Christian leadership should stand in contrast to the secular world’s understanding of what it means to be successful. Alas, I think too much of the American church at large is not concerned with the New Testament pattern of leadership and success.
What should Christian leadership look like? Here are three brief thoughts on what Christian leadership should look like, according to my scripturally biased opinion.
Primarily, I have a hard time getting away from the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:11-12. According to Jesus, Christian leadership looks like servanthood.
Interestingly, J.B. Phillips provided a challenging translation of Matthew 23:10-12. “And you must not let people call you ‘leaders’—you have only one leader, Christ! The only ‘superior’ among you is the one who serves the others. For every man who promotes himself will be humbled, and every man who learns to be humble will find promotion.”
So then, Christian leadership is about following Christ, serving others along the way, and learning to be content with obscurity.
Secondarily, Christian leadership does not look like prosperity or the lack thereof. It’s not about stuff, it’s about following Christ and serving those whom He loves. The admonition of Hebrews 13:5 is clear. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” His presence matters more than your stuff.
Please understand that as a Christian leader, you might never have a luxurious office, a large expense account, or a lofty title. And that’s okay. If your mode of
leadership servanthood never measures up to this world’s definition of success, you are in really great company with a host of people whose names fill the New Testament. I’ll refrain from making a list and encourage you to be a student of the Book.
Thirdly, Christian leaders should not act as though because they are graced with ministry gifts that they have no need of working with others. The practice of continually isolating yourself from others is what our adversary (the devil) likes to see. He can wreak havoc through that practice.
What am I talking about with this third point? God has not called the Body of Christ to independence. But rather, He has called us to the blessedness of interdependence. That’s the whole point of 1 Corinthians 12:21-26.
What this really means is that to best fulfill the New Testament pattern of servanthood leadership, you need me. And I need you, more than you could possibly understand. Besides the ample evidence of Scripture, I’m not really smart enough to do this without your help. The best ideas and ministry are often generated from those without any official ministry title.
We can wrap this up in summary style. What does Christian leadership look like? Christian leadership looks like serving others and being okay with only God knowing your name and what you have done. This New Testament servanthood model is more possessed with the presence of Christ than the things of this world and with that, you can be content. And in this neighborhood, joint servanthood is the only model that works.
Finally, I ran across this quote from Pastor Benny Tate and it will serve as a thought-provoking conclusion. “You haven’t served God until God gets the glory and someone else gets the credit.”