Jesus’ leadership example is servant-leadership. He “came not to be served but to serve” (Mat. 20:28). In any organization, people are the greatest resource or asset. They are more important than money or raw material. Relationships are vital in leadership because they foster familiarity and comfort with the leader’s role. When you are simply an example to other people, you are a leader. When you seek to foster a relationship for God’s glory you are as much a leader as any person could be.
Another form of fostering relationships and being among the people is visitation. One famous preacher wrote, “There is, I believe, a therapeutic value in visitation. When you get out into the real world where the babies are being born and people are dying, and you visit, you are indeed in the real world.” Another preacher wrote, “Visit the church to know their needs and be better able to apply the Word of God to their needs. Work to know by name those who attend regularly, their children’s names, where they work, what they do as they are about their work, where they live and the kind of circumstances in which they live.” Visitation is the practical application and manifestation of a ministry that places people first. If we mimic Jesus’ example of coming to serve and not to be served, we will be where they are.
Another important aspect in servant-leadership is enthusiasm. Paul describes the Lord’s people as God’s “possession who are zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:14). In the course of serving others and meeting their needs, pessimism may be a temptation. Any time a person forces themselves to behave differently than they are naturally inclined to, they may do so in a disgruntled manner. That is why this aspect requires extra attention in servant-leadership. A great preacher I respect, “What if there were more Epaphrases in the local church? (Colossians 4:12-13). Epaphras agonized intensely over his brethren as he prayed for them (v. 12). He not only prayed for them but did so with great fervor. Further, he had an overflowing desire for his brethren (v. 13). His heart was with God’s people!” Moving past the frustration of subjugating our own will beneath God’s will is a vital process in a servant of God’s life. That preacher points out, “Our passions are always with us, so we must train them. Our greatest interest must be in spiritual things.” The servant portion of servant-leadership is not to be done begrudgingly, rather zealously and with infectious enthusiasm. Such an enthusiasm is a tool for a leader’s example and guidance of his people to act likewise. Part of our leadership and our service to others should be infectious enthusiasm for the Lord’s work.