The Influence of a Father: Servanthood

The true leader serves. Serves people. Serves their best interests, and in so doing will not always be popular, may not always impress. But because true leaders are motivated by loving concern rather than a desire for personal glory, they are willing to pay the price.

–  Eugene B. Habecker

 My father was born in 1927 into a rural family, the youngest of six children. It was the eve of the Great Depression, and he was helping out on the farm from an early age. As soon as he graduated from high school, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. After his discharge, he came back to Tennessee and built a gas station, which he operated for 44 years. His life was that of hard work, long hours, and low pay.

When you think of servanthood, do you envision it as an activity performed by relatively low-skilled people at the bottom of the positional totem pole? If you do, you have a wrong impression.

Servanthood is not about position or skill – it’s about attitude.

What does it mean to embody the quality of servanthood? John Maxwell thinks a true servant leader:

  1. Puts others ahead of his own agenda
  2. Possesses the confidence to serve
  3. Initiates service to others
  4. Is not position-conscious
  5. Serves out of love

All week long I have been reflecting on the life of my father by looking at some of his character qualities including passion and integrity. This final post is a look at servanthood, and that quality, among all others, epitomized my father.

My father would not describe himself as a leader, but he was. He led quietly – to the high school boys who worked for him over the course of four decades, to the customers who came to him looking for more than just gasoline, to the church he loved and served all of his life. He was a servant leader.

Good leaders do good things. Their lives matter. Servant leaders do great things. They help others’ lives to matter by serving them. Servant leadership is great leadership.

If you want to lead on the highest level, be willing to serve on the lowest.

H. D. Adams

08/09/1927 – 02/25/2012

He made a living by what he got; he made a life by what he gave.

reflections following my father’s death two years ago, and revisited now as my mother begins a major transition in her lifestyle

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What Do You Do When It Rains at Your Church?

Working on the Guest Services Parking Team in the rain yesterday at Elevation Church’s Uptown Campus brought these thoughts to mind:

Rainy days, especially on Sundays and other days you have worship, can be a real challenge – for guests and for your regular attenders and members.

What do you do when it rains?

Maybe your facility has a covered drop-off area and it’s not much of a problem. Many churches don’t have that option. Now what?

Here are a few “rainy day thoughts” you might consider:

  • Make sure your parking team is dressed appropriately for the weather (unless it’s cold, simple ponchos work great)
  • Purchase a quantity of large golf umbrellas (with your logo!)
  • Recruit extra team members if possible to walk guests from the parking lot to the entrance, holding the umbrella for them
  • Or give them an umbrella to use walking from their car to the entrance
  • Coordinate with your greeter team the logistics of running umbrellas back and forth as needed
  • Reverse the process when the worship experience is over
  • Rain usually slows people down – plan for latecomers
  • Umbrellas left at the entrance can get tangled up in a mess pretty quickly; organize them neatly
  • Rain means wet floors, especially near entrances; alert the housekeeping/custodial crews so that the floors can be kept as dry as possible to prevent slips and falls
  • Rainy days mean visibility is less than optimum; have flashlights and directional lights available as needed
  • Rainy days are an opportunity to encourage your congregation to be servants; take a look at this post to see what I mean

That’s just a few ideas – what can you add to the conversation?