Leading Like Jesus

For pastors, missionaries, evangelists, and teachers, one of the roles and responsibilities that weighs most heavily is the call to lead. Leadership is hard work and requires both skill and character. I have the privilege of serving an institution that prepares ministry leaders, and my desire is for them to graduate with a clear picture of what it looks like to lead the people of God to accomplish the mission of God.

And where is the best place to look for such a picture? I believe it is none other than to Jesus himself, the ultimate leader of men and women. Below I’ve listed some of the basic lessons we can learn from Jesus’ life and ministry. What other lessons on leadership do you think we can learn from Jesus?

  • A godly leader must have a sense of divine call (Luke 2:49; John 3:17; 4:34; 6:29; 9:4; 20:21).
    • You must know who you are in Christ and why God put you here.
  • A godly leader must be a servant leader (Mark 10:42-45).
    • “You will never become a servant leader until you first become servant to the Leader” (Gene Wilkes, Jesus on Leadership, 22).
  • A godly leader must be a humble leader (Luke 14:8-11; John 13:12-14).
    • You must avoid the “head-table” mentality for the “basin-towel” mentality.
  • A godly leader must accept that those who follow Jesus often find themselves treated like Jesus (John 15:18, 20).
    • Some of Jesus’ followers turned on Him. Some of your followers may turn on you.
  • A godly leader must place the needs of others ahead of his own (John 13:1-2, 34-35).
    • Love others like Jesus loves you.

In all of this, it is important to remember, Jesus focus in leadership is on character, commitment, conviction and compassion. We would do well to imitate our Savior in this regard.