I know many of us don’t feel like leaders.
Even though I have been involved in paid ministry the majority of my adult life, I have had difficulty embracing the idea that I am a leader.
I could always embrace being a preaching and a teacher, but not being a leader. There was something leadership that I wanted to avoid.
Yet, I can't truly be a pastor without being a leader.
In order to talk about leadership it is best to begin by defining what leadership is. It seems everyone has their own take on the definition of leadership.
The way I understand leadership is that leadership is influence. We are leaders when we, in one way or another, influence the choices or beliefs of another person.
When looked at it this way we see that parents, teachers, authors, and even friends are powerful leaders in our lives. They provide leadership in our lives more often than people who wear the actual title of leader. I know that my parents have influenced me more than anyone else.
If leadership is best defined as influence then I would image that each of us is able to lead in several different ways, even though we don’t consider ourselves to be a leader.
Once we recognize that we have several opportunities to lead those around us, then it becomes crucial for us to consider the best way for us to lead.
As followers of Jesus we need to look to him to be our example of what leadership actually looks like.
Since that is the case, as Blanchard and Hodges point out in the above quote, we realize that we are called to be servant leaders, because that is how Jesus led.
One of my favorite passages is Philippians 2:
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
(Philippians 2:3-8; NLT)
Paul urged his readers to be humble and to look after the needs of others. In other words, to be a servant.
The example, according to Paul, that we are to follow is Jesus.
Jesus gave up heaven in obedience to his Father's will and out of love for us. He looked after our interest rather than his own. Paul wrote, "he took on the humble position of a slave..."
The way of Jesus was not one of power, even though he had that at his disposal, but of humility and service. This is the way God chose to influence the world.
If we are going to influence the world, the men and women we live around, we need to be humble and we need to serve. That is how we will have influence with them, because they will know that we have their best interest at heart.
People will listen when they know the leader cares about them.
Lead like Jesus and serve those around you.