One day during the American Revolutionary War, George Washington rode up to a group of soldiers trying to raise a beam to a high position. The corporal who was overseeing the work kept shouting words of encouragement, but they couldn’t manage to do it. After watching their lack of success, Washington asked the corporal why he didn’t join in and help. The corporal replied quickly, “Do you realize that I am the corporal?” Washington very politely replied, “I beg your pardon, Mr. Corporal, I did.” Washington dismounted his horse and went to work with the soldiers until the beam was put into place. Wiping the perspiration from his face, he said, “If you should need help again, call on Washington, your commander in chief, and I will come.”
Over the past decade, I have noticed a great trend in business books. More and more of these business books are hailing the power and importance of servant leadership in leading in the workplace. This has been nothing new in the world of church, as we often site the example of Jesus as a servant leader, who would get down on his hands and knees and wash the feet of his disciples (John 13: 1-20).
Apparently, servant leadership has become mainstream. But the story of George Washington (and Jesus) proves that servant leadership is not a new concept. It is quite an old concept in which for-profit organizations are discovering as an effective tool for leadership.
For those of us in ministry, it is not only about being an effective leader, but it is about doing the right thing. We need to work to be servant leaders. Our ego’s can sometimes get in the way of truly serving others.
Name a time when you were like George Washington, a servant leader, in your ministry?