To be a leader, by definition you have to be taking people somewhere.
Jesus is the first and most important Christian leader. He shows us what leadership means, both in where he takes us to (the goal), and in how he treats those who follow him (the manner).
The goal of Jesus’ leadership is to take us to the Triune God. The manner of Jesus’ leadership is by dying as a sacrifice. Because of this, Jesus’ leadership is unique. Only he can say “come to me… and I will give you rest”. Only he can say “the Son of Man came… to give his life as a ransom for many”. We must say “go to Jesus – he gave his life as a ransom for many; he will give you rest”.
But not everything about Jesus is unique. We can be like him, in his goal and manner. The first thing about Christian leadership is that it must be Christian. It must all be founded, shaped, and driven by Jesus. Jesus must be our goal, and Jesus must shape the manner in which we exercise leadership.
Everything we do – whether explicit “evangelism” or not – must point to Jesus. The way we do socials, prayer time etc must all point to Jesus. This is how we make Jesus our goal.
The way we treat each other, and especially those under our care, must be with a sacrificial love like Jesus. We must demand a cost from ourselves, for the sake of those under our care. This especially shows in being patient when we feel like the people under our care are unreasonable, obstinate, ungrateful etc. This is how we follow Jesus in our manner.
Incidentally – this is how we put the Sermon on the Mount into action, and be salt, light & the city on the hill. This is also deeply counter-cultural. In the world, leadership means taking. For Jesus, leadership means giving.
But shouldn’t all Christians live like this?
Yes. But not all Christians are leaders. If we are given the title of “leader”, then we have an added responsibility. Leadership is a ‘public’ status. People are entitled to follow our lead, and look to us as examples. And God will hold us responsible for how well we impact those under our care.
This responsibility before God is not all negative. Sometimes (often?), even if we lead ‘well’ – faithfully point to Jesus, faithfully serve people like Jesus would – people won’t follow our lead. They’ll be unreasonable, obstinate, ungrateful etc. We won’t get the ‘rewards’ of leadership now. But that doesn’t matter. We can wait for God’s approval. And meanwhile, we continue to point to Jesus, and serve those under our care.