Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What makes a great leader?

This year I am using the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan for my devotions. For today’s meditation, the texts are Acts 15 and Nehemiah 5. Both have great pictures of leadership and yet both are vastly different. These accounts are centuries apart and during times of different biblical covenants. The Nehemiah account is more focused on one individual leader (Nehemiah), while the Acts account is led by a council and a church. The Nehemiah account addresses concern for the oppressed poor.  The Acts account addresses a theological & gospel problem.  Both are vastly different.

But there is something that unites them together and shows us what is at the heart of great leadership:

Both model a leadership that exists for the good and welfare of the people who are being led. In Acts 15 the apostles and elders are deeply concerned for the Gentiles that they be included in the community of God’s redeemed people. In Nehemiah 5 he is deeply concerned for the poor who are being oppressed. Both accounts also model sacrifice that is involved.

The challenge to leaders is this: how much are you truly concerned for the good and welfare of the people under your leadership?  This obviously looks different within the different contexts of leadership. But I do believe that having a genuine concern for the good and welfare of the people under your leadership is the distinguishing mark of a truly great leader.  The greatest example of this is Jesus (Phil 2:4-5).

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