leadership fallacies for Christians

“What got you here won’t get you where you want to go.”
“You’ll never find enough time, you have to make it.”
“Be successful by helping others find success.”

The concepts above represent some current leadership thinking. (They’re not literal quotations, I just made them up, though I acknowledge reading a couple of John Maxwell books over the last year, which could likely be the source of conceptual similarities.)

Current leadership thinking is forward-thinking. It’s efficient with time management and results-oriented. These may all be legitimate strategies for success. They certainly sell books. But they may be fallacies for Christians.

“Then [Jesus] said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?'” (Luke 9:23-25)

“Losing your life” is almost antithetical to the principles of enterprise leadership today. To follow Jesus is to make a radical decision to deny yourself. “Leadership” is about expanding your influence. To follow Jesus is to take up a cross, to daily take up the principles of Jesus, deny yourself, serve others, be the least. To take up the principles of “Leadership” is to motivate others to your goal, to lead (not the contrived “Servelead”) and to be the boss.

We want to use proven strategies that work. And that’s the problem. What “works” for us makes us successful, influential. But Jesus said, “We’re going to do it differently. You know how leaders exercise authority? Influence? That’s not going to be you. You’re going to wait tables. Like me.” (Matthew 20)

Is there a place for Christian leadership in the Church? There must be. There was leadership in the early church. But today’s self-serving, Christian version of industry leadership isn’t copying them.