by Lt.Colonel Jonathan Rich, Territorial Secretary for Program
“If your gift is…to lead, do it diligently.” Romans 12:8, NIV
When you think about the greatest leaders of all time, who comes to mind? Abraham Lincoln? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.? Winston Churchill? Nelson Mandela?
Ken Blanchard, author of The One Minute Manager (over 13 million copies sold) and more than 60 other books on leadership, asked this question at a seminar I attended. Many names like those above were shared.
After people weighed in, Blanchard asked our gathering, which by the way was church and ministry leaders, “Why didn’t any of you say Jesus?” He indicated Jesus was almost never mentioned when he asked large groups that question. He went on to say: “I soon became aware that everything I had ever taught or written about effective leadership during the past 35 years, Jesus did to perfection, beyond my ability to portray or describe. I realized that Christians have more in Jesus than just a spiritual leader; we have a practical and effective leadership model for all organizations, for all people, for all situations.”
Each of us is called to follow Jesus, the greatest leader of all time. As followers, we are called to lead, to say to others “imitate me as I imitate (become more like) Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1, NKJV). In this sense, leadership is not for a select few. We are all called to be leaders at home and school, in our places of work and, yes, in the context of our church, The Salvation Army.
Are you leading in your corps as a local officer by teaching Sunday school, heading a small group Bible study or serving in some other way in the name of Christ? Sacrificial servant leadership is not optional for followers of Christ. Is God calling you to serve Him as a Salvation Army officer? As we follow Christ, the question is not “Am I a leader?” but “Whom am I leading?”
As you follow the greatest leader of all time, He will equip you. He will transform you. He will lead you to be more like Him as you faithfully follow His lead. And here is a promise you can bank on: as you faithfully lead others, Jesus, the greatest leader of all time, is with you always, even until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20b)