The Bible has much to say about leadership generally, but two specific texts contrast God’s aims for leaders of his people with corrupted forms of leadership—Mark 10:42-45 and Deut. 17:14-20.
Taking a cue from these texts, I will discuss cruciform Christian leadership by contrasting it with worldly leadership practices. This may help us discern how perverted ambitions, hidden idolatries, and destructive practices subtly affect how leadership works in Christian communities.
I’ll begin with the following alternative descriptions:
Worldly leadership: A desire to increase in prestige, status, and influence and a willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve these things, even if it means neglecting or hurting people who do not appear to be means of one’s own personal advancement.
Jesus-shaped leadership: An unrelenting commitment to the delivery of the love and grace of God into the lives of others (or, the life of another), and taking the initiative to see to it that this happens.
I’ve drawn these up from reflection on biblical texts and my own experiences in ministry. I’ll elaborate on these two forms of leadership as our discussion progresses.