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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Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
— Debra
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
— Laurie
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)

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