God has given every leader a purpose for living and leaders can trust Him to guide them. Read John 1:19-28.
John the Baptist was the God-appointed messenger to announce the arrival of Jesus. John’s birth was foretold in Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 4:5. John was a unique leader. He wore odd clothes, ate strange foods and preached an unusual message to the Judeans who went into the wasteland to see him. John had no power or position in the Jewish political system, but he spoke with almost irresistible authority. People were moved by his words because he spoke the truth, challenging the people to turn from their sins and baptizing them as a symbol of their repentance. John the Baptist believed God was directing his purpose and that allowed him to become a leader of great courage and great passion.
The effective leader will profoundly affect the lives of their teammates. Read Luke 6:12-19.
Early in His public ministry Jesus selected a small team that He would invest in to develop as the church’s first leaders. In just a few short years from these verses in Luke 6, Jesus would delegate all the authority of His kingdom’s work to them. In less than one generation, this small group chosen by Jesus progressed from ignorant laborers to bold spiritual leaders in what is now the largest organization in the world. This all happened because Jesus, the Son of God, chose to invest the majority of His time with a few men, only 12, not 1,200 or 12,000 but 12. Jesus mentored these 12 and set an example that more time with less people can equal greater impact.
Great leaders are not afraid to confront wrongdoing and stand up for what is right. Read Mark 11:12-19.
Jesus was secure in His identity and mission. He had arrived in Jerusalem for what would be his last visit and when He arrived He visited His Father’s house, the Temple. While some of the business conducted in the temple’s outer courts provided traveling pilgrims with sacrificial animals for their offering, many of the people doing business in the Temple’s outer courts were doing business and hawking wares for profit and not to benefit the worshiper or to bring honor to God. Jesus did not seek permission to confront what was an obvious unfair, unauthorized, illegitimate use of the Temple’s outer court.
In every culture God-honoring leaders have universally recognized the virtue of justice and the treacherous nature of injustice. The effective leader understands that justice must be a priority and must be carried out properly and effectively. The Old Testament prophet Micah offered a simple key to leading justly. “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:7-8).
God demands that everyone act with justice and mercy but the stakes go up when leaders are involved. Leaders have influence and decide when customers are treated fairly and their team receives equal pay for equal work. Leaders decide who is promoted, who is transferred, who is hired and who is fired. Leaders often determine who is put in danger and must sort out the morass of ethical questions with justice and fairness. Leaders must be proactive and, like Jesus in the Temple, cannot allow obvious injustice to go unchallenged.
Do you turn your back on injustice because it may put you at risk with others in positions of authority? Leaders would do well to remember a statement by former British Prime Minister Margret Thatcher, “What great cause would have been fought for and won under the banner, ‘I stand for consensus’?” When a leader is proactive to bring justice to bear, there is seldom a consensus. God-honoring leaders are not afraid to confront wrongdoing and stand up for what is right.
True empowerment pairs increased responsibility with increased authority to get the job done. Read Mark 3:13-19.
Jesus deliberately chose twelve for His leadership team from several hundred close followers. Verses 14 and 15 say, “He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him and that He might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.” Jesus carefully selected mature or rapidly maturing leaders, gave them a title, responsibilities, and the authority to complete the task. True empowerment always includes the authority to fulfill the responsibilities of the job assignments.
Leaders can lead effectively when empowered by their organization. Read Matthew 28:18-20.
Jesus was preparing to return to the Father as He turned over the daily activity of His mission to His disciples. He had invested nearly three years in their training and now was empowering them to carry on His work. As Jesus empowered His disciples He provided leaders with some helpful principles of empowerment: