Leaders cause disruption. The very wake of their leadership causes even the anchored boats of the apathetic to move.
Leaders usher in change – sometimes with subtle nuanced adjustments that are barely noticeable and at other times with revolutionary upheavals that shake their organizations, but leaders always bring change.
Leaders lead. They engage their follower and crystallize them around a vision and then direct these followers to the completion of that vision.
A first century Jewish rabbi of controversial parentage, who hailed from a backwater outpost in the Roman Empire, crystallized a group of unwashed and unlearned followers around the concepts of His Kingdom, and His Disciples have had an impact on the whole world.
His leadership brought such disruption and eventual change that His birth year now splits history in half because without question Jesus of Nazareth was a phenomenal young leader.
Jesus was just thirty-years old when he started his ministry and in less than four years He left a mark with such impact that the seismic reverberations are still registering in the Earth thousands of years after his ascension.
Whether you embrace His deity, as I do, or not, His impact on history is unquestionable. His leadership and organizational skills undeniable.
The small organization, the church, He started before 36 AD influenced untold millions if not billions throughout the ages and serves for those who study leadership as a great example of a young leader who left an impact on His generation.
Let’s look at three things that Jesus did as a leader that caused Him to leave such a historic mark.
1) He was an innovator.
Jesus challenged the norms of the accepted discipleship system. He hand selected His followers and then chose to develop and train them Himself all without a charge or fee.
His system of selection and development were so radical in that He selected tradesmen and business people as apostles of His faith and not one Rabbi was chosen to join the original 12.
Jesus also openly challenged the Pharisees and the priesthood. He sought to redefine even the accepted understanding of the Sabbath regulations and then defied that understanding by healing sick people on the Sabbath.
Also Jesus did not limit His ministry, as did John the Baptist, to the banks of the Jordan. Jesus decided to innovate even the tactics that ignited His ministry and lead His work into the city squares, the synagogues and even into the Temple courts.
Jesus was an innovator. His innovative interpretation of accepted religious norms. His innovative system of recruitment and discipleship and His willingness to even innovate on the tactics and message of John the Baptist give us a clear insight into just how innovative He was.
Young leaders have to innovate to bring change and to leave an impact. This first mover advantage can position you to open a whole new field of thought and to establish a new vertical in your arena that is unique and identifiable to solely you.
2) He was a global contributor.
Jesus added to His world. Throughout the Gospels Jesus is a veritable whirlwind of activity. He is constantly being seen traveling and teaching and healing and helping.
But when we study these activities we see that very little of Jesus’ energy is really expended upon Himself.
The mission is focused on making His immediate world a better place and is solely salvific in intent.
He comes to save the world. He is devoted to making others lives better. He is devoted to making the world a better place.
And although His ministry time is localized, His disciples are taught to think globally from the jump. The intent is to change the world even from the meager inception of the organization.
Young leaders have to build and lead organizations with that in mind. While it sounds almost overwhelming, if we never place high and global goals on our leadership we will never achieve that level. Great and global impact is rarely a surprise it is almost always intended, desired and designed.
We want to be global contributors. To add value to the world we have been assigned to serve.
Even in a purely business organization, we should still purpose to make the world better with either its product or a portion of the proceeds of its product or both.
Young leaders that seek to only feather their own nest and to better their own lives without determining to better the lives of others will never leave a positive lasting impact.
3) He is a Conqueror, but He fought only for what was important.
Jesus is a conqueror. He overcame the arguments of his detractors and the doubts of His disciples. He overcame the confusion of his kinfolk and guardians of His own tomb.
Jesus did not fight for money or for title He fought for justice and peace and salvation.
He teaches us that great impact is achieved through great struggle but only when that struggle is noble. He fought only for what was important.
Young Leaders have to pick a fight and fight it. Find a cause to champion and find a wrong to right.
But far too many battles are fought for nothing at all. Holy wars are fought for positions on nonentic boards and for seats at empty tables.
Political battles break out for meaningless titles that only assuage unbalanced egos and undiagnosed low-self esteem.
So many battles are fought for the wrong reasons. And this wasted energy causes the young leader to lose momentum and time in petty squabbles that produce no spoils.
Young leaders have to pick both their battles and battlefields. Some things simple are not worth the argument. Some people will not be dissuaded or convinced so they must just be outlived.
Save your bullets for real threats and conquer, Yes – but only for what counts.