The Spirit of Servant-Leadership

The Spirit of Servant-Leadership

Shann Ray Ferch & Larry C. Spears (eds), Paulist Press

Despite the church’s claim to be counter cultural, more often than not we see examples of leadership that are traditional, autocratic and hierarchal.

Instead of leading with care and respect, so often we treat people merely as cogs in a wheel. And yet, if we are to take seriously the example of Jesus, church leadership would be servant-leadership.

Servant leadership, as defined by Spears, involves teamwork and community. It seeks to involve others in decision making, and is based in ethical and caring behaviour. Such leadership is life-affirming and transformational.

Spears’ sets up the book in his Introduction, which outlines what a servant-leader is and what characteristics a servant leader displays.

Each chapter that follows reflects on various aspects of servant leadership. Jan Gunnarsson and Olle Blohm outline the promises that a welcoming servant-leader makes to their organisation, knowing that everyone contributes in some way to an organisation’s collective success.

Ferch and Welch each consider the inner aspects for successful servant leadership. After years of experience as a senior corporate executive, Autry outlines some simple guidelines for leadership that promotes community and connection among workers.

Ortiz gives us an example of servant-leadership in action, and Wheatley helps the reader assess their own leadership style.

I thought that the church should be teaching the world the value of servant-leadership but the work of Greenleaf, Spears et al have much to teach us too. A must read for all leaders in the church.

Karyl Davison

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