Robert Greenleaf wrote that caring for persons, the more able and less able serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is built. Implied here are images of belonging, participation, sharing your gifts and talents with others (according to unique capacities and resources available) and receiving the benefits from others sharing theirs with you. It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who once said that “any community who allows unemployed members to remain within it, will eventually perish because of them.”
Today, there is a great longing for and movement towards building better societies all over the world. People long for the democratization of participation and decision making processes. Small thoughtful groups of folks everywhere are being drawn together not around ideologies, but ideas designed to transform their societies. These mini-movments all around the world seem to share two principles in common, says Paul Hawken, in Blessed Unrest: 1) that all of life is sacred; and 2) you and I should treat others the way we would want them to treat us.
To bring about a better society, we need a change in values. As Jim Wallis says, we in the West need a moral recovery to our economic crisis, if we are to build a better society. “The moral test for how healthy any society is can be based on the treatment of those most vulnerable in that society.”
Our work around servant leadership development is to strengthen the core values of ethical behavior as servants and leaders on behalf of the common good in whatever sector God has called us to serve. When these values become the basis for spiritual practices that are lived out within a specific community/people group over time, they gradually change the heart.