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Serving leaders with a clear and principled set of beliefs must go through a disciplined process of learning how to live out Biblical truths. Without effective practices, even leaders guided by principles find serving leadership elusive and disappointing. The following five principles and corresponding twenty practices is a compelling and concise philosophical and practical model of serving leadership.* It is simple, logical, drawn from the Bible, and has been tested by hundreds of mature Christian leaders worldwide.

The Vision Principle

The four practices of Vision:

  1. Innovate: Pioneer solutions for the needs and challenges in the world; innovate approaches that create value.
  2. Discover Purpose: Crystalize the meaningful difference your business makes in and for the world.
  3. Cast Vision: Communicate your compelling vision for a better future.
  4. Embed Purpose: Implement great purpose into every aspect of each person’s daily work.

The Values Principle

The four practices of Values:

  1. Espouse Values: Declare what you stand for; clarify and define values by your behavior.
  2. Humble Yourself: Model and submit to your values by example; be transparent and repentant when you fall short.
  3. Build Trust: Reinforce the importance of discerning truth, doing what is right, and keeping your promises.
  4. Empathize: Discern and respond appropriately to the heartfelt needs and emotions of others.

The Mission Principle

The four practices of Mission:

  1. Strategize: Clarify success factors and set strategic plans to achieve the mission.
  2. Set Goals: Identify, prioritize, and commit to clear, challenging goals and monitor progress.
  3. Build Systems: Multiply people’s efforts with efficient systems that produce consistent, quality results.
  4. Solve Problems: Listen to feedback, identify difficulties, remove obstacles, and resolve problems.

The Encouragement Principle

The four practices of Encouragement:

  1. Align Strengths: Identify individual strengths and position people in roles that maximize their talents and passion.
  2. Train: Equip, teach, and coach people for learning, growth, and course correction.
  3. Synergize Teams: Foster team participation, support team alignment, and experience team identity.
  4. Encourage: Encourage hearts with affirmation and nurture authentic vulnerability.

The Sacrifice Principle

The four practices of Sacrifice:

  1. Administrate: Organize, prioritize, and build clear guidelines and policies.
  2. Delegate: Commission others to take on responsibility and be willing to help.
  3. Empower: Authorize and support others to take charge, then hold them accountable.
  4. Execute: Demonstrate responsibility and discipline and be willing to suffer to get things done.

* This content is a collaborative effort between Merle Herr and Dr. John Stahl-Wert. They jointly share this leadership model which has been adapted from Stahl-Wert’s Five Actions of Serving Leadership™. Used by permission from the Center for Serving Leadership.

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