This week we have inducted our Senior School Leaders for 2023. Such events provide us with an opportunity to reflect on what leadership entails and the qualities that we look for in prospective leaders.
While there are lots of books written today about leadership, the Bible doesn’t talk about leadership very much at all. It doesn’t say what leaders should do, or how best to guide a group of people towards a common goal. Instead, it talks about the type of people who should lead others. It talks about their conviction and their character. Leadership is about the type of person you are becoming. Are you looking to be a person who follows in the footsteps of Jesus? Are you someone who is humble, kind, generous, compassionate, servant-hearted, ready to give of yourself for others, following the teaching of Jesus? It seems to me that today we need more leaders who fit this description. It is people of character who make great leaders.
People don’t want leaders who use the power that comes with leadership for their own ends. People don’t want leaders who think that it is all about them. They want leaders who have the interests of those they lead at heart. They want leaders who believe in something greater than themselves – some purpose associated with the common good. Leaders who are followers of Jesus think that life is all about Jesus rather than about themselves. They seek to turn the spotlight away from themselves back towards the Messiah, the one who is actually deserving of praise and adoration. They locate themselves with the people they lead rather than above them, seeking to walk with them and support them as, together, they look to be people of the Kingdom, serving the good shepherd who gives up his life for the sheep that he leads.
Those who are leaders, I would encourage you to be followers. Followers of the good shepherd. I encourage you to look for how you can serve rather than be served as leaders, reflecting in your actions what it means to be a person who follows in the footsteps of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, the Messiah – the one who came to be Lord over all. He was more than just a teacher. He was the Son of God who died and rose again so that all people have the opportunity to become part of his eternal kingdom. May God bless each one of our new leaders that we have inducted this week and give them a clear vision of what it means to lead by following the Good Shepherd.
Dr James Pietsch