Leaders who learn to receive God’s grace and integrate grace into their daily lives are then ready to share this grace with others. As they do, they recall the words of Paul:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Servant leaders rejoice in God’s grace to them. They marvel at His goodness to call them to lead others. And they learn to extend God’s grace to those they lead. How do servant leaders share grace with those who follow?
Servant leaders envision followers with grace.
When servant leaders look at their followers, they do not only see workers who will help them accomplish their vision; they see future leaders by God’s grace! They see potential. They see a future. They do not only see the flaws. They see what could happen with the power of grace. They see men and women upon whom God’s grace can work to also do what He “prepared in advance” for them to do. Servant leaders see others through the eyes of God’s grace.
Servant leaders expect followers to need grace.
Servant leaders have learned that they need God’s grace in their own lives, so they are not surprised when their followers need grace! They see themselves as Paul explained in the next chapter of Ephesians: I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, (Ephesians 3:7-8).
Since servant leaders have learned to find their own identity in God’s grace and not in their works, they expect that their followers will also need grace.
Servant leaders extend grace to those who follow.
Leaders who have not experienced God’s grace strive to do good in their own strength. They measure themselves by their performance. And they do the same with their followers. They point fingers of guilt, judgement and shame. They read the policy handbook loudly and underline rules that are broken! They cannot acknowledge their own failures.
But servant leaders know they need grace and can extend it to those who follow. Servant leaders do not beat their followers with lists of “do’s and don’ts”! They don’t use shame to control behavior in others. They invite others to see God’s great grace.
Grace allows a servant leader to forgive the mistakes of a follower. Grace allows a servant leader to say, “I know you failed, I have also. God’s grace will help you make it.” Grace allows the servant leader to give second chances.
This doesn’t mean that there is never a time for a servant leader to correct, rebuke or release a follower. But it means that the overall tone of their leadership will be a posture of grace. Because they know they need grace, servant leaders can pass it on to others. Servant leaders lead with grace by sharing God’s grace.
Sharing grace profoundly shapes the way we lead. Servant leaders approach leadership as one sinner saved by grace, leading another sinner in need of the same grace. Servant leaders receive God’s grace, they learn to live in it, and then they share it with those they lead. They become like Jesus, leaders “full of grace.”
Until next time, yours on the journey,
For further reflection and discussion:
- Do I see those I lead with grace, as they can become with God’s help? Or do I see others as they are and hopeless? How could what God has done in my own life shape what I expect in others?
- When those who follow me make mistakes, what is my default response? Does it reflect grace? Am I able to treat others when they make mistakes like I want God to treat me when I make mistakes?
- Would my followers describe me as a leader “full of grace”? Why or why not? What can I do to become more like Jesus in this area?
Copyright, Global Disciples 2019.