The Historical Foundation of Servant Leadership

         The Historical Foundation of Servant Leadership


It was Christianity’s founder, Jesus Christ, who first taught the concept of servant leadership. From the narrative accounts of his life in the Bible, it is evident that servant leadership was taught and practiced more than two thousand years ago. One of the best examples in the scriptures of Jesus displaying servant leadership was when he washed his disciples’ feet.  Jesus taught that a leader’s greatness is measured by a total commitment to serve fellow human beings. Here’s the story as John tells it:


When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:12-17)

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