It seems there are 3,458 books on Christian leadership. “Seven Principles.” “Lead Like Jesus.” “Twelve Steps.” I’m burned out on such literature. Here are a couple things I’ve come to conclude on leadership from a Christian vantage-point. For more reading, my favorite leadership book is an unexpected book called In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen.
Christian Leaders Serve: Christian leadership is distinctly humble in its posture. It is servant leadership. In the Kingdom of God, first is the servant and great is the slave (Matt. 20:20-28). The leader puts himself/herself under others. This is leading from “below.” The business world has a model of leadership with this title. Yet the goal of this servant leadership is still “success” or “revenue” or “outcomes.” Servant leadership finds its goal in the well-being of others.
Christian Leaders are Strong: Servant Leadership is NOT weak leadership. Humility requires strength. A common perception is that the Christian leader is only nice, kind, and gets stepped on. But for the sake of others, the Christian leader is willing to assert a muscular persistence in pursuit of God’s will.
Christian Leaders Take Responsibility: Leadership is largely about responsibility. 1.) Be faithful in what you are responsible for. 2.) Grow in your responsibility – for more people, for greater tasks. 3.) Leadership means taking responsibility for things that aren’t your fault (ie. Jesus on the cross). It will mean pain and trial. The greater the leader you are, the more responsibility you can handle. Many shun leadership because they don’t want the responsibility. Many shun responsibility and are poor leaders.
Christian Leaders Learn and Earn: Leadership is both learned and earned. 1.) Learned from Mentors. Paul in I Cor. 11:1: “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” 2.) Earned in Experience. Dallas Seminary Professor Howard Hendricks: “Between 80-90% of leadership development is on-the-job training.” “Taught by the Holy Spirit in the school of experience.”