A lot of people come to leadership college in order to learn how to lead. Most of the time, however, they leave learning how to serve. What’s the difference? Sometimes people think that being a leader is about being front and center, somewhere on the platform, in the public eye. You don’t get delegated tasks, you delegate them. Leaders set the vision. They run the show. It’s true, there are times when leaders get to the point in their journey where they do start giving out tasks, they do start setting vision, they do start “running the show.” But, that’s not where leadership begins.
Let’s take the example of one of the greatest leaders in the Bible: Mary, Jesus’s mother. She is easy to overlook, but it is clear that Mary played a pivotal role in the development of early Christianity. Her eyewitness testimony, her knowledge of Jesus, and her faithfulness in being the vessel through which the Saviour of the World came to earth sets her as an important leader in the history of the Church. But, where did her leadership begin? As a young girl whose sole task was to take care of a baby. No lights, no stage, no position. Her area of leadership was to serve God by being the best mother she could be. In turn, she became the image of the Church, the ideal example of the Church’s identity.
It’s easy to think that helping to put out chairs before a service, or mowing someone’s lawn on a Saturday, or getting someone a microphone, or cleaning a toilet could be called leadership at all. But, it’s where true leadership begins. The greatest leaders have got to where they are by serving in the most unlikely of places. The world tells us that in order to be a leader we need to look this way, or speak that way, or have this many followers, or have a position of authority. But, the truth is that every day people become once-in-a-generation type leaders when they learn how to serve with what’s in their hand.