The Most Effective Form of Leadership
Leadership is hard to define. There are thousands of definitions out there and hundreds of methods. But at the end of the day, most people agree that it is about getting people somewhere (hopefully somewhere better)! For most people, this means that the leader takes followers to a destination that they choose, and they do it their way. If we take this as the common framework for leadership, then Christ-like leadership should break the mold in three specific ways:
- It must lead people closer to God
- It must lead people along God’s path/plans
- It must lead people God’s way
These key differences make Christ-like leadership serious business! They affect why we lead, where we lead, and how we lead. Fortunately, Jesus showed us what this different kind of leadership looks like- it’s called discipleship. And I believe that this kind of leadership has much to offer our world’s current methodology. So, based on the list above, I think discipleship has these three major implications for our leadership today:
- It points to God. This is why we lead. Christ-like leadership (discipleship) always brings people closer to God. Jesus discipled everyone he met- even if it was a brief encounter. He interacted with them and pointed them to truth in love. He didn’t waste any opportunity to show people the Father, whether it was a criticism, message, or miraculous sign.
- It is holistic. This is where we lead people to. God’s plan for mankind is complete redemption. Jesus’ interactions with people did not dismiss their basic needs. He often emphasized their spiritual need, but he also cared for physical and social needs too. Discipleship is holistic in nature because it leads to the fullness of Christ.
- It is relational. This is how we must lead. Discipleship requires authentic relationships. One cannot move people to God effectively without walking alongside them. The body of Christ is meant to labor together because we cannot be conformed to God’s image by ourselves. We need others.
The bottom line is that discipleship is the most effective form of leadership. We know this because that is what Christ did and the impact of his leadership has transformed generations for two thousand years!
In our culture today, which is dominated by systems and programs, we must consider whether we are compromising the leadership model of Christ. If we simply want to teach people more information, give certificates, and get the next group in the door, then our cultural methods may work. But if we want to see life-transforming results, I think discipleship is the only way.