The Essence of Christ-Centered Leadership
When we examine the life of Jesus, we see that he cared immensely about developing people. Our Savior was deeply committed to ensuring that those around him had what they needed to walk fully in their calling. Through Jesus’ relationship with his disciples, we come to know him as an influencer, teacher, mentor, and servant. These leadership characteristics enabled him to lead and develop future leaders with the capacity to advance the Kingdom of Heaven.
The 12 disciples were devoted followers of Jesus Christ. They were ordinary men who were able to do extraordinary things because of his leadership. Jesus began his relationship with the disciples by calling them to something greater than themselves. Once they accepted the calling, he taught them how to be anchored in the presence, power, and ministry of God. Throughout the three years of their journey together, Jesus corrected their thinking and presented teaching moments that cultivated their faith and character. When the disciples struggled and wanted to walk away from their calling, Jesus forgave them and encouraged them to keep pressing forward. Then, at the right time, he empowered and commissioned them for the work he had prepared them to carry on.
The leadership style that Jesus exemplified was not about power or control; it was about building character and self-worth. I have had many leaders in my life who played a role in my learning how to turn my ordinary into extraordinary. Like Jesus, these leaders encouraged me not just to embrace my faith, but to embrace all that God created me to be. When I struggled to realize my full potential, these individuals spoke life into me and inspired me to walk in unfettered authenticity. The potency of their words resonated in my spirit and opened my heart and mind to the wonders of Christ-centered leadership.
This is my third year serving as a professor at Northwest University. I have been blessed with people like Dr. Joseph Castleberry and Dean Teresa Gillespie, who have spent their time nurturing me professionally and providing the opportunity for me to harness my gifts, talents, and abilities in this community. When I struggled personally with fitting in, Dr. Autumn Witt taught me how to navigate through this challenge and affirmed that I was right where God wanted me to be, doing exactly what he wanted me to do. I would be remiss not to mention the countless students who, through the expression of their faith, helped me to remain grounded and committed to God’s call on my life.
When I consider the essence of Christ-centered leadership, I think about the people mentioned above and how they reflect the heart of Jesus through their words and actions. Leaders who live out leadership in this way have the capacity to influence those around them. They inspire others to walk in their calling and assist them in developing leadership skills that will enable them to confidently navigate this journey. They teach and stand with their brothers and sisters as they learn how to live out biblical principals in their everyday lives.
Leaders with a Christ-centered mindset forgive and provide the opportunity for others to grow and learn from their mistakes. Such leaders are unwavering when it comes to serving others who desire to fulfill their God-given calling. If we want to grow people in our community and see God’s kingdom expanded, we must embrace Christ-centered leadership, which is the essence of servanthood. By doing this, we will have a long-lasting, far-reaching impact that will transform the lives of those we encounter.