Chapter 3. The Concept of the Servant as a Leader 3-7
describes through Isaiah the prophet the coming of the Great Servant, Jesus. Thus one of the earliest references to the coming Messiah speaks, not of a king, but a servant. And, throughout the New Testament, Jesus talks again and again of serving others. "Whoever wants to be first must place himself last of all and be the servant of all." (Mark 9:35)
Greenleaf noted this repetition, reporting that the term servant (along with serve and service) appear in the Bible more than thirteen hundred times beginning with the book of Genesis. He put churches along side of foundations at the very top as contemporary institutions with the highest potential for serving humankind. Two essays explain his position"The Servant as Religious Leader" and "Seminary as Servant"the only ones addressed to a specific type of organization..
Seekers and Prophets
In "The Servant as Religious Leader" Greenleaf adds two additional tests for religious leaders, that they must be seekers and prophets as well as leaders.
Prophet, seeker, and leader are inextricable linked. The prophet brings vision and penetrating insight, The seeker brings openness, aggressive searching, and critical judgmentall within the context of the deeply felt attitude, "I have not yet found it." The leader adds the art of persuasion backed by persistence, determination, and the courage to venture and risk. The occasional person embodies all three. Both prophet and leader are seekers first.
The effective religious leader, like other leaders, is apt to be highly intuitive in making judgments about what to do and what not to do. Such a leader also draws heavily on inspiration to sustain spirit. Careful analytical thought, along with knowledge and reflection, provides a check and a guide to intuition and inspiration, gives a solid basis for communicating with informed and prudent people, and offers a framework of assurance to those who would follow.5
Leadership versus management. Greenleaf is clear in distinguishing true leadership from management, especially in the context of religious organizations. Too often those in responsible church positions concentrate on and even belabor routine management and administrative problems common to any organization, and utterly fail to garner their deep inner resources and those of others in aggressive dynamic leadership that builds trust and confidence, attracting and holding followers. Church members tend to play it "safe." As Greenleaf once put it bluntly in an off-the-record session, "You seem not to believe in your own stuff."
Now is the time to jettison old hierarchical models and replace them with new ones emphasizing persuasion and seeking consensus. No candidates should be more receptive than Christian congregations. The conversion, if we may be so bold to call it, may require only a slight bending here and there or a