What makes a leader? Rank? Status? Celebrity? Clout? Style? Is leadership automatically bestowed by a box on the organizational chart? Where do position and power figure into the formula for leadership?
Jesus answered all those questions in a few words. His views on leadership are out of step with the conventional wisdom of our age: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25–28).
According to Christ, then, the truest kind of leadership demands service, sacrifice, and selflessness. A proud and self-promoting person is not a good leader by Christ’s standard, regardless of how much clout he or she might have. Leaders who look to Christ as their Leader and their supreme model of leadership will have servants’ hearts. They will exemplify sacrifice.
I realize those are not characteristics most people associate with leadership, but they are essential qualities of a biblical approach to leadership, which is the only kind I’m interested in.