Leading a Healthy Church Culture - Lesson 13

Leadership Values of Jesus

Leadership Values of Jesus

Rick Sessoms
Leading a Healthy Church Culture
Lesson 13
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Leadership Values of Jesus

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This is a summary version of the Christ-Centered Leadership class in the Certificates section that includes a study guide and additional resources.

Dr. Rick Sessoms
Leading a Healthy Church Culture
Leadership Values of Jesus
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] The next slide that I have to share with you is probably the, uh, if you walk away with anything from this course, this is kind of the nexus of, of it in terms of how we define what is this thing called Christ centered leadership. And how does what does it look like and where is the focus? And so let me unpack this and then I'd like to share a narrative from the life of Jesus and get some feedback from you, first of all, that it is founded upon relationship. Rather than control. There is a fundamental reality that to lead like Jesus, requires the leader to enter into relationship with those they lead. There is no leadership without relationship. In a Christ centered model. So this whole idea of span of control is not a Christ centered concept. Span of relationship is, but not span of control. Span of control was a management concept out of the early 20th century for those of you that studied that kind of stuff. But but span of relationship is what Jesus was really all about. And so that's the first fundamental premise, is it? There must be relationship. If it's going to be Christ centered leadership. Secondly, it's activated by influence. Rather than by position. Remember that Jesus held no earthly position. His only authority was from the father. He was not CEO of anything. In fact, he had no place to lay his head. Those that followed him followed him because they chose to follow him. And what we see in in leadership today oftentimes is people lead out of position. Rather than by influence. I'm sure that there are those that you have followed. They didn't have a position. So in other words, there you can probably think of people in your life that you would have followed regardless of their position.

[00:02:29] And then there are others that you have followed only because they had the position. And there's there you can see the difference. The reality is, is that if leaders have to exhort to their position to get people to follow, then they have sacrificed the ability to influence. In other words. I learned early on that if I had to exert the full extent of my position of power, to that extent, I have forfeited my capacity to influence the people that I lead. Does that make sense? What I just said? So there's a disproportionate balance If we apply the position and the power that comes with it, we lose the capacity to influence. By the way, this says to us that leadership can happen from anywhere within the structure. Leaders that lead people to follow them can be can be the sunny school teacher that leads the elder. It can be the the lion person that leads the CEO in many respects because it's really about influence. It's about. It's not positional and it's orientation. Management, on the other hand, is delegated authority. That's an important distinction. Management is about delegated authority. You don't manage unless you have been delegated the authority positionally to manage. But leaderships are different function. It is about influence fundamentally rather than position. That makes sense. Very important distinction. And so as we go back to Jesus, Jesus used influence. Exclusively with the people that he led. Thirdly, and this may be what sets it apart, and it's this cultivation piece. The focus of a Christ centered leader is on the followers potential. Rather. Then productivity. Now, that is a profound statement. Not because I made it bigger, but this is what Jesus was about. Jesus could have chosen. We all know that based upon those throngs that Joe's that came to see him and to follow him around the countryside, he had to get in the boat and go to the other side just to get away from them.

[00:05:03] He could have had the most magnificent megachurch in the history of humankind. He could have had a very successful ministry. But instead he risk it all on investing his life in a few followers who would themselves become the the agents to plant and develop the early church. That church into which you and I have been swept up these some 21 centuries later. That's a huge risk, isn't it, to have put his energy, his priority. His focus on these 12 people, one of whom sort of blew it. But but these 12 guys and a few others, these are the people that he invested in and he was focused on their potential. And out of that potential, God did his work. And if there's anything that I can say to you tonight and to those that are taking this online, is that this is what distinguishes a crisis in a leader, is it's really about seeing my priority is investing in those people that follow. And if I do that, well, God will take care of the fruit. God will take care of the productivity. Does that mean? I don't care about productivity? Does it mean I don't care about fruit? Absolutely not. I do. But it takes a risk and it takes a huge risk to focus in on the potential to focusing in on how can I help this person, these people that I'm leading to reach their highest kingdom potential? That's the question. And there's there's huge risk involved. Let me go to the last one and say that's committed to a common purpose rather than the leader's agenda. It's committed to a common purpose rather than the leaders agenda. Now that also says it's not committed to the followers. Purpose is committed to a common purpose.

[00:07:20] Now. Understand that these four are to be taken as a package. If you separate one out, leave the others. It's a it's a bit of a crippled model of leadership. But taken together, it's a beautiful model of what Christ was all about and what he calls us to as Christ centered leaders in today's world. I'm interested in your thoughts, your reflections. Do you buy it or not? Jan? Well, you know, to me it just makes you think about that whole sense of. With that system, the possibility is there's no end to the possibility to the right side there. That's really what's done. It also reminds me of us early on and close to home school. There's something there too, about this idea of the person. Yeah, the potential. Potential there, you know. Rather than this. There's a certain amount of production I want or whatever that you're you're deciding what that is rather than this that we don't even know what it is yet. Now you're using the example of the homeschool. Obviously, you you are saying, in effect, that when you're focused on follow potential, this is not just syrupy. You know, let them do whatever they want to do kind of stuff. There's a tough love sometimes. It's built into that being absolutely committed to a first person's final potential. This is not soft leadership necessarily. It is really focused on sometimes tough love to help people move in the direction of their potential, their God given potential. So so this is not about a wishy washy kind of leadership. It takes enormous courage to lead this way. Think of the courage that it took Jesus to focus on these 12 MÖTLEY people. When he could have done it himself. And by the way, he had no backup plan.

[00:09:30] There was no second chance. There was no. If this doesn't work, what then kind of thing? This was the plan. It was focused on these people's potential that would carry it forward, that would do greater works after he was gone. So powerful, powerful model. Other thoughts. One of the things we've been trying to do here at the church in recent years is emphasize and grow the sense of team ministry and the team of people in the teams within the church that are doing different kinds of ministries. I think about that. It's about relationship and influence and the team's potential, the people. On the team's potential excuse me having that common purpose that you hope with the team, which is not just a collection of sole proprietors. And it's interesting to think about that. I had not thought about the team in this type of a matrix, if you will. That's a great point. We're going to get into team leading teams next week and don't know that we'll finish all of this one this week, but we will. We will work on leading teams and it's important that we have is the basis for what we're talking about, these models, because they do affect how we view teamwork, which is interesting as we go along. I keep thinking as you're speaking recorded, Paul for these, I work in an entity, a local law enforcement agency that has some morale issues, has some challenges because need a law enforcement officer on the streets, basically has a lot of bosses and they're into position rather than influence. And if you could, in my organization, do these four things were hugely different. And what it would be, it would be huge. Then I think if we could do that in the church, what a hugely I mean, both of them would have profound witnesses in the communities in which they reside.

[00:11:34] Yeah, I think these are for I mean, we are designed as people for relationships and yet we tend to want to be in control and hold those relationships at an arm's length rather than embracing them and working as that team to accomplish that common goal, that common purpose. But yeah, profound, remarkable. The thoughts, questions. And I brought up the thing about schooling, and there were some researchers, too, who did some kind of give us some conclusions years ago that the relationship with a student and a teacher. Is how that student learning is more related to their relationship with the teacher than the teacher's ability to teach. And so true. More invested as an individual. If you're connected with that teacher or leader, you know, it's harder to walk away. It's true. Very true. And you want to do your best for them. Mm hmm. Yeah. You're definitely more engaged with following that leader if they're engaged with you and committed to that relationship. And that's that's some of the challenge in the current educational system. If you've got one teacher with 25 students, you can't have any influence, right? The one room schoolhouse basically had the concept with the older kids, work with the younger kids, so you were doing about one on three or four. So it's a model. It's much more workable for that influence than it is for a position. Good point. It's just that sense that there's no end to what could be accomplished. That's right. Is that kind of that's what. Jim, would you say, that this is risky? Oh, definitely. I mean, how many people don't you want to control it and you want to know what the outcome is? I mean, don't you want to be able to predict and assume that certain things are going to happen? I've shared this with CEOs around the world, and I can't tell you how much pushback I get.

[00:13:42] I'm delighted with this group. But but the CEOs that hear this say, you can't possibly tell me that I'm not focused on productivity, but on following potential. And the reason I say that is frankly, because when they show up at their board meetings. Their boards are holding them. Responsible for production. It's also very short term what has happened in the last quarter. That's last year, not where is our potential in five or ten or 20 years. We appreciate the discussion potential, but how are we doing this month? So you feel that tension? This is the tension. And so as we talk to leaders, this is a risk. This is a massive risk. But is the risk that Jesus took. And it's the risk that he took to say I will commit to to prioritizing my time and my energy and my focus on on developing the highest, asking the potential of those I lead. And through that, the production will happen. The fruit will be born. And it happened. It did happen. But there was a huge risk and there was no backup plan. And there's a huge risk on the on the left hand column as well. There's huge risk on relying on control and position and production in the leaders agenda. And you look at corporate America and see some of the companies that no longer exist, some of the recent companies that have come about, they're having trouble. I read some today that Yahoo! Has its fifth C, fourth CEO in fifth years, in five years. So the point being, we it's not as if it's working. The left column is working in business, but the other one, not really. There's a lot of examples where that control position production agenda is not a new vision already.

[00:15:34] Rick And that's it. I think we assume that if we tried to go to the relationship side that there's chaos and that that fear, that it's loosey goosey. And if nobody's in charge, then we can't have an outcome. It'll be a happy company, right? So what you're saying is that this doesn't take away the role of functions. Uh, it, it, it, but it does affect how we go about our leadership approach to leadership. The issue. Good point. You mentioned there wasn't a backup plan. Oh. Just a little tweak. You know, he picked 12 one washed out, I said. So he supernaturally stepped in and got Paul. Yeah. Yeah, it's true. This recent history. Yes. So maybe there was a backup plan. That's a good point. Well, you have to keep it at will. So you all involve. That's a good point. What was pretty significant. So I think another fear of of people who are in business or an organization who are going forward with this model of leadership is Jesus. But. Might be that if they are not the one who's in control, then somebody else will try it. We'll try to do it all. So I think it makes it even more important that everybody be have that common purpose so that there isn't somebody else trying to try to step in and grab back control. I think when Tim and I were together, I've said to Tim often, Tim, I'm committed to your highest kingdom potential. But I also recognize that I'm ultimately responsible to answer to the board for this organization, and that's how we function. But that's the risk of it. That's the risk of this. And but but but I think that it's the right direction for what we're trying to accomplish as we reflect the life and leadership of Jesus.

[00:17:51] I feel like what you just said was a both and not an either or. Yes. And sometimes we want to hear that as an either or. Which way is it going to be? Right. And what you're what you're saying is leader is a both. Yeah. Because at the end of day, I am. I am responsible, but. As as I focus, I'm focused believing with all my heart that they have Tim and others on our team are reaching their highest kingdom potential. Then the productivity will happen. That doesn't mean that I don't hold him to account on deadlines and so on, so and so on. Those are those are realities in our in our ministry. But. But that's all about reaching highest kingdom potential. Yes. Right. Going to read my comment is not supportive of this. I go for it. But, you know, basically what we're looking at is two things here. We're looking at power through authoritarianism on the left or power through influence on the right. And, you know, some leaders have looked at those two things and they say, well, there's a third option, and that's called situational leadership. Right. Where based on the situation, the leader moves in one direction or the other of those two. I mean, we will at the military, for example, be very hard in the military to send people to their deaths. Yeah, sure. You know, without some situational, you're right that there's is situational leadership. It's also called contingency leadership. And it's it's where in in certain contexts there are certain appropriate approaches to leadership. What you're saying is that when you're getting shot at, it's not a time to have a consensus building exercise. It's saying you get your head down, you're going to die.

[00:19:48] You know, there there points situational leadership we're going to talk about in the leading teams process, because that has to do with with leading people based upon their need and where they are in terms of the maturity brackets. And we'll get to that. That's a that's a Ken Blanchard concept. But all of these are very true. And they do take into account and I would say, by the way, that and why I said that you take the we take these as a package is because there are people that can be just as evil because they are leading by influence rather than position. I mean, you can see some of the some of those evil leaders in the history of the world that gain their power through influence, not by position. Adolf Hitler was one of them. He was able to rally people because of his capacity to influence before he ever had the position of power. Jim Jones is an example. So this is not about taking one of these and isolating it. We look at it as a package and recognize about relationship. It's about influence. It's about follower, potential and common purpose. When we see these the package, then it begins to make sense.


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