Monday I wrote about 5 principles for students as it relates to giving. Tuesday I was out all day for a student ministry event, so today is a BOGO kind of day!
Today as we talk about leadership, the primary thing I want to drive home is Jesus’ perception of leadership from Mark 10. Here is the text:
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
For Jesus, leadership is all about taking the position of a servant, rather than exercising control or dominance over someone else. In Jesus’ example, we see someone who is a strong leader (duh, it’s Jesus), but who leads not be power but by loving sacrifice and compelling those who followed Him. Napoleon noted this, when he said that he, Alexander, and Caesar had built empires through war, Jesus had built his through love, and at any moment millions would willingly die for Him.
- Leadership is all about influence – Have you ever met someone who was such a captivating person they could walk into a room and tell everyone to bang their head on the wall? I’ve met several like that. I’ve also met people who think that because they’re oldest, biggest, or “most deserving” that everyone should listen to them. The key in leadership is that you’re actually leading someone, and that happens as you influence them. Who are you influencing now? Are you pointing them to godliness or not?
- Leadership is not about popularity – If you want everyone to like you and think you’re great, sell ice cream. Ask any team captain or coach what it’s like to have the leadership role and they’ll tell you that it’s not always been fun. Leadership sometimes involves making tough decisions, giving constructive criticism, or having to lovingly confront someone.
- The greatest leaders are those who are humble – A secular book on leadership called Good to Great pointed out that the highest ranking leaders weren’t the big huge personalities, but those who demonstrated genuineness and humble attitudes. The Bible affirms this, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).
- Leadership is not about a position – You don’t have to have a title to be a leader, you just have to be a leader. I know that sounds silly, but look back at #1, leadership is all about influence. You don’t have to be the team captain, supervisor, or facilitator in your group to have a leadership role. Bring your influence to the table, and you’re leading.
- Make sure you’re ready – There’s a saying about leaders “the tallest blade of grass is the first one cut down.” You have to be tough, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, if you’re going to take on a leadership role. You need to be ready for it or else it could be a disaster. The perfect formula is right person, right opportunity, right time. If one of those is off, bad news.
I like to use quotes, and Thom Rainer at LifeWay (who knows a thing or two about leadership) has a great list of leadership quotes on his blog.