By Steve DuPlessie | June 12, 2019
Here’s seven basic principles from the Bible for Jesus-like leadership in the church, in the marketplace, in schools, and homes.
1. Cultivate a “Servant” Attitude
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very least, and the servant of all.” – Mark 9:35
This is the basic principle, based on the example of the consummate leader, Jesus. He demonstrated what servant leadership means when he wrapped a towel around his waist and knelt down to wash the dirty feet of his disciples instead of calling on a house servant to do it.
But his ultimate example of servant attitude was that day he hung between heaven and earth, stripped naked, beaten, mocked, cursed and betrayed, to die as the substitute, the savior of lost and broken, helpless and hopeless sinners like me.
So anyone who wants to be a leader needs to begin by figuring out how to serve: What will serving others look like in this opportunity?
2. Be Humble, Gentle & Patient
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2
In the day of selfies, Twitter, and Facebook posts, humility — not hubris — is the mark of a leader who follows Jesus. Gentleness with others offers the grace we all need. Patience with others in a fast-paced world is a distinct character trait for disciples of Jesus.
3. Make Every Effort For Unity
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:3
“Make every effort…” means going the extra step to maintain unity whenever and wherever possible. This requires humility. Short of compromising clear commands of Scripture, unity is the priority. Divisive people are not leaders that are obeying Jesus.
4. Willingly Submit To Others
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. – Ephesians 5:21
Submission is a foreign concept in our “my rights” culture. Mutual submission is a mark of genuine followers of Jesus. Humility is required to get this one right.
5. Esteem Others Better Than Yourself
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. – Philippians 2:3
Considering others to be actually better — in their ideas, their efforts, their intellect, and their experience — than our ourselves is a challenge that requires even more humility. Are you sensing a theme here?
6. Care About Other’s Interests
Each of you should look not only to your interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:4
We’re called to actually think about, identify and support or promote the interests of others as well as our own. That’s challenging, and humbling, particularly in the workplace, on the team, in school. But no one said following Jesus would be easy.
7. Lead By Example
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers… not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. – 1 Peter 5:2, 3
Leaders lead primarily by example. Tone, priorities, effort, attitude — they all communicate loudly, even when you’re silent.
If humility seems to be the theme, our example is, as always, Jesus himself: “…who did not regard equality with God as something to be held onto, but humbled himself, taking on the form of a servant…even to death on a cross.”
Some wise woman or man said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; its thinking of yourself less.” That’s a good place for leaders to start.