There are a lot of different ideas out there of what a leader should be like or how they should treat those they lead. In this lesson, we talk about what type of leader Jesus proved to be and how we should follow his example when leading others.
Who do you think of when you hear the word leader? Do you think of a teacher, a coach, a boss, or a pastor? Maybe you think of the president or some other world leader. I’m sure you’ve witnessed some really good leaders and some really bad ones in your lifetime. But if you want to become a leader, whose example would you choose to follow?
Jesus is our example of a leader
Jesus was an extraordinary leader. We see this illustrated in Matthew 4.
Matthew 4:18-22 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers-Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew-throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.
These verses say that for some reason when people met Jesus, they immediately dropped everything to follow him. What do you think it was about Jesus’ leadership that made these men want to follow him for the rest of their lives?
If you are going to be a student leader, then you are going to have to start thinking about leadership like Jesus does. Jesus teaches us two important lessons about leadership.
A leader must be humble
Look at what the apostle Paul said about Jesus in Philippians.
Philippians 2:5-8 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
When you follow Jesus’ example, you will never think of yourself as better than anyone else. When you become a leader you need to humble yourself in front of those who follow you. As a student leader, you are not all of a sudden more holy or spiritual than anyone else in youth group. Instead, you need to keep a humble attitude like Jesus.
A leader must be a servant
Check out what Jesus says in Mark.
Mark 10:42-45 So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.
According to Jesus, if you want to be a leader, you have to be a servant. Therefore, a student leader is really a servant leader. These words, servant and leader, may sound contradictory to the world, but to Jesus, they are one in the same. If you want to be a student leader, you must learn to serve others in the youth group.
- Invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this article? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Give examples of some good leaders you know like coaches, bosses, teachers, or pastors. Give some examples of bad leaders. What makes the good leaders so good or the bad leaders so bad?
- Read Matthew 4:8-12. What was it about Jesus that made people immediately drop everything and go follow him?
- Share some of the Bible stories about Jesus’ life that illustrate why he was such a great leader.
- Read Philippians 2:5-8. How did Jesus humble himself? What do you think motivated him to humble himself so much?
- What type of pride keeps you from being as humble as Jesus?
- Read Mark 10:42-45. How is being a servant leader like Jesus different from what our society is taught about authority? How can you serve others more like Jesus?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.