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Dangerous Thoughts On Leadership

Dangerous Thoughts On Leadership

I'm just gonna throw it out there: I don't believe in leadership. What do I believe in? 

Well, I believe in influence.

I believe in humility.

I believe in serving.

I believe in selflessness.

I believe in inspiring.

I believe in decisiveness.

I believe in emboldening.

I believe in convictions.

I believe in vision.

I believe in passion.

I believe in lots of things. But I don't believe in the brand of leadership I so often see in the world we operate in. I think the concept of leadership needs a makeover. At least for me.

It seems to me that Jesus didn’t talk about leadership the way that many people today talk about it. To Him, leaders weren't the “movers and shakers.” They were the ”lovers and givers.” They weren't the “up and coming.” They were the ”down and dirty.” When we think, even for a second, that leadership has to do with prestige, progress, productivity, or power, we’re making a big mistake. Especially if we want to take Jesus seriously.

Jesus never taught about the brand of leadership that’s so common today. Go ahead. Look for yourself (Check out Mark 10:44-45, & Matt. 20:25-28). And yet “leadership” has been a buzzword for quite some time among Christian “leaders,” especially as it pertains to discipleship and training. We often associate “success” with the number of “leaders” our discipleship initiatives produce or at least the number of people they attract.

When Jesus did address our role in leading others, He spoke about servanthood. And He spoke a ton about serving. I firmly believe that those who are actively serving/loving/shaping people (i.e., “leaders”) would do well to imitate what Jesus didn’t say about leadership, as well as His clear teaching on servanthood, humility, and selflessness.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure: the student ministry I help to (gulp) lead has a vibrant and active (gulp) Student Leadership Team.  But we're crystal clear that being part of that team is by no means a “step up.” In fact, we’re pretty up-front about the fact that Christ-centered leadership is a “step down,” as we put it. 

Those called to lead according to the model Jesus set forth must be willing to love, serve, and engage in selfless sacrifice so that others can grow in their faith. 

This is one of those times where I have tons more to say, but I recognize a long blog post is often an unread blog post. So, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

  • What have you been taught (both good and bad) about leadership and how to attain it?  
  • Have you been able to pass along a vision of Christ-centered leadership to your students? How have they responded?
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