Leadership Strategy of Jesus

Michael Hyatt has some interesting analysis of the leadership style of Jesus and how it contrasts with the way modern pastors lead. I am not a pastor but hope to one day serve alongside great people in full-time ministry so these thoughts could come in handy.

Hyatt laments about the modern trend of being “reach” focused, getting our “message” (whether that is the Gospel or not) out to as many people as we can. Church leaders speak at conferences, have a “following” on their blog (for the record I have a very small following of mostly family but recognize the desire for more readers…) and publish best-sellers. All this seemingly makes the goal what Hyatt calls “breadth,” extend your influence as far as you possibly can.

But Jesus give a uniquely different model.  Jesus was known to discourage publicity and spent more “quality time” with a small group of men that he then sent out to share the Gospel. Hyatt sees Jesus’ style revealed in four points; Jesus taught the multitudes, he mobilized the seventy, he trained the twelve, he confided in the three.

Jesus’ leadership strategy evidently worked well. Within a generation, His followers turned the world upside down (see Acts 17:6). Within seven generations (318 A.D.), the emperor Constantine accepted his message and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. And here I am, almost two millennia later, writing about it.

After interacting with leaders at every level for more than three decades, my observation is that most leaders only focus on the first two strategies. They have a public teaching ministry, and they are good at mobilizing groups for specific assignments. However, very few intentionally train a small group of disciples. Even fewer build deep relationships with a handful of confidants. As a result, they do not have the kind of lasting impact they could have.

The older I get, the more value I see in going deeper with a few. Leading the masses may feed my ego, but it won’t guarantee an impact that will outlive me.

We preach that we should strive to be more like Jesus and I wonder how often we miss our own point in the way we lead. Certainly having a best-seller or a recognizable name doesn’t diminish the Gospel and it makes sense that the further our influence extends the greater our ability to speak into peoples’ lives. Maybe though we are heading into a generation of influence shifting and priorities will change from numbers influence to deeper influence.