Leadership for Growth:
Zoe Servant Leaders
Zoe leaders are “servant leaders”. “The greatest among you will be your servant,” said Jesus in Matthew 23:11. Servant leaders can be described as community organizers. The iconic organizer, Saul Alinsky, made this distinction in his classic book, “Rules for Radicals”: “The leader is driven by the desire for power, while the organizer is driven by the desire to create. The organizer is in a true sense reaching for the highest level for which (people) can reach – to create…”
The Zoe servant leader/organizer leads by noticing, encouraging, and attending to rising Zoe servant leaders and Zoe members. Again from Alinsky: “This is the basic difference between the leader and the organizer. The leader goes on to build power to fulfill his desires, to hold and wield the power for purposes both social and personal. He wants power himself. The organizer finds his goal in creation of power for others to use.” The servant leader creates power to give away to other leaders in the Zoe group so that they can create power to give away to the members of the Zoe community – and from Zoe to the campus and the wider world.
Zoe is leaderful. Activists for radical social change take this approach to leadership in their organizations. The Occupy Wall Street movement of 2011 is an example. If one leader was arrested and put in jail, another would immediately fill the role. “Otpor”, the student resistance movement in Serbia against the dictator Milosevic, was leaderful. Many if not most of its participants functioned as a collective leadership, so that the dictatorship could not snuff out the movement by picking off the people “in charge”. How leaderful can your Zoe chapter be, without becoming too slow and cumbersome in making decisions?
Zoe servant leaders promote and facilitate 100% participation (see the 10 Principles of Burning Man), including everyone and listening to every idea, fostering creative problem-solving, sustaining trust and collaboration, accepting responsibility for actions, receiving and acting on constructive criticism, “leading from behind” so that new leaders can celebrate the joys of leadership, avoiding taking credit, and not flinching from taking blame. Zoe servant leaders make themselves dispensable! - so that other servant leaders can rise: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, assuming human likeness.” Philippians 2: 5-7
Zoe servant leaders create the conditions for deep friendship and strong community. That means they are not “talking heads” that dominate gatherings, but instead stimulate full participation by those who attend. Instead of “face-forward” gatherings where everyone is supposed to listen to one person at the front, servant leaders facilitate “face to face” circles where participants look at each other and get to know each other in depth.
A Zoe servant leader is a transformer. The servant leader doesn’t just deliver some thing that people want. The servant leader creates the conditions for people to change who they are – in the direction of kindness, wisdom, and creativity – as Jesus did. Zoe servant leadership creates and sustains a community that transforms its members into the divine image of agape love. There is no higher calling than this!
Servant Leadership for Chapter Growth
Start cultivating new leaders among frosh right away. They are the future of your chapter.
Likewise, make every effort to hang on to your upper-class students. Seniors are vital for leadership and for mentoring younger leaders.
Develop a “leaderful” chapter by giving each Zoe member a task – however small at first. Start by asking them to bring a snack; then to plan an icebreaker during a small group meeting; then to lead a Zoe immersant on the quad. Do they follow-through with tasks? What is their attitude during the responsibility? Are they learning from their leadership? Do others follow their leadership? How are they growing spiritually? The Zoe servant leader pays attention and nurtures the growth of other leaders.
The fastest way to grow your chapter is to create more small groups. Want to double the size of your chapter? Double the number of capable small group leaders, and then put them to work at student orientation to do outreach and follow-up. Without the strong relational connections that a healthy small group network forges, students drift away —and, because they were not connected personally to anyone, no one even notices.
A way to create new small groups is to analyze the networks of your members. Who knows who on campus? Map it out! Make a diagram of connections among members. And then add the connections that each member has with people outside your Zoe chapter. What kind of small groups can members convene, from students in their networks? What foci for those groups would be most interesting to those personal networks of students?