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4 Steps to Lead Like Jesus

I was scared when God called us to start a nonprofit ministry of soul care for pastors and leaders. One day I was hiking and praying about this and I heard a voice in my thoughts, “There are people who want to help you if you’ll let them.”

I knew it was the Lord: it came with peace, gentleness, sincerity, and righteousness (James 3:17-18).

But still, I dug my heels in. I wanted to keep earning my own paycheck as a psychologist. I did not want to be dependent on donations, submit to a board of directors, and rely on other people to help me.

My control issues threatened to stifle God’s call and blessing. I could have missed out on the wonderful community and work that the Lord has given us to do.

As a boy and the oldest of five children, I became what’s called a “Parentified Child.” I learned not to count on other people. In school, I never liked group projects because I ended up doing most of the work. In athletics, I preferred individual sports to team sports.

Later I learned that my personality type marched to the beat of its own drum. It’s like there was this kid in me that kept saying, “I’ll do it myself!”

Maybe you relate? Or maybe your close family member or friend relates?

My thinking turned around when I studied Jesus and saw him teaming with people.

On page after page in the Gospels, we see Jesus including people and partnering with them to do the work that God entrusted to him.

Jesus trained all kinds of people to be his apprentices and mission workers, including many who were unlikely teammates. No one in the ancient Jewish world would’ve imagined that Team Jesus would include: women, fishermen, Africans, Roman soldiers, lepers, Pharisees, Zionists, tax collectors, sex slaves, royal family, and demoniacs.

He declared to them, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). He added the astonishing promise, “Anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works” (John 14:12).

What work is God calling you to do? How can you collaborate with the Lord and others?

On our podcast, Kristi talked about being a mother and doing chores with our three children. She shared about stretching herself to find her voice and express her gifts as the co-leader of our ministry.

On the same podcast, I talked about battling shame over my inadequacies as a collaborative leader.

Our daughter Briana co-leads a church group for students.

A White pastor who meets with me for spiritual direction marched with his church in a peaceful protest to support Black people in his community.

Other pastors we’re coaching empowered their staff members to lead their church while they took a much needed Sabbatical.

Teaming with others is part of emotional intelligence or EQ. It’s the “T” in the SMART love and leadership that we’ve been talking about in this series of podcasts and blogs and our new e-book. 

The great news is that you can increase your EQ and that will improve your faith, love, and leadership. You can develop collaborative relationships and do the greater works that Jesus promised.



Listen to this week’s SoulTalk: In this final conversation on emotional intelligence, Bill and Kristi discuss the challenges and the opportunities that come from teaming with others. It can be easy to slip into doing our work on our own, but that’s not what God wants for us. No matter your role, Jesus is inviting you to team with him and others to accomplish his kingdom work. Join Bill and Kristi in exploring what hinders you from teaming with others and what it could look like for you to take a step towards greater collaboration for the sake of love.

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