Is leadership really a science that can be studied, learned and applied; and if it isn't, where should we look? There’s no shortage of people who certainly think they know, and no shortage of others prepared to pay good money to learn their methods.
But if getting people to follow you is just a method, isn’t it merely coercion at best and compulsion at worst? Shouldn’t a leader become a leader because others see where he or she is going and decide – willingly, to follow?
The Leader as Servant
If that's a good model, then the leader is simply a servant finding and making their own path. Others might choose to follow; but only if they’re inspired by the leader’s personal example and commitment to the chosen way.
There’s growing recognition in the business world of the leader as servant; which seems to echo the leadership style of Jesus. So if servant leadership is emerging in the secular world, shouldn’t it be obvious in the Church?
The Fourfold Leadership of Jesus
Motivated by his vision of leaders leading as Jesus led, Andrew Watson, Bishop of Aston, described the key aspects of servant leadership in his 2008 book, The Fourfold Leadership of Jesus. Here's a summary of the four qualities - essential to the servant leader, that he identifies in Jesus leadership.
Wisdom, Humility, Love, Integrity
Come to Me Leadership
With compassion, gentleness, humility and a peaceable spirit, Jesus exemplifies the qualities of the shepherd. Accessibility is a key value for all who seek to serve a team that is encouraged, motivated and committed.
Follow Me Leadership
Authority, integrity, insight and self-sacrifice are at the heart of Jesus character as pioneer. Imitating this as servant, we must remember that we remain fallen, blinkered, compromised and fallible.
Wait for Me Leadership
Following Jesus’ example of watching, waiting and trusting in God’s direction and timing, enduring long term leadership means opening up to God and becoming patient and expectant in prayer.
Go for Me Leadership
As active contributors, not passive benefactors servant leaders act competently, with discernment and vision while always guards the hearts and minds of those they seek to serve.
Your Leadership, Your Discipleship
If you’re finding yourself in a position where others are looking to you for leadership, and you want to lead them like Jesus and too Jesus, here’s a few books that might help you serve them better:
Lead Like Jesus – Lesson from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time: discover how to lead like Jesus; aligning the heart and the head with the hands and the habits.
Growing Leaders – Reflections on Leadership, Life and Jesus: the challenge of raising up new leaders, helping existing leaders to mature and discerning your personal calling.
Developing the Leader Within You: the principles of leadership for developing vision, value and bringing positive change to organisations through integrity and self-discipline.
The Leadership of Jesus – And its Legacy Today: explores Jesus' leadership qualities and vision of a kingdom where leaders are servants, defeat is victory and death transformed into new life.
For more books on church leadership and resources for church leaders, click this Leadership link and find help and encouragement toward fulfilling God's calling and vision for your life.
And if you've got something helpful to say to a new generation of church leaders, add your comments to this article.
August 27th, 2013 - Posted & Written by Les Ellison