Abstract

This study challenges the claim that Jesus is the archetypical servant leader as described in contempo-rary leadership literature. Based on a theological reading of the Fourth Gospel, the paper suggests that, as a servant, Jesus cannot be understood apart from his mission and obedience to God. Consequently, Jesus was not primarily a servant leader but rather the Son who was sent to the world to enact the Fa-ther’s will. In this regard, the Fourth Gospel provides a unique perspective that is barely noted in the current discourse on servant leadership modelled on the example of Christ. Although certain aspects of servant leadership theory correspond to John’s portrayal of Jesus, the study concludes that other de-scriptions of him as a servant leader suffer from a one-sided and reductionist Christology. Implications of this view for Christian ministry are briefly sketched out.