Various leadership programs will tell you there are anywhere from three to twelve dominant characteristics of a leader, including a desire for purpose, self-knowledge, persistence, daring, and life itself. In a study of the life of Jesus, I noticed five characteristics in His leadership. These can help us as we lead lay and professional leaders in our ministry area.
Be an Authority Figure. One thing that stands out in Jesus’ teachings is the frequent use of imperatives. He never said, “Gee, if you’d like to this, then…” or “If you’re up to it, why don’t you…” No, His words were demanding. No matter which translation of the Bible you read, you find Jesus speaking with authority. Church leaders look to you as an authority on your assigned ministry area. Lead with authority.
Be an Example. Jesus told His followers what to be as well as what to do. For example, He encouraged them to be perfect. Among other things, He told them to love, obey, pray, listen, and follow. Yet He did it without a hint of pride or sarcastic smirk. It isn’t important for you to ask church leaders to imitate you—they will. It’s important that you continue to be personally involved in the ministry area you represent and serve.
Be a Decision Maker. There are a number of things that go into making good decisions: gut reaction, emotions, logic, history, experience, responsibility, accountability, and knowledge. Leadership decisions are best made on the basis of common sense and management principles. But in our case, some of the best decisions are made on what will lead to the greatest Kingdom impact! This may mean taking risks. George C. Marshall said, “Don’t be afraid to take a big step when one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” Make decisions that have the greatest impact on Kingdom work!
Be a Friend. Jesus was genuinely friendly with those around him. He touched the shoulders (and feet) of all His staff members (disciples). There were no unimportant people in His life. Speak to people coming down the hall or sidewalk. Determine to speak directly to people and not divert your eyes away as most people do. That recognition and simple act can help build friendships.
Be an Inspiration. In all of Jesus’ teachings, there are no rah-rah rallies. There are no pep talks. He motivated and motivates people without seminars and best-selling books. Well, OK, one best-selling BOOK. He had something we all need—Integrity! Nothing will motivate your people greater than the knowledge that their leader is a man or woman of integrity.
Do you want to pattern your leadership style after Jesus? It may take some work, but it is not an impossible task! Good leaders know their strengths and weaknesses and are willing to make changes when necessary to become better leaders in ministry.
Reposted from Alan Raughton with permission.