When I came to Urban Saints over 18 years ago, I was a little concerned that I would struggle with ego. Leaders of national organisations, who I had previously only seen on conference stages, might become my friends – AND I might find myself on those same stages. It would become so easy to be proud. Plus Sir Cliff Richard was our Patron – perhaps Sir Cliff and I might do a Christmas Number 1 duet (I’m joking!).

I joined in May 2000 and that year I went to Spring Harvest. One evening I went to a late night prayer meeting. One of the prayer team came up and asked me what I wanted prayer for. I told him that I wanted the Lord to help me be free from pride – that I would stay humble in every way. This guy responded by saying “Wow, that’s really inspirational, you’re so humble that I should have you pray for me!” This did not help me!!

Then the Lord spoke to me through a scripture. It was a verse that He told me that I needed to learn by heart and come back to on a daily basis to keep my pride in check – and so Philippians 2:3-8 says…

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!”

Paul is saying that if Jesus, who was secure and clear about his identity (he was fully God), is willing to give it all up and become someone of no reputation (as the King James puts ‘make himself nothing’), and humbly serve others – then how much more so as a leader must I do the same.

The verse has been pivotal for my life and ministry ever since. It’s a powerful reminder that to lead is to serve.

Someone once said that humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

May we all grow in the freedom of serving others because, like Jesus, we have nothing to prove. We are the beloved children of God.