Not all leaders are Christians, and not all Christians are leaders. However, despite of this reality, there is an edge when it comes to leadership once a person turns to Christ.
In the days before I truly became a follower of Christ, I wasn’t much of a leader. I was complacent, mediocre, afraid and insecure. The moment that I gave my life to Christ, a lot of those started to change, some instantly while others needed a long process of pruning and development.
It’s true that Christianity will not make you a better leader, but it can surely give us the right tools and knowledge to build a strong leadership mantle. The Bible places a very strong emphasis on biblical leadership.
Many Old Testament characters such as Joseph, Moses, David, Gideon, Deborah, Nehemiah, Solomon and many others set a great example of Godly leadership. The New Testament also has its own share of exemplary leaders. There’s Jesus Christ Himself, the apostles, Aquila and Priscilla, Timothy and many others.
What can the Bible teach us about effective leaders? Here are five of many lessons.
1. Servant heart
Jesus taught His disciples in Mark 9:35 that leaders are called to be servants: “And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, ‘If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.'”
This is valuable insight that we can apply to our everyday lives. The idea of servant leadership was greatly popularized by believer-leaders in our present society, who obeyed God’s teaching to serve and love others.
Jesus also taught the disciples that, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). As we follow Christ and as we are given leadership mantle in the process, we are called to place others and God before ourselves to be effective leaders.
When David responded to call an offering to the Lord in a certain place, he was offered the lot for free. His response in 1 Chronicles 21:24 was amazing: “I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
Excellence calls that we go out of our way to serve even if it causes us inconvenience. This we learn through our Christian faith.
God taught the Israelites to care for the poor and needy. In Deuteronomy 26:12, He commands them, “When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled.”
When we are truly followers of Christ who obey His word, we will respond in compassion to those who are in need.
Jesus is the number one example of Humility. Philippians 2:6 tells us, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant.”
To follow and mimic Christ in the area of humility is our greatest advantage as leaders. When the world is in dire need of humble leaders, God calls Christian leaders to respond.
By Patrick Mabilog