To Lead Like Jesus Lead With Jesus

“Lead Like Jesus” has become a popular terminology for Christian leaders. Often it focuses on servant leadership. It’s a great Bible teaching, but for some pastors and leaders it fails them because they lack the joy, wisdom, and power that are needed to sustain effective spiritual leadership.

To lead like Jesus we need to lead with Jesus. Intimacy with Christ is the tap root of fruitful ministry and leadership.

The Lord Jesus himself led others out of his own life-giving intimate relationship with the Father and his humble dependence on the Holy Spirit. He taught us to follow his rhythm of life in which he abided and bore fruit, enjoying Abba’s love and sharing that love with others (John 15:1-17).

Bible Verses to Help You Lead Like Jesus

Here are some key Bible verses that show us how to lead like Jesus through partnering with him in fostering a devotional relationship with God and a ministry of leading and serving others. This is an outline of Jesus’ leadership training program — it’s quite different than the typical Type A Leader’s approach! (For a more in depth Bible study see “Spiritual Leadership.”)

Jesus, the Son of God, Submits to God the Father’s Leadership in All Things

“Jesus gave them this answer: ‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.’” (John 5:19)

Jesus Depends Entirely on the Anointing (Presence and Power) of the Holy Spirit

“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and… he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” (Acts 10:38; Peter’s testimony.)

Jesus Teaches What’s He Learned and Experienced in His Own Life

“Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony.” (John 3:11)

Jesus is a Servant Leader

“Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

“[Jesus] got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” (John 13:4-5. Jesus washed his disciples’ feet not as a symbolic act but because their feet were dirty and he loved them.)

Jesus Takes Initiative to Mentor People

“[Jesus] looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’” (Luke 19:5).

When Jesus Calls Disciples He Doesn’t Put Them in a Classroom, But in Ministry Leadership with Him

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Matthew 4:19)

Jesus is the 1st Disciple: He Lives and Leads in the Easy Yoke of the Father and He Shows Us How to Follow His Example

Jesus says, “The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge… Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matthew 11:27, 29, MSG)

Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Jesus Prays for His Leaders in Private (They Observe This) and He Prays with Them (They Absorb His Way of Praying)

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles.” (Luke 6:12-13)

“Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer, ‘Thank you Father…’ Jesus resumed talking to the people, but now tenderly.” (Matthew 11:25, 27)

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, say: “Father, hallowed be your name…”‘” (Luke 11:1-2)

Jesus Trains Leaders in Internships: They Watch Him Lead, He Sends Them Out in Pairs to Lead and He Watches, They Report Back to Him

“Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits… He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick…” (Mark 6:6-7; Luke 9:2)

“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” (Mark 6:30-32)

Jesus Trains 72 New Leaders to Expand His Core Group of Disciples From 12 to 84

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.” (Luke 9:1-2; 10:1)

Jesus Gives Us Opportunities to Learn From Experience, Including Failure

“A man in the crowd answered [Jesus], ‘Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.’” (Mark 9:17-18)

Jesus Commissioned His Followers to Lead Others on His Behalf

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Jesus Restores Fallen Leaders (Peter)

Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32) 

“When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’” (John 21:15)

Jesus Trains His Leaders to Wait on God to Be Immersed and Empowered By the Holy Spirit

“[Jesus] gave [his disciples] this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’…

“‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’” (Acts 1:4-5, 8)


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