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Coach K and Jesus on Real Leadership

It’s college hoops time again, and I may be weird, but I enjoy watching the coaches as much or more than the players. I love strategy, and as a former youth coach myself, I love to analyze (and, yes, sometimes second-guess) the decisions coaches make. Coaching is leadership and as leaders we can learn a lot by watching good coaches.  

Several years ago, Duke head coach Coach Krzyzewski did a commercial in which he made a fascinating comment: “I don’t see myself as a basketball coach,” he said. “I see myself as a leader who happens to coach basketball.” I like his perspective. Another great leader once said, 

But among you, those who are the greatest should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. -Jesus, Luke 22:26

As a Christian leader, I don’t see myself as a leader. I see myself as a servant who happens to lead.

God calls all followers to serve. He calls some servants to lead. If you can serve best by leading, and that is what God has called you to, then, by all means, lead, with diligence! (Romans 12:8). But if you can serve better in some other fashion, or if someone else can lead better than you, or if God has not called you to lead, then serve in some other way – with diligence!

Leaders after God’s own heart, like David, are often the last ones considered by human standards. But God doesn’t look at what man looks at. He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:1-13). And the heart of any real spiritual leader is a servant’s heart.

How are you serving your small group? 

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Michael C. Mack founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and served as a small-groups minister for more than 20 years in several churches. He is a writer, editor, trainer, and consultant in the areas of small groups, leadership, and discipleship. He is the author of more than 25 books and small group studies, including his latest, World's Greatest Small Group (pub. January, 2017). He regularly blogs on his ministry website at SmallGroupLeadership.com. His family is a small group that includes his wife Heidi, their four children, and their dog, Lainey. Mike is also an avid mountain biker.