Jesus was clearly a leader when he walked upon the Earth.
The question I have is whether he is a leader for Christians today. If so, what are the qualities of his leadership that we would want to replicate?
Here are some characteristics of his leadership that I want to see in a leader today — in the church, at work, in the community or nation:
▪ Trustworthy. A leader needs to be someone I can trust.
I count on a leader to be honest and to tell the truth to the best of their ability. This means being accountable for the information they share and to check whether they are as accurate as possible. If I have to second guess what a person says, I cannot trust their opinion or decisions. A trustworthy leader is reliable; someone with whom we feel safe. I cannot imagine following a leader who is impulsive and unpredictable.
▪ Cares about the welfare of others.
▪ A good teacher, coach or even a relative who is a natural leader is fair-minded and cares about the well-being of the whole class, team or family. A person who picks favorites never feels like a true leader, even if we are one of them. To my understanding, Jesus was closer to Peter, James and John (Mt. 17:1), but when he died on the cross he died for everyone. Jesus’ leadership was one of sacrifice for the sake of others.
▪ Empowers others.
Any person that I have looked to as a leader has helped others to be their best.
Jesus had a “team” of disciples who were also equipped to do God’s work. Jesus taught them and encouraged them to collaborate and serve others, not compete (Mt 20:26). Leadership was multiplied. God raised Jesus from the dead which was a miracle that did not stop with Jesus. The power of his resurrection — the power of love over hate, and death over life — is available to all who follow the way of Jesus. God still invites us to do God’s work and enables us to do it.
▪ Vision and purpose.
Whenever I have been inspired by a leader, it is because that person had a purpose, a goal or a vision. For others to follow, they need to look up to the leader and their values, way of living or plan. It could be to win a game, to develop skills, learn or to support other family members. It could be to make a difference in the life of people in the community, or to develop partnerships between countries. Leadership isn’t about having control.
What would you put on your list of traits you look for in a leader? What are the areas in which you lead, and what are your best leadership qualities?
We all have the opportunity to lead in certain areas or at times in our lives. Sometimes we have the chance to choose a leader. We also get to decide who to follow. You know my choice.
Pastor Helga Jansons lives in Kennewick and is the director for Evangelical Mission for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America in the Eastern Washington and Idaho Synod. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.