A Dream of Light That Brought Refugee To Jesus

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Achmed lives with his family in a refugee camp. He had never seen himself as a good Muslim and would often beat himself up about his lack. One night, he had a dream where he was in complete darkness. Then suddenly, a hand reached out to him, pulled him out of the darkness and into the light. The next day, Achmed met one of our workers, disciple Prabu, and shared about the dream. Although he was affected by the dream, he was unsure how God could ever forgive him for the life he had led.

Prabu began discipling Achmed, and over time Jesus opened Achmed's heart to His forgiving and loving nature as a Father. Achmed started a bible group that has grown into two groups! Jesus continues to show His love among refugees all around the world through dreams and stories!

Share the miracle, and show what God is doing among the nations!

Jesus Loves Africa!

Jesus loves Africa! Of that I am sure. There is great brokenness in Africa, but there is also great beauty. I see beauty in the hospitality of African peoples.

There's beauty in the smile of African people. And there is great beauty in the music  -  no one can sing like Africans!!

There's beauty in the spirituality of Africa… Even though that spirituality has often been hijacked and misguided by the enemy into ancestor worship and spiritism.

There's beauty in the courage of Africans. All throughout the continent of Africa you will find bold African evangelists proclaiming the Gospel. The church is growing faster in sub-Saharan Africa than any other continent in the world!

Though there is beauty in Africa, there is also brokenness in, and it breaks the heart of God:  we see the brokenness in the wars, preventable diseases, AIDS, famine, corruption and suffering children.

When I pray for Africa, hope fills my heart for the continent. But when I read the reports of problems I start to lose hope. So I know the answer for me... I need to be more impressed with God than I am with circumstances and newspaper reports. And I need to keep praying for Africa.

Isn't that true for all of us? Don't we all need to continually be more impressed with God's greatness than with human problems?

The church in Africa is the hope of Africa. And spiritual leaders are the hope of the church.

Sally and I feel called to give the rest of our lives to invest in the leaders and the church in Africa. Why? Because the church is the hope of Africa.

Every African leader needs friends who believe in them  -  and who will invest in their lives through friendship and discipleship.

 

Those Who Grieve Well, Grow Well

Last day to get Leading Like Jesus FREE on Kindle!!!  Click here! The goal of processing grief is not to understand the reasons for loss, but to receive God’s comfort in the midst of loss. Four responses to loss that will circumvent the comfort God wants to provide:

  1. Blame it on the devil - over spiritualize the loss
  2. Look for sin in the camp - try to find whose fault it is.
  3. Rationalize it - a head-level response.
  4. Ignore it and pretend it didn’t happen - a form of denial.

As leaders, we have the privilege of guiding people to grieve their losses well. A wise leader creates space for their followers to ‘pay attention’.

Four steps for healthy grieving:

  1. Pay attention to your heart, acknowledging the pain, loss, anger, and sadness.
  2. Don’t rush the time between sorrow and healing.
  3. Use the Psalms to give a biblical language to your grieving.
  4. Allow (when ready) the old to give birth to the new.

As I have grown older, I have learned to pay attention to my heart and to process my grief with God honestly. I have learned not to hide from my losses.

I have learned the hard way that past losses can negatively impact present relationships if not dealt with before God and with others.”

Find Leading Like Jesus in paperback here

Ten Responses To Conflict

Leading Like Jesus FREE on Kindle today!!!  Click here to check it out! In my book Leading Like Jesus, I go through a Biblical approach to dealing with conflict. Here is a short portion of that chapter…

“It is hard to accept a conflict as unresolvable, but once we prayerfully come to that realization, it allows us to work through our part of it without unnecessary guilt or pressure. Paul and Barnabas never fully resolved their conflict over John Mark. The Bible does not justify the conflict; neither does it condemn either Paul or Barnabas.

How should we respond to a seemingly unresolvable conflict?

  1. Be secure in yourself. Jesus maintained a peaceful demeanor. When you are in turmoil, go back to God.
  2. Don’t react emotionally. Stay prayerful and practice the fruit of the Spirit. If you go on the warpath to attack others or defend yourself, no good will come of it.
  3. When you do respond, be concise and straightforward. Don’t offer explanations - you don’t owe them to people accusing you in the wrong spirit.
  4. Don’t draw attention to yourself. You are not the issue, even though others may target you or attack you. It may be an issue of incompatible vision or incongruent values, but don’t make yourself the issue.
  5. If given the opportunity, and you feel a release to do so, describe the issue clearly as you understand it. But only do this because you are led to speak about the topic calmly and in a respectful manner.
  6. Ask for a decision or response. It is not wrong to set a time frame for dealing with the issue. To drag it out may lead to an ongoing, unhealthy debate. Ask God to bring it to a head so everyone can move on with their lives.
  7. Ask people outside the situation to provide objective feedback. When faced with a conflict, I sought out unbiased, respected leaders to help me objectively assess myself and my responses. They offered affirmation, as well as feedback on my attitudes and actions. I also asked a trusted advisor to fly in and spend the day doing an “emotional and spiritual audit” on my heart. He asked very probing questions that I spent months reflecting on.
  8. Trust God to defend you. God may test you and allow you to be falsely accused, but someday the truth will come out. Keep your eyes on the Lord and be more concerned with what God thinks of you than what people think or say.
  9. Make up your mind to speak well of others. It is true - what we sow, we reap. This is not only true of sinful actions and words, but it is also true if we speak well of others we disagree with.
  10. Take time for your heart to be healed before you move into the next season. If you don’t, you might carry with you unresolved pain and bitterness towards others. This doesn’t have to mean waiting years for God to heal your heart. It could be as simple as winning the battle of forgiveness and laying down your rights - no matter how painful it my be - then moving on.”

Also available in paperback at YWAM Publishing here

 

Leaders Speak With Authority

This is an excerpt from my book Leading Like Jesus: 40 Leadership Lessons From The Upside Down Kingdom  Click here to check it out on Amazon or here to subscribe to Kindle Unlimited and get it FREE tomorrow and Wednesday!!!

"The source of Jesus’ authority can be the source of your authority as well. He spoke with authority because:

  • He knew the Scriptures
  • He listened to the Father and obeyed Him
  • He did not use power over people
  • He embodied His message
  • He took years to prepare for His mission
  • He resisted the temptations of the enemy
  • His ministry to people was a lifestyle – whether in his work as a carpenter or in the season of discipling leaders for a new spiritual movement.

Let’s look at three types of authority exemplified in Jesus’ life.

  1. Derived Authority - Jesus’ authority came from His being. Spiritual authority was the sum total of Who Jesus was as a person: His character, wisdom, and the wise and timely exercise of His spiritual gifts.
  2. Delegated authority - Jesus was sent on a mission by the Father. Hebrews 3:1 says He was the apostle and high priest of our faith. As an apostle, He was a messenger. He was under authority. No leader can exercise authority if he or she is not under authority.
  3. Distributed Authority - Jesus did not keep His authority to Himself. He shared it with those He discipled. Jesus said, “As the Father sent me, so I send you,” (John 20:21), and He “gave to His disciples authority…” (Luke 9:1 and Matt.10:1). If we give away authority, we gain authority. If we try to keep it all to ourselves, we lose our authority.

Jesus said, “There are rulers who lord over people…they try to exercise authority over people…” (Matt.20:25 paraphrase) Those who think in terms of being “over” people, miss the truth of what Jesus taught in these verses. Leaders should not aim to be over those they lead, but for them. If you serve people, you influence them, and if you influence them, you have authority in their lives. Authority is not taken from people, it is offered to people.”

This book is also available in paperback  -  Click here to buy it from YWAM Publishing

Leadership Tests

This is another excerpt from my new book LeadingLike Jesus. This book is FREE to Kindle Unlimited customers on the 23rd & 24th of June!!!  To subscribe to Kindle Unlimited click here

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“God does not initiate every human situation that tests us, but he uses them all.

A leadership test is a crisis, big or small, that God uses to teach us to depend more deeply on Him. Testing is one of the least understood aspects of God’s ways. We often ignore God’s testing in our lives, to our great detriment.

God-orchestrated tests in leaders’ lives usually produce one or two results: drawing them closer to God, or pushing them further from God. That is a choice we must make for ourselves - God will not force us to trust Him.

Below are the components of unique tests we go through as individuals and the common tests most leaders go through at some point.

Components of God-appointed Tests:

  • Difficult Circumstances (or a crisis) - If it wasn’t difficult, it wouldn’t be a test.
  • Desired Response - God wants us to seek Him
  • Delight - God delights in our growth as we develop deeper dependence on Him. This is the reward He gives us for passing the test.

Common Tests for Leaders:

  • Rejection - Dismissal by friends, family, or trusted co-workers
  • Isolation - A wilderness time of loneliness or confusion
  • God’s Silence - When God does not speak
  • Integrity - To be true to our convictions no matter how hard
  • Hearing God’s Voice - Knowing it is God speaking
  • Obedience - Doing what God says, no matter the cost.
  • Laying Down our Rights - Not insisting on having our way
  • Word Test - Obeying God’s direction to us
  • Faith Test - Believing God in spite of overwhelming odds

All leaders are tested and we will do well to recognize the test and its importance for our development as wise and faithful leaders.”

 

A Very Simple Thing...

This is a little story from my book Leading Like Jesus. “Living in a small Holland village, I remember walking down a long hallway in the training center I led. It was very early in the morning so I had the building all to myself for prayer and meditation. As I paced up and down the hallway, I noticed a candy wrapper thrown carelessly on the floor. I thought to myself, “I must say something to the students about being so thoughtless.” Back and forth I walked, repeatedly passing the wrapper. Praying. Seeking God. Annoyed with the students. Then I heard a still small voice: “You pick up the candy wrapper.” I protested, “But if I start using my quiet times in the mornings to pick up candy wrappers, where will it end?”

Through the hallway window, I could see a few other randomly scattered bits and pieces of paper around the campus. I pictured myself marching from one end of the campus to the other, using my precious time to pick up scraps of paper all day. But the voice persisted, “You pick it up and don’t lecture the students about it. Just do it and carry on.”

And so I learned ‘The Lesson Of The Candy Wrapper’. Just do it. Don’t call attention to yourself. Don’t consider any task too lowly for you to do. Don’t fancy yourself too busy to pick up candy wrappers."

To purchase a paperback copy of this book click here

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The 10 C's of Team Selection

This is a portion from Leading Like Jesus that I believe is helpful to those who lead and pioneer new movements … “Don’t let desperation for help drive your team building! Jesus chose team members prudently.

Effective leaders have a clearly defined set of qualifications for team members.

Team Selection Guidelines:

  1. Courtesy - Do they know how to respect other team members? Are they collaborative in their approach to decision making?
  2. Chemistry - Do they have good chemistry with you as the team leader and with others on the team? Are they likeable? Can they have a good time with those they work with?
  3. Competence - Do they have the skills necessary to add strength to the team?
  4. Character - Do they display servant leadership qualities? Do they show integrity? Are they reliable and do they keep promises?
  5. Core Values - Are their core values aligned with those of the rest of the team?
  6. Courage - are they willing to take risks? Do they exercise faith and take on new challenges when called upon?
  7. Capacity - Do they have the emotional capacity for leadership responsibility? Can they handle stress and pressure?
  8. Culture   - do they work well with people of other cultures? Are they sensitive and adaptive to different cultural contexts?
  9. Calling/Commitment - What are their spiritual gifts? Do their gifts complement the team? Do they have a clear call from God to serve with you?
  10. Clear Expectations - Have you discussed your expectations and theirs?

Team building presents many opportunities to learn humility and grow in wisdom. The principle of multiplication goes hand in hand with the principle of selection.  Jesus came to launch a movement. To do that, He needed trustworthy men and women to lead and reproduce the movement.”

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New Book! Leading Like Jesus to be released May 6th!!!

“The best way to learn to be a great leader is to study and emulate the lives of great leaders. I have made that a practice for many years. This book is about Jesus – not the misrepresented Jesus, claimed exclusively by some Christians, as belonging only to them – but Jesus, the inclusive leader, a leader for everyone” This is a quote from my new book ‘Leading Like Jesus’. My heart for this book has been to bring everything we do as leaders back to simply following Jesus’ lead. I believe if we do so, the body of Christ will be mobilized into action, to passionately serve the Kingdom, no matter what the cost, and the nations will be reached for His Glory.

My hope is that all who read this book would be encouraged to go deeper. That as they look at the life and teachings of Jesus they would move from being His acquaintance to experiencing a life-changing encounter with Him as ultimate leader and friend.

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Leading Like Jesus Prod Image

New Book!

Carl Medearis is an international expert in the field of Arab-American and Muslim-Christian relations.He acts as a catalyst for a number of current movements in the Middle East to promote peace-making, as well as cultural, political and religious dialog leading toward reconciliation. Carl, his wife Chris, and three kids lived in Beirut, Lebanon for 12 years. Through their unique and strategic approach around the Arab world, they encourage university students, business professionals and political leaders to live their lives by the principles and teachings of Jesus in order to change their societies and nations. He is the author of the acclaimed book on these issues, 'Muslims, Christians and Jesus'.

Carl is a brilliant author and a good friend and I am excited about his new book titled 'Adventures In Saying Yes - A Journey From Fear To Faith'

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To check it out, just click here

 

Jesus Started a Church

Perhaps the most radical thing Jesus did while on earth, besides taking the punishment for our sins on the cross, was starting a church. There is generally agreement amongst Bible scholars and theologians that what Jesus did with His disciples was not a church. But I disagree. Jesus said He would build His church – not just after His ascension into heaven. He started His church while He lived on earth, planning for it to multiply to the ends of the earth.

He and His band of followers did all the things we agree are essential to function as a church. They functioned as a spiritual family doing life together, pursuing relationship with the Father, and serving the world around them. They fulfilled the qualifications for doing church the way we see it modeled in the book of Acts.

The disciples learned the new way of being a covenant community from their Master. After His ascension, they realized He had given them a model to follow – and they followed it. It was more than a model, in fact, it was a way to live intentionally together.

Jesus didn’t add a lot of frills to His church. In fact, He subtracted from the Old Testament way of doing things: He took away the uniforms, He got rid of the barriers between men and women and Jews and Gentiles, and He empowered everyone to be a priest. He didn’t ask for their money, organize a choir, or choose one particular day over another to gather for worship.

No holy day, no holy priests, and no holy meeting place. When you stop to think about it, it was a radical model of simplicity and mission: worship and prayer, community and care, and reaching out as a way of life.

He taught them how to be leaders by serving. He walked beside His followers, not above them. Yet, He was clearly the leader.

He bridged the dualism of the Old Testament, calling for a radical new kind of spirituality. He taught spirituality of the heart, not outward behavior. Every person who followed Him was treated with equal value and given equal responsibility. Yet, with this new emphasis on being a spiritual family, He recognized and modeled the need for servant leadership.

I love how Jesus did church. He only mentions church twice in His teachings, and it is interesting to note it was Matthew, the most Jewish of the gospel writers, who records Jesus’ teaching on the “new church” way of being God’s people.

In Matthew 16 and 18 Jesus teaches about church...but that is for another blog post and another day....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peddling Pictures of Jesus

Christians have many different mental pictures of what Jesus is like, but only the true Jesus of Scripture is worthy of our devotion. It is possible that the mental picture we have of Jesus is one of our own creation, a Jesus we have created in our image to serve our desires and needs. When I was a student in university, I went door-to-door selling very large, religious prints of Jesus to make a little extra money. Whatever your idea of Jesus, I had a picture of Jesus just for you. I sold Jesus the gentle shepherd, Jesus watching over the children, Jesus knocking at the door of our hearts, and Jesus with the sacred heart.

After a while, I became embarrassed about what I was doing and stopped peddling pictures of Jesus.

Our focus should be Jesus - but much more than a picture of who we think Jesus should be. Not the Jesus of the pictures I peddled. The real Jesus.

Jesus is more than a great religious leader. In fact, Jesus did not come to start a new religion - he came to fulfill the ideals of every religion and the longings of every human heart. Jesus is for anyone who will follow Him on His terms.

Jesus is the greatest hero of history. He is the symbol and reality of sacrificial service to others. He is the smiling, laughing friend of children, and the serious consultant of leaders in every religion, drawing them from dependence on their good deeds to find Him as the source of all goodness.

How do we know the real Jesus?

We read His words, listen to the stories He told, study His actions, and then allow what we hear and see to seep down into the deepest places of our hearts. Allow Him to challenge the status quo of our already accepted ideas, and then to challenge and change our views of people, religions, enemies, and difficult neighbors.

Just Jesus. Do it for a time. Lay aside your already set ideas of the truth, and allow Jesus to be your truth. Let Him lead you to new understanding and appreciation for who He is.

 

 

Why Jesus Said "No"

Matt 4:1-11  -  Jesus said no to leadership power, position and prestige Matt 5:31-32  -  Jesus says no to divorce for any reason except breaking one's marriage vows

Matt 5:33-37  -  Jesus said no to making superficial oaths

Matt 6:25  -  Jesus said no to worry

Matt 10:34  -  Jesus said no to false unity

Matt 11:20-24  -  Jesus said no to impenitent cities

Matt 12:1-14  -  Jesus said no to religious legalists

Matt 12:32-42  -  Jesus said no to doing miraculous signs

Matt 12:46-50  -  Jesus said no to his mother and brothers

Matt 16:23  -  Jesus said no to a key leader

Matt 17:1-10  -  Jesus said no to staying in God's glory

Matt 17:9  -  Jesus said no to speaking the vision too soon

Matt 17:24-27  -  Jesus said no to disregarding an oppressive government

Matt 21:12-13  -  Jesus said no to exploitation and injustice of the poor

Matt 26:39  -  Jesus said no to taking the easy way out

The Fruit of Your Labors Will Follow You - Part Two

At a very young age, seeking to recruit a friend to join him in China, Robert Morrison wrote these words, “I wish I could persuade you to accompany me. Take into account the 350 million souls in China who have not the means of knowing Jesus Christ as Savior…”

The year was 1806. At this time, except for the purpose of trade, foreigners were forbidden entrance into China. Every foreigner, on landing, was strictly interrogated as to what his business might be. If he did not have a reasonable answer to give, he was sent back on the next sailing vessel. Morrison was aware of the dangers but was still willing to go in faith, believing Jesus would open a door for him to stay in China.

Reading about the life of Robert Morrison, I am reminded of the fierce focus of Paul the apostle:

“I consider my life worth nothing to me...if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me” (Acts 20:24)

At about the same time these words were spoken to the Ephesian elders, Paul also wrote to his young disciple Timothy and said,

“...the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (II Timothy 4:6-8).

Paul lived with the expectation that there was a reward awaiting him. He pictured Jesus awarding him on “that day.” It was the vision of Jesus in the future that kept him going in the present. It was the pure picture of pleasing Jesus that ensured the fruit of his labors would follow him.

I too, look forward to that day, don’t you? Can you picture it in your minds eye?

Take a moment and imagine it... you are kneeling before Jesus. As you are bowed in worship, He gently reaches out to you, puts His hand under your chin and lifts your gaze to look into His eyes, He astonishes you by placing a crown on your head. It is the reward given to the faithful who have stayed focused on Jesus.

In response, you take off the crown Jesus gave you and cast it at His feet, acknowledging that your greatest reward is the reward He receives from those who are gathered to worship Him. It is the fruit of your labors on earth that will follow you into heaven.

It is this vision of the future that sustains us in the present.

The Fruit of Your Labors Will Follow You - Part One

RobertMorrison My wife, Sally, and I visited the cemetery in Macau, China, where Robert Morrison and his first wife, Mary, are buried. Robert Morrison was the first Protestant missionary to China. He lived 52 short years and died in Canton in 1834.

During his twenty-five years of work as a missionary he translated the whole Bible into the Chinese language and baptized ten Chinese believers. Today there are an estimated 180 million Chinese followers of Jesus Christ – amazing fruit for a man who only baptized 10 converts in his lifetime.

Robert Morrison focused on Jesus his whole life. Just Jesus. During the 27 years he served in China he kept his focus on Jesus. He went home on furlough only once in all those years.

When Robert Morrison was asked, shortly after his arrival in China, if he expected to have any spiritual impact on the Chinese... his answer was:  “No sir, but I expect God will!”

He did what he did for Jesus. He knew there was no other cause worthy of the sacrifices he was to make – and he made some big ones.

Part of the inscription on his tombstone reads,  “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord...that they may rest from their labors and their works shall follow them.”

Robert Morrison’s works followed him – 180 million people in China are following him to heaven. It all began with him going to China as an act of devotion to Jesus.

Suppose it was your tombstone in that cemetery in Macau. How would you want it to be inscribed?

I have often pictured myself watching my own funeral service, wondering what I would like people to say about me after I am gone. Sometimes I even write my own epitaph. This is not morbid preoccupation with myself, as strange as it sounds, but rather a way to stay focused on what is most important to live for while I’m still here. It is my way of finding focus in the midst of many competing passions.

We were created to live for something greater than ourselves, and only in Jesus will we find that “something.”  Only by focusing on Jesus will our works follow us to heaven.

Take time now... choose a few phrases you want spoken about you when your family and friends gather to celebrate your life.  Write them down. Reflect on them. Now, with this fresh focus, go back into the race of life and give your heart to that which you want to follow you when you die.

The Five Leadership Functions of Jesus

In their outstanding book, The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes & Barry Posner build their case that leaders are made, more than born. They describe five functions ordinary people use when they bring forth their best efforts in challenging circumstances. I have adapted the five essential functions presented in their book to show how Jesus first modeled them. The source of all great, enduring leadership practices is always God himself. In this case, Jesus models these practices in His last days and nights with the disciples before His crucifixion, as recorded in John 13-17.

  • Jesus Encouraged the Heart 

Jesus connected directly to the soul of His closest followers. He discerned their fear, their bewilderment, and their unspoken questions. They knew something big was up, but they weren’t sure what it was, so He said: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me...I go to prepare a place for you...I will come again to receive you to myself, that where I am, you may be also...” (John 14:1-3).

Jesus encouraged His disciples to do extraordinary things by speaking to their felt need, to what was happening below the surface, at the heart level. He demonstrated that the way to reach people’s wills and minds is through their hearts.

Jesus knew the task He gave His disciples to go, teach, baptize and make disciples would not be accomplished if their hearts were overcome with discouragement. He saw the need to keep hope and determination alive in them. He encouraged them by speaking hope to their hearts, not presenting facts to their minds. He reassured them. He listened to them. He recognized the contributions they had already made and affirmed them for it.

The twelve apostles were men who had already left their families for Jesus. They risked everything for their faith in Him. He did what great leaders do; He celebrated their dedication and sacrifice. Others had left Him, but not these men. He knew Judas would betray Him and Peter would deny Him, but as discouraging as that could be, Jesus still reached out to His disciples with words of comfort and assurance.

Jesus’ words “Let not your hearts be troubled…” have given hope and comfort to multiple generations of disciples the world over since that night when He first spoke them. This is inspirational leadership at its best! Jesus openly disclosed what was before the disciples (14:29-30), yet motivated them onward with a vision for the future.

  • Jesus Inspired a Shared Vision 

Jesus told His disciples He was leaving and going to the Father, but He promised a heaven-sent mentor was coming to help them. He enabled His disciples to see the future possibilities He had in store for them (John 14:1-3, 23-24).

The function of inspirational leadership is to inspire hope. Jesus declared with great passion how His disciples could make a difference after He departed. He envisioned the future for them, creating a unique image of what the future was to become. He told them they would do even greater works than the great works that He had done.

Through His strong appeal and quiet persuasion, He enlisted His disciples in the dream He had for them, and then commissioned them to do the same for others (14:31).

  • Jesus Challenged the Status Quo

Jesus declared to His disciples that He is the way to the Father (14:7-14). Jesus built on the truth embedded in the faith covenant made with Abraham, but avoided the man made structures built around the covenant. He pointed to Himself as the revelation of the Father (14:7-11), and in so doing, He undercut the priestly system that had disempowered the Jewish people from direct access to the Father.

Jesus searched for opportunities to challenge and change the status quo. The Jewish faith-system had become a weight on the shoulders of the people. He didn’t just innovate within the existing way of doing things; He replaced it with something new and fresh. He took enormous risks. Since risk taking involves the potential for mistakes and failure, Jesus gave his disciples freedom to learn from their mistakes.

  • Jesus Empowered Others to Act 

He fostered collaboration among His disciples by sending them out in twos and threes, working as a spiritual family. He knew He was building them together, not just as individuals. Jesus was building them into His people. The carriers of His ongoing presence on earth. His church! In doing so, He gave them authority and power to act. He delegated to them the mission the Father had given to him.

Jesus actively involved the disciples as the founders of His church - and made it clear that they should disciple many others also. He didn’t want to build an exclusive sect but a worldwide movement of people from every tribe and tongue. Jesus came to start a movement that was inclusive to the poor, to women, to the young, and to the marginalized and the broken.

Jesus understood that mutual respect between His followers is what would sustain His extraordinary efforts through them, so He taught them about the value of love, forgiveness and unconditional acceptance.

Jesus modeled for His disciples how to create an atmosphere of trust and dignity among people. He confronted competitiveness in His disciples. He taught them to love each other as He loved them. He strengthened His disciples by sharing inside information with them – information that empowered them to leave Him if they chose to do so. Jesus gave His own power away, making each disciple feel capable and powerful. And then told them that this is how they are to lead the movement He began, “in the same way the father sent me, I am sending you...” (John 20:21-23).

  • Jesus Modeled the Way to Lead Others

Unlike the Pharisees, Jesus gave power away (14:16-21).  He was not concerned with status but with serving. He promised Holy Spirit was coming to them so they would do even greater works than He had done. Jesus broke the poverty of spirit that hierarchy produces in people by giving His disciples a vision for a movement where every person has a valuable role and contribution. Jesus modeled that every person in His movement was a priest, not just an elite few.

This fostered collaboration among the disciples and provided an alternative to the Pharisees model of rigidly tiered leadership. It built spiritual competencies in them: they could talk directly to God, they could hear His voice, they could ask for help, they could pray for the sick, they could seek for the people of peace and announce the kingdom had come. They could cast out demons and heal the sick. They could disciple and send others. They could build spiritual families that multiplied and grew among theirs as well as other cultures and peoples.

Jesus created standards of holiness by setting a personal example for His disciples. He imparted kingdom values about how people should be treated, co-workers should be respected, and broken people should be respected.

Jesus encouraged “small obedience’s” not just spectacular acts because He knew that was the way to enlist many ordinary people in His movement, and it was the best way to spread the good news and build commitment. Jesus set the example each day by behaving in ways that were consistent with the values He taught the disciples.

Summary and Application

Take a few minutes to review the five leadership strengths of Jesus:

  1. Encourage people’s hearts
  2. Inspire people with shared vision
  3. Challenge the status quo
  4. Empower others to act
  5. Model how you want others to live

Take time to evaluate your leadership in light of the five Jesus-style functions of leadership. Perhaps you want to grade yourself from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score, in each of the five functions.

Now, ask your spouse and then your fellow leaders to do the same for each other. Talk about these five functions of leadership in your team, church, department or ministry. As a follow up, develop a plan to build on your strengths while giving special attention to improving your weaknesses.

This assessment will give you a practical set of leadership goals to work on. Invite Holy Spirit to lead you in the process, encouraging, challenging, enabling, modeling and inspiring you each step of the journey!