What does it mean to be a Gospel Centered Leader?
Greg Breazeale has written a wonderful article about the effects of the gospel on a leader’s heart. The gospel should have a profound effect on leaders and the way they understand who they are in Christ, as well as what they have been called to in Christ. As each of us grow in our faith and spiritual disciplines, these are some wonderful marks that should characterize our lives.
One other important point, in a culture of gospel centered leadership, we should all give and receive the permission to lovingly hold one another accountable. None of us are always at the top of our spiritual game, I am certainly not. But I want you all to know that you have my permission to graciously call me to task if I do not reflect these characteristics in my life. In other words, I commit to you that I will do my best not to be defensive or immature. Pastors and all gospel centered leaders should be clear with the people they serve that it is safe to talk with them about concerns and disagreements.
Authenticity and accessibility are crucial marks of a gospel centered leader.
I will share 4 of the characteristics of gospel centered leaders this week, and 3 next week. Feel free to comment here or on Facebook to share your thoughts.
They Love The Gospel
GCL’s love the Gospel. They love to talk about it, sing about it, and tell it to others. The death and resurrection of Jesus, and their union with Him moves their heart like nothing else. They never tire of hearing the Gospel or preaching it to themselves. The Word of Christ (Colossians 3:16) dwells deeply and richly in them. They define themselves as people loved by God in and through the Person and Work of their Lord Jesus Christ. Their identity, value, worth, and significance—their life is found in Him. Everything must begin here. If you miss this, you will end up using the Gospel to make a name for yourself rather than using the Gospel to spread the fame of Jesus.
They Invite Critique
GCL’s know that it took God in the flesh dying and rising again to save them. Therefore they know they are not beyond critique and error. They find ways to receive feedback and critique from their friends, spouse, staff, or co-workers. If their identity rests only Christ and if they are convinced that God is for them, as the Gospel clearly reminds them (Romans 8:32), then no amount of negative or positive feedback can shake their foundation. GCL’s work into their life and schedule other eyes and ears to help them lead as effectively as possible.
They Are Bold and Humble
The Gospel has shattered the pride of GCL’s, and yet empowered them to boldly trust in the grace and goodness of God when it comes to how they lead. They can make hard decisions without fearing the opinions of others but also admit their mistakes and seek restitution. They don’t slump their shoulders or puff out their chests. They are humble and strong, bold and gentle, confident and self-deprecating. Only by trusting the Gospel can one become this kind of leader.
They Bear More Affliction Than They Give Out
The great mystery of the Gospel is that the one who owed us nothing gave us everything. The one who knew no sin was made to be sin to make us righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21). The one who was rich became poor to make us rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). The blessed one became the Curse to lift the Curse from us (Galatians 3:18). Therefore the GCL will look and listen for ways to absorb affliction when he has every right to dish it out. Every leader has to bring affliction. They have to discipline, fire, layoff, cutback, reprimand, etc. But the Gospel shines brightly when leaders winsomely bear the bulk of the pain and blame, especially when they don’t have to. I am not suggesting that performance standards in the workplace or the church be lowered because of the Gospel. I am suggesting however that the Gospel calls us to, at times, shower underserved grace (and all grace is undeserved) on those we lead.