Lead Like Jesus (7 Essential Characteristics)

Many people like to think of themselves as a leader, but leadership doesn’t come from a title, a position, a status, or a salary. Leadership is the ability to influence people through whatever opportunity is provided.

If leadership is measured in influence, the world has never witnessed a greater leader than Jesus.

Jesus’ goal was not to become the world’s greatest leader; he came to provide redemption, but his leadership legacy is unmatched. While people regularly praise Jesus for his graciousness and his marvelous works recorded in Scripture, few people adequately portray the clarity and the simplicity of Jesus’ leadership while he was on earth. While some historical figures’ leadership styles are exaggerated, the testimony of the New Testament records Jesus’ life and ministry with numerous leadership examples for every observant reader since his entire life focused on the mission for which he came.

Jesus served as the ultimate leader in that his mission in life not only continued to continue in his absence, but his kingdom expands ever-greater every passing year indicating that he was a leader who truly invested into his followers who continued his mission.

7 Essential Characteristics

While Jesus’ supernatural miracles and unforgettable teaching are great elements of Christ’s ministry on which to focus, Christ led most thoroughly through his lifestyle. 

While many leaders focus on producing fans through public events, Jesus was able to acquire followers through personal interactions. 

Here are some of his most essential leadership characteristics:

#1. Jesus humbled himself.

Jesus was willing to leave his heavenly home in order to change our earthly reality (Phil. 2:6). In his birth, life, and death, he never held back from humbling himself to help others. While he was the greatest, he never had to prove it to anyone.

#2. Jesus modeled integrity.

In his proximity to his twelve disciples, they saw him daily live out what he expected from them. They would catch him in times of devotion (Luke 22:39), moments of outreach (John 4:27), and evidence of preparation (Luke 22:13) revealing he led by example.

#3. Jesus served others.

Jesus did not come to be served but to serve (Mark 10:45). When he washed his disciples’ feet (John 13:5), it represented how he had been consistently serving all along. He was constantly serving people whom society forgot about – children (Mark 10:16), lepers (Mark 1:41), women (John 4:27), and sinners (Mark 2:16).

#4. Jesus empowered others.

Instead of keeping all the ministry to himself, after Jesus let them watch him at work, he sent them out in groups to replicate the work (Luke 10:1). Even when he miraculously fed thousands, he let it pass through their hands (Matt. 14:19). He discipled these men so the work would continue in his coming physical absence.

#5. Jesus stayed focused.

While many people had other agendas for him (John 6:15), he stayed focused upon the work that his Father sent him to do (John 4:34; 6:38; 17:4) and did not waver from it.

#6. Jesus remained compassionate.

Jesus never allowed his growing popularity or his legitimate importance stop him from being available to the needs of others. Even when desiring a moment to grieve, his compassion for others would override his desire for solitude (Matt. 14:13-14). He never got too big for people.

#7. Jesus communicated directly.

When he spoke, he expected a response (Mark 1:15). He wasn’t shy or coy about what he called out in the people who listened to him, and people had never heard anything like it because he had authority when he spoke (Matt. 7:28-29).

The world will never see a greater leader than Jesus.

Regardless of your position or title, leadership is the ability to influence others. You can find no greater teacher than Jesus since he is still impacting people from heaven today. Learn from his example, and follow his call.