The Leadership Lessons of Jesus Christ
When we talk about Jesus as a leader, we may imply two different forms: Jesus as the only Son of God, God of the universe, or the risen Christ as being one with God; or Jesus as the 1st century flesh and blood human being, the historical figure. Since the purpose of studying leadership is to improve one's own leadership skills, it makes sense to analyze Jesus' applicable traits, actions, and accomplishments as a good leader—in his historical role—so his leadership skills can be feasibly related to ourselves as human beings. I will attempt to analyze, using modern leadership criteria, how Jesus of ...view middle of the document...
Jesus gave a frank opinion about his purpose when he said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matt. 5:17). Cronin adds, “Leaders are people who know who they are and know where they are going. . . . [They] must be self-reliant individuals with great tenacity and stamina” (36). So aside from the common interpretations that Jesus was the Son of God or the Messiah (sent to earth to be king and deliverer of the Jews), Jesus was an intelligent man, who usually knew what to say and when to say it. N.T. Wright writes, “Jesus spoke of himself as a prophet, he behaved as a prophet, and when others referred to him in this way he did not correct them” (33).
Before we can explain how Jesus articulated his vision, we must first examine what his vision was. Wright writes, “Jesus was a first-century Jewish prophet announcing God's kingdom. This was the very center of his mission and message” (33). Most likely, Jesus would say his goal was to do God's will in order to fulfill the prophecies (as predicted in the Old Testament) and save the “lost” (Matt. 18:11, Luke 19:10). Since he was sent to earth as a means for people to get to heaven, his vision was that people could develop a right, loving relationship with his Father, so that they could share in the joys of eternal life (John 3:17). Marcus Borg writes that Jesus' message “was not about believing in him. Rather, . . . his message was theocentric, not christocentric” (Meeting Jesus Again 29). Like many of his leadership traits, Jesus' vision was centered on God.
Jesus was effective in communicating his vision through the exemplification of that vision in his own life, his integrity, and the appeal in his message. Jesus' two greatest commandments were, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37, 39). In wishing that all mankind would learn to faithfully love and obey God, Jesus exemplified that ideal in his own actions and communications with people he met. He taught love, and he himself loved. James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner write, “There is absolutely no way you can, over the long term, convince others to share a dream if you are not convinced of it yourself” (To Lead or Not to Lead, Unit Two 24). Jesus constantly reminded his followers to remain faithful to God. He often said, “Oh you of little faith,” to those who doubted him (Matt. 6:30, 8:26). Through his lessons about love, acts of compassion, and servantship, Jesus was the perfect model of the spiritual life he was trying to instill in his followers; he exemplified a life that appealed to others.
Jesus' integrity also contributed in the articulation of his spiritual-specific vision. Because he preached about morals, values, life goals, spiritual perfection, fulfillment and growth of the soul, etc., the...