The final leadership principle modeled by Jesus was his empathy. Since Jesus did not come to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45), Jesus had an uncanny knack of identifying with people and empathizing with them concerning their needs. Jesus was able to ascertain current events and evaluate how to minister to people’s true spiritual needs. Due to his close proximity to people, he was able to identify with them on a personal level.
Never regarding equality with God as something to be grasped (Phil 2:6), the Creator and Savior of the world identified with his creation so much that he would even ask, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:36). Jesus displayed a leader who was not too great to hear the petitions of his followers. While Jesus did not grant every request made by his disciples (Mark 10:38-40), his willingness to listen to them gained trust in his followers that most leaders never acquire from their own followers.
As Christ dwelt among the people of this earth (John 1:14), he was able to identify with their pain and struggles. Jesus led in such an empathetic manner, that his disciples trusted his leadership and were eager to follow him. Jesus taught leaders that a leader’s sought position should not be the places of prominence but among the broken people who need a leader. As a leader, “When one is committed enough to pay the price of identifying with people, he or she is adopting a pragmatic approach to ministry…[commitment] begets commitment in others and makes our ministry more effective!”
God could have demanded loyalty from afar, but sending Christ to identify with people on this earth cause followers to willfully obey and follow Jesus.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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