Leading More Like Jesus

In this 25th anniversary article, Dave Lee accentuates that our use of power has a tremendous impact on how we live, love, lead and serve. Think about ways you could incorporate these concepts and reflection questions for transformation in your church and community.  

A couple I know was part of a larger group of friends who had planned an international cruise together. The wife had reminded her husband numerous times to double-check the passports. Annoyed, he’d assured her he had it under control. On the day of their departure, as they waited in line to board the ship, he was horrified to discover that he had brought their old expired passports. They were unable to join their party and had a very tense flight back home.

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If you were the woman in that situation, how would you have responded to your partner’s mistake? The truth is that she had a lot of relational power on that occasion. Most would have considered her justified if she had lost her temper. By God’s grace she was patient and forgiving, but most such scenarios don’t end so peacefully.

Power comes to us in many forms – financial, social, intellectual, moral, emotional, physical, etc. – and as with any other resource God entrusts to us, we must steward our power in ways that reflect the character of Jesus. We can wield power in its many forms to destroy or edify, to imprison or release, to oppress or to bless.

Jesus once pointed out to his disciples the contrast between the way the world’s leaders use their power and the way he wanted them to use it. In Mark 10:42-43 (NLT) he said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.”

Jesus illustrated his commitment to the stewardship of power when he permitted himself to be crucified for the redemption of all of us. He could have raged against the injustice and destroyed his persecutors with a word. Instead he was as silent as a sheep being led to its slaughter (Acts 8:32).

One of the highest compliments a Christian leader can be paid is that they use power well. To lead like Jesus is to see power redeemed in our lives so it becomes a means of purification and glorification rather than corruption.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What form(s) of power has God entrusted to you in this season of your life?
  2. When you have the upper hand or the high ground, how do you tend to relate to others?
  3. Are you more focused on acquiring power or stewarding it for the sake of Christ and others?

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Dave has served for 20 years as the founding and lead pastor of Harvest Community Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He completed the Arrow Leadership Program with Class 18 and has also served as a leadership partner. Dave and his wife Jeannie have four children, two of whom have left the nest for university.