The son of Baptist pastor, the Revd. M. D. Kendrick, Graham Kendrick trained as a teacher before embarking on a singing career in the early 1970s. A prolific writer of songs sung in British churches, this is one of his most popular tunes.
The song was written for the interdenominational British Christian gathering Spring Harvest, which takes place annually over the Easter school holiday period. Graham Kendrick told Christianity magazine: "'Servant King' was the title for Spring Harvest and it was sent out to several writers, including myself. I just found that funny phrase inspiring. We weren't being asked, 'Can you write a song with the words "Servant King" in it?' But it was those two words that set the juices flowing, because they were opposites."
"If you are a lyricist, opposites always kickstart ideas; those two words don't normally sit together. So I just started to unpack that whole story. The obvious part of the story is the incarnation, 'From heav'n You came, helpless Babe…' And it's sort of unfolded from there."