What does it take to make a good baseball manager? the sports writer
asked. Yogi Berra cut through all the fog (except his own) and gave a
succinct answer: A good ball club. That is fine for leaders who have a
bench full of skilled players, or a church full of committed Christians.
But Jesus came to a world full of reluctant, even rebellious people, and
provided the most effective leadership the world has ever seen. And he did
it without military might, monetary wealth, or political power.
JesusGod in human formknew the mind of God more perfectly than anyone
else who has ever lived. And he knew humanity better than anyone (See
Hebrews 1:1,2; 4:15). P.T. Forsyth put it this way: You must live with
people to know their problems, and live with God in order to solve them.
Many can do one or the other; few can do both; none can do both as well as
As we look to him for our leadership model, we find it difficult to
understand his insistence on servant leadership. Where is the prestige,
the power, the glory in servanthood? Not in this life, but in the life to
come! Even He was despised and rejected by mankind, not victorious until
God raised him up and glorified him.
Beginning at an early age, most of us are encouraged to be successful, to
be leaders. But we spend too much of life doing all the things that doom us to fail as spiritual leaders. Screaming out our frustrations at a motivational seminar, imitating the management techniques of a best-selling author (who probably makes most of his money selling
books), or learning how to intimidate and manipulate people have little to
do with spiritual leadership.
You must live with people to know their problems, and live with God in
order to solve them.
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7), Jesus taught
that spiritual leaders are humble to the point of being abused, are aware
of their identity as salt and light, exhibit superior standards of personal behavior, are sensitive to the needs of others, are people of prayer and fasting, understand their heavenly destiny, and always live in anticipation of the final judgment. Like our Master, we are not here to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45).
A preacher friend who had committed a grievous sin told how he sought the
forgiveness of his congregation. As he sat on the front pew, head bowed in
humiliation, he became aware of movement on both sides and felt arms around
his shoulders. He raised his head to see two of his elders, sharing his
pain, and mingling their tears with his own. Every preacher I know would
turn backflips in the town square at high noon for elders like that.
Theirs was leadership in the Jesus style.