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Missions 101

Ajith Fernando's Leadership Philosophy (Part 3)

Feb. 1, 2013By: Evan Burns

The previous two posts have highlighted some of Ajith Fernando’s leadership principles.  Here are the remaining principles of biblical leadership that he outlines so well in his book, Jesus Driven Ministry:

Growing and Launching Young Leaders.  The leader has a responsibility to grow young disciples by intentionally teaching them.  The leader should set aside times to directly speak truth at length with young disciples and not only limit teaching truth to mutual conversations.  Nevertheless, part of his responsibility is to reveal God by his life as he trains young leaders-to-be.  This is exemplified in the teaching ministry of Jesus.  Jesus taught in formal situations, yet many of his formative teaching times were in conversation and in common situations.  Because the Bible warns us not to be hasty in appointing leaders, we ought to have a care and concern for young Christians who are eager to jump into leadership, especially if they are new converts.  When it comes to status and honor, Christian leaders are servants.  When it comes to function and responsibility, leaders are fathers.  Leadership does not have to do with status; it has to do with responsibility.  There is a long-suffering that leaders must endure during the slow growth of their followers, much like a parent who endures the gradual development of a child.  As a disciple grows, so does his level of freedom to explore his ministry passions and gifting.  A young disciple who is well-led will step out and take risks not merely because of confidence in acquired skills but because of confidence in the culture of love, nurture, and trust demonstrated by his leader.  Christian organizational culture is relational and not project-driven.  Loving each other by dying for each other is basic to Christian organizational life. 

Ministering to the Sick.  Part of Christian leadership requires compassion and mercy ministry.  Jesus spoke metaphorically when He said He came to minister to the sick and not the healthy, though much of His ministry involved healing and caring for the poor and needy.  True Christian leadership requires courage to visit the downtrodden and bear with them in their suffering.  It also requires courage to not only visit and care for the sick, but to pray for the healing of the sick.  Jesus’ ministry was marked by two main activities—teaching and healing.  Though not all leaders have the gift of healing or a healing track-record, ministry must not only be marked by teaching; it must be also marked by mercy, compassion, and seeking the holistic healing of the downtrodden who most people conveniently overlook.

Praying.  Much could be said about the role of prayer in the life of the leader.  Suffice it to say, Jesus’ disciples only asked Him to teach them how to do one thing—pray.  They had observed the essential role secret prayer played in the life of their Master, and they were drawn to imitate Him.  If the Son of God prayed, how much more ought His followers pray?  In imitation of Christ, those whom we lead ought to notice the great role of prayer in our personal and public lives that they ask us to teach them how to pray.  Prayer is not only meant to be for the leader’s ministry; prayer is what keeps the leader connected to the heart of the Father, which is essential for his freshness, fulfillment, and faith.   

Tags:  leadership
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