What are reasons we mistrust some of our leaders today? They are domineering, uncaring, self-seeking, dishonest, and manipulative. But Christians are not to lead this way. We are to be the opposite kind of “image”.
Leadership is a calling given to everyone by God at creation and from birth. Every human being is given some level of influence over something and someone. Everyone, everywhere, is a leader, called and gifted to “subdue the earth,” to make something useful or beneficial for others, in that “garden” portion on the earth where God has put him or her. (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15)
Furthermore, God created and called us as leaders to lead in his “image”. But sin has broken that image, distorted that calling. Though much good is and can still be done, in Christ, by his grace in salvation, a true and godly image of leadership can be restored. That image is the image of Christ, into which we are recreated as Christians and are being made new, conformed. We can be, then, the best leaders. Not best because of us, in and of ourselves, but best because of “Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
“Best” means not necessarily more skilled or better qualified, as much as it means the necessary character—mind, heart, and will—of Christ. When we are character-formed and character-driven, we come to reflect his glory in who we are as leaders, in how we lead as leaders, and in what we lead as leaders.
We are to be servant leaders of others, caring and compassionate leaders towards others, but, above all, obedient and faithful leaders to Christ.
The best leaders are true servants. The best servants are true leaders. They inspire those around them! But, Biblically, another word for servant could be worshipper. So the best leaders are also true worshippers.
One of the things I look for in both my own leadership and in the leadership of those who serve with me is, Do we worship? Are we free both to worship and in our worship? I look for the character of a worshipper, not just an act of worship. Why? Because worship means surrender.
A picture of worship is that of a servant kneeling to kiss his master’s hand. It’s a picture not usually associated with leadership. And, yet, as G.K Chesteron said, “We become taller when we bow.”
We are to be leaders who bow.
Like Jacob born holding onto his brother Esau’s heel, we are born wanting to take control of our lives. But we are “born again” learning to give up control of our lives to Jesus.
True leaders are those servants who have bowed their will and surrendered their heart to be conquered by and to serve their Savior and Master Jesus Christ. His life in them becomes an ability and authority to direct others towards a particular desired outcome. Or, His life in them becomes an ability and authority to attract others towards his particular desired outcome. It’s “the power of attraction” versus “the attraction of power”. It’s an influence and persuasion that results, not from a position or platform or title, but from a man or a woman who’s whole life is embracing and being embraced by Christ.
We are to be leaders who lead the way, who take the lead, like that. We are leaders who have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us. And the life we lead by we live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us. (Galatians 2:20)