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5 Characteristics of Jesus’ Leadership

5 Characteristics of Jesus’ Leadership

Last week we began looking at Jesus’ leadership by examining just one characteristic, Servant Leadership. Our text was Philippians 2:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…who took on the very nature of a servant.”

We previously talked about what it looked like to be a servant leader. Of course we know Jesus had many more excellent leadership attributes. There are a few more I want to examine this morning. Here’s my thinking – “If my attitude should be the same as that of Jesus, what are some other characteristics I should be following? If Jesus is the lead pilot, especially in Leadership, how can I align myself with his leadership?”

Watch this video of the Blue Angels. They are 18 inches apart, flying between 400-700 mph. All taking their light patterns from the lead pilot. So, as I am moving through my life, sometimes at great speed, what do I need to do to stay in formation with Jesus?

5 Characteristics of Jesus’ Leadership

1. Jesus was Disciplined in Prayer

Read Mark 1:32-38

That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, “Everyone is looking for you.” And he said to them, “Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.”

Jesus makes prayer a priority. He gets up early and does the opposite of what we would have expected.

Mark 9:28-29

After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

Apparently the disciples thought they could do things on their own. When they wing it, they lose power.

Luke 11:1-2

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples…..{followed by the Lord’s Prayer}”

This is the only recorded instance of the disciples asking Jesus to teach them something. Of all things, they asked for prayer! Because things change through prayer.

Mark 14:32-38

And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Understandably Jesus’ own flesh was wanting to resist the cross (“Take this cup from me”). Yet Jesus gains strength in prayer. The disciples sleep and are soon swept away.

Here is an illustration involving Charles Spurgeon known as the “Boiler Room”:

“Five college students were spending a Sunday in London, so they went to hear the famed C.H. Spurgeon preach. Waiting for the doors to open, the students were greeted by a man who asked, “Gentlemen, let me show you around. Would you like to see the heating plant of this church?” They were not particularly interested, for it was a hot day in July. But they didn’t want to offend the stranger, so they consented. The young men were taken down a stairway, a door was quietly opened, and their guide whispered, “This is our heating plant.” Surprised, the students saw 700 people bowed in prayer, seeking a blessing on the service that was soon to begin in the auditorium above. Softly closing the door, the gentleman then introduced himself. It was Charles Spurgeon.”

If there is one place to be aligned to Jesus, it is prayer. How is your Boiler Room with God? Or do you just wing it?

2. Jesus Led Himself Well: He Learned Self-Control

Proverbs 25:28

“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”

Jesus understood if he was going to lead others well, he had to lead himself first! One area of breakdown and all would be ruined. Just like a wall amde for flood protection. If only one part of the wall is not up to strength, the flood will still prevail.

Jesus time and time again shows us his self discipline. He fasted for 40 days, he constantly withdrew to solitude with his father, and he repeatedly walked away from recognition. After all, many of the people wanted to make him king!

John 6:14

“After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they said, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.”

How are your walls of Self-Leadership?

3. Jesus was Laser Focused on his Vision

John 17:4 says, “I have brought you glory on earth,” (my definition of Glory – the visible explosion of the infinitely great attributes of God), “I have completed the work you gave me to do. I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world.”Isn’t that surprising? There are so many more still unreached. .In his humanity, even Jesus’ role was limited.

1 Corinthians 12:27

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”

What’s your part? You might have more than one role. Husband, Father,  Churchman, Work? Some roles might have you in the lead, and some roles you might be in support position.

Whatever it is, do you live with a sense of purpose? That you are on Mission? Do you know your part? Are you in alignment with Jesus?

4. Distractions Were Part of the Mission

Jesus handled distractions with grace.

A paraphrased example from Mark 5, the Bleeding Woman: A large crowd followed and pressed around Jesus because he was going to heal a Father’s daughter. A woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” The woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole story. Jesus did not treat her like a detour or a distraction.

Here is another instance from Mark 10: Jesus was passing through Jericho with his disciples & a large crowd. As they were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus, was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” Once again, he was not a distraction.

How do you handle people or events that aren’t part of your agenda for the day? Do you treat them like distractions? Jesus didn’t, and saved lives in the process.

5. Jesus Built a Team, Needed a Team, and Gave his Mission Away to a Team

Jesus doesn’t intend your life to be a solo mission. He built a small team of 12 disciples and larger support team who helped him in his ministry. John the Baptist was the first team member!

Jesus eventually gave his mission away to the team that he built. We see this in Matthew 28 and the great commission. Read Acts 2:12-14 This is one of my favorite scenes! The Holy Spirit had just fallen on the Apostles and they were preaching the Gospel in several different languages. After all the commotion, Peter stepped up as the leader, just as Jesus intended.

And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.”

To stay aligned with Jesus, it will take a team. Do you have a spiritual team around you, or do you fly solo? Who are you leading?


  1. Prayer: What’s the temperature in your Prayer Boiler Room?
  2. Self Control – Proverbs 25:28 – “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” What are the weak spots in your wall?
  3. Laser Focused Vision: Do you live with a sense of purpose, that you are on mission. Do you know your part, are you in alignment with Jesus?
  4. Distractions: How do you handle people or events that aren’t part of your agenda for the day? Do you treat them like distractions?
  5. Team: To stay aligned with Jesus, you need a team. Do you have a spiritual team around you or do you fly solo? Who are you leading?

Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips Signiture




Paul Phillips
Pastor, Christ Community Church





Moses Deals with Conflict – Leadership Lesson

Moses Deals with Conflict – Leadership Lesson

There are all kinds of ways to deal with conflict. One way is to fight. There is a problem though: there is only one winner and everyone else gets hurt.

Here’s a funny example:

Handling conflict was of mighty importance in Moses’ life. Immediately after he delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, the conflict and complaints begin. When you read about Moses’ 40 years of leadership it reads like 40 years of conflict – with people he leads, enemies, himself, and even God.

Notice how quickly rejoicing turns into grumbling:

  • Exodus 14:30-31: Rescue
  • Exodus 15:1-21: Two songs of celebration
  • Exodus 15:22-24: Grumbling
  • Exodus 16:1-3: Grumbling
  • Exodus 17:1-4: Threats of Stoning

My first question is: why does God choose this path? Why does he choose this way of dealing with his people? Why didn’t they go from rescue to rest? From the Exodus to the Promised Land? Why was there this journey in between in the wilderness? The wilderness wasn’t necessary for Salvation, but it was needed for Sanctification.

Read Colossians 3:10 – The reason this is important to keep in mind as a Christian and as a leader is that the challenges you face and the conflicts you are engaged in serve a greater purpose. Are the merely hurdles in your way? No. God has allowed them to play a role in your formation. This should reduce your personal complaining.

When dealing with conflict, the first step is backwards. You need to know yourself, examine yourself, and understand the downward spiral of idolatry.

Know Yourself – EQ vs IQ

So many problems in a marriage or business meeting are not caused by a lack of intelligence, but a lack of emotional maturity. Example: You are working on a difficult problem, there are differing opinions and then someone verbally loses it (or) shuts down. Now you have two problems: the original problem and the way you dealt with the problem.

I love this character list the Apostle Paul gives for potential leaders in the church: “Elders must be…..temperate, self-controlled.. not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome…..”

Proverbs 15:1 – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

I tell people all the time, “Don’t let the way you deal with the problem become another problem.”

Question: What situation or area of your life do you need to work on your EQ? The answer comes from examining yourself.

Examine Yourself – Matthew 7:3-5

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

This is so difficult yet so critical. The very first step to resolving conflict is to examine yourself.

Notice: Jesus doesn’t forbid pointing out or addressing issues in the life of others, but when doing so creates conflict then you need to step back and examine yourself. This is the first step of a High EQ, emotionally mature person. This is the most difficult step for a teenager.

Colossians 3:5 and Colossians 3:8 tell us to “put to death & rid yourself.” This is painful!

Sexual immorality, lusts, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander or filthy language: It’s all very difficult to put these emotional idols to death. No one wants to put something you love to death!

How can we put these things to death? Colossians 3:1 tells us how. “Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart.

Paul understands there is an internal battle for “rule” within your heart. Stepping back gives you a chance to examine what rules or governs your heart.

Question: When has a craving of yours lead to a conflict?

The Downward Spiral of Idolatry: James 4:1-2

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want….so you quarrel and fight.”

Definition of an Idol: Anything other than God that we trust or must have in order to be happy or secure.

Notice: James does not comment directly on the issues involved because James’ primary concern was not the issue but the source of the conflict. James is more concerned with the what is ruling your heart rather than issues.

The downward spiral of Idolatry is a lot like this:

  1. Desire
  2. Demand – (I must have)
  3. Disappointment – (unmet demands)
  4. Judgement – (Disappointment leads to frustration, and frustration leads to judgement)
  5. Punishment – (I am hurt. My ego is bruised. I tried to be controlling, yet I still didn’t get my way, so I strike back.)


With these questions, specifically focus on yourself. Don’t think: WOW, Paul really understands the problems with my Boss, Spouse, and children. Right now, focus on you.

  1. In examining yourself ask: In what situation/area of your life do you need to work on your EQ?
  2. When has a craving of yours lead to a conflict?
  3. Think about a recent conflict in your life. Did you elevate a desire to a demand? How far down the spiral did you go? What’s one of your common forms of punishment when your demands go unmet?


Friends and Brothers,

Paul Phillips Signiture




Paul Phillips
Pastor, Christ Community Church