How to Lead Like Jesus
Leadership is tough, but it’s absolutely necessary in order for you to grow in God, walk in your calling, and reach your destiny.

How to Lead like Jesus

by Adam Wittenberg
4/21/17 Ministry and Outreach

Leadership is tough, but it’s absolutely necessary in order for you to grow in God, walk in your calling, and reach your destiny.

God doesn’t demand perfection, but He wants our diligence. This means a willingness to work hard even when things are tough, the ministry is small, or we face rejection for taking an unpopular stand.

Diligence is what sets leaders apart from dreamers. Anyone can set goals and hope to accomplish great things, but few will work persistently toward them, refusing to quit even when it gets hard.

Jesus is the perfect leader. He didn’t back down, no matter how hard it got—even to the point of death. He made people angry because He spoke the truth, and He knew that death awaited Him on the cross, yet “He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,” where it would happen (Luke 9:51–53).

We may not die for Christ as a martyr, but we will all experience many little deaths as we follow God and lead others.

There is death to our pride, to our freedom, and to our “right” to do whatever we want when we want. Jesus said those seeking to be great must be the “servant of all” (Mark 9:35).

Leadership starts by serving Jesus in worship and prayer, drawing close to Him, and then serving His people. The more we become like Him, the more we’ll serve like He does.

Some people have a wrong picture of leadership, thinking that it’s about control or having power over people, but Jesus addresses this also:

“You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.” (Mark 10:42–43)

Christ’s way is different from the world’s, yet for all who walk in it, there is a blessing of supernatural strength—divine assistance that helps us stay true to the task.

Leaders aren’t always the most skilled or educated people—the disciples certainly weren’t! Leaders simply have to be faithful, teachable, and obedient. There’s also a willingness to act, take responsibility, and take risks.

In this day and age, God is calling forth bold men and women who refuse to play it safe by avoiding conflict and trying to please everyone. Leaders must take action, pursue righteousness, and call others into a radical and holy lifestyle.

True leaders have a sense of purpose. They move themselves and others toward it. This focus dictates their actions. And when they make mistakes, they dust off quickly and return to the path.

The Lord honors those who faithfully do what He commands. The story in Matthew 25:14–30 of the servants who received large sums of money (called talents) is a prime example:

A man (or master, who symbolizes God) gives his servants different amounts of money to invest while he is away on a journey. Two of the servants work hard and double the money they received. The man rewards both servants the same, honoring their diligence more than the specific amount of money they had.

But the third servant, who received the least amount of money, hid it in the ground because he was afraid of losing it. On the day of reckoning, he gave his master the same amount that he’d been given. Because he refused to take risks, he had no increase. This displeased the master, greatly:

“But his lord . . . said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

“‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’” (Matthew 25:26–30).

Spiritualizing our rationale for not stepping into leadership is not an excuse before the Lord. Whatever resources the Lord has given us we are required to use. The stakes are high, but He will honor with His strength every effort we make to obey.

Leading others is necessary in God’s kingdom—to reach the lost and see the Gospel reach the ends of the earth.

Set your heart to pursue the journey of leadership, walking in reliance on Christ, who has overcome the world (John 16:33). Much trial, joy, and reward awaits!

For further study in this area, we recommend 7 Commitments for Spiritual Growth by Mike Bickle »

Where is God calling you into leadership (and what is your response to the call)?

Adam Wittenberg


    A Detroit native who was raised in Vermont and Connecticut, Adam worked as a newspaper journalist until 2012, when he moved to Kansas City to complete the Intro to IHOPKC internship. Afterwards, he earned a four-year certificate in House of Prayer Leadership from IHOPU and is now on full-time staff in the Marketing department at IHOPKC. He also serves in the NightWatch (overnight prayer hours) and is active in evangelism. He, and his wife Stephany, have a vision to reach people everywhere with the good news of Jesus Christ.

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