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Developing a Broken Heart for Serving Others

Updated: Oct 15, 2022


In this post, we speak about developing broken heart for serving others.

A Servant's Heart Is Not Ambitious

Having a heart for servanthood begins with vanquishing ambitious tendencies. Ambition is an awful leadership trait for effective church leaders.

Whoever your new leader is must have a heart for true servanthood and not become selfish in service. It is hard to know what a new Pastor will and will not do. However, past leadership behavior is an indication of future tendencies.

Bigger than that, “love” does not “seek its own way.” Doing so is antithetical to serving others. Here is a short biblical snippet to remind us of true love (service) 1st Cor. 13:4-7):


Nevertheless, this article continues a series ‘warning’ God’s People against selecting a leader Jesus Christ referred to as a ‘hireling.’ These sorts serve themselves (personal ambition) at the expense of others.

Congregations often appoint a ‘Search Committee’ to choose a new Shepherd. The goal of such a selection will have long-term consequences for the selecting body and wider church community.

These groups most often manage the Pastoral selection process as carnal corporations would when hiring top level executives. Larger churches conduct a national search for the ‘best’ candidate and some even use (gulp!) secular search companies.

The danger with using “things of the world” to declare what is clearly spiritual can hardly be understated (2nd Corinthians 6:14-18):


These corporations and agents in the church posing as Believers are confused about what matters to Jesus.

Serving Others is a Matter of the Heart and not Education These corporations and agents in the church posing as Believers are confused about what matters to Jesus.

Serving Others is a Matter of the Heart and not Education

For instance, we have gotten to a place where credentials, resumes, and leadership experience is more important than the leading of the Holy Spirit.

This is where things get interesting in more traditional churches. These worldly measures are the exact opposite of the example Jesus presented when selecting His disciples.

Jesus chose uneducated commoners and not those who would become His enemies: religiously educated elites.

More plainly, our Lord and Savior did not head down to a Bible College, Seminary, or career fair to build His church! He went on the ‘rough streets’ and out of the way places.

We make these choices based on little REAL prayer, no fasting, and supplication and wonder how the wrong candidates keep sneaking by our ‘holy’ sensors.

After many unproductive church meetings, the choice is based on who preaches the best without regards to ‘Who is the most effect disciple maker.’ Are these two mutually inclusive? They can be but most often are mutually exclusive.

If this sounds like a reality television show such as ‘The Voice’ or ‘American Idol,’ it is. Discipleship should be our primary objective as teachers and Believers. Nevertheless, to the wayward, the ‘Art of the Preach’ is more valuable than the ‘Art of the Teach.’

Here is something Paul said about these sorts (2nd Timothy 3:6-7):

For churches with a serving Shepherd, ambition can also be a servanthood issue. Servanthood is much more difficult than we imagine. As a Pastor, I try to serve by making disciples of those others take for granted.

We so often look for people we like to lead us, rather than those who are most effective at doing so. We have blind spots/biases like any other person and confuse the desires of our hearts for God’s more often than I would like to admit.

If serving Shepherd have someone they 'prefer', they may be blind to the reality that what the congregation needs is not what they prefer.

It is hard for most leaders to accept even loving and faithful congregations desire something different when their pastorate if over. Surely, as the thinking goes: “these people trust me enough to know what is best for them.

Since I know what is best, I choose what is best.”

I am not speaking against succession planning either. Only stating that most church leaders are mega-maniacal control freaks no matter how humble they may seem!

A Servant's Heart Makes Disciples

How are you measuring effective disciple making? Here are three criteria (among many):,

  • Demonstrate love for one another. JESUS said this is how people would identify His disciples

  • Healthy disciples must reproduce after their own kind

  • Understand and believe that they (disciples) are not sent to be served but to serve as Jesus said

Note: Do not forget that love, in the way God meant, is above all SACRIFICE! Jesus framed Godly: “what greater love has anyone than they lay down their life for their friend?”

Having a heart for servanthood, as Jesus did with His disciples, is absent carnal ambition. This is especially true of serving associate ministers/armor bearers.

If an armor bearer loves the Pastor, personal ambition would dissipate.

The heart of a servant should produce the following fruit:

  • Attending to the Shepherd - This means more than holding his Bible and bringing water. Attend to his leadership, vision, and Pastorate as you would your own.

  • Ministering to His Family -. Loving his family means standing with them when deceived church members harass them. Do not, even for a second, give ear to those whispering against either he or his family.

  • Helping through Intercession - There is no greater way to assist your shepherd than prayer. Many stand at the altar on Sundays, intercede, yet never give him a second thought during the week.

  • Being of use - There are myriad ways to fulfill this obligation. Be prayerful about what this looks like. It may surprise you to know that being of use begins, and ends, with being self-sacrificial.

  • Nourish and Encourage - These two functions work hand in hand. As pointed out before, a 'Pastor leading' and a 'Shepherd having a heart for the people' are quite different spirits. Every Shepherd is a Pastor by virtue of equipping. In direct opposition, there are few Pastors with the heart of a Shepherd. More simply: a car mechanic pumps gas, but gas pumpers are not mechanics.

These spiritual assignments represent the heart of servanthood as modeled by Jesus. Nevertheless, church search committees too often believe there exists a nexus between a servant’s heart and credentials.

When that is coupled with churches, with no such committees, because the Pastor is selecting a successor, we see why our churches are so troubled.

God Ordained Church Leaders Don’t Need Ungodly Titles

One of the most ungodly practices, in church, is assigning ungodly titles.

Here are just a few:

  • Reverend Doctor

  • Right Reverend

  • Most Right Reverend

  • Reverend

  • Pastor/CEO

  • Apostle Dr.

  • Master Prophet

Here is something you do not know – most who call themselves ‘Dr.’ are no such thing! They haven’t done the PhD work and unsurprisingly, most don't have a Bachelor’s and certainly not Masters.’

This is not to suggest any degree is necessary for either serving or leading God's people. If you are struggling to accept that, build a biblical profile on 11 of Jesus first 12 disciples!

The assigning of this godlessness occurs when someone has pastored for seven (7) years! It is stolen valor, theft, and a lie which should be exposed.

Scripture is clear on the matter (1st John 2:21):


Having the heart of servanthood never expects ‘title’ to go before them. They are interested in the Holy Spirit leading. I have seen people, with titles, have neither anointing nor power.

Further, and just a side note: the term ‘Reverend’ was never used in the biblical narrative. The word 'reverence' was, however. Nevertheless, it was only used in reference to God HIMSELF!

Some will say: “The Bible says give honor to whom honor is due.” Yes, it does, however, this view is incorrect because it totally disregard the rest of the passage.

When trying to grab the bigger idea of passages, “read down a little further.” Paul, himself was a Jew but also had Roman citizenship. He understood the society in which the churches he planted existed within.

Part of Paul’s teaching here was how to be good citizens of Rome. Paul understood that if they weren’t good citizens, it would negatively affect their ability to witness to non-believers.

These ungodly and unscriptural titles only serve the purpose of:

  • Proclaiming accomplishments, real or imagined, for the praise of people

  • Presenting oneself as an authority on a subject

  • Pre-qualifying oneself as opposed to being ‘qualified’ by God

Is it OK to have a salutation before your name? YES! However, your salutation doesn’t always equal gifting. A bachelors, masters, or even PhD amounts to a hill of DUNG when stacked against those God truly called.

After all, most of Jesus’ disciples were not accomplished academically (save Paul and Luke).

Be Careful of those not Seeking to Serve

Pastoral candidates, and ambitious armor bearers measure ‘qualifications to get an interview’ in a way even Jesus didn’t. By the standards of current pastoral search committees, Jesus Christ didn’t choose His first followers wisely.

Competing for ‘job’ is much different than walking in anointing. As with the world, the ambitious armor bearer believes he should do something to set them apart from the others.

We should seek to serve others, even in what could be viewed as competitive situations.

To be viewed as accomplished many:

  • Start their own ‘side’ ministries, instead of directing their efforts at the vision God has given for current assignments

  • Run from place to place trying to ‘market themselves’

  • Instead of demonstrating the long-suffering and patience they preach, they live a life of haste

They (and wayward women) say “I am a preacher and must go out and carry out the Great Commission.” How do you make disciples if you aren’t actively practicing the tenants of discipleship? A disciple is an Imitator of Christ.

JESUS was sold out to the mission God had given HIM. He said: “for I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”

Having a heart for servanthood means sacrificing what is important to you, for others. For churches selecting new leadership, there are ways to NOT hire the wrong candidate.

This, however, cannot be confused with totally surrendering what is important to you. Ministry is about edification of one another.

When someone witnessing your self-sacrificial lifestyle, they are encouraged to do the same. To be more specific when God’s people, not servants of Ha Shatan, see you serving!


A heart for servanthood must manifest at all levels of the church. I don’t offer levels in the way the world views it. I am speaking about “assignment” of which none is more important than the other.

More importantly, God’s people who make these choices must learn God’s Word to assure as few predators make it into the House of God as possible.

If an associate minister is a candidate, they have shown whether they have the heart of a servant or not.

If so, why not seek the Lord’s heart for them as your new Pastor?

Header Image Courtesy of John Hain @ Pixabay

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