What are the 3 fundamentals of Christian leadership?
Every congregation needs strong leadership. The Bible is very direct and clear as to what healthy leaders are. The Old Testament and the New Testament both show the practices and wisdom of leadership examples.
Here are 3 fundamentals of strong Christian leadership development.
One of the first steps for progressive leadership development deals with the attitudes of the leader. The Old Testament book of Exodus tells a story in which Moses received advice from his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, on how he should adjust his approach to leadership.
Moses led the people of God out of Egypt toward the “Promise Land.” The strategy of Moses in dealing with the God’s people was a soloist approach. Jethro had some advice for Moses. His advice can be found in Exodus chapter 18.
“13 It came about the next day that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening. 14 Now when Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this thing that you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge and all the people stand about you from morning until evening?” 15 Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws.”
Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. Now listen to me: I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You be the people’s representative before God, and you bring the disputes to God, then teach them the statutes and the laws, and make known to them the way in which they are to walk and the work they are to do. Furthermore, you shall select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain; and you shall place these over them as leaders of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens. Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this thing and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace.” (Exodus 18:13-23)
For Christian leaders to evolve as strong leaders, it is going to require a personal attitude adjustment. To admit that you cannot do it alone and acknowledge that there are those who have skills and abilities that are greater than your own will lead to success.
Inclusion of Diversity
It is very easy for a leader to ignore those who are different than they are. In fact, it is human nature to be drawn to those we identify with and feel comfortable around.
Jesus Christ has a strategy in leadership development that should not be ignored. The way in which Jesus recruited his disciples is a strong indicator as to what strategic leadership development looks like.
The New Testament Gospel of Matthew gives this listing of the men Jesus recruited.
Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon theZealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him. (Matthew 10:2-4)
At first glance, this does not appear to be a diverse group, however, with a careful study it becomes obvious that Jesus had a strategic plan in recruiting men of different character. It is best understood by simply looking at six of the disciples Jesus recruited.
First Jesus recruited Simon Peter and his brother Andrew who were fishermen by trade.
Second, Jesus recruited James and John, who were also brothers and were fishermen by trade.
They key to the recruitment of these four men shows that they shared many things in common and they most likely worked together most of their life. Recruiting people of like mind and standards was the first two steps that Jesus took.
The following steps are where it becomes interesting.
Somewhere along the way Jesus recruited Matthew, the tax collector for Rome. This recruitment was an interesting step because there was probably no one a fisherman hated more than a tax collector for Rome. This action created a very diverse group. However, the recruitment of disciples gets even more complex than this.
One of the next disciples Jesus recruits is Simon, the Zealot.
A Zealot was a fervent militant that opposed Rome. It was a Jewish sect that refused to pay tribute to the pagan Romans who occupied the land of Israel. Jesus moved from recruiting men that liked fishing together to calling a tax collector that the fishermen probably did not like and a Zealot who hated paying taxes even more than the fishermen.
The inclusion of diverse personalities was the plan and strategy of Jesus.
What Jesus was showing in his recruitment strategy was the fact that diversity can be extremely powerful if handled in the right way. This inclusion of diversity can produce a team that can change the world.
Isolation from inclusion is a weak approach for any leader.
Recognition of a Unified Force
The Apostle Paul has some great insight and suggestion for leaders. In his letter to the early New Testament church at Corinth, Paul refers to the church as “the body of Christ.”
The body of Christ has many different parts, just as any other body does. Some of us are Jews, and others are Gentiles. Some of us are slaves, and others are free. But God’s Spirit baptized each of us and made us part of the body of Christ. Now we each drink from that same Spirit. Our bodies don’t have just one part. They have many parts. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)
When a diverse group of people can see themselves as a unified force it like a human body that has all its parts working in harmony.
Strong leaders understand that there is no one on the team that is greater or lesser than the others that make up the organization. Without the skills of each person, the entire group will suffer. It is like when a right-handed person breaks one finger bone on their right hand. It throws everything out of harmony.
For a team, organization, charity group, business or church group to be productive every person must play his or her part. Strong leadership will recognize various skills and encourage those talents to grow.
How are you developing as a Christian leader?
Are you encouraging attitude adjustment, the inclusion of diversity and recognizing what a unified force can do?
If you could add another fundamental to strong Christian leadership, what would it be?