What made Jesus the leader he was? Most people thought he was not doing the things he should be doing if he was going to be the real leader and savior of the people. Others didn’t think that he possessed the qualities of a leader. Jesus didn’t have the visible power that was expected of a great leader. He never railroaded other people to get his way. Jesus never bullied others. Jesus also never tried to overthrow or incapacitate others authority or rule. Outwardly, Jesus looked and acted like a man who should be following instead of leading.
But, as we all know, you can’t judge a book by its cover. What Jesus possessed was wisdom. It is what was inside of Jesus that made him the leader that he was. Jesus led with a focus and he didn’t let others derail him. He overcame all obstacles that got in his way. He led out of love for the people and he wanted them to know that they were loved and could do better. He didn’t belittle others as a form of punishment. Jesus got into the minds and the hearts of others. Others felt and knew that they could become the people God wanted them to become by following the leadership and participating in the servanthood of Jesus.
I took some classes in years past on Bowen Family Systems. The title of the last class was “The Challenge of Change and The Spirit of Adventure.” One section of this class was devoted to talking about how a system can only get unstuck when it can bring forth leaders that possessed certain qualities. I got to thinking about the leadership qualities that Jesus possessed and looked to see how Jesus would lead this church into the future.
Here are the qualities of leaders that can get a system unstuck: 1) Can separate themselves enough from the emotional processes around them so that they can see things differently. 2) Are hell-bent to pursue their vision. 3) Can persist in the face of sabotage of others, enemies and colleagues. 4) Are challenged where others are made anxious. 5) Value adventure more than safety.
Jesus possessed all of these qualities in his leadership abilities. He didn’t get caught up in the emotions of other people around him. He saw things differently instead of through the emotions of others. Jesus was on a mission. He pursued the will of God and was not going to be stopped. There were plenty of enemies that Jesus faced. Even his colleagues turned against him when they should have stood by him. One, in fact, tried to sabotage his entire mission by turning him over to the authorities. There were many challenges that faced Jesus on a daily basis. His disciples became anxious in these times but Jesus faced those challenges without becoming anxious. And finally, Jesus didn’t take the easy way out of what he was called to do. He could have run away. He could have played it safe and saved himself. But he valued his calling more than his safety. Jesus saw his mission through and was victorious, even over death.
Hamilton FUMC and Lamkin UMC needs leaders to lead us into the future. We need leaders that aren’t looking to play it safe and be happy where we are. We need leaders that are willing to see the future of the church and its role in furthering the kingdom of God differently. We need leaders who are willing to take the challenge when others become anxious and scared of failure. We need leaders that will pursue the vision of Jesus and allow the church to come to its full potential in what God is calling the church to do. We need leaders that will look at our potential through the eyes of Christ and say “We can become the church God wants us to become” even though others might try to tear us down and not believe that we can overcome obstacles.
We are faced with some challenges ahead. There is lower attendance, lower giving, and no professions of faith or baptisms in the year that I have served. We all want to grow but we are not willing to volunteer to do the things that need to be done. It’s hard to lead when there is nobody willing to follow. A church can only grow as much as the people are willing to do the work necessary. If we really want to grow and are concerned about our decline, then it’s time to work together and make it happen. Take to heart Proverbs 13:4.
Some of us are stuck on the problems instead of forging ahead with the solutions. We can’t get unstuck with more thinking about the problems. Are we going to circle up the wagons or are we willing to take the risk and trust God that He will see us through? Hamilton FUMC and Lamkin UMC can be on the verge of doing great things. We have a long way to go if we want to grow and make disciples of Jesus Christ. What are our goals for the future? What we need now are the leaders that are willing to bring forth what is needed to accomplish those goals. Will you step up and become one of those leaders? Will you be a part of the progress instead of being satisfied with what we have? You are the eyes, ears and hands of Christ. Let’s have the faith that Christ calls us to have. Let’s grow this church in its ministries, discipleship and worship. Let us bring others to Christ instead of keeping Christ to ourselves. Step up and take the challenge of leadership within the church. I look forward to serving with you.
Grace and Peace to All,