The one we follow expects people to follow us. This gives Christianity a leadership culture. If you are a follower of Christ, you must be leader. Whenever the church is at its strongest it is because it is led well.
Because leadership is a part of the fabric of Christianity and the church that Christ is building, Jesus’ followers will display Christ-like leadership in their homes, their schools, their clubs, their workplaces, and the marketplace. Christ’s leadership shows us that it is not about how many are following, but how they are led that matters.
Jesus is deservedly considered the greatest leader ever. His leadership was so attractive it commanded the highest loyalty from the least likely. It produced leaders who were bold, daring and courageous from people who were shy, uncertain, and unreliable.
Yet, as great as the Christ’s leadership was and is, he is most definitely not an incredible leader! Now …don’t take umbrage – follow me…
There was something about Jesus of Nazareth’s leadership that was irresistibly attractive and inviting. If you watch Jesus lead you will be informed about how to be a better father, mother, student, employer, manager, or employee.
This is not an exhaustive list, but note the following leadership traits of Jesus and consider how they apply to you whether you’re an upfront leader, potential leader or so-called ‘ordinary non-clergy’ Christian.
‘Three young men hopped on a bus in Detroit in the 1930s and tried to pick a fight with a lone man sitting at the back of the vehicle. They insulted him. He didn’t respond. They turned up the heat of the insults. He said nothing.
‘Eventually, the stranger stood up. He was bigger than they had estimated from his seated position – much bigger. He reached into his pocket, handed them his business card and walked off the bus and then on his way. As the bus drove on the young men gathered around the card to read the words: Joe Louis. Boxer.
‘They had just tried to pick a fight with the man who would be heavyweight boxing champion of the World from 1937 to 1949, the number one boxer of all time, according to the International Boxing Research Organisation (second on the list is Muhammad Ali). They apparently said of Louis that he could knock out a horse with one punch.
‘I struggle to think how he got that reputation, but the point is simple. Here is a man of immense power and skill, capable of defending his honour with a single, devastating blow. Yet he chooses to forgo his status and hold his power for others – in this case, for some very fortunate young men.’
Jesus was the epitome of humble. He withheld his infinite power for the good of others. He didn’t promote Himself or seek His own glory – even though he is the only person who deserves it! If you are a person who is easily and often offended, you have a humility deficiency problem.
‘Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men’ (Philippians 2:5-7).
By following Christ with a daily prayer such as – ‘Lord have your way in my life. Make me into the person you want me to be’ – you will find the path to strength is down not up. A humble leader is a servant-leader.
‘When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem’ (Luke 9:51).
Parents as leaders have the destination of developing character, competency and chemistry in their children that shapes them into well-equipped ambassadors for Christ.
Leaders and pastors have a destination in mind for those they lead that looks like …
• followers of Christ
• knowing how to serve each other and
• leading others closer to Christ.
Christ’s leadership was focused on his mission. Ours should be too.
Jesus didn’t have a public face, then another face that was his non-public face. He was authentic when in sight and when he was out of sight.
In the past few weeks over 400 pastors have been exposed as adulterers when the Ashley Madison’s Life is Short. Have an Affair adultery website was hacked and made public. Some very high profile ‘pro-marriage’ church leaders have now been shamed and disgraced. They were not authentic leaders.
Your best chance of having any parental leadership sway with your kids is to be authentic. Do you tell them to clean up their room as they hop into your pig-sty of a car?
Being authentic involves walking the talk not just talking the talk. If I’m not spending time daily with God then my pastoral authenticity is a sham if I am telling you to spend time daily with God. Jesus calls his followers to follow him – not perfectly (although that’s the goal) – but authentically.
Diligence means with great care and persistence. Leadership is a marathon and a regular series of sprints (not just one sprint).
• It costs to be diligent
• It costs sleep
• It costs leisure
• It costs social time
• It costs financially
• It costs me-time, and
• It involves giving of oneself.
Nehemiah is one of the greatest examples of a diligent leader. Have a read through his book and you can only admire his achievements and the diligence that enabled him to accomplish them.
As humble, missional, authentic and diligent as Jesus was as a leader, he was not an incredible leader. Thus, the final aspect of this brief survey of Christ’s leadership deals with his credibility.
• When someone describes you as unbelievable they are not complimenting you!
• When someone describes you as incredible they are insulting you.
Incredible means cannot be trusted, cannot be believed, cannot be relied on. It is the opposite of credible. Jesus was not an incredible leader – he was a credible leader!
And while we live in a generation with many incredible leaders, it is our time to shine as Christ’s light bearers in a dark world by learning from Jesus how to be credible leaders.
Every church leader – indeed every Christian for that matter – should pray along these lines…
‘Father, help us to lead like Jesus. Help us to learn how to follow him more closely so that we can have others follow us more closely. Help us to care for those we lead. Help us to be humble, missional, authentic, diligent and credible. Help us to do those things that enable us to be so. As we spend time with you prayerfully in your word each day. And may your word instruct us, empower us, and guide us to be the leaders you want us to be in our homes, schools, work, businesses, and clubs, we pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.’
Dr Andrew Corbett is National President at ICI Theological College Australia, an avid reader/researcher, Christian apologist and author pastoring in Tasmania. Link: Twitter: DrAndrewC / firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.andrewcorbett.net