Unofficial leadership

The great physicist Albert Einstein once said: “The significant problems we face today cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”

True! We need better thinking to get better results. But what is “better”?

It’s certainly not coercion, power-lust, or blind conformity. I think we’ve had enough of those.

In short, it’s putting others first, often in a way that is self-sacrificing.

We find this in the example of Jesus, even in his trial, torture and crucifixion. Scholars like Thomas Schmidt and N.T. Wright have highlighted the remarkable parallels between the coronation of a new Roman emperor and the crucifixion of Christ. Both are given something to wear on their heads and purple robes. Both are led in a procession through the streets. An animal is killed as a sacrifice (in Jesus’ case he becomes the sacrifice). The procession ends on a high hill. The new ruler is given a wine mixture. The list goes on. [I discuss it more fully in the sermon link below.]

The point is this. In addition to what he has done and won for us on the cross, this story is also supposed to teach and show us what real leadership is like. It’s not the coercion of the Roman empire; it’s self-sacrifice in the footsteps of Jesus. The contrast is intentional.

This is something we need to remember whenever we lead others. Sometimes this leadership is formal, like when we’re a coach or boss. But more often than not this leadership is unofficial. It happens when we’re with friends, colleagues, family or at church and guidance is required.

In those moments, whose leadership are you emulating?

In Philippians 2:5 Paul writes: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…” May it be so—not only when things are easy, but when others are looking to you for guidance and help.  

Godly leadership—even in unofficial and informal ways—is about putting others first, often in a way that is self-sacrificing.


–“Bleedership.” Sermon. March 26, 2023. Click here.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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