We live in a world where many want the honour and recognition of being called a leader, but some may not be willing meet the standards of leadership.
There are some similarities in those who lead without giving their lives to Jesus Christ and those who lead knowing Him. However, a Christian leader has that extra responsibility of leading in a Christ-like manner, whether they are a parent or guardian, schoolteacher, or church leader. This is simplified in that they have the perfect role model, leader, and example of Jesus Christ. He can hold their hand and show them how it is done.
To emulate the leadership style of Jesus, we can look at and examine how he lived and led in the Bible and the attributes he showed.
A predominant feature in His life is how Jesus was more focused on functionality than on a title, yet he had impactful leadership. Christian leaders ought to follow suit.
Jesus was the epitome of humility (Philippians 2:5-8). As a leader you need God on your side always, therefore there is no room for pride. Why, might you ask? Pride brings opposition from God (Proverbs 3:34). You cannot afford for this to happen as already, being in a leadership position naturally does bring some people against you. You need all the help you can get from God!
Jesus walked in humility and never looked down on anyone, willing to associate even with outcasts. He did not brag nor was he egocentric.
Rather, he was other-centred.
He served other people and demonstrated servant leadership, which is one arm of humility, for a leader.
Jesus did not stop at feeling sorry but went the extra mile and did something about a given situation. For example, when it was convenient for others to make their own arrangements for food, he insisted that something be done (Matthew 14:15-21).
Listening to understand
Jesus was able to respond accurately to the needs of those around him because he listened to understand, and not solely to reply.
When he eventually did respond, it was an informed, appropriate response. How often as leaders are we so quick to respond or reply, out of eagerness but also at times out of wanting to show that we knowing it all?
Jesus cared about the masses and demonstrated impactful leadership in crowds. But he also gave the one-on-one care attention (Luke 19:2-5).
I challenge parents with children to be intentional and take aside each child individual, from time to time, away from the rest of the family and spend quality time just talking and getting to know them (each other, actually!). Perhaps a drink, a meal or just chatting at home by the veranda?
Singled out someone makes them feel special, does it not?
Confronted important issues
We often hear that Jesus exhibited righteous anger when he went into the temple, found people trading in God’s house, and overturned the tables. The motivation here was not selfish, it was not bruised pride. He was upset at the disrespect being shown to God. When you become visibly angry as a leader, what is your motivation? Are you angry at what makes God angry? (Matthew 21:12-13).
Jesus was merciful when others would have preferred otherwise, as we see with the woman who committed adultery (John 8:3-11). Yes, she deserved to be stoned, but Jesus chose to forgive. Note also though, in the last verse, that he still encouraged people to have a life of repentance and holiness.
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus emphasizes the importance of praying, and he himself prays. Not only does he pray, but he encourages his disciples to be alert and pray (Matthew 26:36-45).
The story of the woman who had the issue of blood shows that Jesus was sensitive to individuals. It mattered to him that someone had reached out to him by touching his cloak (Mark 5:25-34).
Understood the word
We live in an age where heresy is preached, and scriptures are sometimes taken out of context. It is important for a leader to not only read. Memorize and know the word of God, but also to understand it and live it.
Jesus did just that.
We see this when the devil tempted him in the desert (Matthew 4:3-10). Note that the devil does know scripture, but he desires to twist it and have it used inappropriately.
Do you take care to understand the context with in which a scripture you’re quoting is being used?
Remember that teachers of the word have a great responsibility (James 3:1).
Jesus did not have an attitude of “Do as I say and not as I do”. He demonstrated what he expected his disciples to do, and lived the life he encouraged, For example, a part of his lifestyle was to heal and cast out demons (Matthew 17:18-20). Do you ever find yourself fearful that you might pray for someone or cast out a demon in the name of Jesus Christ, and then it does not happen? Ask yourself why if we have been given the same authority to do these things.
A life of sacrifice
Jesus sacrificed much throughout his life, including comfort and acceptance. He was focused on loving and obeying the Father and on loving others, the two greatest commandments.
Do you love those you lead to the extent of making sacrifices when this is called for?
In the end, Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice when he went to the cross, doing it all for you and me (John 3:16).
These godly attributes of leaders seem basic, yet if all Christian leaders followed these, the quality of leaders will increase. If we always walk the talk, we will have more impactful leadership and hopefully draw more people to Christ.