The Principles of Shepherding for Servant Leaders
Last week I posted some thoughts on servant leadership and thought I would continue the theme today…
The shepherd does not expect the sheep to provide for him and the servant leader doesn’t lead for the purpose of the followers meeting his needs The mission of a servant leader who shepherds is to make life better for those who follow. The shepherd’s purpose in life is to care for the sheep. Sheep are helpless to find their own food and water and to care for themselves. Shepherding in leadership requires considering and identifying the needs of others. The effective servant leader will develop strategies that will insure needs are being met. For this leader there is no room for discrimination, rather all are served equally regardless of preferences or feelings. The servant leader who shepherds like Jesus will be more interested in loving people than in reaching objectives or implementing programs. They are willing to accept the responsibility for the spiritual welfare of their followers and they are willing to make significant sacrifices on behalf of those they lead.
Gentle and Gracious
One who leads as a shepherd does not use coercion or manipulation, but leads with a gentle and gracious spirit. This gentleness is borne out of strength of character. The strong shepherd will be willing to display gentleness in carrying, feeding and leading the sheep. This is especially important when dealing with followers who experience failure and demonstrate frustrating behavior. These weak followers require patient and persistent guidance and mentoring from the shepherding leader. This leader does not depend on position to inflate ego or produce authority. This humble attitude of service will be recognized by others which will result in acceptance and respect from followers. This leader reveals the extent of their love for others by their selfless service.
In addition to a caring attitude, the shepherding leader must also display competence to gain the respect and confidence of followers. Followers must know their shepherd and leader is not only compassionate, but also capable. This builds trust between follower and leader.
Servant leadership, a style or a motivation?
Leaders are often given more power over others than they want or need. The act of leadership is accompanied by subtle temptations of power and position that are often abused. Jesus modeled a way to lead that focuses on demonstrating sincere concern for the needs of others. Scripture provides a picture of a servant leader who acts as a loving shepherd—one who protects and nurtures those in their care. Peter encourages those who would serve others by saying, “Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but beings examples to the flock; And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4).
The servant leader first serves God and then seeks to serve others out of the overflow of relationship with God. I am of the opinion that servant leadership cannot be described as a style of leadership, but rather it is a motivation that directs one to serve others. Do you agree?
©Brenda Pace, 2010
I have  met women who struggle with the transition of growing older–in fact, I am one of them! On the occasion of turning __ ?I faced unfulfilled dreams and found myself questioning the future. The process of getting from there to here*  came through deep prayer and reflection. Here are some things that have been helpful in the process:
  • The study of scripture on the topic of growing old.  Reflecting on the lives of biblical women who were older, such as Sarah, Naomi, Elizabeth, and Anna have been helpful.  These women continued to serve God with enthusiasm and purpose as they advanced in years.
  • Adjustment of my attitude. Life is too short to hold on to negative emotions. It is essential to forgive freely.
  • Establishing and revisiting goals–I think in terms of the future. I ask myself what do I want to be or do in 5, 10, 20 years? I remind myself of goals I have  set and  things I would possibly regret if I did not pursue. One of those goals for me was continued education. I completed a seminary degree as a tangible illustration of taking a step forward.
  • Investment in those things in life that are eternal: people and God’s Word. My husband and I have been intentional in enriching our marriage and  have developed new rituals to promote closeness. I strive to develop creative ways to relate to my adult children and my grandchildren. I am committed to deepen relationships with friends and often do this through involvement in women’s Bible study.
  • I remind myself that spiritual gifts do not cease. The words of Billy Graham ring true, “There is no retirement mentioned in the Bible” (Curry, 2003). In a spiritual sense ‘a woman’s work is never done’!
Midlife years can be the most productive and enjoyable years. Scripture promises we can go from ‘strength to strength’ (Psalm 84:7) and ‘glory to glory’ (2 Corinthians 3:18). I desire to help women “reflect the goodness of God through the joyful acceptance (and transformation) of all things” (Stafford,31), and help them be able to say like Paul: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
My response: Praise the Lord! I’m another year older!
*Here=Content and dare I say it? A hint of excitement for the future! I continue to be ‘in process.’
Erin Curry, Mission San Diego with Billy Graham marks 413th crusade in half century. Baptist Press, posted on May 8, 2003.
Stafford, Tim, The Old-Age Heresy. Christianity Today (September 16, 1991), 30-31.
©Brenda Pace, 2010
Hope has two beautiful daughters Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.  ~Augustine
Enjoy this creative message of HOPE!

A great quote to ponder:
Christianity isn’t a faith that sits in tension with the realities of the world; it is the viewfinder through which our vision of reality finally becomes clear.
A Christianity Worth Believing by Doug Paggitt, (89).
Seminary professor and author Elmer Towns describes a servant leader as: “one who recognizes the real secret of leadership is found in identifying the needs of others and ministering to them.” He goes on to explain, “This leader believes people will follow if their needs are being met by their leader” (Towns, 2003, 139). There’s no better example of this than the leadership of Jesus. Jesus displayed characteristics of both the servant and the leader. He taught and modeled the principle of servant leadership throughout his life and ministry.
Jesus, the Model of Servant Leadership
Even as a child Jesus modeled leadership. Scripture provides a glimpse of him at age twelve in the temple speaking to the adult leaders as he was about his Father’s business (Luke 2:47). His leadership skills are evident as he called his disciples to leave what they were doing and follow him on a three-year adventure that would change their lives, and change the world. Of course Jesus led because of his divine nature. He is leadership personified. He led by example and he led by action when he confronted things that were wrong (the money changers in the temple), or harmful (the storms on the sea).
Downward Submission
The model of a servant is the role of Jesus that takes us by surprise. Scripture describes this role in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many,” and Philippians 2:7-8, “He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave. He humbled Himself by being obedient, even to death.” Jesus did not have title while he was on this earth. He did not build a formal organization. He did not recruit his disciples to lucrative paid positions. He went about doing good—teaching, healing, and modeling the love, grace and mercy of God the Father. Jesus modeled a downward submission. He served people because he understood their value.
Risky Business
A servant leader is willing to assume the risk of his own well being for the good of those he leads. He certainly must associate himself with his followers to the point that any risk he is asking of them he is willing to accept for himself. Jesus required his disciples to stand up and make a public profession of their faith in God even if serving God resulted in the loss of their physical life. Christ in his willingness to go to the cross, in addition to fulfilling his mission on earth as the Savior, was also showing he was willing to take the same risk of public testimony that he required of his disciples.
I have to ask myself what risks am I willing to take in order to lead with the heart of a servant? What about you?
©Brenda Pace, 2010
Recently someone pointed out that I must like the color green. I didn’t have to think twice to respond in the affirmative. Not only is it a happy color, but green represents life and growth. These are two things I want to characterize my life–no matter my age. I looked around my house and noticed that I am indeed drawn to the color green. Do you think these samples  are indicators?
I'm thinking this purse is fun and cute.

I'm liking my cute spring purse.

Accessories for the cute green purse

Can one have too many cute purse accessories?

A new bracelet from a friend accompanied by the words, "I know you'll have something to wear this with."

Green organization

Green motivation!

Fresh tasting green

My best green foot will be put forward.

A friend gave me this great hand soap. Clean green.

I’m celebrating spring with all things green!

“April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks, ‘GO!’”

~Christopher Morley, John Mistletoe

©Brenda Pace, 2010

This weekend I had the opportunity to speak at a retreat in Kansas. I had a most enjoyable time with some dear

This 'set' built for the retreat was so great!

people. The retreat team at Ft. Riley’s PWOC was truly exceptional. The details for the retreat were well planned to include the schedule, decor, music, a thought provoking skit and a worshipful praise dance. It was a beautiful instance of women using their God-given gifts to create an atmosphere that allowed women to pull away from their busy schedules to focus on their relationship with God. I was so blessed to be a part of it.
I dedicate this song to the wonderful women at Ft. Riley, Kansas who are building their lives on a firm foundation. These women are committed to put into practice TRUTH found in God’s Word. Bless you my sisters! Thank you for your warm hospitality!

I’m headed to Kansas today to speak to a group of women on the topic of ‘building your life on the firm foundation of Christ.’  At church Sunday we sang, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” What a declaration! It’s a great theme to have on my mind and heart.
I found this prayer by A. W. Tozer this morning that affirms the unchanging nature of our good God:
O Christ our Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. As conies* to their rock, so have we run to Thee for safety; as birds from their wanderings, so have we flown to Thee for peace. Chance and change are busy in our little world of nature and men, but in Thee we find no variableness nor shadow of turning. We rest in Thee without fear or doubt and face our tomorrows without anxiety. Amen. ~A. W. Tozer The Knowledge of the Holy
*A rabbit…who knew?
One of my favorite places to stop on a road trip is Zaxby’s. There’s nothing better than a Zaxby’s fountain drink: 3/4 Diet Coke, 1/4 Fanta Cherry and a squeeze of fresh lemon all poured over crushed ice perfection. It’s worth a try!  In my opinion it is obvious  Zaxby’s cares about the details.

I not only like the fountain drinks at Zaxby’s, but I like  the philosophy that guides the business. Christian businessman and founder of Zaxby’s Chicken Restaurants, Zach McLeroy believes in caring about people. He states that leading people “starts with sincerity.” McLeroy says, “You really have to care about people, and I know it sounds cliché. It has to be about more than the almighty dollar, about growing a business and selling it at some point and trying to see exactly what the bottom line is and how much you can make. You have to care about the people who work for you. You care about them not just by saying you care about them, but you care about them by actually doing things, by reinvesting in people. When people feel that you care about them, they care about you. In turn, they try to do what’s good for you and your organization and the people they work around … If you make them feel good about what they do, they’re going to do a much better job, and they’ll be more loyal in the long run” (O’hara 2008). McLeroy’s values concerning people coincide with the axiom,  “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Good fountain drinks or not, that’s a pretty good leadership philosophy!
©Brenda Pace, 2010
Here are some little things that have brought a recent smile:
A beautiful rainbow over the skyline of Atlanta!

Lunch with a dear friend. We’ve known each other since jr. high and there is still a sweet bond. We not only enjoyed  great conversation, but we discovered the yumminess of Ginger Ice Cream. Oh my!

I purused the sale aisle of my local HomeGoods and found 5 Polish pottery mugs for $2 a piece. Score!

Enjoyed an afternoon with my favorite 9 year old and her lovely doll at the American Girl Cafe`. So fun!

Two very special children spent time with me during spring break. Aren’t those goggles just the best?

And finally, an exceptional little person arrived this week. A brand new baby girl for our family to love. Welcome little one!

My prayer for you this weekend:

May you enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.

©Brenda Pace, 2010