Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

20Nov/080

Can the President be a Servant Leader?

It is quite an extraordinary parallel to me to view the presidential news after the election. Outside of the hundreds of African's Americans who have been inspired by this historic occasion, the biggest news now centers around the appointment of Barak Obama's new staff.

The news is reminiscent to me of the New Testament occasion where Jesus' disciples began arguing over who would be the greatest in His kingdom. Jesus uses this setting to make His model of leadership clear by washing his student's feet in the role of the lowest servant in the home. The message: "leaders are servants."

Isn't it true that we see the President as the one that everyone else serves? He's the one constantly applauded and guarded and transported, rather than the one who transports, guards, or serves. He is the one who fights for policy, rather than the one who models it.

What would it look like if our nations most visible leader truly modeled servant leadership? What if, instead of making speeches on policy and national direction, our new president was better known for his willingness to ask and act upon the question, "how can I serve you?" What would our nation as a whole look like if we took on the role of serving other nations, rather than debating over policy and regulations with them? Of giving and loving, even to our enemies?

I am very proud of our nation, and I find great pride in most of the past presidents of our nation. I am especially proud of George W. Bush's extreme relational approach to responding to national tragedies. I will never forget the president who has been seen comforting the people of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. I do believe our nation is the premiere servants of this world...but I also see that status fading very fast. Our willingness to serve is faltering in light of our inherent selfishness. We spend more than we have as a nation. We abandon our commitment to families and communities. And we entertain ourselves and comfort ourselves to the neglect of our relationships, our health, and our ability to serve others. We need a renewed model of leadership to follow. Someone who will fight to bring us back to what made our nation great. A President...maybe.

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