For most of this year I have reflected on the tension between servanthood and leadership. Whilst on a recent holiday on the Greek island of Kos, I have given this challenging matter some thought. In fact I sat under the tree of Hippocrates in Kos town for about hour contemplating this matter whilst Fiona was off buying jewellery. What I did not know at this point was that I would soon observe a really good example linking the role of leader and servant.
We went on holiday with my daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren aged five and three. We stayed at one of the large family resorts. At that time there were one thousand guests and seven hundred staff. I think you might agree that both the hotel general manager and the deputy general manager would be people of great substance and achievement. One day about noon I was at one of the outlying bars when the deputy general manager arrived and said to the staff: “I am your servant for fifteen minutes.” In the mid-day sun he proceed single-handedly to bring in a large amount of water and soft drinks to fill up the fridges. He then mopped the floor. After he left, the staff told us what a great leader he was and how he could, and would, do every job in the hotel.
This put me in mind of Jesus when he washed the disciples’ feet at the last supper. Jesus was their servant for fifteen minutes. But of course Jesus was to be the greatest servant of all in his death and resurrection. Jesus serves us but he is still Christ the King, our leader.
Whilst the G7 clergy team hold the tension of leadership and servanthood, we can’t do it all. Who are the other disciples? The other disciples are the wonderful members of the G7 congregations. How can we all both lead and serve others in our community? Here is an idea: Could we invite and encourage a friend or family member to come to church. That would be exercising some leadership and then provide your guest with some hospitality afterwards, say a lunch, which would be servanthood.
I feel in some way this would be living out the great commission given to us by Jesus. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” Matthew 28:19. From a small invitation much could come. As disciples we are called to be both servant and leader.