Monday, January 4, 2010

Looking for a Biblical Leadership Model?

The more I read about leadership by secular management gurus, the more I realize that they are unwittingly describing the leadership style of Jesus Christ Himself. Whether it is "coaching leadership" or "empowering leadership", "servant leadership", "inspiring leadership" or even the "kind leadership", Jesus has been there and done that. So, instead of getting leadership lessons second-hand through expensive secular management gurus, Christians would save a lot of money and time by simply going back to the Gospels and re-examine Jesus' leadership style firsthand.

Unfortunately, there is tendency for preachers & teachers of the Word like myself when teaching about Jesus' ministry to focus exclusively on His works at the Cross rather than his three-year earthly ministry with his disciples. As a result, I have missed out on Jesus' transformational leadership lessons because I have focused too much on his "spiritual" achievements. This has created in me a kind of spirituality that is too heavenly-minded to be of earthly use.

I have often heard it lamented that theological seminaries are producing pastors who can only preach but cannot lead the congregation. And the recommendation is to supplement theological education with some secular management courses. But the reason for this lack is theology's focus rather than content. Theologians tend to focus on abstract and philosophical discussion and ignore the practical and down-to-earth kingdom principles of Jesus Christ. In fact, when I begin to understand that the Gospel that Jesus preached was the Gospel of the Kingdom, I realize why so much of the Gospels is a record of Jesus' earthly teachings and ministry. For many Christians, salvation is what happens after we die. But for Jesus, salvation is what happens to us before we die.

We don't need to look to secular management gurus to teach us leadership. We have a Lord and Master who has shown us how to exercise leadership in His Kingdom. If we spend more time studying Jesus' earthly ministry, we will have more success as leaders in our ministry in the local churches and in para-church organizations.

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