Lead like Jesus

Jesus didn't start his public ministry until he was about 30 years old.

I don't know why he didn't start at 27, or 25, or even earlier. But I do think it's pretty significant. Jesus didn't become a leader until he was a fully mature adult. 

Let me put that another way: Jesus didn't start leading until he was a fully developed person, emotionally and spiritually healthy. I'm not saying he was emotionally incomplete prior to age 30, but clearly it was God's design that Jesus go into leadership and specifically ministry leadership with some life experience.

Leadership and ministry will stretch you. A lot. If you're not able to process emotions in healthy ways, you will undermine the purpose of the Body of Christ. And as a leader, you will end up doing more damage than good when you aren't prepared to deal with the trouble that is guaranteed to come our way.

The best thing you can do as a leader is to seek emotional health.

Honestly, I think everyone in pastoral ministry should be in on-going counseling, as a way to safeguard against becoming emotionally unbalanced, and using unhealthy leadership methods.

A great place to learn about these unhealthy methods is in a book called The 48 Laws of Power.

Some famous law of power that you have perhaps observed in use:

Law 6: Court attention at all cost

Law 12: Use selective honesty and generosity to disarm your victim

Law 17: Cultivate an air of unpredictability

Law 21: Play a sucker to catch a sucker - play dumber than your mark

Law 27: Play on people's need to believe to create a cultlike following

Obviously, there are a number of others. 

I've seen these laws used in the business world, in the political world, and unfortunately in the church world.

I have had bad bosses. I'm sure you have, too. And I'm not talking about incompetent bosses. I've had those too. A consider a bad boss to be one who I would describe as being malevolent in some capacity - deceitful, manipulative, underhanded, etc.

The book of Proverbs uses three categories: the wise person, the fool and the wicked person. For me, a bad boss falls into the last category, not the second.

I would say that almost all of the bad bosses I've had suffered from insecurity which they tried to cover with arrogance. There are exceptions, but it's a common combination. Often, this combination causes them to seek positions of power to "cure" the feelings of inadequacy, but of course this does not work. You simply end up with a person who wields power from a state of insecurity - a very bad place from which to do so.

I've seen people who clearly had gifts and talents that simply couldn't fulfill their potential because they didn't have emotional health, including emotional maturity.

When I look at Jesus, I think what sets him apart from these bad examples is that he wields power out of confidence in who he is, and also humility. If anyone deserves to be arrogant, it's God-in-the-flesh, yet we see the opposite. He doesn't feel the need to throw power around to make others grovel before him. 

Jesus uses his power to lift up those around him. His disciples were complete knuckleheads, yet Jesus washes their feet.

Judas was going to betray him, yet he was welcome to sit and eat with Jesus.

Jesus was secure in his purpose and identity, which led to humility.

So if you want to lead like Jesus, please, be willing to face the parts of your life that are a mess. Don't bury them or hide them. Deal with them. Led into the challenges that come your way, don't run from them or try to avoid dealing with them. Otherwise, you'll never be able to lead like Jesus, and Lord knows we need more people - both in church leadership and leadership elsewhere - who are willing to lead like our humble savior.