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King of the Hill - A Lesson Plan on Servant Leadership

About King of the Hill

This King of the Hill lesson plan on getting ahead will help youth understand that we are not on top in the Kingdom of God. We are here to serve Him and His people. Jesus is the ultimate example of servant leadership.

Game for this Servant Leadership Lesson Plan

Start by having contest. Divide the group into teams of 3 or 4 each. Give each team package of cups and have them stack the cups as high as possible. Give them one or two minutes to complete this challenge. The group with the highest stack wins.

Follow up with some questions:

  • Which cup stacking strategy works the best?
  • How does teamwork play into this challenge?
  • Was it easier to complete this task if one person was in charge and the others followed their lead?

Scripture Reading for King of the Hill

Read the Gospel:

Mark 10:35-45 or Mark 10:42-45 (Jesus teaches servant leadership) - the Gospel Reading for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B

[James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Jesus and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you."

He replied, "What do you wish me to do for you?"

They answered him, "Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left."

Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"

They said to him, "We can."

Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink, you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right or at my left is not mine to give but is for those for whom it has been prepared."

When the ten heard this, they became indignant at James and John.]

Jesus summoned them and said to them, "You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt.

But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all.

For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Mark 10:35-45 or Mark 10:42-45

Discussion for Lesson Plan on Servant Leadership

We seem to have a natural tendency to want to be King of the Hill. We want to know that we are doing better than others around us. It is a sign of success.

We might want to have the best grade on a test of everyone in our class. We might want to score the most wins on our chess team. Or maybe make the most goals on our soccer team. Maybe we would like to have a bigger house than all of our friends or a nicer car. There are a lot of examples.

In today's Gospel, James and John want to get ahead. They would like to have better positions in the Kingdom of God than everyone else. To sit at the leader's right and left hand meant that everyone would know they were important. They were looking to get ahead in the area of prestige and honor.

But Jesus has a different plan. He knows that there is only one at the top in the Kingdom of God - His Father. Jesus lived in service and obedience to the Father. And he is trying to teach us to do the same. We are not supposed to be scrambling for the top so we can be king of the hill. To be a disciple means to live a life of service and humility.

Many people feel that Jesus showed us the leadership style known as "servant leadership". The ten traits of servant leaders are

  1. empathy
  2. listening
  3. healing
  4. awareness
  5. persuasion
  6. conceptualization
  7. foresight
  8. stewardship
  9. commitment to the growth of people
  10. building community

If you think about these traits, you will be able to think of many ways Jesus showed them to us. In turn, the early Christian communities depended on this sort of leadership.

This is very different from many of the leaders we look to today. Think of leaders in music, films, politics. They often seem to be putting their own self interests first. But this is not the type of leadership which we should be practicing as Christians.

Reflection Questions on Servant Leadership

  • What are some specific ways which Jesus shows us servant leadership?
  • Can you name some current leaders or celebrities who practice servant leadership? Can you name some who don't?
  • What are some specific ways in your life which you can be more of a servant leader?

Challenge for This Week

This week try to identify some way in your life where you can practice servant leadership. This might be in an official leadership position, such as a club or team. Or it might be in a less obvious way, such as in your family. Identify one specific thing you can do which would serve the people around you when you could choose to avoid it.


Close by praying the Humility Prayer or the Litany of Humility.

Resources Related to Servant Leadership

Leaders We Love

This activity goes deeper into thinking about leaders we admire and what we like about them.

Servant leadership inspires engagement

Servant leadership can create a more vibrant community where everyone thrives and their gifts are appreciated.

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