What Would Jesus Do?
This question was made famous in the 90’s by the coining of the acronym WWJD and the popularity of bracelets with initials. It was intended to cause young people to be more thoughtful about their actions. It is probably safe to say that the phrase overstayed its welcome a little, which is too bad. Because on a practical level, it’s a great question.
Think about this from a leadership stand-point. Even non-Jesus followers would be hard pressed to find another leader so effective that in only three years of ministry His work would forever redefine religion. Is there anything we can learn about this leader and the work He did to so effectively create lasting change?
What do you say, for old-time’s sake, we dust off the phrase and find out what there is to learn when we ask, “What Would Jesus Do?”
Jesus Would Follow Before He Would Lead
Jesus was wholly submitted to the One that called Him to do the work, not to the position His work would give to Him.
He was a follower, serving under the authority of the Father. Even when He wanted and asked for a different way; He was committed to the best way—and He knew that was the way of the Father. His actions proved His belief and in the way He lived, He also taught.
In our own ministries, we can teach people to be followers who lead when we correct their view of leadership. Confusion arises when we equate higher positions with leadership; especially when it comes to the things of God. While position can present opportunities for leadership, position will NEVER guarantee you are a leader.
If position is honored above discipleship (being a follower) even church leaders will honor the ambitious over the obedient. Jesus never confused the two—not in His own ministry, in the hearts of those he ministered to or the hearts of those He called to walk with Him.
Oh, to have his devotion and his faith and to know who we are and who we were called to be with such single and intense focus! To be a follower is the first step of being a leader of consequence.
Jesus was a powerful leader, because he was a committed follower who never sought to be anything other than exactly who God called Him to be.
Jesus Would Prepare Workers for After He Was Gone
Jesus knew His work on earth was the most important work that would ever be done. Therefore, He invested in those that would carry on the mission after He was gone.
He led them, not by walking ahead of them but by walking WITH them. He did not take away tension from them because He knew they needed it to grow and understand. He did not give them simple answers or solve and explain every dilemma for them. He forced them to think. And He showed them how everything related back to their belief in who He was, what He came to do, and ultimately who sent Him to do the work.
He encouraged them that He would be back, and was clear about what they would face. Because of this, when it was time for Him to leave the ministry work to them, He knew they were ready. He had prepared and equipped them to do the work they were born to do.
Good leaders will always make it clear what they intend to do. Every leader should know what he has been called to and should deeply believe in its importance. When others begin to see that mission as their own, the leader has done his job! Good leaders will walk with their people. They will help by making them able; not by making it easy, but by equipping them to be strong. A mission that is crucial must be left in the hands of those who’ve been prepared and made ready.
Jesus Would Build an Atmosphere of Trust
Jesus was about others. His ministry, His focus, His plans; they were all for the sake of the people He came to serve. And among those He would serve, were those who would give up everything to follow Him.
He took time to build relationships with them, and they knew they were loved! He met them in their weakness, He encouraged them in their mistakes, He led them back to worship when they failed.
He never forced them to follow Him by commanding His authority. He did not belittle their gifts. He listened, taught and cared. His ministry outside of His leadership was as full of grace and love as His ministry inside His circle.
Relationships are everything in leadership. Without a culture of high trust, true empowerment can neither be established nor sustained. Trust has the power to destroy an atmosphere of control and create an air of freedom. Like Jesus, be trustworthy to those you lead in the same way as those to who you minister!
So, to recap, “What would Jesus do?”
He would rely on God and listen to the Holy Spirit. He would believe in what He was doing and would build up leaders around Him. And, He would love fiercely, even to the point of death.
We have an incredible example of leadership from a Savior that will help us become the leader we were born to be. Maybe you can spend some time today considering your ministry and asking the provocative question, “What Would Jesus Do?” The answer might just prove powerful enough to change the world.
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Photo Credit: Christian Art Gifts