How to develop leaders like Jesus

To be fair, the title is a bold one and probably a little over-ambitious to think I could cover it all in one blog post.  Nonetheless for the Christian there is no greater example of a leader than Jesus and so it is right to consider how he led.  In particular it is worth considering how Jesus developed his team of leaders for two reasons other than simply because he is Jesus.  First, he started with an interesting bunch of people.  These were not superstars or tried and tested leaders.  Indeed, we probably would not have picked them.  Second, they did okay.  Two thousand years later the movement that they led is stronger than ever, which is some legacy.

In a great book edited by George Barna (link at the bottom of this post), Leighton Ford outlines how he believes Jesus made leaders:

  • He called them
  • He named them (understand them and see them as they will become)
  • He made them a team
  • He trusted them
  • He tested them
  • He included them
  • He made them his friends
  • He warned them and restored them
  • He made them understand

Certainly that list gives us something to think about as we help others on the journey into leadership.  It is helpful to take stock and consider which of those we find easy and which we need to work on further.

To that list I think I would add a further item, one which we need to consider carefully when it comes to implementing it ourselves:

  • He died for them

This one is a little more challenging!  Of course, I am not suggesting that we take this literally since Jesus’ death on the cross was sufficient for everyone who believes in him.  However, there are two elements of this that we can take on board.  First, Jesus showed them very clearly that he was willing to make a big sacrifice for them; that he was willing to put them first.  Second, he got out of the way and forced them to lead.  Of course, he doesn’t abdicate responsibility and disappear completely (he is still at work and present by his Holy Spirit), but he does make space for them to get on with it.

What other ways do you see Jesus modelling the development of other leaders?


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