The Myth of Christian Leadership – Part 2

Image credit:

I started this two-part series a few weeks ago discussing what I call the myth of Christian leadership. Christian leadership is important for the smooth running of our church congregations and their meetings, for making sure people feel like they belong and most importantly – so that the congregation is led to learn about and worship God more!

In the first part, I discussed how we should see Christian leadership as service. If we begin to think about ‘leading’ as serving, we can unleash our leadership potential to the next level. If you haven’t read the first part yet – you can do so here.

In this next part, I want to discuss the second way we need to re-think Christian leadership. But firstly, let me tell you a story about John the Baptist.

John was standing in the River Jordan baptising all those who came to him asking to be cleansed. Suddenly, two of his disciples rushed to his side and looked quite concerned.
“Teacher, that man who you told us about is baptising people on the other side of the river! His lines are even bigger than yours! Do you want us to chase him out of town?” they asked.
John did not look concerned, much to his disciples’ surprise.
“My friends, you yourselves can testify to the fact that I said that I am not the Christ, but I was sent ahead of him. In fact, your news brings me great joy! Do not chase him out of town, for he must become greater, while I must become less.”

John 3:22-36 (own paraphrase)

This story can be found in John 3:22-36 and it may seem like an odd story to discuss when talking about leadership, but John gets it. But I haven’t told you what ‘it’ is yet!

I said in my last post that Jesus is the greatest example of a leader that I know. All my leadership training has told me that in order to be a leader, you must have followers. We know that Jesus was a leader because he had followers, he even had 12 dedicated disciples who followed him everywhere he went. When Jesus asked them all to ‘follow him’ they dropped everything to obey Jesus’ commands.

But this leadership principle presents a problem. We ourselves are called to follow Jesus as an act of obedience to him as well. But as a Christian leader, are we asking people to follow us? That makes us a leader if we have people following us, right? The more people we have following us, the better leader we
are, right? Not really.

This is the issue with the term ‘Christian leader’. Everyone, no matter what age, race, or nationality, is called to follow Jesus. There is no hierarchy involved. There is no President, Vice President, Board Member, Member, Attendee leadership matrix. There is just Jesus (the leader) and his bunch of followers. Full stop. This is why the use of the word ‘leadership’ in church situations is so problematic.

So how do we solve this tension? How do we be a Christian leader?

As a Christian leader, it is your job to point people to following Jesus. Jesus is the perfect example that others should be following, so rather than encouraging them to follow you – encourage them to follow Jesus. Why try to be Jesus when Jesus is right there with his arms outstretched in wait of his children? This is where John gets it. He knows that Jesus must become greater and he must become less. John was merely preparing the way for Jesus, and now it is time for him to get out of the way!

As a Christian leader, it is also your job to follow Jesus passionately yourself! Lead by following. There is nothing better than hearing the testimonies of those who have given their lives to following Jesus. These stories can have a great impact, and although it seems I have played down the role of the Christian leader in this series, testimonies can be a great catalyst for others to follow Jesus as well.

To wrap up this series, I encourage you to think about how you think about Christian leadership. God loves a servant heart and leaders who are there to serve are the most effective leaders. And model yourself as a follower of Jesus so that you can encourage others to do the same. I hope that this mini-series has been helpful for you and I pray that it has grown your outlook on Christian leadership.

I would love to hear what you think! Leave a comment, send me an email from my new contact page, and if you like what I write – consider subscribing to my blog or sharing around my posts on social media!

– Mike

What I am Reading: The Book of Isaiah, Leading by Alex Ferguson

What I am Listening to: Wonder What’s Next by Chevelle, Honest Truth by Just Like Clockwork, Only Love by C3 Oxford Falls


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *