I recently put the word “leadership” into the search engine at Amazon and got 117,316 different product suggestions.
Warren Bennis, in Leaders: Strategies for Taking Charge (1997) stated, “Academic analysis has given us more than 850 definitions of leadership.” Susan Mazza, in an article in Leadchangegroup.com (July 16, 2010) expressed: “The best definition of leadership does not exist. I think it is fair to say that defining leadership will be studied and debated for a long time to come, and it is likely we will never all agree on THE BEST definition.”
As Jesus developed his core team of leaders (the 12 disciples), He emphasized following with a heart of servanthood. He talked far more about what His disciples were to believe, live and think than what they should do as leaders. Good leaders are more easily recognized than defined.
Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matt. 4:19, NKJV). This passage includes three aspects of discipleship:
- Following Him as Lord in obedience
- Cooperating with His transforming grace in us
- Being committed to His mission as our life purpose.
Then Paul made leadership very simple when he said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1, NIV).
I have come to understand that the best way to become a better leader is to become a better follower of Christ. If I follow His example of life and leadership, I can, with confidence, say, “Follow my example.”
Following helps us maintain a posture of humility and servanthood; we will always be learning and growing. Following engenders a life of wonder, as He is continually revealing Himself and His ways. We are transformed as we follow. And, as our character aligns to His, our world sees a true representation of the magnificent Jesus we love and live for.
As we kick off 2014, let’s focus on our mission of making disciples, developing leaders, multiplying churches and releasing movements. I pray that all of us daily live first and foremost as disciples of Jesus. Let’s follow so closely to Him that we are, as ancient Jews expressed, “covered in the dust” of our Rabbi.