Simple Steps to Leadership: Follow Jesus

With pleasure I share the following guest post from ‘my Anita’ – the woman God connected me with as only He could do. The story of our meeting can be read here: Story of how Anita Schamber and Nancy Bentz met. The Lord not only works in mysterious ways, but life-impacting ways. Anita became my life coach and a dear ‘soul friend’. Nearing a decade, we have both grown and stretched in new and varied ways. I left my career and became a life coach, and Anita went on to become a Commissioned Minister of Volunteers of America after relocating from the Seattle area back to her hometown of Sheridan, Wyoming. She is a believer in and model of thriving in the fourth quarter of life. With simply too much to tell of her lifelong journey and accomplishments, Anita Schamber is a gift. 

~ For years I was privileged to coach and train leaders in 25 different countries. Some leaders had as few as two direct reports, while others oversaw large organizations with layers of management responsibility. Although not all organizations were Christ-focused, I found that the model and principles of Jesus were relevant to my supporting  leaders to operate at their best.

First, Jesus identified ordinary people in the course of their everyday lives to join Him. He chose them; they didn’t choose Him (John 15: 16), but he was looking for the “raw materials” that fit the mission for His team. (A contemporary writer calls this “getting the right people in the right seats on the bus.”)

Second, Jesus invited the men to “Come and follow” Him as He shared a mission, which involved their becoming “fishers of men.” (Matt. 4:19) (Leaders find that getting everybody on board with the vision and mission takes time. For the first disciples, “hands on” work would take on new meaning, as their interactions with people replaced fishing, tax collecting, and everyday tasks.)

Third, Jesus invested three years’ time into teaching, coaching, and equipping the 12 to serve. He inspired and motivated His followers with stories, parables, actions, and miracles, always modeling a sinless life. (4 Gospels) (Good leaders who are authentic, trustworthy, and consistent in their oversight earn the respect of their followers. They also insist and ensure that their workers are well-trained and equipped to complete their jobs.)

Fourth, Jesus inquired or asked powerful, life changing questions which caused the 12 to think deeply, as they worked together. (Matt. 16: 26) (Good leaders act as coaches and value staff’s input into their important work.)

Finally, Jesus included them in the vivid vision of His own future…Jesus’s  death and resurrection, knowing that they would not completely understand nor would they stand firmly beside Him as He completed His earthly calling. He insisted on their accountability and reinstated Peter and others who fell short of His expectations (John 21: 19b). (Good leaders help their staff to learn from failure and they demonstrate compassion with accountability. Not all people are worthy to stay on the team (Judas), so leaders often have to let go of and replace staff who aren’t aligned with the mission.)

Like any good leader, Jesus expected his followers would expand the original vision and get results (bear fruit). The Great Commission (Matt. 28: 19-20) gave specific directions for them to go, baptize, and teach, all areas of their previous learning and experience. Jesus revealed His confidence in the success of any of His followers before His journey to the cross and before His final command.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.”
He/she will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” – John 14:12

Neither successful leaders or followers can take credit for great outcomes. Jesus gave the commission to operate under His authority and the promise of His presence to “be with them/us to the end of the age.” (Therefore, contemporary leaders, like the first disciples, know Whose we are, Who has authority over our lives, and What a key part of our calling is!

Jesus has shown leaders of all kinds the way to lead others by identifying, inviting, investing in, inspiring, inquiring of and including them/us in the continuing mission, while He provides them His authority and His ongoing support as they/we serve in His name.  ~ Dr. Anita Schamber

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