We may not think of Jesus as a leader, we certainly should understand the Lord and Savior part, but Leadership. Jesus was a leader. He led his disciples and laid the foundation for a Church that would focus on leaders leading, whether it was the intentional work of an apostle or elder/pastor in a church, or the more informal leadership of the average Christian influencing others toward Christ as Lord and Savior, and a life of discipleship.
Jesus did the things He could control and trusted God with what He couldn’t. Leadership is very seldom passive. Leaders do things. They guide others, provide an example, teach, encourage, even push if necessary. Jesus provided leadership to his disciples, to the crowds that were constantly around, and in quiet moments in a conversation with a woman at a well or a Pharisee in a courtyard. For the Church what we can control, change expand, do is often where the future of the Church is. When we work on that we often are surprised at the possibilities that appear. There are always opportunities if we take the time to pray, refocus, discover what can be done to grow personal life and mission as well as the life and mission of the Church. I think sometimes we can get so frustrated with what we can’t control that we allow it to shut down everything, surrendering to what will be rather than what should be. Jesus knew the difference. He did the things He could do and trusted God with the many things He could not. Anxiety is not a spiritual gift! Peace is!
Jesus knew that effective leadership was not authority based but relationship based. Jesus spent whatever time was necessary to build relationships. He did not need a badge that said rabbi or messiah to lead others. Much of the three public years of his ministry was spent in building relationships. They did not follow an idea, they followed Him, someone they knew, respected, trusted, and loved. The resurrection when it came was not just about theology, it was about their lord and friend being alive. One of the things that has really changed in recent years is what effective leadership looks like. There was a time it was authority based. I am convinced this is no longer true. In fact I am unsure if there are many who even respect authority. But they do treasure their friendships. If authority is the only foundation for leadership then the relationships have broken down or never been formed The final result will probably be failure. This is probably more true in Church than anywhere. Taking the time to build trusting, loving, Christ centered relationships with staff, lay leaders, the church family, community leaders is all time well spent if someone is wanting to lead anyone, any group, any organization, and certainly the Church.
Jesus fully understood the difference between pride and integrity. I think many get these two things mixed up. Jesus did not. He humbled himself in every way a human that was God could without ever sacrificing who He was and what He came to do. If it was about pride he would have turned the stones into bread and jumped off the Temple spire at the Temptation in the Wilderness. He would have made a miracle every time he felt he needed to show up those who rejected or dissed Him. He did not. He was confident in His call and secure in who He was. He did not need to prove himself or defend Himself. Humility was a central component of Jesus who had all the” rights of being God but chose to serve and give himself instead.” (Philippians 2) For the leader its not just about swallowing pride, its about living in humility. For those who want to lead long term effectively this is non negotiable. It has always surprised me how some pastors and church leaders or so ready to damage their ministry and their church for things that have nothing to do with integrity and everything to do with personal pride. The “My way or the Highway” method does not work in the Church and is far from the way Jesus led. There is a reason the invitation to follow Jesus involves picking up a cross.
Do something that makes a difference. Spend time building relationships and see the effort as high value. Live in humility and begin discovering the influence that will grow among those you want to lead.
God give us success. Psalm 118:25