The coach as servant

February 22, 2022
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by Shannon Caughey

Sometimes coaches get positive attention because they and their team periodically participate in serving opportunities in their community. That’s great! Coaches who desire to honor the Lord go even further, though. They embrace God’s call not just to do some serving but to be a servant.

In the Bible we find several images that help us understand the Lord’s desire for who leaders are to be. In this series of devotions on these images and how they apply to the leadership role of coaching, we’ve seen that coaches are to be shepherds and sages. Coaches are also called to be servants.

Our Lord Jesus provides the ultimate model of and motivation for being a leader who is a servant. Referring to himself as the “Son of Man,” in Mark 10:43b-45 Jesus says, “Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

A servant looks out for and genuinely cares about the needs and interests of others. In addition, a servant takes action to address the needs and interests of others. This is exactly what Jesus did for us. His use of the title “Son of Man” is a subtle reference back to one called a “son of man” in the Old Testament book of Daniel, a figure entrusted by God with authority, glory, and sovereign power (Dan. 7:13-14). But even though Jesus is most deserving of being served, he chooses to serve others and to give his life to meet our deepest need – the chance to be rescued from what we deserve for our sinful rebellion against God and to be reconciled to him.

In your leadership role as a coach, how can you follow Jesus through being a servant like him?

1. Value and prioritize being a servant-leader. In Jesus’ kingdom, if you want to be a leader, you must be a servant. Serving is not something you do once in a while. Being a servant is central to how you understand what leadership is about. As a coach who desires to honor Christ, see yourself as a leader who serves – rather than seeing yourself as a leader who should have your needs and interests addressed by others.

2. Actively look for ways to serve. Jesus took the initiative to meet our deepest need – ransoming us from our enslavement to sin – though we had yet to recognize him as Savior and ask him for help. Like Jesus, servant-leaders don’t wait to be asked to serve. They actively look for ways they can address the needs of others. Coach, you do this as you take the initiative to get to know your players and better understand their needs. You also do this as you continually ask the Lord to help you see ways you can serve him through serving your players, as well as others connected to your program.

3. Ready yourself to take action when serving opportunities arise. Jesus came to this earth ready to give his life to ransom us and set us free. Servant-leaders who honor Jesus not only look for ways to serve. They’re ready to act when they identify serving opportunities. How can you ready yourself to take the action needed to serve? You can cultivate a heart that’s eager to compassionately serve others through continually being grateful to Christ for the way he compassionately serves you. You can build margin into how your time, energy, and material resources are utilized so that you have the ability to invest in serving others when opportunities arise. Living as a servant leader involves readying yourself to take action to serve others.

Coach, when you respond to the Lord’s call to be a servant, the impact Christ has through you is significant and eternal. Jesus, the one with unmatched authority and glory, came not to be served but to serve, giving his life for us. In your leadership role as a coach, be a servant who reflects Christ and points those you serve to him.

For reflection: Take some time to thank Jesus for serving you and giving his life to ransom you. Ask the Lord to keep growing you as a servant-leader who is ready to take action as he gives you opportunities to serve.



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