Jesus Wrote the Book on Leadership

Last weekend I spoke for an important Hispanic church conference at Life Center Spanish Church in Tacoma.  The leaders there asked me to address the topics of The Leader’s Tasks”” and “The Leader’s Team.”  In preparing for the first topic, I instantly thought of the classic book, Leaders:  The Strategies for Taking Charge by Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus.

Bennis & Nanus say leaders must employ four strategies to lead effectively: (1) Attention through Vision, (2) Meaning through Communication, (3) Trust through Positioning, and (4) The Deployment of Self (by which they essentially mean putting talented people to work in ways that allow them to fulfill themselves in service).  I decided to share these principles, but since I’m a preacher, I looked for a Biblical text upon which to anchor my comments.

As I looked at the launch of Jesus’ leadership in Matthew 4, I was amazed.  He began (4:17) by gaining people’s attention through a bold vision:  “The Kingdom of God is at hand!”  He then began to create meaning through social architecture as he called his disciples (4:18-19) and began to teach them about the Kingdom and their role in it as “fishers of men,” i.e. Kingdom Networkers.  Then he established trust and credibility for his organization through positioning as he networked “about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and … disease among the people (4:23).”  Finally, after doing these things, he “gave [the twelve] power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness … and diseases (10:1)”—i.e., to do the very same works he was doing.

Those who know nothing but their Bibles, as Matthew Arnold once famously said, do not even know their Bibles.  It is amazing how secular literature on leadership can call out principles that open our eyes to things in the Bible that we gloss right over in our daily reading.  It’s also wonderful to recognize that Jesus knew everything about leadership.  Though he never wrote a word that survived history,  we can find no better textbook on the topic than his open-book life.

For more, see The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus (My Healthy Church, 2013).  Pre-order it in paperback or Kindle editions at

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.

Dr. Joseph Castleberry, President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington, is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at

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