Charlotte Watson recently retired as minister of missions, but she continues to enjoy leading, teaching, writing, and serving in missions.

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