Corresponding Author

Ramon Ma. Nicolas V. Molano


The servant-first is central in writings on servant leadership and the biblical Jesus on becoming servants. A servant-first on its own volition seeks to serve, and to serve first the welfare of others before their own, and it does not necessarily hold a formal leadership position. The study introduces the term servant citizen to refer to one who is servant-first and an ordinary member of community. The study aimed to provide leaders, educators and trainers with teachable content that aids in the formation of servant citizens ─ more than nominal service-providers ─ from organization members. The study’s starting reference was servant leadership which, as related studies suggested, bore similarities with the servanthood of Jesus, and separate empirical studies associated with organization citizenship behavior. The researcher reviewed selected writings related to the three discrete concepts, gathered servant attributes and coded these, then distilled integrative themes. Preliminary analyses produced seven higher-level themes around the servant-first: (1) Developing character and self-concept; (2) Building capacity and readiness to serve; (3) Building people, relationships and sense of community; (4) Recognizing Thou in the other; (5) Adherence to laws, standards and norms; (6) Awareness of interdependencies and personal responsibilities; and (7) Getting the work done. The thematic analytical process, when saturated, yielded an ultimate synthesis: a triad of themes consisting of Building, Mindfulness and Reverence for Work (BMW). The study originates a new paradigm for servant citizenship as BMW simultaneously enacted. Abundant in meanings in either secular or Christian perspective considered independently, BMW provides a foundational content for teaching to develop individuals and institutions toward becoming servant citizens. The study contributes toward setting a future research agenda on servant citizenship ─ a concept heretofore non-extant in literature ─ and on BMW as a conceptual tool for weaving servanthood into the fabric of community, institutions and society.