This is the fourth and final post in a series by Lissy Rienow that will address how, as teenagers, we can learn to be Christians with our families. Read the other posts here:
1. “Encouragement for Teens: Living for Christ at Home”
2. “Loving Your Neighbor Starts With Loving Your Siblings”
3. “Give Me Your Heart.”
4. “The Power of Servant Leadership.”
In our culture and communities, we talk a lot about leadership. How can you be a leader among your friends? How can you be a leader at school? How can you be a leader in the world? However, although leadership is a valuable attribute, I believe that we have lost one of the most important aspects of leadership. Like anything in life, we can look to the Bible to find what it means to be a true leader.
Jesus lived out what it meant to lead others through service and humility. Mark 10:42-45 says, “And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The key question for us is, “How can we live out servant leadership at home?” Although I am writing on this topic, I admit I have such a long way to go in learning to prioritize leadership through service in my family relationships. Growing up hearing a lot about servant leadership, I confess I find it so much easier to practice this outside my home.
During my senior year, I was a part of a leadership team at Wheaton Academy called “Project Lead Discipleship.” Our primary goal was to build relationships with underclassmen through service and community events. Every other week, our team would arrive two hours before school started to make a pancake breakfast for the underclassmen in order to further build our relationship with them. This kind of service was easy for me! I was eager to engage at my school and sacrifice my own comfort (like an extra hour of sleep) to prioritize my ministry to my peers.
However, let’s look at a similar situation in my home life. If my mom asks me to wake up an hour early to drive a sibling to school, or help make breakfast, I do not have that same eagerness to serve. My thoughts immediately jump to my own needs rather than the needs of my family.
Our homes are the hardest yet the most important places to practice servant leadership. It’s easy to serve when we want to, yet our homes are where our character is really tested, especially in regard to sibling relationships.
With five younger siblings, it is super easy to fall into the habit of delegating jobs and responsibilities. For me, being a servant leader with my siblings requires me doing the job I don’t want to do myself rather than delegating to a sibling. For teenagers with younger siblings, this message is for you! One of my biggest problems with my siblings is bossiness. I like to tell them what to do and expect them to do it. However, God has been convicting me that rather than telling my siblings what to do, first think of how I can serve them.
While we could talk for a long time about how we can practice servant leadership at home, the truth is we are all at different spots in our life and our service to our families will look different. Here are some questions that I often ask myself to evaluate how I’m doing in regards to practicing servant leadership at home:
- When I am asked to do something, do I have a heart that is eager and happy to serve?
- Am I delegating work to my siblings or choosing to do it myself?
- Do I look for ways to serve my family without being told?
- Do I seek out opportunities in which I can serve and be a blessing to my family?
All of these questions are difficult but they give us an honest look into our heart towards our families. As I said before, I have a long way to go but I believe that God will help me continue to turn my heart toward my family and lead through service.