Posted in Faith, Servant Leadership

A Simple Recipe for Servant Leaders


I found it while going through an old recipe box. Tucked between sentimental favorite recipes from friends and some of my own classic recipes was a lined paper folded into quarters. On one side a child’s lovely rendition of fish was etched in crayon. On the other side were hastily scribbled words now faded and hard to read.

I chuckled with delight as I remembered the reason for this recipe of sorts. Someone—this part of the memory is hazy—was getting married. All family members and friends were requested to submit a favorite recipe for a collection that would be presented at the bridal shower. I had quickly jotted down the rough draft and then created an artistic rendition for the bride. I placed the rough draft in my wooden recipe box for safe keeping until I could make a better copy for myself.

Apparently I never got around to it.

However, this tattered original version is a treasure to me, a timeless and basic reminder of how to thrive in life and leadership with Jesus Christ. I share it below in revised form.

Heavenly Fruit Salad

This silly little recipe from my past is actually a profound prescription for living and being. Sometimes I really like to complicate things. Just take a look at all of my bookcases. There are so many books (all of them read at least once) about marriage and parenting, the Christian life, and leadership. I love learning about leadership theory and practice from the latest magazine articles and research. But it seems to me that effective servant leadership is really quite simple. Walking in the Spirit is foundational both at home and in the workplace.

Take a look at some of the traits of the servant leader:

  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Healing
  • Awareness
  • Persuasion
  • Conceptualization
  • Foresight
  • Stewardship
  • Commitment to the growth of people
  • Building community1

Some of these traits, such as listening, empathy, and healing, are best expressed through the fruit of the Spirit. Other traits, such as conceptualization and foresight, require God-given wisdom. Servant leadership flows from the Lord and the work of His Spirit in our lives.

Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener…Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me…I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:1, 3-5).

How do we thrive in life and as leaders? Remain in (abide with, stay connected to) Jesus. As we focus on remaining in Him, His Holy Spirit produces the fruit. The fruit is available as needed for every occasion.

Heavenly Fruit Salad sounds good about now. Anyone want some?

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).

Heavenly Father, thank You for breaking through the confusion and reminding me that You provide all I need through Your Holy Spirit. Teach me to remain in Jesus; teach me to listen to His voice. Help me to follow Your lead and allow Your Spirit to flow through me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

1 From “Character and Servant Leadership: 10 Characteristics of Effective, Caring Leaders” by Larry C. Spears, published in “The Journal of Virtues and Leadership,” Vol. 1, Issue 1.

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