Leadership is defined as, “A person who guides or directs a group …” There are, however, a myriad of opinions and views on the subject of leadership. My own personal interest and opinions on this topic fall within the parameters of what I would call servant leadership as taught in the Scriptures and displayed most effectively and profoundly in the life of Christ.
Fundamentally, genuine biblical leadership has its roots in character and conduct, not control. Subsequently, the goal of Christian leaders should be to serve God and others, not to obtain titles, recognition or accolades.
One key aspect of Christian leadership is that the leader needs to be an example to those in their sphere of influence. King Christian X of Denmark powerfully demonstrated that. With Denmark under occupation during the Second World War, the king noticed a Nazi fl ag being raised. He called the German commandant and demanded that it be taken down. When his request was refused, King Christian said, “Then a soldier will go up and take it down.” The commandant replied, “Then that soldier will be shot.” The king replied, “I don’t think so, for I will be that soldier!”
To comprehend leadership, one must also distinguish between managing and leading. They might look alike, but there’s a significant difference between managers and leaders.
A manager seeks security as he/she administers, maintains and utilizes systems. A leader takes risks and earns trust as he/she innovates, builds up and engages people. The manager maintains and holds the status quo, while the leader transforms and moves forward. The manager relies on systems, the leader believes in people.
The manager counts on control, the leader builds on trust. Managers endeavour to do things right; leaders strive to do the right thing.
The late Peter Drucker stated so well that, “Leadership is not magnetic personality. That can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not making friends and influencing people; that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to higher standards, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”
Jesus gives His overview of leadership in Matthew 20:25-28, saying, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority … But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” — J. Maxwell
Pastor Ross Helgeton is the senior pastor of Erskine Evangelical Free Church.
— Faith & Reflection