Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Anticipating needs: Servanthood (Character Trait #4)

Once in college, I had a roommate who told me how she was convicted on being open to interruptions like Jesus. Vanessa talked about how planning in advance is good, but only so that it would create space in your schedule for Jesus to interrupt your plans. Maybe he has an event or person scheduled on His calendar for your day that you didn't know about. Vanessa started practicing being open to interruptions so she could serve the Lord and people better.

Tom Yeakley addresses this idea in his chapter on Servanthood.  He quotes Andy Standley in the book asking
"Are you a servant who leads, or a leader who serves?" 

He goes on to say that leadership is a role, not an identity, but being a servant is our identity, given when we followed the one who didn't come to be served. (Mark 10:45) A servant doesn't demand to be helped but anticipates the needs of others and steps in where they see the need.

Leaders take initiative and don't look for recognition. They will seek God and help others seek God, rather than telling people our own thoughts on  how to act. They also always seek to promote those around them. To be selfish does not demonstrate servanthood.

Maybe it means asking questions in a conversation, rather than rattling on about my day. Maybe it means moving chairs for a meeting before the leader comes in. Maybe its answering the phone on my "day off" to help a friend in need. Maybe its doing a load of laundry during downtime so I can be open to the "Want to get dinner and catch up tonight?" friend.

In my time in campus ministry, there are two people that stand out to me as servants that lead like this. The first guy is Mr. Sound Guy from the Mid-west and the second is Band Equipment Man from the Sunshine State. Both Mr. Sound Guy and Band Equipment Man anticipated the needs of our large group meetings. Both gave up 1-2 hours before or after a meeting to haul equipment, set up, tear down, tune instruments, and untangle chords. Both didn't ever want recognition, and when you'd give it, they would include the people that served them.

I also recently witnessed this at a National Conference for our ministry. The President of our international Christian ministry gave a message to the 4000+ crowd of ministering staff about having child like faith.

He said, as children, we never should anticipate that the solution to our issues, questions, problems starts with us. He then initiated a time of prayer. One of the most touching things to me was when he left the stage, and stood among the other servant leader prayer warriors around the room. He blended in as a servant. He prayed with new staff, old staff, people much younger than him, people more experienced than him. Either way, his main role that night was to pray, not preach. And his main method, was as a servant, not a leader.

Oh that I would be a woman that anticipates the needs, plans ahead, and humbly steps off the stage for the servant, submitted under the only wise King.

This Blog Brought to you in honor of Sound Guy and Band Man, both of whom have served and led faithfully.