Issue #289, November 25, 2020
Jesus taught and demonstrated leadership that was radically different in His time and which continues to challenge and shape millions of leaders 2000 years later. The leadership of Jesus is our model for serving leadership. In this series we will examine how Jesus demonstrated five deliberate actions as He sent out 72 of His disciples in Luke 10:1-24. Serving leaders learn from Him and practice the same five actions which form the foundation of The Serving Leader ModelTM* The first action Jesus demonstrates is Run to Great Purpose.
1After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. 2 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. (Luke 10:1-24).
Jesus wanted to send out these seventy-two workers and had a clear plan. But before He sent them out, He clarified the vision or what we call the great purpose. Serving leaders learn the power of great purpose from His example.
The great purpose clarifies direction.
Jesus instructed these disciples to go to the towns and places that He would soon visit. His words provided direction to them. They not only knew where they were to go; they also knew where they should not go! A great purpose clarifies direction.
Some leaders ask people to do tasks but do not link those tasks to a great purpose. Serving leaders share the great purpose to help keep followers focused on the direction they are going. They evaluate all activities by how they move the organization towards the great purpose.
The great purpose confirms meaning.
Jesus requested these disciples to go ahead of Him to these towns. But their visit was preparation for the “harvest” that would come. Jesus carefully communicated with them that what they were doing was a part of something much larger and more significant. He provided meaning to their work. Many leaders assume that followers need only a paycheck or a title to keep working. But Jesus reminds all serving leaders that people want to know that their work has meaning and purpose beyond themselves. Serving leaders help people to see how their actions lead to achieving the great purpose.
The great purpose creates commitment.
Jesus not only opened their eyes to the ultimate meaning of the work He was asking them to do but He also called them to think beyond the task for that day. He invited them to pray for more workers! A great purpose inspires commitment from others. As they accept the vision as their own, they begin to own the purpose and call others to join in what they are doing. They join the leader as co-owners of the vision. At this point they are fully committed to the great purpose and are more than willing to do all that is needed to accomplish the task.
Serving leaders lead well as they follow Jesus’ example. They clarify the great purpose of their organization and keep this vision high at all times for the people they serve. They tie every action and effort to the great purpose and in doing so add meaning and purpose to everyone. They work hard to make sure every person in the organization, from the highest to the lowest, understand that they are a part of a team that is making a difference. That’s a team we all want to be on and that’s how Jesus led His team!
For further reflection and discussion:
- Read the entire passage of Jesus sending out the 72 disciples in Luke 10:1-24. Reflect on what He was doing as a leader and how it demonstrates this action, Run to Great Purpose.
- In the organization I am a part of, what is our great purpose? Does it clarify the direction we are moving? Does it help everyone to find meaning and purpose in their roles? Does it inspire commitment from everyone in the organization? If not, what do I need to do to clarify our great purpose and when will I do it?
- Do I regularly communicate with those I lead about how their work contributes to the great purpose?
- Do I publicly acknowledge the contribution of those whose role may seem small or unrelated to the vision?
Until next time, yours on the journey,
In the next issue, we’ll examine how Jesus raised the bar as He sent His disciples.
Copyright, Center for Serving Leadership 2020.
*The Serving Leader ModelTM, was developed by Dr. John Stalh-Wert, author of “The Serving Leader.” See www.CenterForServingLeadership.com for more information.