Lead Like Jesus

You often hear people talk about how we need to lead like Jesus. I completely agree.

But what many people usually seem to mean by this is simply that we need to be extra nice. Not be too blunt or harsh. Or too demanding. Or put people in situations that overly stretch them.

In other words, leading like Jesus means leading like Mr. Rogers.

I don’t know if you’ve read the gospels, but that’s not how Jesus led. I recently did a quick read-through of Mark and noticed a trend in Jesus’ leadership:
Jesus was a tough, demanding leader to follow. He was always stirring something up, pushing the disciples past their limits, even coming across rude and reckless sometimes.

I mean, think about the fact that for the disciples’ first mission in Mark 6, Jesus he tells them to teach and cast out demons, even though there’s no indication they had ever done it. And then He doesn’t even equip them very well: they only get a staff. No bread, no bag, no money. That’s like your pastor coming up to you and saying “I want you to build me a new campus in 30 days. You’ve got no money, no volunteers to start with. No place to meet yet. I’m preaching there live the first weekend it’s open. Good luck.”

Or how about all the times when the disciples would say stupid things, ask dumb questions, or they just didn’t get it. And Jesus, instead of being sweet with them, would just call them out. Like in Mark 7 when the disciples don’t understand a parable, and Jesus replies, “are you so dull?”

What about in Mark 1:16-20 when Jesus tells Peter, Andrew, James, and John to leave their livelihood to follow Him. Or Mark 1:40-42 when Jesus touches a leper in front of the disciples, which would have been like injecting yourself with AIDS in our day. Or Mark 2:13-17 when Jesus goes to a party with sinners and the disciples have to do PR control with the Pharisees.

That’s just scratching the surface in Mark. And I didn’t even get to the other gospels.

Don’t get me wrong, leading like Jesus doesn’t mean you have to lead like a jerk. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m just saying that Jesus knew some things about leadership we all need to learn.

Leadership isn’t letting people stay comfortable. Leadership isn’t being easy on your team. Leadership isn’t speaking in nice generalities and letting crap go by without calling people on it. Leadership isn’t about not putting your people in tough circumstances where they’re going to have to think on their feet.

Leadership isn’t about those things because then you’re not actually leading your people anywhere but where they’ve always been. You’re letting their potential remain dormant. And you’re not serving them. You’re setting them up for failure. Or even worse, successful mediocrity.

Don’t be afraid to expect the best from your people. And don’t be afraid to put them in difficult situations that are going to bring the best out of them.

In short, don’t lead like Mr. Rogers. Lead like Jesus.

Read more from Steven here.

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Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick

Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor of Elevation Church. He and his wife, Holly, founded Elevation in 2006 with seven other families. Pastor Steven holds a Master of Divinity degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the New York Times Best Selling author of Crash the Chatterbox, Greater, and Sun Stand Still. Pastor Steven and Holly live in the Charlotte area with their two sons, Elijah and Graham, and daughter, Abbey.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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