Actions Speak Louder than Words: What Servant Leadership Means for Christians

September 29, 2015

Your effectiveness as a leader is often reflected in those whom you lead. Every day, people are watching and learning from you - reading into your character, interpreting what they see, and often following your example. The old saying, “actions speak louder than words,” rings especially true for business owners and CEOs. At C12 Group, we talk a lot about servant leadership, and how an others-centric mindset can transform cultures for the better.

Christian Servant Leadership

There’s a big difference between servant leadership and Christian servant leadership.  Robert Greenleaf defined servant leadership as a philosophy and practice where servant leaders are often seen as humble stewards of their organization’s resources: human, financial, and physical. Christian servant leadership takes this idea further and considers how every action of the Christian servant leader can work to build transparency and trust, ultimately pointing people to Christ.

We are not only decision-makers, but as Christian servant leaders, we are God-appointed role models. What we choose to do, and how we do it, influences many. As James wrote, “faith without deeds is dead (James 2:26).”

Would you describe yourself as a servant leader? A Christian servant leader? Consider what your actions and activities say about you by examining these four areas:

Your relationships: Do you actively listen to others, paying close attention to their verbal and nonverbal messages...or are you inattentive and impatient, always in a hurry to tackle the next item on your to-do list? Christian servant leaders are intentional in relationships and truly invest in the needs of others.

Your motivation: What excites and energizes you as a leader? Is it working toward the next big thing or acquiring a new contract? Perhaps it is shepherding others and seeing growth in your team. Whatever fuels your passion, it is important to work with an eternal perspective.

Your idols: As a leader, it is easy to get used to being in control. Do you like this control? Do you seek approval from your peers and fellow business leaders? Examine things in your life that may become idols and remember to give God the glory for your success.

Your initiative: Have you incorporated activities into your company culture that present the Gospel and nurture faith in others? When you provide opportunities for your employees to grow (professionally, personally, and spiritually), you will be amazed by the positive outcomes.

Continue the Conversation

Even the best leaders are imperfect, but each day presents opportunities to improve. As you think about servant leadership in the context of your relationships, motivation, idols, and initiatives, consider the benefits of wise counsel. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” By reading God’s Word and finding trusted advisors, you will have the tools needed to become a leader worth following.