Now Reading: Lead by Relationship

Lead by Relationship

Leadership is influence. I’ve heard that from John Maxwell and hundreds of other great leaders for a long time. Its true. Jesus modeled it for us. He came to “dwell among us” and LED in grace and truth.

One of the surprising realities about Jesus’ leadership style was His selection. Of course the selection of tax collectors, sinners and fishermen to lead the most powerful faith movement in human history is strange. But there’s a little phrase Mark uses that clues us in on something else about Jesus’ selection:

Mark 3:13 (NLT) Afterward Jesus went up on a mountain and called out the ones he wanted to go with him. And they came to him.

Did you see it? Two words in this verse: Jesus chose men “HE WANTED”.

You know what I think? I think Jesus liked these guys. I think He got along with them well and unapologetically brought them in relationally and developed them into the kind of leader He wanted them to be. Jesus knew you influence by close-knit fluid un-strained relationships more effectively than anything else. The relational quotient in team development was HIGH on Jesus’ priority.

I’ve made so many mistakes trying to do things differently.

I’ve chosen people based on a competency quotient. “Oh you know HOW to do this ministry? Great, please lead it.” But knowing HOW and knowing WHY are two very different things in ministry. A lot of people KNOW how to run a children’s ministry. And it will be functional until there’s someone who knows WHY you run a children’s ministry.

I’ve chosen people based on the appearance quotient. “He looks like a leader… He’s perfect.” So often those who look like leaders are just like Saul – head and shoulders above the rest but their heart is not for people. When the going gets tough they bail and look out for number one. The lack of relationship sets them up perfect for jumping when the boat is rocking.

I’ve chosen people based on the experience quotient. “You’ve done this before in other churches so here you go.” These are the toughest people to lead. They have so much experience what else do they need to learn? But the church is organic and fluid, growing and developing constantly. What you did won’t work very soon. The world is changing at lightning speed and people who no longer feel the need to learn and grow will keep you old and outdated.

Do you know the leaders I’ve had the best experience with? The people I liked being around.

When you select people you like being around – you will actually BE around them. And NATURALLY, your influence will rub off. It won’t happen in a lecture hall or classroom. It will happen as you go along in life… kind of how Jesus led His disciples.

So my question to leaders of churches, ministries and especially small group leaders in our church: Do you get along with the ones you lead? Are you bringing people you like into your small group? Are you finding natural relationships that make influence a natural reality? Are you doing what Jesus did?

As is usually the case, it WILL work.


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2 People Replies to “Lead by Relationship”

  1. anonymous

    I get that relationships are the best way to lead, and inviting compatible people into close relationships, but what about the people that are difficult to be around? The social outcasts? The people you God put in your small group and you, honestly, hope don’t show up? What should we do about those people? I don’t feel challenged to be with people I like. I love being in a clique. It’s comfortable.

    1. Tim

      Exactly what I’m saying! You are making my point. Evidently you enjoy being around people who challenge you. Do it! By the way, that’s what Jesus did. The disciples frustrated Him, exasperated Him and tried His patience regularly. He must have liked the fact that they were so green it took several attempts to get them on mission. However, Jesus avoided being around Pharisees, at one point even instructing his disciples to “leave them” as “blind guides.” He also didn’t stay in his hometown where there was little faith in Him. So there is plain evidence that Jesus specifically chose those He wanted while living up to His own standard of not “casting his pearls before swine.”