One of the key factors about leadership that we sometimes forget is represented by a story from the King that I serve.
There was a time when He had a conversation with Peter and in that conversation, He modeled a key point that leaders need to remember and challenged Peter to elevate his service and awareness. First, let me relate the example and then will show the relevance to all leaders.
In that conversation, He 3 times simply asked Peter “Peter, Do you love me?” When Peter said “Yes, Lord I love you”, He said “…then feed my sheep (serve my people)”. One point however can be missed. The first time He asked, the Greek word used (from which it was translated) was “Do you Agape me?”. Agape takes the concept of love to an entirely level of commitment and somewhat describes a “Divine” level of love and commitment. Peter responded with “Lord, you know that I love (Phileo, which is a lower level brotherly love) you”. Key in his answer was a lack of confidence to go to the “Agape Level”. Once again, the King asked “Peter, do you AGAPE me?” challenging Peter to accept a higher level of commitment. Again Peter responded with “Lord you know that I Phileoyou”.
At this point, and realizing that Peter felt somewhat unworthy to go to that level right then, the King joined him right where he was in his journey and asked one more time but this time, he met Peter at his point in his journey and came down to his level and asked one more time “Peter, do you PHILEOme?” In doing so, he joined Peter right where he was in his journey and used his words and Peter responded with “Lord, You KNOW that I Phileo you?” At that point the king said “Feed my Sheep”.
Understand that the lack of confidence Peter experienced did not have to be evidence of fear. Quite the contrary and in this situation, he could have just wanted to be honest, ethical and transparent…..all admiral traits. Sometimes if our followers exhibit this, it does not mean fear, but could be rooted in something good.
What is the point of this situation? The King I serve modeled a key point in leadership. True leaders meet the followers where they are in the journey and lead them to the next level in their development potential. When Peter was not experiencing confidence at the higher level at that point, the leader joined him at that level and challenged him at that level to have the confidence to “feed his sheep” or serve the people. It is a great picture of Servant Leadership.
– Coach Randy Swaim, Coaching for Relevance, LLC