We desperately need leaders today, particularly Christian leaders. How else will we effectively make disciples and bring Christ to the world amidst the enormous challenges confronting the church today?
In Jesus’ commissioning of Peter in John 21:15-21, he lays down four indispensable truths about Christian leadership for us. They describe what I call: a shepherd leader.
- Jesus uses problematic humans like Simon Peter as leaders. Jesus addresses Peter as “Simon Peter,” reminding him he is more “Sandy” (up and down) than “Peter” (an immovable rock). Maybe he is first among the apostles because he is the chief sinner and the most broken? Be encouraged.
- Jesus seeks one quality from leaders above all else – love for himself. Three times, Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” This one simple, penetrating question is the first item Jesus wants on our job description. So simple, so clear. Be encouraged.
- Jesus gives us one major mission — to take care of the sheep he entrusts to us. The main way to love Jesus is to take care of HIS sheep. Sheep need two things – direction and discipline. Without it they go astray. This is a lot of work! Sheep are resistant, stubborn, and dumb (Yes, dumb is our #1 quality). Shepherd leaders love sheep enough to stay with this painstaking task – day after day, year after year. They carry in their hearts the nature of this direction towards a preferable future and discipline they need to protect them from going off cliffs or drinking polluted waters. Be encouraged. As you get to Jesus, he will show you how to lead his sheep.
- Jesus wants us to know our path will be a downward one of suffering. Jesus doesn’t tell Peter he is going to win the entire Mediterranean world. He lets him know his future discipleship will be marked by suffering. That is all he said! Be encouraged. You know in advance. You don’t need to be surprised.
You will not read this in the latest Harvard Business Review. But what Jesus offers us here is timeless. He is seeking to commission authentic shepherd leaders like Simon Peter today to lead his church in the 21st century. May you and I be among that number.
Let me encourage you to prayerfully consider attending our Emotionally Healthy Leadership Conference on May 3-4. We limit the conference to 350 people. Ask God if he is inviting you to set apart those days. You can read more on our website.
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