As we seek to lead others in discipleship and sanctification, here are a few thoughts about Christ-centered leadership that are important for us to consider. They center around how, as professing Christians, Christ is to be our treasure, our example, our source for leadership.
In the Scriptures we continually see the value of Christ. A persistent theme of the Old Testament is the superiority of God and his worthiness of worship and devotion. This theme climaxes in the New Testament with the revelation that God is incarnated in Jesus of Nazareth and, though coming through the most humble means, has been exalted to the highest position as Messiah, redeemer, sustainer, glorifier, and judge of the whole of creation. This is the gospel. In order to lead well, from an energized position of strength, we must always keep this in the forefront of our minds. Keeping his will and desires premier will keep our will in check and help ensure that we are not being self-serving.
In the Gospels we see Christ as an example. This example is rooted in the will of God the Father. Jesus said that he did not do anything that the Father did not set before him. This enabled Jesus to love God and love others, perfectly and continually. Most often this expressed itself in service and provision for others. Jesus never takes or demands worship like we might expect someone of such great value. This does not mean that Jesus never challenged people. This was a central element of his ministry. His challenge, however, was always the same. Do less for yourself and do more for others, i.e. take up your cross. The ultimate expression of his example of this was his submission to the will of the Father through the laying down of his own life, through scorn, shame, and pain. This is how we, though enemies of God, were treated by God. Keeping Jesus as the example will keep our minds clear on what the expectation is regarding our leading of others. We constantly serve, challenge, and sacrifice as we point others to take up their own cross and follow Christ.
In the story of the early church we see ordinary people do extraordinary things. This source is rooted in the truth of the gospel and the power and confidence in the Holy Spirit. The demands of leading others can be draining when we put our confidence in our own truth and power. Our truth often revolves around our needs, our rights, and our desires. Our power is often sourced in self-determination and self-discipline. Ultimately, as we exult our own truth and power, it reveals that we are working for our own good, not God’s glory. The Holy Spirit illuminates the truth of Christ’s value and example to us as believers. This is an empowering mechanism for believers. Keeping these truths central to our leadership strategy will sustain us when the going gets tough and will keep us on track to glory in God only.
As we continue this week, as the going gets tough, as we do things in service to others, let us keep Christ as our treasure, our example, and our source. Let us not become weary in well doing. To the glory of God, for ever and ever, amen.
The song below can be helpful for reflection on these concepts.