When I began to look at Jesus as Leader, I was disturbed to find so many commentaries comparing Jesus to a CEO, whatever that is. (I'm not sure what that abbreviation stands for, and quite frankly, I'm not curious enough to find out. The idea of Jesus as a model of corporate leadership is repugnant to me.) I didn't want to learn about Jesus' "leadership style." What I wanted to explore was Jesus as the leader of a band of followers with disparate personalities, needs, talents, and faults. What emerged to me as important qualities of Jesus as such a leader were:
Jesus led by example. He modeled the human quality of tenderness as he encouraged children to come to him. He showed both sympathy and empathy when he came to Mary and Martha after the death of Lazarus.
Jesus inspired confidence. When he taught, he taught with authority. Even when Jesus was a child, the religious elders in the temple were amazed at the depth of understanding evident in the boy Jesus (Luke 2:41-47). People were aware that there was something in Jesus' manner of teaching that was different from the teaching of other religious leaders (Matthew 7:28).
Jesus led by serving. Jesus taught that the path to greatness came by serving (Matthew 20: 25-28). In his last visit with his disciples before his arrest, Jesus served them by washing their feet (John 13: 1-17).
Jesus inspired loyalty. Though one of his disciples betrayed him and one denied him at the end of his life, Jesus spent his earthly ministry traveling with a group of disciples who left everything that was familiar to learn from him. These disciples were willing to return with Jesus to Bethany when Lazarus died, even though they knew they were facing great difficulties by doing so.
Jesus equipped his followers for ministry. After the disciples had traveled with Jesus for a time, he sent them out in groups of two to carry out his mission among the people, as if they were apprentices. When it became apparent that he would have to leave his group of disciples, Jesus prepared them for what was to come, assuring them that he would be present with them in spirit whenever they needed him, even though he would no longer present physically.
In his brief ministry, Jesus accomplished amazing things with and for his disciples, leaving a legacy that enables millions of his followers to walk in faith with him every day. He inspired great leaders to continue his work of serving others. May the life of Jesus be an example for each of us who accepts him as our leader.