We are each called to lead others to Jesus. In your leadership role as a pastor, elder, counselor, group leader, supervisor, or parent, are you leading in the way of our culture or the way of Jesus?
Today I contrast these two ways to lead…
Spiritual Leaders Abandon Outcomes to God
The way of our culture is to take charge, push to get ahead, and strive to get what you want.
Following this path can appear to produce results, but it takes a heavy toll—leaving you feeling exhausted, alone, and burnt out.
The way of Jesus is to abandon outcomes to God.
Jesus shows us what submission looks like in leadership by releasing the results of relationships and circumstances to his providential care and wisdom. Over and over he said, "I only do what I see the Father doing" (John 5:19, paraphrased).
Jesus shows us a leader who is gentle and humble in heart, yoked to God’s leadership (Matthew 11:28-30). He put first priority on intimacy with the Father and he kept submitting himself to the Father’s lead so that his life and leadership flowed in the Spirit-currents of the Father’s love and wisdom.
Spiritual Leaders Pick Up a Towel
The way of our culture is to hurry.
We hurry to get more done. We hurry to get where we want to go. But when we hurry, we lose touch with God and we neglect to care for the people around us.
The way of Jesus is an unhurried presence.
When Jesus picked up a towel to wash his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper, he wasn’t doing something religious. He was being present with them and serving them by simply doing what needed to be done and cleaning their dirty feet (John 13:1-17).
This unhurried kindness exemplifies how Jesus lived his whole life. Being unhurried helped Jesus to care for the people around him.
An Exercise to Practice Spiritual Leadership
To follow the way of Jesus in your leadership role requires resisting the hurried, "make it happen" mentality of our culture. Instead, we’re to be as caring shepherds, not seeking selfish gain, but humbly submitting to God and serving others. This is the way of our Good Shepherd (1 Peter 5:1-5).
Recently I’ve been waiting in prayer with Psalm 130:5-6:
"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits. And in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchman wait for the morning, more than watchman wait for the morning."
You can practice waiting on God in prayer too. Before an important decision. Before a conversation. To begin a staff meeting, small group, or family gathering. Even just a few minutes meditating on Scripture and waiting on God in prayer — whether alone or with a group you’re leading — will help you lead like Jesus.
Continue to grow as a Spirit-led leader by looking to Jesus’ example in my Bible Study on Spiritual Leadership. Our Sr. Leadership Coaches are here to support you as you grow in your leadership role—you can learn more and connect today.
In Jesus’ care,