Tag Archives: caring

Jesus, the Caring Leader, Summary

The Navigator’s Core Leadership Model affirms that a caring leader will know, provide for, and protect those being led. What if a leader is not naturally a care giving person by gifting or heart inclination?  A leader not gifted in caring can actually do more harm than good if forced to do so.  How must such a leader care?

Every Christ-like leader will ENSURE that those being led have the leadership needed to thrive regardless of the leader’s competence. Within the body of Christ and eventually on every team, there will be people with the strengths and spiritual gifts to provide what others need.  So, a given leader may not be the best person to do the caring but will make sure that it happens.

An interesting development has taken place in recent years, at least in certain evangelical circles, where there does not appear to be an urgent concern for the eternal destiny of people. Those who do not claim to be followers of Jesus appear to be living an OK life.  Unless tragedy strikes, Jesus followers can be led to think that the smiles and relatively high standard of living of non-believers indicates that life is fine.  Fervor for evangelism has seemed to wane.  However, what could be a more important act of concern than for the eternal welfare of people?

The second to last discourse of Jesus was to His disciple, Peter, in John 21:15-19 when he told him to feed and tend to His followers. Ensuring that the foundation laid for this new faith community would continue was a priority for Jesus.  The “good seed” that had taken root needed to be nurtured.  Caring for people is of vital importance.  The last discourse of Jesus (Acts 1:6-11) addressed the other aspect of ultimate care for people by communicating the Gospel message.  Surely Jesus modeled a core leadership value of caring.

The Apostle Paul understood this care value and wrote so clearly to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:28-31 “to keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers and to be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.” Intentional caring as a leader is not an option.

Both Jesus and Paul recognized a dual role of caring, for individuals and community. We may start with a genuine concern for individuals, but leaders also need to learn how to care for the community or flock.  Leadership is more than thinking about a person—there is the concern for corporate good as well.  If you can’t think beyond the individual you may put the flock at risk. Deciding what’s good for the whole can feel like betrayal if you most naturally care for individuals.  Sometimes the good of the many outweighs the good for the one.

In summary, a caring leader will seek to know those being led by invested focused time together.  This caring leader will seek to provide for those being led by ensuring health spiritually, physically, emotionally, relationally, and in all other ways.  Also, care is shown by protection from the Enemy, from hostile people, and from oneself.  Leaders cannot provide all the care needed personally or through delegation, and that is why perhaps the most caring function a leader like Jesus can do is to pray.  We need look no further than Jesus’ prayer in John 17 to see the way He cared through praying.  May we be known most of all for our regular, disciplined, and informed prayer life for those we have the privilege to serve as a leader.

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Jesus, the leader who cared

We now come to the third of the three components of our CORE Model for living and leading like Jesus. Although the care component is addressed third, it is of no less importance than the lead and develop components.  From the life of Jesus we find Him leading, developing, and now caring for those He led.

If we had to choose just one passage in the Bible that succinctly tells God’s very personal care for people, one would be hard pressed not to select the Twenty-Third Psalm. In this treasure from the heart of David, we find eloquently stated what it means to have God as our Shepherd.  But now we turn to how Jesus cared as a living example of Psalm 23.

When we think about Jesus as a leader who cared, several pictures from stories in the Gospels should come to mind. Which pictures come to your mind? Jesus valuing the little children? Jesus calming the Disciples in the boat during the storm? Jesus committing His mother to John while on the cross?  How He related to people, His soothing words, His gentle touch, His loving glance, all teach us of the Savor’s care for those He encountered and led.

Jesus’ care and concern is equally seen in His cleansing the temple so that sincere worshippers were not abused. His harsh words toward religious leaders who were misleading people were an act of care.  And yes, His passion to take upon Himself the sin of the world was the ultimate sign of caring.  Jesus is clearly a leader who cared far more than any earthly leader.  His example is most worthy of our emulation.

In many cultures the caring function is viewed as a leadership weakness. It is something that mothers do with children, but fathers are expected to be the real leaders who teach the toughness of “manhood.”  Leaders perceive that acts of care could mar their image of being able to act with authority.  Whether the picture of a “stiff upper lip” or dispensing decisive orders or never allowing emotions to surface is culturally normative, none of these or other characteristics are consistent with the Bible or Jesus.  He was approachable by all; He rarely had to give orders; and He cried.  Here we find our model for caring.

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5: 1-12), Jesus turned on end conventional wisdom about leadership. His teaching identified what was considered worthy of blessing from God for the masses and leaders alike: being poor in spirit, mourning, gentleness, hunger for righteousness, being merciful, being pure in heart, peacemaking, and being persecuted.  To live and lead like Jesus we must understand and apply these caring functions personally and with those we serve.

What questions come to your mind when you consider care giving as a leader? If they are not addressed in the next three blogs under the categories of knowing, providing, and protecting, please consider this blog a place to explore the answers to your questions.

Next blog: Jesus Cared by Knowing People

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