Following IS Leading
Jesus, in the Gospel of Mark, provides three essential characteristics for those who desire to lead others. His intent is that leaders, must first and foremost, be followers. How so? First, the leader must loyally follow Jesus by surrendering his or her own desires and ambitions and submit to Jesus as a slave (Mk 8:27–38). The leader must consistently pattern his or her life after Jesus so that Jesus’ agenda is the leader’s agenda. In other words, Jesus does not want any leader to propose, and therefore practice his own agenda in leu of God’s agenda. The leader is to loyally follow God’s Son despite the potential cultural consequences.
Second, the leader must willingly care for others by welcoming them as a representative of Jesus, and it is to be done with a heart of humility (Mk 9:30–37). Jesus does not want the leader to promote himself to a position of greatness through a self-exalting pride. Rather, he desires that the leader willingly serve the insignificant even if it reverses the conventional value-scale of the community.
Last, the leader must sacrificially serve others by being a servant according to Jesus’ example. Jesus illustrated the importance of humble, unrewarded service by using himself as the supreme model for service (Mk 10:32–45). Jesus does not want the leader to presume upon God’s prerogative to honor and value what he or she does as they lead. Jesus desires a self-sacrificing service and ministry on behalf of others that ultimately represents God and Jesus, not self. Genuine influence is being a servant!