Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

Leaders who serve

Posted on 02 Sep 2014 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Leaders who serve

Confession: I instantly become leery of people that approach me and trumpet themselves as a leader. It’s happened before, and it will undoubtedly happen again, but I really have a hard time trusting somebody that approaches me and says, “I’m a leader….”

Because it’s either followed by

“And I need to be leading a ……. ministry”

or something like

“And I came here today to because God told me to and you need to ……”

In either case, they trumpet their skills or their cause to such a degree that anything else (or anyone else) becomes an object that needs to be bulldozed and removed from the situation.

These people worry me because they are the opposite of what we see modeled in any biblical leader. Abraham was reluctant, so were Moses, David, Esther, Jesus, Peter, and Paul. Those people truly called into leadership struggled with it, because they knew their own flaws, limitations, and shortcomings.

We miss this far too often in the church today. Instead, we are willing to listen to anybody with a slick tongue that can promise financial and personal gain. A pastor or volunteer who can enhance our “budgets, butts, and buildings” bottom line often comes to the top of the application stack.

But I remind my church often: the church is not a business and we should not act like one or make decisions like one.

It’s one reason I’m usually cautious of reading leadership books, because while they may make great points, these books are often poor theology in the area of biblical leadership.


That said, I recently received a review copy of The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do to celebrate the tenth anniversary release. Not only was I surprised, I enjoyed the book thoroughly.

In one word, what’s the secret? S.E.R.V.E.

The call for great leaders is to serve, an acronym that Blanchard and Miller use to shape the way leaders are developed.

S – See the Future

E – Engage and Develop Others

R – Reinvent Continuously 

Cover of "The Secret: What Great Leaders ...

Cover via Amazon

V – Value Results and Relationships

E – Embody the Values

Great leadership, they argue, is based on the idea of service for others. Anyone willing to invest in others will naturally assume some sort of leadership position. Why? Because people will want to follow them. The great leaders are the ones who don’t desire to lead, but those that desire to serve.

What Blanchard and Miller do, in narrative format, is to tell the story of how to train up new leadership. They highlight the difference between self-serving leaders, and servants who lead. (Self) serving leaders are the anthesis to the way we see Jesus lead. Instead of issues, objects, or roadblocks, Jesus saw broken people in need of a God who loved them. He saw people trapped in their ways and needing a way forward. In contrast to this, self-serving leaders are in it to meet the needs of their own ego and seek praise from others. I’ve heard (and shuddered) numerous times at the words and idea of “It’s my ministry”. It’s the attitude of a self-serving leader that wants to promote their own ideas, agenda, and greatness.

Jesus invested heavily into people. He taught them, ate with them, trained them, released them, retrained them, forgave them, and blessed them. Self-serving leaders rarely do any of this, and if they do, it’s to make sure they have the most prominent seat (See Luke 14).

The Secret is a helpful book that gets to the heart of great leadership: learn first to serve others genuinely. It’s a great starting place for pastors or ministry leaders that not only need to be producing new leaders, but want to do it in a God honoring way.


***Disclaimer: I was offered a free copy of The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller to celebrate the release of the tenth anniversary edition of the book, the above review is my own honest opinion, I have in no way been compensated or been asked for a positive review.***

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Justin Hiebert

Leadership Catalyst - Entrepreneur - Coach at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture. In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society. I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith. I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary. I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.

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