Foreword for SLC1 Book
Since its emergence in the 1970’s as a leadership paradigm, “servant leadership” has been studied and developed in various worlds on management and leadership. It has also been embraced and practiced by several organizations and companies in running their affairs or business. To us, Christians, the concept of “servant leadership” seems obviously biblical. After all, Jesus said, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.” (Mk 10, 42-44).
And yet, when the idea of “servant leadership” was first sketched and instroduced in an organizational context, there was no biblical or religious reference. Even when it was later developed as a leadership theory, it has largely remained within a secular paradigm, and therefore, separated from its religious base. The present work brings together the reflections and insights of the speakers and panelists in Serviam’s conference on “Servant Leadership in the Year of Faith”.
In discussing “servant leadership,” they have drawn from Scripture and Church tradition, Church teaching and practices. What is presented here, therefore, goes beyond the secular paradigm: it is a Catholic understanding of “servant leadership,” where Jesus Christ – who “did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mk 10, 45) is put at the center.
It is my prayer that the readers of this book – particularly those who work with and for the Church – will come to a deeper understanding of servant leadership, and pattern themselves after Jesus Christ, the perfect example of a servant leader. God bless you all.
+Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, D.D. Archbishop of Manila