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Monthly November 2010
Was Jesus a control freak?
Jesus on servant leadership

I’ll never forget that meeting. We sat in a circle to discuss strategy, or perhaps better stated—my strategy. The tension was palpable; in fact, you could have cut it with a knife. They were my team and I was running point. There was one slight problem however; you see, from my leadership point of view, I believed that they were there to carry out my vision according to my plan.

Years later my leadership mentor would invite me to a Lead Like Jesus Encounter with a group of Wycliffe associates. Assembled at the conference table were linguists—brilliant men with degrees out to wazoo—and then this young inexperienced kid that was trying to lead a budding organization. That day I was introduced to a new paradigm of leadership.

Jesus as Savior—check, Jesus as Lord—check, but what about Jesus as the greatest Leadership role model ever? I’m not sure that this thought had ever crossed my mind. And perhaps for some simple reasoning. Just consider for a minute, His greatest moment on the planet—when the reason for His earthly existence culminated at the cross. The guys He had led for three years all turned tail and ran; in fact, one from his inner circle “cussed Him out” (Mark 14:71) after denying twice even the slightest acquaintance to Him. Yet it was this motley crew, minus one, that went out just a short time later and turned the world upside down…that started the greatest organization in the world.

What was it about Jesus’ leadership that transformed unlearned, ignorant men into passionate followers and thus leaders of the early church? What was the DNA of His leadership methodology—the nuts and bolts of equipping these men who would ultimately do greater works than Him?

Servant leadership. Jesus called a group of men together from various backgrounds to embrace the vision of His Father—they were to become “fishers of men” among all peoples of the world. And after casting a powerful vision, Jesus didn’t lean back in His armchair expecting His people to get out there and do it. Rather, He modeled what He taught. He gave them authority and power to do what He did. His servant leadership approach was firmly explained—“You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45).

Yet, one might be hard pressed to see how well that model has caught. Many traditional leadership paradigms continue to reflect top-down structures, power and control; some even to the point of manipulation.

Either we fear losing control or our misunderstanding of responsibility results in micromanagement. Just the other day, my friend told me about his idea to empower groups within his church to launch out on their collective visions. The Pastor’s response? “We have enough pastors to run each group!” In other words, “Here’s how we can maintain control.” Perhaps this response is due to our default thinking that generally imagines the worst case scenario possible. “Everyone will do what is right in their own eyes” or “People will get carried away with their own ideas.”

Sure that might happen. But then good leadership—in the context of Christ’s—would cast a powerful vision and then equip each member/group with the tools to accomplish it. Jesus kept the traditional paradigm very much alive by casting vision from the top and then flipping the pyramid upside down in order to serve from the bottom. It’s called empowerment and deals a death blow to control and fear-based leadership.

Consider just a few verses in the beginning of John chapter four. Jesus didn’t baptize—His disciples did. How many pastors do you know that believe in that level of empowerment?

Or think about how hard Jesus worked on deflecting all praise to His Father. He kept sneaking off into the desert when the crowds wanted to make Him King. He was there to fulfill His role in His Father’s vision…He was there to equip men and women to carry it out. He served, He taught, He led.

In fact, Jesus stated that His disciples might do greater works than they had seen Him do (John 14:12). Leadership was not about Him. It was about bringing glory to His Father. Jesus served His people because He served His Father’s vision.

Was Jesus a control freak? I think the answer is clear. With a basin and towel Jesus got down and washed His disciples’ feet leaving us with one of the most powerful images for servant leadership—one based on empowerment vs. control, one based on vision rather than on the leader.

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As your speaker I will give you my best effort. See me as a catalyst or facilitator that will help you achieve the goals you’ve set for your event. When you win, I win. It’s as simple as that. I’m here to serve you!


A venue for the event should be chosen with the target audience in mind. All-day or half-day workshops are ideally hosted in rooms where food can be served and participants can gather around tables for group dialogue and breakout sessions (click on links for preferred room setup: round/long tables). All venues should be suited for multi-media presentations and wired for sound.

Once a date and presentation topic have been confirmed for an event, the venue name and address along with a contact phone number should be submitted for advertisement purposes. I can provide advertising media for all events including online registration if needed.



A room featuring a multi-media projector with 3000 lumens or greater is preferred for all events. I will use my own projector when one is not available. Please note that for most presentations and workshops I need my laptop at the front of the venue from where I’ll be speaking. My system can accommodate VGA/HDMI cables. I can also supply an Apple TV for systems that require wireless projection from the front. Most of my presentations are designed for widescreen (16:9).

For audio I prefer a lapel or Countryman microphone. For presentation/video audio I can supply my own speaker for groups under 100 people. For larger groups I need a mic cord (to plug into my direct box) or an audio cable (3.5mm mini stereo) that plugs directly into my laptop.

Replace lecterns and pulpits with a small table or stand on which to place a laptop. Standard telescoping music stands are ideal.

For workshops, have a flip chart or white board available with markers in several colors.

An eight-foot table should be available on which to place books, CDs, DVDs, and other resources for sale. Cash, checks, and credit cards are all accepted.


I do not charge a set fee when speaking at non-profit events. However, donations are welcome to support my family and cover bills. The suggested donation amount is $500/day for each day I’m on the trip plus travel expenses. If I’m within a few hours of an event I will drive (suggested reimbursement of $250), otherwise, I typically fly (if within the USA, $500). I fly out of Chicago, IL and typically purchase my own tickets; a reimbursement check made out to “Luke Kuepfer” can be mailed to 725 Newgate Lane, Apartment C, Prospect Heights, IL 60070.


I’d be delighted to come to your event and speak. I typically keep my events within a 1-3 day time period; anything over this length of time is generally reserved for international travel. Workshops can be facilitated as whole-day or half-day events. My multi-part series can be easily held over a weekend, beginning Friday night and ending Sunday morning or beginning Sunday morning and ending Monday evening.

About MeAbout Me

Speaker, author, and life coach.

Originally from Ontario, Canada, I currently hail from Chicagoland, IL. My wife Amy is originally from Indiana, USA and we have three children—Brittany, Courtney, and Jamin. Brittany is married to Josiah Zimmerman, Courtney to Jevon Martin, and Jamin is dating Emma Kate Crouse. 

I believe that as followers of Christ we are called to glorify God in all that we do. One way to do that is through serving leadership—leading, loving, and serving like Jesus. To ultimately serve others we must first serve our Audience of One—our heavenly Father—and, like Jesus, we must focus on the few to impact the many.

I served as Field Director for Global Tribes Outreach between 1997-2008, a non-profit organization in Southeast Asia I helped found back in 1995. Currently I serve as President of the Reverb Network which initiates serving leadership movements in North America and around the world.

My experience in missions mobilization, leadership training, and team development has taken me to four continents over the last 20 years. I have a Masters degree in Christian leadership from Asbury Seminary and speak, train, and coach in both business and non-profit spheres.

Having climbed 29 of Colorado’s 14,000 foot peaks, my family hopes to summit all 53 before my energy runs out.

I have heard from other staff members who agree with me, this was one of the best/productive workshops we've attended.

Dan Domer
Staff Member, Covenant Church, Winterville, NC

Your talk rocked my world.  

Qian Wang
Perspectives Student, College Station, TX

Luke Kuepfer’s high-energy presentation of the material was delightful, articulate, and profound! If you are looking for a fresh and life-changing look at Jesus’ servant leadership model, look no further! Give Luke a call!

Don Showalter
President, Hearts Alive!

Luke is a dynamic speaker with the gift of clearly articulating Biblical truths in an easy-to-understand manner. He speaks in humility but with authority, and injects his message with the experience and global perspective gained from living abroad as a missionary for many years.

Santosh David Poonen
Elder, River of Life Christian Fellowship, Loveland, CO

Luke’s enthusiasm and passion for the local church and its impact in the community is inspiring. I highly recommend his teaching and ministry!  

Clarence Miller
Deacon, Sharon Mennonite Church

“Transformational” is the one word I would use to describe the seminar. Luke has a true gift in communicating God’s truths with clarity and passion.

Joe Bacher
Pastor, Foothills Fellowship Westminster, SC

Luke is enthusiastic and knowledgeable, presenting the interactive material creatively. It is a unique presentation unlike the usual “leadership seminars” taught from the front. Luke presents it with expertise, fun, and interest in each attendee.

David Livingstone
Regional Manager, North-East & Mid-Atlantic Region, The JESUS Film Project

Luke really has an incredible way of captivating everyone’s attention and making a seminar meaningful. He speaks from his heart and lives what he preaches. As a result of this Encounter we’re taking our family to Southeast Asia on a two-month mission trip with the possibility of moving there long-term.

Lloyd & Mary Ellen Esh
Pastor, New Covenant Mennonite Fellowship New Holland, PA



Years Lived Abroad
Countries Visited
14-ers Climbed in CO
Places Lived
2014 - 2022


Presentations and workshops in both non-profit and business venues around the world on leadership, people skills, and life purpose.

2011- 2013


Masters Degree in Christian Leadership.

2009 - 2010


Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Studies.

1997 - 2008


Founded and served as Field Director of Global Tribes Outreach (GTO), a non-profit organization based in Southeast Asia committed to church planting and social work.

1994 - 1996


Floor finishing in concrete construction and equipment operator on a cash crop farm.

1990 - 1993


Taught elementary through high school students in a self-directed learning environment.