3 Christian Leadership Styles Foundational From Jesus’ Life and Ministry

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What is Your Leadership Style?

Choleric, melancholy, type 8, INFJ…what personality prognosis has you pegged? While it’s fun to get a glimpse into the various ways the world categorizes people, it’s potentially problematic. These tests are made by people of the world and for the world, while we, as Christ-followers, are not necessarily tied to a destined personality.

The bible says in Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”

This doesn’t mean our personalities are completely fluid, but it does mean that we shouldn’t put all of our belief into any one system created by the world. There’s only one place we can find our true identity (and it’s not the Enneagram).

In this article, you’ll discover more about Jesus and his characteristics of leadership; you’ll learn about different styles of leadership for ministry success.

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What Is The Leadership Style of Jesus?

When you think about leadership traits, what comes to mind? Delegating, decision-making, boldness, fearless, authoritative, shrewd, intelligent, action-taking.

Let’s now consider the greatest leader this world—scratch that—that the universe has seen: Jesus. In His short time on earth, He exhibited powerful traits. He is honest, generous, purpose-giving, humble, inspiring, compassionate, forgiving, and so much more. This is at great contrast to what we would think of when we consider bosses and leaders we have known or admired. 

Consider who you would want to be compared to: a great world leader whose name lives on for hundreds of years or the King of all kings who continues a legacy unmatched? Of course, we choose Christ, but do our career choices reflect that?

What Does The Bible Say About Leadership Styles?

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So how do we become leaders like Jesus? Which verses in the Bible teach us specifically how to be leaders? If only it were that simple…as with many of life’s quandaries, the answers aren’t always written out plainly. However, great leadership comes from great ‘followship.’

This simply means that to become a leader like Jesus, we must follow Jesus. We must lean into not only his teachings but also the way he interacted with people. Based on the life of Jesus, leadership is as much about relationships as it is guidelines and concepts. That means we should put a premium on the study of the life of Jesus, and what better way than to come alongside like-minded leaders who have devoted their lives to that very thing?

What Are The Characteristics Of Christian Leadership?

We are to live, love, and lead like Jesus, but what does that mean practically? One core truth we must get ahold of is that our success is not measured by worldly standards but by God and His Kingdom. Another trait is our obedience to God rather than to the world, other leaders, or even ourselves.

Multiple times in Proverbs (14:12, 16:25), we are warned, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” It’s not wise to trust anything above God and His ways.

This lines up the final characteristic well: foundation in the Word of God. Sure, none of these will fill a resume for most positions, but the things you learn and who you become because of these will shape your leadership like nothing else.

Characteristic 1: Kingdom-Minded

It’s tempting to follow a program that seems to have been successful for others, such as a college degree from a prestigious university or a class offered by a well-known leader. More than tempting, it’s recommended. While there may be nothing wrong with that path, it shouldn’t be the primary driver in such decisions. Becoming a good leader requires seeing much farther ahead than anyone else. How far ahead are you looking?

Let us strive to look as far as the Kingdom of God and what will remain when the world no longer does. That is what it means to be Kingdom-minded, to consider what God desires rather than what we desire. Following God and trusting Him are paramount to Kingdom-success whether in ministry or other secular paths.

Characteristic 2: Obedience to God

Time and time again, men and women of the Bible found success only when they chose God’s ways over the ways of the world.

Moses discovered God’s laws when he left the authority of Pharoah.

Daniel chose not to forsake the worship of the true God when it was ordered to do so.

David even ignored natural law when he faced a man several times his size. Instead, they were all dependent on and obedient to God.

Characteristic 3: Rooted in the Word

The way we emulate those incredible men of God today is through sticking to the truths proved over and over in God’s word. It sustains us through the wavering seas of this journey through the world. It completes us in doctrine, inspiration, correction, instruction, and more (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17). It’s the only thing we can truly trust, the only place we can find the path to Kingdom-success.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NKJV)

Conclusion

There’s nothing wrong with seeking to better know yourself, and the world has some great tools to help with that. The key distinction for a Christ-follower though is holding every suggested truth up to absolute truth, that is, the word of God.

To become a great leader and to find the leadership style you will most thrive in, you must learn more about Jesus. Learn who he is, not just by reading about him, but by getting to know him. Speak to him, listen to him. Explore and study his word. Be obedient to him and dependent only on him. Allow God’s word to transform you and renew you. Discover your leadership style as you maintain Kingdom-focus, stay obedient to God, and build your foundation on His Word. Then, you will lead in a way that outlives you and gives glory where it is due.

If any of this resonates with your soul, consider learning more today.

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