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There are literally thousands of leadership educational resources available today, ranging from books, podcasts, and articles to personal coaching, seminars, and workshops. But are all leadership training and education equal? Do all the methods and teaching angles ultimately lead to the same place? I believe the answer is a resounding no because they do not share the same end goal. The primary differences between biblical leadership and the leadership approach the world offers can be seen by examining the following three key aspects.


Leadership doesn’t exist apart from the leader. Biblical leadership, which focuses on Jesus as the greatest leader role model, recognizes the fact that unless the person is changed on the inside, no amount of tactical external changes will make a lasting difference. Biblical leadership aims at the heart of the leader first. Why? Because every tactical problem, whether at home or in the workplace, can be traced to heart issues within the leader: weak character, fear, pride, not being able to distinguish right from wrong, or misplaced priorities. The heart of a leader must be transformed before any other lasting personal and organizational change can take place. Worldly leadership tends to dismiss or underappreciate the need for internal change and creates programs and solutions aimed at external behaviors.

Purpose (Why)

Purpose is not what we do or even how we do it. Purpose is the “Why” behind what we do. Purpose is what differentiates biblical leadership from the rest. According to a recent survey, less than 20 percent of leaders have a strong sense of their own individual purpose. This staggering statistic reflects the trend of traditional leadership resources to focus on the “What” and the “How” but ignore the “Why.” So, while the world strives to adjust tactics and methods as the first line of defense, biblical leadership aims at answering the “Why.” The greatest leader and role model of all time, Jesus, teaches us much about the importance of purpose. In Hebrews 12:2, we are told that He “…for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus rejected fame, riches, and earthly applause because He knew His purpose—the joy of reconciling us with the Father. Everything He did during His earthly ministry was centered on this one single purpose. He never strayed from it. Defining a leader’s purpose is not easy. It requires soul-searching, understanding one’s core life values, and a desire for a destination that’s much more than purely profit or personal success. So, what is your Why? Why do you get up every morning? Why do you lead and influence others? These questions are worth exploring. Once we understand our why, we will be much more effective with the what and the how.

End Goal

Everyone leads toward something. There is always an end goal, a desired result, a long-term aim in mind. Biblical leadership ultimately aims at bringing others into a closer relationship with Jesus. It does not use people as the means to achieve certain ends. Biblical leadership is built on love, grace, forgiveness, and putting others before self. Because people are objects of God’s love, biblical leadership treats every person as such. Biblical leadership acknowledges God to be the ultimate audience and authority over all things. It recognizes that leaders are stewards (managers) entrusted by God with certain responsibilities. Biblical leadership considers serving others as the highest form of leadership, as reflected in these words of Jesus as recorded by Matthew: “Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’” (Matthew 20:24-28). So, let me challenge you. As you seek to grow in your leadership skills and responsibilities (and we all want to do that), don’t be taken in by worldly “experts” and resources that promise change and success apart from the biblical model that Jesus gives us. Only His way brings true change and lasting results.

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