GODíS TOP SEVEN
"7 Principles About Christlike Leadership"
Jerry A. Collins
Leadership does not have to do with being followed by someone. If that were the case then a mother-duck would be classified a leader. Leadership has to do with change not being followed. The shortest and best definition of a biblical leader is to be a change-agent. The influence we have on others motivates them to change in a godly direction in some area of their lives. This kind of leadership has nothing to with position but everything to do with the influence we have in a relationship with someone or others. For instance, since a parent influences his/her children a parent can be a leader. Jesus was the greatest leader that has ever existed. His influence on His disciples even impacts our generation nearly two thousand years later. It makes sense, then, that we take a look at Jesusí leadership so that we can become the most effective change-agents possible and exert a Christlike leadership in our families, our careers, our offices, our friendships. We will take a look at seven principles of leadership we learn from Christ.
1. CHRISTLIKE LEADERS DO NOT SEEK GROUPS OF PEOPLE TO ENTRUST THEMSELVES TO John 2:23-25(vs24 & Jn 6:15)
Apparently Jesus did do some signs that verified His right to cleanse the temple. This produced a group of followers who Ďbelieved in His nameí (v. 23). They seem to have wanted to make Him head of some movement or something. Jesus, however, knew that all people are sinners and did not entrust Himself to them since that would, of course, generate an agenda different from the one He already had from God the father. Later on, Peter tried to give Jesus another agenda (Matt 16:23) and so did Satan (Luke 4:1-11). In each case Jesus was asked to submit to them and serve their agenda. Submission would have been a good thing if Jesus were in chaos and needed to be brought under control. But since Jesus was already doing the will of the Father He had no need to look for people to entrust Himself to. A Christlike leader accomplishes ministry not because he submits himself to others but because he has entrusted himself to Godís agenda and does that. Jesus had to cleanse the temple because the Pharisees had added their traditions to the temple and they could not see Christ. We have added 2000 years of tradition to the New Testament and have the same problem. We never have to submit to any man-made rule but must always submit to Godís Word. It is the Word of God and not people that a Christlike leader submits himself/herself to.
2. CHRISTLIKE LEADERS USING LIFEíS EXAMPLES POINT TO FAITH AS KEY TO UNLOCKING GODíS HEART John 4:46-54 (vs 48)
In this passage Jesus made His way slowly to the north of the country stopping at Nazareth and then Cana of Galilee. This is where he turned water into wine. By now His reputation as a healer had spread to Galilee and a nobleman from Capernaum came to Cana to ask Christ to heal his son. Jesus turned the request of this man into a lesson about faith. The point being that faith should not require signs. In Hebrews 11:6 we are told that Ďwithout faith it is impossible to please Him (God)í. God is not manipulated by our good works or our devotion or sincerity. God is motivated by our faith! God honors faith! Our obedience is evidence of our faith. What you do is what you believe not what you say or think. Faith based on signs and wonders then and now is a cheap weak faith. Faith and obedience are synonymous. Whenever I sin it is because of a lack of faith. I do not believe God in that situation. The reason I sin is because there are holes in my faith. You can tell how much faith you have by how much you are doing. All of the sins in your life show the holes in your faith. Christlike leaders are people who are filling in those holes by obedience because they know that this is what unlocks Gods heart and makes us pleasing to Him.
3. CHRISTLIKE LEADERS FOCUS ATTENTION OF DISCIPLES ON BECOMING FISHERS OF MEN Luke 5:1-11 (vss 8-10)
After being rejected by His hometown people, Jesus moved His ministry to the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee. As Jesus entered the area of the north shore of the sea, He taught the people, then performed the miracle of the miraculous catch of fish. Peter responded with worship (vs 8) and Christ responded with a new assignment for Peter--catching men. The point is, just as Peter was unable to catch fish by himself--even though he was as experienced fisherman--he was able to do so with abundance when Christ was doing it and Peter was involved with Jesus in what he was doing. So people are a priority over fish and other things. We are to become involved in what it is Jesus is doing and we cannot add anything to that but can participate in it. Jesus invites us to fish for men. The pattern of Jesus/disciples was to present the kingdom and then minister to those who responded. There was never an attempt to beg people to respond but just dealt with those who did. Go fishing. Keep fishing. We do not know who is going to bite. Our lives must become attractive bait. I can tell the message, give the gospel, that Jesus Christ died for our sin and rose again from the dead. But I cannot make anyone believe. I can keep putting out the bait but not beg people to bite it. If we must remember anything it is that the stakes are eternal for every person. Christlike leaders keep fishing and focus the attention of their disciples to do the same.
4. CHRISTLIKE LEADERS PROVIDE SOMETHING NEW WHICH WILL NOT FIT IN OLD SYSTEMS Luke 5:33-39 (Vs38-39)
Jesus was questioned about the difference between His disciples and those of John and the Pharisees. Theirs fasted; His ate and drank. Christ responded by telling them He was not trying to reinforce old religious practices. He had new revelation and He Himself was new revelation. He also had a new assignment from God the Father which included His disciples. But a new message will not fit old institutions and institutional people. They are already satisfied with what they have. For instance, if you do not see yourself drowning, then you will not respond to a life preserver. The old wineskin is the Pharisees and the new wineskin is the gospel. Tradition is always a mixed bag. People into tradition are satisfied with that and that is the problem. You can ever get to maturity and godliness by keeping it. It can only bring order but it cannot bring growth. It is valuable to produce order in our lives from what use to be chaos. But we are not to stay there. Christlike leaders are always bringing newness to the people they influence. Walking in faithful obedience to God does not mean doing what everyone else is or has been doing. It means doing new things, becoming a new person, having a renewed mind. Doing new things in my life because I have discovered something new from Gods Word. God defined godliness by new activity not old activity (Adam, Abe, Noah, Joseph, Daniel, Mary, Peter, Paul).
5. CHRISTLIKE LEADERS MAKE PEOPLE AWARE OF THINGS DIVERTING ATTENTION FROM AND DILUTING PURITY OF GODS KINGDOM Matt 16:1-12 (vss 1 & 4)
The Pharisees team up with Sadducees to attack Jesus again. This time asking for a sign from heaven to authenticate His claim as Messiah. But Christ condemned their need for a heaven-sent supernatural sign and said the only sign they would get is the sign of Jonah (3 days, then deliverance in Christís case a resurrection from the dead). Later Jesus warns disciples about little faith (vs8) which was apparently the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. The leaven was little faith caused by replacing a commitment to follow God with something else that takes your eyes partly off God. It could be a liberal agenda or a conservative one ( like the phars and sads) or any earthly religious goals or systems. Little faith is caused not by rejecting Godís kingdom but by diluting it. Christlike leaders are wary of anything in their lives that might compromise their walk with the Lord or devotion to Jesus Christ.
6. CHRISTLIKE LEADERS LEAD PEOPLE TO MAGNIFY PERSON OF CHRIST Matt 17:1-13 (v1-3)
Because Christ was God there are limits to our pursuit of Christlikeness. We are to imitate Him and His leadership in His perfect humanity nit in His perfect deity. Since this passage emphasizes His deity we can only point to Him not model Him. It is Christ alone we magnify.
7. CHRISTLIKE LEADERS HAVE CONFIDENCE IN PENETRATING POWER OF GODS KINGDOM Luke 13:18-21
It starts out small and unnoticed (like seeds and leaven) then by itself it penetrates and dominates.