Where are the spiritual leaders in our churches, Christian organizations, and families? In your leadership role as a pastor, elder, counselor, group leader, supervisor, or parent are you leading in the way of the culture or the way of Jesus?
To lead like Jesus means two things: be submitted to God and serve people.
Spiritual Leaders Abandon Outcomes to God
To abandon outcomes to God is to submit the results of situations to his providential care and wisdom.
The way of our culture is to take charge, push to get ahead, and strive to get what you want. But Jesus shows us what submission looks like in leadership. He shows us a leader who is gentle and humble in heart, yoked to God’s leadership (Matthew 11:25-30).
Over and over Jesus said, “I only do what I see the Father doing” (John 5:19, par). “Jesus’ Rhythm of Life” 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. If necessary, Jesus was prepared to “Abruptly Break into Prayer” in order to stay under the leadership of the Father and the anointing of the Holy Spirit (see Matthew 11:25, MSG).
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.
When Jesus picked up a towel to wash his disciples’ feet at the Last Supper he wasn’t doing something religious — he was serving them, 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 him always 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 a caring shepherd over the flock, not lording over them or seeking selfish gain, but humbly submitting to God and serving others. This is the way of our Good Shepherd. (1 Peter 5:1-5)
For instance, 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.” (See “Simple Prayers of the Heart.”)
Try waiting on God in prayer first. Before an important decision. Before a conversation. To begin a staff meeting, small group, or family gathering. Even just a few minutes meditating on a Scripture and waiting on God in prayer — whether alone or with a group you’re leading — will help you to lead like Jesus.