Lincoln and Jefferson are the only two presidents who did not claim a religious affiliation including all of our recent presidential candidates. Clearly presidents are leaders. According to the data, 51% of voters are less likely to vote for a candidate who does not believe in God. I’ve never believed that religion means having a relationship with Jesus, nor that it doesn’t. Beliefs are personal- separation of church and state, right? So, why is it publicized, and why do people value a leader who believes in God? Northouse’s definition of leadership “is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.” Successful leaders focus on people, a vision and inspiring change. Our founding fathers established our nation under God. We still say the pledge of allegiance everyday in public schools and say “one nation under God”. So I suppose an argument for some of the emphasis on believing in Jesus as a leader is historic. Only I don’t think so, and this is where the implications for leaders across many disciplines find faith as their foundation.
“The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 Leadership is big, I believe it is a calling. God calls his followers to lead in many areas including within their families and where they are currently planted. This idea suggests that we are all leaders while at the same time being followers. My commitment is to follow God’s call on my life, so I am first a follower seeking wisdom, mercy, and forgiveness humbly everyday. Being a follower implies that you are not the all knowing of anything including an organization, instead that you too are learning with fellow followers.
The leader of Christianity is Jesus. A compassionate, courageous and sacrificial leader. Jesus led through compassion and a desire to release the best in everyone. A man with leprosy falls to his knees and poses a question to Jesus, “If you are willing you can heal me.” The response of Jesus was quick and to the point. “I am willing!” Leaders should look to elevate others through wisdom of an organization’s goals and recognizing individuals with different gifts and talents. When you hold up the definition of transformational leadership Jesus is the ultimate leader, because of his level of influence. He served for 3 years. For hundreds of years people have been inspired in their personal lives to change or act, through art, through music, through humanitarian efforts, and on and on. He served for 3 years. He served for 3 years. His influence was AWEsome.
Regardless of a leader’s beliefs, followers are drawn to the integrity and character of leaders who treat people with respect and compassion. We find safety in leaders who posses confidence and articulate a powerful vision. We want to be inspired and challenged. We want purpose and meaning to what we do. Do you need to believe in Jesus to be a good leader with all these attributes? I don’t think so. As a person of faith in God, I know He works out all these details in life and uses every one of us for GOOD. Ultimately we want our leaders to: be good, do good, and inspire good.