This new series of blogs will address the first function in our Navigator Core Model of Living and Leading like Jesus—to LEAD. The definition used for leading well is to intentionally influence and enable people to accomplish a given task. The words in this definition will be highlighted in subsequent blogs. A key principle to keep in mind is that every Christ-Centered leader should ensure that those one serve are being led well.
Like the Disciples of old, followers of Jesus today should give focused attention to understand how Jesus led. Leaders should then seek to follow His model if for no other reason than Jesus’ leadership has stood the test of time and influence. If there were more Jesus-style leaders today many social, economic and health-related challenges would have alternative solutions.
Why are there not more such leaders? I suggest that the cost is too high! Jesus said that His kind of leading is sacrificial—and not in comfortable ways. Humble sacrifice is not generally modeled in businesses or churches or Christian organizations. Nevertheless, as the Holy Spirit progressively transforms followers of Jesus into His image we cannot help but learn to lead like Him.
So, what is the Holy Spirit seeking to produce in a person when it comes to leading like Jesus? The only firm foundation for effective leadership is valuing and nurturing heart transformation through the fruit of the Spirit. Without an internal sense of conviction and integration with biblical values, the practice of leading will always fall short of influence and impact. The last blog was devoted to the topic of heart transformation and, although worthy of much more focus, this series will transition to the core responsibilities of a leader.
Leadership is multi-faceted. Of the many possible functions of leading well, four overarching responsibilities are prominent (under which most other responsibilities can find a home). These four functions will be explored in subsequent blogs: setting direction, aligning resources, inspiring and motivating, and managing people.
1. Jesus came and lived for a purpose—to glorify the Father by providing for the salvation of mankind, modeling how to live a life pleasing to God, and training a band of men who would in turn lead a movement. He had a clear sense of direction and set it.
2. Jesus never made a big deal of finances (where we normally default when thinking about resources) in His teaching of the Disciples. What He did make a big deal about was knowing the available resources and stewarding them well. In order to align resources to strategic needs, one must value the inventory.
3. In three years Jesus was able to recruit a band of men and women who so believed in Him and His message that they were willing (and many did) to die for Him and His great cause. He had amazing ability to influence through inspiration and motivation—something every leader must understand and live regardless of natural talents or lack thereof.
4. It has been observed that Jesus never asked His Disciples to do something they had not already been prepared to do through watching His life or understanding His teaching. For people to thrive they must be managed well. Management or supervision can either be empowering, abusing, or neglecting by assuming that people will figure out success on their own.
As the LEAD function of Jesus-style leadership is explored only the surface will be scratched. Hopefully, the scratching will reveal an easy to remember outline and uncover a rich arena for further study.
Next Blog: Setting Direction