Leadership in the Bible

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Kingdom Empowered

The Heart of Leadership in the Bible: Discovering Its True Meaning


The concept of leadership is often associated with power, control, and authority. However, the Bible teaches us that true leadership is not about these things. Instead, it is about servanthood, putting the needs of others before our own, and submitting to God's will. In fact, Jesus himself modeled this type of leadership during his time on Earth.


In Mark 10:45, Jesus says, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." This verse highlights the heart of leadership in the Bible: being a servant to others. Jesus, the ultimate leader, came not to be served, but to serve and give his life for others.



In John 13:14-15, Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, setting an example of humble servanthood. He then tells them, "Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." This act of service demonstrates that true leadership is not about lording power over others, but about serving with humility and love.


In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul reminds us, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." This verse emphasizes the importance of putting others before ourselves, a hallmark of biblical leadership.


In exploring "The Heart of Leadership in the Bible: Discovering Its True Meaning," we will delve deeper into these and other biblical principles to understand that being a leader is being a servant to people and to God. True leadership is not about seeking power or control, but about serving others with humility, love, and a heart that is aligned with God's will.



Examination of Biblical Emphasis


In the video, Pastor Jason Howard raises a poignant observation regarding the emphasis on leadership in the church. He argues that neither the book of Acts nor the life of Jesus places a significant focus on leadership. Instead, he suggests that this emphasis on leadership is a uniquely Western and capitalist idea that the church has adopted.


When we look at the life of Jesus, we see a different emphasis. Jesus did not focus on leadership in the traditional sense. He did not lead with a heavy hand or seek to control people through power. Instead, he led by example, teaching and serving those around him with compassion and love.


In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus says, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."


Similarly, in Acts 20:28, Paul reminds the elders of the church in Ephesus, "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood."



Here, we see a focus on caring for the church and serving others rather than exerting authority and control. Jesus and his disciples were not concerned with titles and positions of power, but rather with spreading the message of love and salvation to all.


While leadership is an important aspect of any organization, it's crucial to remember that the focus of the church should not be on exerting power or control, but rather on serving and loving others as Jesus did. As Matthew 23:11-12 reminds us, "The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."



Leading by Serving


Pastor Jason's definition of leadership is centered around the idea of servant leadership, as exemplified by Jesus himself. Jesus consistently emphasized the importance of servanthood rather than leadership, and Jason argues that this is the more biblical idea.


In Mark 10:45, Jesus says, "For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." This statement captures the essence of servant leadership, as Jesus himself did not come to be served but rather to serve others.


Similarly, in John 13:14-15, Jesus teaches his disciples about servanthood. He says, "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you." Here, Jesus demonstrates the importance of leading by example and serving others, rather than exerting authority or control.


The idea of apostolic leadership, which Jason briefly mentions, can also be seen in the Bible. In 1 Corinthians 4:15-16, Paul writes, "For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. I urge you, then, to be imitators of me." Here, Paul is setting an example for the early Christians to follow, as a father figure and a leader who leads by example.


The biblical idea of leadership is one of servant leadership, where leaders serve others and lead by example. As Matthew 23:11-12 reminds us, "The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Therefore, the more we strive to serve others, the more impact we can make in the world.


Servanthood in Action


According to Pastor Jason, the key to making a meaningful impact in the world is not through being the best visionary leader or the most successful entrepreneur, but rather through being the greatest servant. He emphasizes that healthy churches that have made a significant difference over the long term have embedded a culture of love and servanthood, rather than a culture of domination and control.


This idea of servanthood is central to the teachings of Jesus. In Matthew 20:26-28, Jesus says, "But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Jesus himself exemplified servanthood by humbling himself to serve others and ultimately sacrificing his life for the sake of humanity.


Similarly, in John 13:34-35, Jesus teaches his disciples, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you have a love for one another." Here, Jesus emphasizes the importance of love and service as defining characteristics of his followers.


In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul encourages his readers to adopt a mindset of servanthood, saying, "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others." This selfless attitude is a key aspect of servanthood, as we prioritize the needs of others above our own.


In conclusion, the concept of servanthood is central to the teachings of Jesus and is essential for making a meaningful impact in the world. As we love and serve others, we reflect the character of Christ and demonstrate the power of his love to the world around us.


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