Jesus is the only perfect leader the world will ever know. Read the book of John (3 chapters a day will get you through it in one week).
The book of John has a wealth of Jesus’ stories and teachings, many not found in Matthew, Mark or Luke. The book of John may be the simplest of the four Gospels and the book of John is full of insights into leadership principles and their applications. Boiled down to one divine message John’s message might be that: “God grafts leaders into Jesus so they might draw strength from Christ Himself.” John 15 even talks about Jesus as the vine and us as the branches. How often do Christian leaders work within their own strength, wisdom and understanding when they have the greatest source of strength, wisdom and understanding willing to empower their leadership?
Competent leaders deserve and should insist on loyalty and commitment from their team. Read Luke 14:25-35.
During His three years of public ministry Jesus gave Himself wholly to His assignment from God and to His team. He demonstrated His ability, commitment, resourcefulness and intelligence in private settings, to the masses, and to the political and religious leaders of His day. Jesus’ example tended to drive the uncommitted away but attracted the committed. His passion to honor God and His competence in carrying out His assignment gained the trust, respect, loyalty and commitment of His team. Jesus never hesitated to tell His followers to count the costs of following Him because He wanted their all or nothing.
Wise leaders know that before demanding high levels of commitment, they must demonstrate a level of competence. Competence is required to gain the trust and respect of their team. John Maxwell discusses competence in a note in The Maxwell Leadership Bible:
Competence goes beyond words. It’s the leader’s ability to say it, plan it, and do it in such a way that others know you know your business – and know that they want to follow you. Competence must be sought at every organizational level. Incompetence can be tolerated nowhere, John Gardner once wrote, “The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”
Once a leader has demonstrated competence they must identify what it is within their organization that is worthy of their team’s commitment. I personally have found that rather than asking the question, “How do we get commitment?” it is better to ask, “To what or to whom are we committed?” No matter how competent the leader, until their team understands what they are doing that is worthy of commitment it will feel shallow to the team to be asked for commitment. For the Christian leader, when their organization’s goals and outcomes are properly related to God and the organization’s activities honor Him, commitment will make sense to the team.
Jesus said that His team’s love for Him needed to be so great that all other human relationships would pale by comparison. While it is true that only Jesus would qualify for that kind of devotion, leaders can learn from Jesus’ example and should not hesitate to ask their team to count the costs of being on the team so they can chose to get on board or leave for a cause and leader they can commit to wholeheartedly.
Job 11:13-15 “Yet if you devote your heart to Him and stretch out your hands to Him, If you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.”
There are times when every leader will be asked to give up short-term comfort and security to gain a much greater prize. Read Mark 15:15-24.
It is the day of Jesus’ execution. He was innocent of any crime but was being obedient to the revealed Word of God and was willingly sacrificing His life, shedding His blood as the required sacrifice for the atonement of mankind’s sins against God. According to Matthew 26:53, Jesus could have made a simple request to His Father and God would have provided legions of angels to extricate Him from the religious leaders and Roman soldiers who were about to execute Him. Jesus did not take the short-term easy way out but chose an excruciating death for the long-term good of all mankind. He gave up His life to gain the redemption of the whole world and for that great sacrifice Jesus is the name God has placed above all names and is the person that will eventually be confessed by every tongue and to whom every knee will bow.
Effective leaders select specific team members very carefully and for specific reasons. Read Mark 2:14-17.
It could be argued that Jesus formed the most effective team in human history. He chose 12 individuals that He dedicated three years of His life to mentor. These 12 individuals, after only a few years with Jesus, took His message to the known world and even now, 2,000 years later, Christianity is still changing individuals and changing the world.
Tags: Approval of others, Bless, Blue Collar Working Men, Boundaries, Christianity, Correct Teammates, Demonstrated Passion, Fishermen, Human opinion, Mentor, Positive Chemistry, Selecting your team, Specialists, Unique Value
Purpose and passion can overcome a leader’s lack of credentials. Read Mark 1:1-9.
Isaiah the prophet had foretold of a leader that would come on the scene just prior to the Messiah to prepare a way for Him (Isaiah 40:3). John the Baptist seemed to just appear in Israel and sparked a major spiritual awaking among the people. John’s ministry touched every segment of society from the nation’s leaders, to beggars and heretics, to religious leaders. John had an amazing impact even though he had none of the credentials we associate with great leaders. He didn’t have politically influential friends, he wasn’t wealthy, he lived in an isolated area, he wasn’t formally educated, he didn’t dress for success and he demonstrated zero tact in his messages. Yet, according to Jesus in Matthew 11:11, John the Baptist was the greatest man ever born.