Illustration by Emma Scrivner.
One of the most challenging lessons to learn as a Christian is how to be a servant leader. Recently, I’ve been wrestling with this issue.
Coach Scott Walker suggested I start an athletic training program in my sophomore year. My immediate thought was, “Sure! Why not?” As I began to pray about it, the Lord made it abundantly clear that this “yes” would be one of the most impactful decisions of my high school career.
Junior year, I attended my first practice without knowing how to tape wrists, treat an injury, or fit a helmet. In my first game, I almost cost our team a penalty. After that, I learned I had to serve humbly to be a great trainer. As the season progressed, I continually grew in my skills and my desire to serve the team.
So often, service is forced. Although service is excellent and necessary, Christians should act out of obedience to the Lord. Biblical servitude comes from love, and Christian love “does not seek its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5), nor should it be used to beef up a resumé or check off club requirements. The heart behind service must be one of humility. I wrestled with this as a young girl because I was raised in church, and the second I was allowed to, I was expected to serve. As much as I love babies now, when I was in sixth grade, I preferred to laugh with
I serve because I am confident that it is what the Lord has called and commanded me to do, even when I’m not confident in my skills.
Galatians 5:13-14 says, “But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Consequently, we should want to serve because the Holy Spirit lives inside us, prompting our hearts to act in obedience.
Fast forward to this year, when I am still learning the latter part of the phrase: leadership. Our student training staff has quadrupled in size. We now have eight full-time student trainers, and I am the head trainer. I have never wrestled this much with being a leader. Our team is unique; each girl brings a different skill set. I have had to learn how to utilize their skill sets best and unite the group under one goal: to serve the Lord. The Lord teaches me much about leadership as I continue serving the football team and leading the training staff.
Jesus sets the perfect example of this throughout the Bible, especially as he walked alongside the disciples, serving in daily ministry. He served others by washing their feet and mentoring them, all while leading everyone to Himself.
“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26-68).
As I seek new beginnings, I am confident that the Lord has called me to ministry and athletic training. Humble servitude does not flow from a “have to” attitude but rather a “get to” attitude.