#289 Jesus: Run to Great Purpose

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,

Jon Byler

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.       

#288 The ABC’s of Beginning Well: Connect with the people

November 11, 2020

Joshua provides a model to all serving leaders about how to begin well in a new role or position. As we have seen in the previous two issues, he began by acknowledging the realities of his situation, then he believed in God’s promises. But leadership is all about relationships and Joshua also models well how to connect with the people.

10  So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: 11  “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your provisions ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.’ ” 12  But to the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said, 13  “Remember the command that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you after he said, ‘The LORD your God will give you rest by giving you this land.’ 14  Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help them 15  until the LORD gives them rest, as he has done for you, and until they too have taken possession of the land the LORD your God is giving them. After that, you may go back and occupy your own land, which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you east of the Jordan toward the sunrise.” 16  Then they answered Joshua, “Whatever you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17  Just as we fully obeyed Moses, so we will obey you. Only may the LORD your God be with you as he was with Moses. 18  Whoever rebels against your word and does not obey it, whatever you may command them, will be put to death. Only be strong and courageous!”   (Joshua 1:11-18).

By the end of these verses, there was a strong relational bond between Joshua as a leader and those who followed. He was ready to lead and they were ready to follow!

All serving leaders can learn three things from the way Joshua connected with the people.

Connect with the influencers of the people. Joshua first addressed the “officers” of the people. These were the primary influencers in the nation and Joshua connected with them directly. He acknowledged their role and did not attempt to do their work. He gave them a message to deliver, knowing that the people under them would receive the message well from them. Serving leaders recognize that while they may not be able to connect personally with everyone in a large organization, they can connect well with those who influence others. As they establish strong relationships with these influencers, they increase their ability to serve the entire group well.

Connect with the interests of the people. “the land the LORD your God is giving you.”  Joshua already knew what the people were interested in, he understood their hearts. They were passionate about entering the land God had promised to them.

Serving leaders learn to know the hearts, passions, and interests of those they lead. They serve them well by pointing out how the next steps take them closer to their goals. They recognize that leadership is not only about helping the leader reach his or her goals, but helping those they serve accomplish the desires of their heart.

Connect with the individuality of the people.  Joshua had special instructions for two of the tribes who were in a unique situation (see verses 12-16). He did not attempt to treat everyone exactly the same way. Serving leaders connect with people by learning their uniqueness. They seek to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each person on their team and they shape their leadership to best serve the individuality of those they lead. Serving leaders serve everyone well but do not serve everyone the same. 

Serving leaders, especially as they begin new roles, make an effort to connect with the people they serve. They learn from Joshua that beginning well always includes strong relationships.

Until next time, yours on the journey,

Jon Byler

For further reflection and discussion:

In the next issue, we’ll begin to look at how Jesus modeled the five actions of serving leaders. 

Copyright, Center for Serving Leadership, 2020.