The front page headlines in Sunday’s Houston Chronicle caught my attention: “Yells of Approval for A&M President.” My initial reaction was skepticism as I thought, “Of course everyone approves right now. The Aggies have had a great entrance into the SEC plus their quarterback just became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. Everyone loves a winner, especially in this football crazy state.”
I don’t think that athletic success means that a school president is doing a great job or that the applause will last for long. I kept reading because I was curious to see what else Texas A&M’s president, R. Bowen Loftin, was doing to earn such praise. One particular vignette caught my attention:
Part of the spectacle of an Aggies [football] game at home is the pregame parade around the field by the mounted cavalry of the university’s famed Corps of Cadets. By nature, horses leave a mess in their wake, and Loftin has made it a habit to run onto the field after they have passed and help the students scoop it up. Some members of his inner circle have tried to discourage him, despite the fact that he is loudly applauded by the crowd. It is not, they tell him, a job befitting the president. “This IS the job of the president,” is his response.
For anyone in a position of leadership, this raises some interesting questions: What is your job? What tasks in your church or ministry are beneath you? Who or what has shaped your philosophy of leadership?
Everyone has a philosophy of leadership. They may or may not have thought about it, but it drives how they make decisions and how they lead. I realize that there are many successful models of leadership that reflect widely varying philosophies. Even among pastors, there seem to be many effective approaches. But we should all look to the one model that matters most. He’s the one who said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” He’s the one of whom Paul reminds us, “Being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing.” He’s the one who descended from heaven to be born in a stable. So as we approach Christmas, perhaps we should all be ready to scoop some poop.
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