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Servant Leadership


Editor’s Note: Missioner Patrick Montine shares how an opportunity to attend a leadership workshop corresponded with his own understanding of servant leadership.

A little while ago, I was afforded an opportunity to travel with some of the youth from my parish to a youth leadership workshop in Trelawny, Jamaica. I was able to participate in the workshop as well. The workshop was focused on  getting more youth involvement in the parishes that the youth can help lead the church and get more children to participate.

The message of the workshop is one that I have heard many times, but bears repeating – Servant Leadership. For those who aren’t familiar with this phrase, servant leadership is a leadership style of leading by example instead of by making rules or decrees. This leadership style requires that the leader be willing to listen and work with others to get things done instead of being in absolute control.

As a missioner, as Catholics and Christians; we are called to live a life of servant leadership. At all times, we should be leading by example. Like Saint Francis said,” Preach the Gospel and when necessary use words.” So, in our lives, we are called to live a holier life. This way of leading is a great way to inspire others to live a holier life as well.

This workshop stuck out to me because Jamaica recently had national elections. The people of Jamaica are extremely passionate about their political parties. They wear green for the Jamaican Labor Party or orange for the Jamaican People’s Party. They had rallies and tailgates for their political parties. There have been riots between the two parties in the past, but luckily none happened near me.

In both political parties and in most of the country, people with any kind of power, from the lowest government worker to the prime minister, often abuse their power over others. Therefore, to teach another leadership style other than pursuit of power is a powerful thing.

In this time after Easter, we are called to follow the ultimate model of servant leadership, Jesus. He became man to live as an example of serving others and not for himself. Remember that in this time after  Easter Jesus is the prime example of Servant Leadership.

Reflection Questions: How can you practice servant leadership in your own life? How can you lead by example and not by force?

Featured image: adaptation of photo by Flickr user Damian Gadal – labeled for reuse 

Patrick Montine graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. He majored in anthropology and minored in Teaching English as a Second Language. He has served and traveled around the world, and considered it a great gift and privilege to serve with the Franciscans. Patrick served in Savannah la Mar, Jamaica.