If you want to be an effective and influential leader, what should you do? Write a book? Start a church? Come up with a vision plan for [insert world-changing vision here]?
If you’re looking for influence and impact, don’t overlook the greatest leader who ever lived. He started a movement that has been growing ever since his birth and has now spread around the globe. Here are two statements that Jesus made that should be the foundation of our leadership and influence:
The greatest among you shall be your servant.
But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.
In both passages Jesus takes the human picture of leadership and turns it on its head. In Luke 22:27, Jesus makes the most important leadership statement the world has ever heard: “But I am among you as the one who serves.”
Are you in a position of leadership right now? Here are three ways you can be an influential leader who serves:
1. Learn to follow.
Being a leader is lonely because one of the definitions of leadership means you’re out in front, like a shepherd leading the way. But as followers of Jesus we’re not the chief shepherd. He is. Our ability to lead and influence is only as great as our dependence on Jesus. We never arrive in our process of becoming more like Him (in this life) and so we need to be expert followers to be good leaders. How does this affect our ability to serve those under our leadership? We need to be reminded that before God we are all sinners saved by grace and that our position before Him is the same. This type of leading says, “Follow me as I follow Christ.”
2. Value everyone
In today’s culture, your position, title, and influence can often give you permission to separate yourself from others. Why should the CEO of a large company care about the individual factory worker who can easily be replaced? The farther you’re separated from those you lead, the easier it is to see others as a commodity as opposed to a uniquely created individual. As a Christian leader, if the vision or goal of your leadership becomes more important than the people you serve (lead) then you have a value problem.
The servant leader places high value on people by:
- Seeing people as God sees them
- Putting people over programs
- Creating a culture of listening – not just directing
- Being willing to extend grace and teach others, instead of creating rules that eliminate those with perceived weaknesses
3. Serving means doing
Do you remember the time when you had to stack chairs, clean toilets, or some other activity that you’re glad you don’t have to do anymore? While it’s true that roles change, leaders have to guard against the mentality of “I don’t do that anymore”. As a leader, people are counting on you and you do have to prioritize where you invest your time and energy. In light of this, how can you balance the unique role that only you can fill while still being a servant leader?
Do what you say.
Don’t preach anything you aren’t preaching to yourself and don’t recruit for a vision that you aren’t fully behind. Church leaders rely heavily on volunteers but rarely volunteer time themselves. Yes, practice what you preach.
The power behind our faith and our leadership is action, and leaders who shepherd like Jesus aren’t afraid to get dirty, smell like sheep, and serve with all their heart.
This week we highlight the free resource Of Justification by Faith and Works for use within The Bible Study App.
The idea of justification—the means by which a believer comes into right relationship with God— has been hotly debated throughout many periods of Christian history. Is it by grace? Is it through obeying God’s law? Is it by faith? Is it by works?
William Law, British theologian and prolific writer, adds his own perspective to the debate in his treatise Of Justification by Faith and Works. Get it HERE!
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The Holman Bible Atlas is a fantastic visual resource through which the reader can explore the world of the Bible.
This resource contains 140 full color maps key to biblical events:
and 140 full color photographs illustrating the land, sites, and archaeology of the biblical world:
The Holman Bible Atlas begins with an introduction to the geography of the biblical world emphasizing the major physical features of the Ancient Near East with special attention given to the geographical regions of Palestine.
There are also over 20 charts that give insight into the Biblical text:
With The Bible Study App, you can easily access the maps, charts, and pictures through the Table of Contents, by chapter, or Bible section.
The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible is an incredible five-volume study resource with contributions from dozens of top scholars. With such a variety of scholarship the reader can be assured of of a well-rounded perspective on significant issues relating to doctrines, themes, and biblical interpretation.
The goal of this robust resource is to provide pastors, teachers, students, and devoted Bible readers a comprehensive and reliable library of information.
- More than 7,500 articles alphabetically arranged for easy reference, containing vital information on Bible lands and people.
- Hundreds of illustrations, charts, graphs and maps for ready reference.
- Scholarly articles ranging across the entire spectrum of theological and biblical topics, backed by the most current body of archaeological research.
- 238 contributors from around the world.
Here’s how this great resource looks within The Bible Study App: