Leadership, and especially Pastoral Leadership, I’m beginning to believe, was revolutionized by Jesus. By Jesus’ example, leadership is first defined by FOLLOWING. To make the point, I’ve listed below some paradox-provoking comments from David Bennett’s book, Metaphors of Ministry: Biblical Images for Leaders and Followers (Baker Books, 1993):
- "Jesus showed his disciples how to follow, how to obey, how to respond to the authority and call of God. He knew that the effective leader must first learn how to be a faithful follower."
- "Again and again in our reflection on the Gospels, we have noted that Jesus focused more of his attention on teaching the disciples how to follow than on giving them instructions on how to lead."
- "The single most important lesson for a leader to learn is that he/she is first a sheep, not a shepherd; first a child, not a father or mother; first an imitator, not a model."
- "The leader’s role is to equip God’s people, to empower them, to help them to become as effective as possible in the service of the King."
- "When leaders respect, honor, recoginize, and affirm those they lead, they will find others far more willing to follow them; and when leaders realize the true worth and dignity of those they lead, the leaders themselves will be more ready to lay down their lives for those who are so precious to God."
- "To be a follower of Jesus is to learn a pattern of life, not simply to give assent to a creed. Such training in attitudes and behavior cannot possibly occur in a classroom setting alone. There must be opportunities for leaders to live, eat, work, travel, serve, and share with emergent leaders. A life that is not observed cannot be imitated."
- "The emergent leaders must learn to function effectively as members of a team. They must learn to love their fellow-believers, including other leaders, as members of one family."
- "There is a crying need for leaders who will pray fervently, love deeply, and wage spiritual warfare courageously."
What do you think? Do you agree? Do any of these statements stand out to you?