Leading like Jesus led – really?

As an intentional Christian, I am challenged with appropriating our Lord’s teachings and life into every aspect of my life. One of the most difficult has been reconciling these with my personal predispositions and popular contemporary leadership models.

Most of these focus on the leader with exhortations to go with our gifts, maximize strengths, and pursue our visions. However, I am working through the counter-intuitive and counter-cultural implications of Philippians 2. Paul summarizes the Jesus model as one that focuses more on the led than the leader. It gives up perks, privileges, and personal agendas. It recognizes that our treasured calling to leadership is contained in an earthen vessel (2 Cor. 4:7). And it is willing to take on responsibilities outside of our strengths in order to ensure that the glory goes back to the One who has called us into leadership. It is a call that could mean the sacrifice of the leader in order to achieve the highest good for those being led. While for me this is a work in progress, I am thankful that the same equipping and empowering Spirit that made such leadership possible for our Lord is also available to me (Rom. 8:11). Come, Holy Spirit—I need You to lead so I can lead like Jesus led!

By David Gyertson
Associate Dean Beeson Center at Asbury Theological Seminary
Professor of Leadership Formation and Renewal

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