Leaders are ministers in every sense of the word. In a true servant leadership role, our focus is first on our followers. If we are authentic and altruistic in our leadership style, we will also empower our followers and help them become better versions of themselves. In the process of serving we too become better versions of ourselves.
In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he speaks of those he ministered to as being living testaments of Christ. In this letter he is reminding the believers in Corinth that they do not need a pat on the back, a commendation for the work he or they had done. He assures them that the lives changed as a result of furthering of the gospel, are all the letter they need. He reminds them that they and those they touch are living letters, and witnesses of Christ’s love.
2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us,
written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on
tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
I love the way Kelly Minter words this particular thought in her Bible Study, All Things New, regarding each of our ministries’.
“[We] deal with souls and heartbeats, intimacy and connection, life and living. Each one of us is called to be ministers of the new covenant. And this will require us to build relationships that will etch themselves upon our hearts because we will love and be loved deep enough to leave a mark.”
Ross is a basketball player at his local high school. He is a decent player but not one of the in-crowd who is typically “chosen.” Ross warms the bench in most games. Ross is not unique, he sits beside several others on that bench, awaiting the signal that each can join his team on the court for a few minutes.
As in all schools, kids with like interests tend to migrate toward one another. In my day you were either a Jock, a Surfer, or a Mondo. Of course Jocks were the athletes. Surfers were the kids with blond flowing hair who frequented the beach or hung out with people who did. Mondos were the guys and gals (with really high hair-dos), who cruised Bellflower Blvd. on Friday and Saturday nights. Those who did not fit into the other groups were generally Band Kids. All of these groups served as support groups where relationships were nurtured and friendships made.
Ross is a member of the “Rurals”. There are few if any Jocks in this group, except Ross. Ross came from a family who worked hard and lived frugally to make ends meet. When basketball season started, it was “tradition” that players began the season with new basketball shoes. It was almost a rite of passage. Ross began the season with a pair of well used basketball shoes from his previous season. But no worries, he was not fazed by his old broken-in, functional shoes. Some of his Rural friends saw it as an issue however, and set about to remedy the situation.
Several of his group pooled their money and presented Ross with a pair of high-end Nike’s before the second game of the season. Ross was deeply moved and grateful. Ross would work hard to break them in so they were suitable for the next game. Why did Nancy, Hector, and Cameron do this for Ross? They declined the opportunity to speak with me, but I can give you my take on the situation.
The Rurals have a code, as do other like groups in all of humanity. We support the ones we love. I believe that the children who purchased basketball shoes for Ross were showing him how much they loved him, how much they recognized and valued his differentness. Their focus was not on how much time he spent on the court or in the game. They were taking care of their own.
Leaders who minster to their followers have this same servant heart. Putting their own agenda’s aside they pour themselves into their “people.” They create meaningful relationships that empower others. When we love others as Christ’s model for leadership implores, our hearts are etched with valuable people and memorable deeds. But more importantly their hearts are etched in the indelible ink of the Master’s hand. “Relationships that will etch themselves upon our hearts because we will love and be loved deep[ly] enough to leave a mark.” I believe that the act of love of a few kids is surely etched on Ross’s heart, “deep enough to leave a mark”.
 NASB, 2 Corinthians 3:2-3
 (Minter, 2016)