Servant leaders have a never-ending passion for personal development and serving others for the greater good of their environment. I witnessed that first hand last week.

I was blessed with the opportunity to speak to the NEXT Willmar Group in Willmar, MN about servant leadership. NEXT is a group of young leaders that was originally spawned from the Chamber of Commerce in Willmar. Their purpose is:

To attract and retain young talent in the community while developing the next generation of leaders.

Willmar is a community of about 20,000 residents. Five years after forming, the NEXT Group has in excess of 200 members, all leaders under the age of 40 who have a passion for their community and for personal development.

In discussions with members of this group I learned that they have 4 primary areas of focus:

  • Personal development (They organize specific training and learning events throughout each year)
  • Community development (They are involved in the establishment of the Vision 20 / 40 Project for the Willmar Lakes Area)
  • Charitable work (They organize and promote volunteer opportunities to help various organizations in the community)
  • Social development and FUN! (All events include a social activity to enable members to build relationships.)

This is a group that has gotten outwardly intentional about building servant leaders to insure a bright future for themselves and their community. Think about how they are building the following key elements of servant leadership:

  • Foundation – They are crystal clear on their purpose and vision. All their activity and events move them towards the fulfillment of that Foundation.
  • Energy – They collectively let each other know how important they are for the future of their city. They encourage each other and have fun in all their activities.
  • Performance – This is one of the primary reasons young leaders join NEXT. Each of the members is committed to advancing their personal performance as a leader. Plus they want to advance the performance of their community.
  • Relationships – All their activities are built with the intention of building relationships. They clearly recognize this will be what holds their community together into the future.
  • Character – They recognize that their membership and activity in NEXT will help them build their personal character, which they know is critically important for a leader to be effective.

What are you doing to be intentional about enhancing your personal development and building a culture of servant leadership in your environment?


For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers. Proverbs 11:14