Leadership is a flexible concept. In essence, it is the art of motivating people to move together effectively to achieve a common goal. The characteristics and personal qualities of a leader and the different types of leadership styles used also may depend on the circumstances, but no movement can get off the ground without good leadership.
The Jesus movement arguably has been the most successful in the history of the world. So, here are four of just some of the leadership qualities that Jesus exhibited during his ministry:
1. Emotional Intelligence. Jesus had charisma and people instantly gravitated to him. Peter and his brother Andrew immediately “dropped their nets and followed him,” as did James and John (Mark 1:18-20). Jesus amassed fame very quickly, and the “[n]ews about him spread everywhere” (Luke 4:37). In fact, there are over thirty passages in the four Gospels that mention crowds gathering around him. He was a people person who obviously cared about others.
2. Courage. Jesus never sugarcoated the truth, even though it sometimes meant losing lukewarm disciples (John 6:60-69). He held his followers accountable, correcting James and John for their overt ambition (Mark 16:42-45), chiding Peter for trying to tempt him away from the Cross (Matthew 16:23), pointing out the disciples’ lack of faith (Matthew 8:26) and understanding (John 14:19). He also challenged the authorities of his day (Matthew 23) and ultimately gave “his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
3. Empowerment Of Others. Jesus told his disciples: “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). Yet, he delegated and shared that authority with them. He sent the disciples to various regions as his ambassadors (Luke 10:1-23; Matthew 10:1-32), gave the apostles power to forgive sins (John 20:23), and eventually sent them as his witnesses to the “ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
4. Servant Leadership. Jesus cared for others, protected his disciples, set an example for them to follow, and ultimately died for them—all traits of a leader who prioritizes service. He did not come “to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45). He is the “Good Shepherd,” who knows and “lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11-15). Speaking of his disciples, he condemned anyone leading his “little ones” astray (Matthew 18:6), but promised to reward those who would give them even just a “cup of cold water” (Matthew 10:42). He also gave his apostles a model of humble service when he knelt down to wash their feet (John 13:1-17).
Over the centuries, Jesus has inspired armies of disciples. Join us this weekend for the fourth week of our message series, Common Sense, to learn how Christ continues to raise up leaders like you even today and why that is a very good reason to believe in what he taught.
—Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
Father Roger Gustafson