#293 Jesus: Upend the Pyramid

February 3, 2021

In the last four issues we have looked at how Jesus demonstrated the actions of The Serving Leader ModelTM*. He clarified the vision, Run to Great Purpose.  He established the values for His disciples to Raise the Bar. He showed how to Build on Strengths as He sent them out two by two. In these, and many other ways, Jesus demonstrates a radically different way of leading which is captured in the final action, Upend the Pyramid.

1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.

16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” 18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” 21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. (Luke 10:1, 16-21).

What can we learn from the example of Jesus about how serving leaders Upend the Pyramid?

Serving leaders grow their people.

Jesus could have done the work He gave the disciples. But He wanted them to grow and develop their own strengths as leaders. They had watched Him preach, teach and heal. Now, He wanted them to learn to do it on their own. He served them by helping them grow.

Some leaders look at their team only in terms of how they can accomplish the vision. Serving leaders keep their eye on the vision, but they consciously find ways to grow everyone on their team. They focus on the worker as much as the work.

Serving leaders delegate authority and responsibility.

 Jesus delegated authority and responsibility to the disciples. He said, “I have given you authority…” Jesus could have kept all His power and used it for Himself. But He deliberately gave away His authority and responsibility to His followers.

Serving leaders don’t seek to keep authority and responsibility, they consciously seek to pass it on to the team they are developing. They recognize that this not only helps their team to grow and develop but also prepares the team for the future.

Serving leaders prepare for future success.

Jesus wasn’t just sending His team out on a temporary assignment. He was deliberately and methodically preparing them to lead after He was gone. He had a plan that involved passing on the work to those who followed. And He was “full of joy” as He saw it happening!

Many leaders work hard to achieve their goals with little thought given to what will happen when they are gone. Serving leaders begin with their departure in mind and build teams that will continue to fulfill the great purpose far into the future.

Jesus shows leaders everywhere how to turn leadership practices upside down. And He demonstrates that Serving Leadership actually works–His team is still pursuing His great purpose 2000 years later!

For further reflection and discussion:

  • Read the entire passage of Jesus sending out the 72 disciples in Luke 10:1-24.  Reflect on what He was doing as a leader and how it demonstrates Upending the Pyramid.
  • What am I doing to grow my people? What more can I do that will help them develop their leadership capacity?
  • In what area can I delegate authority and responsibility to someone on my team? When will I do this? How will I communicate clearly to them? What support will I offer them?
  • How am I preparing my team to succeed after I am gone? Is my succession plan clear to me and others or do I need to develop it more fully? What do I need to do that will bring me the joy that Jesus experienced as He watched His disciples succeed?        

Until next time, yours on the journey,

Jon Byler

In the next issue, we’ll begin a new series. Your ideas are always welcomed for topics that would be of interest to you!

Copyright, Center for Serving Leadership 2020. 

*The Serving Leader ModelTM, was developed by Dr. John Stalh-Wert, author of “The Serving Leader.” See www.CenterForServingLeadership.com for more information.