Thursday, August 16, 2007

Servant Leadership

Thursday, August 16, 2007 -- Week of Proper 14

"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location --

Audio Podcasts of today's "Morning Reflection" and those from the past week are available from (go to St. Paul's Home Page and click "Morning Reflection podcast")

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (p. 978)
Psalms 105:1-22 (morning) 105:23-55 (evening)
2 Samuel 15:1-18
Acts 21:27-36
Mark 10:32-45

"You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all."

The leader as servant. It is an idea that has blossomed not only among the followers of Jesus, but also in corporate life. A Servant Leadership model has transformed many businesses who have discovered that they are more effective and more profitable when they change their paradigm from a "power-over" to a "power-with" culture.

Robert K. Greenleaf wrote in 1970 in his now classic book The Servant as Leader: "The servant leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The best test is: do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more likely themselves to become servants?"

I remember John Lewis talking about his philosophy as a bank president. He made it a priority to insure that the employees of the bank were growing as persons, becoming healthier, wiser, freer, more likely themselves to become servants. Part of his job was to serve their best interests. He encouraged the bank to have the same attitude of service toward the community. How can our bank help our community become healthier, wiser, freer, more likely themselves to become servants? It's not about money, though making money is important, he said. It's about serving and helping people become more than they were.

In our Servant Leadership School we outline some of the differences between the power-with paradigm and the power-over paradigm. The power-with paradigm is undergirded by faith and love rather than fear and control. A sense of sufficiency, fullness and trust replaces an attitude of scarcity, emptiness and anxiety. A culture of grace, self-acceptance and belonging replaces a culture of shame, self-rejection and earning. A spirit of participation, non-violence and relational power replaces control, coercion and unilateral power.

How different might our world be if the kind of servant leadership that Jesus models became the norm for all of our organizations -- our businesses, our non-profits, our governments.



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The Rev. Lowell Grisham
Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, AR

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life:
We aspire to...
worship weekly
pray daily
learn constantly
serve joyfully
live generously.


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