Jesus tells us that in his reign the last shall be first and the first shall be last. In fact, in Matthew 20, when the mother of James and John requests that they sit at Jesus' side when he establishes his kingdom, Jesus responds “You know that the rulers of the gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you, but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant.”
In his book, “Leaders Eat Last,” Simon Sinek studied Marine Corp practices to determine what we could learn from their leaders. The book’s title comes from the Marine Corp’s practice that officers eat last, putting the needs of those they lead before their own.
When church leaders combine this type of servant leadership with a mission-focus, great things are possible. Why? Because people know that the leader is not self-serving but a servant. The leader isn’t concerned with advancement, status or privilege. Rather, the leader cares about aligning the interests and well-being of those they lead with fulfilling the Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
Psychologists call this type of approach “other-centeredness” as opposed to self-centeredness. When you are other-centered you value the happiness of others as much as your own. It’s important to note that you don’t value others’ happiness MORE than your own happiness but AS MUCH as your own.
The research shows that people who are other-centered are not only more forgiving, kind, fair and honest, they are more satisfied with their lives, experience more meaning, and are better able to cope with stress.
That’s a great formula for leadership. Just like Jesus said.