The Leadership Strategy of Jesus

So much of the activity I see among leaders today is focused on reaching the masses. “Successful leaders” speak at big conferences, host popular television or radio shows, publish bestselling books, or write successful blogs. Their goal is breadth. They want to extend their influence to as many people as possible.

Sermon on the Mount by Cosimo Rosselli

Jesus had a much different leadership strategy. His goal was not “reach” or popularity. In fact, as strange as it sounds today, he actively discouraged publicity. On more than one occasion, after performing a jaw-dropping miracle, he told those who witnessed it, “Tell no one what you have seen” (see e.g., Matthew 8:4; 16:20; 17:9; Mark 7:36; 8:30; 9:9; Luke 5:14; and 8:56). He was a publicist’s nightmare.

Instead, Jesus focused on true depth and long-term impact. To achieve this, he had a four-pronged leadership strategy:

  1. He taught the multitudes. Yes, Jesus had a public ministry. He occasionally spoke to thousands. However, he didn’t pander to these groups or “tickle their ears.” He confronted the status quo, jarred his listeners’ sensibilities, and often taught in parables. He didn’t feel the need to clarify everything. He often left his audience confused and wondering what he meant. His goal was apparently to shift their paradigm and get them to think.
  2. He mobilized the seventy. Jesus had a smaller, more intimate group to whom he gave specific assignments. He sent them out two-by-two. He asked for a BIG commitment. He gave them virtually no resources. Yet he demanded that they perform miracles. He told them to expect opposition (see Luke 10:1–12) and promised no earthly reward (see Luke 10:18–20).
  3. He trained the twelve. He chose the twelve disciples to be “with him” (see Mark 3:14a) He taught them and also gave them assignments (see Mark 3:14b–19). However, he also shared with them his daily life. Like the Apostle Paul would do years later, he poured into them his very life (see 1 Thessalonians 2:8). Because of this, he entrusted them with power to do the work he himself had done. In fact, he promised them that they would actually do greater works (see John 14:12–14).
  4. He confided in the three. Jesus had an inner circle comprised of Peter, James, and John. He took them on special outings (see Matthew 17:1). He allowed them to witness his greatest glory (see Mark 9:2–3) and his deepest temptation (see Mark 14:33–34). He prayed with them (see Luke 9:28f). He taught them things He did not teach the others (see Matthew 17:2; Mark 5:37–43). He even introduced them to His heavenly family (see Matthew 17:3). They were his closest friends and confidants.

Jesus’ leadership strategy evidently worked well. Within a generation, His followers turned the world upside down (see Acts 17:6). Within seven generations (318 A.D.), the emperor Constantine accepted his message and made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. And here I am, almost two millennia later, writing about it.

After interacting with leaders at every level for more than three decades, my observation is that most leaders only focus on the first two strategies. They have a public teaching ministry, and they are good at mobilizing groups for specific assignments. However, very few intentionally train a small group of disciples. Even fewer build deep relationships with a handful of confidants. As a result, they do not have the kind of lasting impact they could have.

The older I get, the more value I see in going deeper with a few. Leading the masses may feed my ego, but it won’t guarantee an impact that will outlive me.

Questions: Are you following Jesus’ leadership strategy? Are you leading at all four levels? If not, what can you do differently to insure that your leadership has greater impact?
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  • Angus Nelson

    This is so encouraging. I feel as if I have it the other way around though. Twice I've led small groups through non-profits, numbering in the dozens. We sparked discussion, served our community and lived as transparent as we knew how. In addition, I have my few, the open, mentoring and accountable few.

    As for my 70's and thousands… I suppose those opportunities will come. I'll stay focused on my few and dozens until they're 70 to send out. Whether I get to the the thousands is not the point. Multiplying relationships, real relationships, must remain my focus… Opportunities come and go, but they should never be my motivation. It's how we treat people that cranks my tractor.
    My recent post Young Love, F-Bombs, and Beautiful Tears

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      If you take 2 Timothy 2:2, you see that the Apostle Paul had a similar strategy. If you train people in small groups, and they each commit to doing the same, the numbers multiply. I did the calculation with my mentoring group. If my eight guys each start a group with eight guys, and each of those eight guys start a group, in ten generations, they will have reach 1 billion people! (1,073,741,824 to be exact)!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1260484565 Donald James Parker

    Good points, Michael.
    The men that Jesus led did turn the world upside down and usher in a brave new world. but they were unable to do anything until empowered by the Holy Spirit. Spiritual leaders absolutely must connect with the Paraclete and not only listen to that small still voice but obey. Men who seek only to employ human wisdom and logic will miss the boat, bus, train, and jet as they grope through the complexities of life and fulfill the scripture that mentions the blind leading the blind.
    Donald James Parker

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I totally agree, It takes ore than character, training, or talent. It takes an anointing. The Apostle Peter is a good example. He was transformed almost overnight from being a coward to being a courageous leader. What was the difference? Pentecost.

  • http://valuablesalesideas.blogspot.com/ Juan

    Hi Mike,
    Great post about reaching out the masses by influencing a few (12) and getting to really know and pouring your life into very very few (3).
    If we see our presidents usually they have to win the vote of 51%.
    Sometimes we forget that we do not want or need to be liked 100% of the time.

    My recent post Are you an Entrepreneur?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Great point. So many of us are “addicted to approval.“ It's hard to be effective when you lead like this.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/PaulSteinbrueck PaulSteinbrueck

    Awesome post, Mike! I think most people have the impression that great leaders are the gifted speakers and the most important part of leadership is inspiring the masses. But in my opinion, "small leadership" – training & discussion with small groups, one-on-one mentoring – is much more important than "big leadership." And I think Jesus' ministry bears this out.

    My recent post iPhone Apps You Can’t Live Without

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I really like that title, “small leadership.” I wished I had thought of that! I would have used it in the title.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/PaulSteinbrueck PaulSteinbrueck

        Cool. After I posted the comment (but before I saw your reply) I was inspired to write a full-blown post…

        Leading Small – http://bit.ly/bHSe62

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  • http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com WomenLivingWell

    Interesting post. So I'm trying to figure out who my 3,12,70 and multitudes are. The 3 are my kids – ultimately they are my true legacy passed on. The 12 are my "Good Morning Girls" – we email each other every single morning after having our quiet time – it's my accountability group. We are very tight. The 70 are the ladies in my local church who I minister to, and the mulititudes are those who I reach from my blog.

    Thanks for helping me break this down into my own life. I see clearly now my different focus groups…this was an interesting post. Thanks.
    Courtney
    http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com

    My recent post PS. Your Hands Are Beautiful

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yes, and it's good to think strategically what the goals is for each. That's what I am doing myself now.

  • http://www.leadingisreading.blogspot.com James Castellano

    Good stuff. Maybe the key is starting with #4 and working towards to #1. We can be more effective leaders by investing our time with a few key people than trying to be more efficient leaders by spending time with large crowds.
    My recent post

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/success2you John Richardson

    My wife and I moved to North County San Diego about 6 months ago. In looking for a new church, small groups were a priority on our list. We had been in small groups for the past 25 years and knew how important they were. In Googling area churches, one stood out. It was North Coast Church, pastored by Larry Osborne and Chris Brown. With over 7200 in attendance, over 80% of the people that go there are in small groups.

    We started going and got plugged into a weekly growth group. From that group of 17, some of the men meet every Thursday morning for breakfast. To me, the real church is in small groups. And real leadership is meeting with a small group of guys who hold me accountable and that have incredible wisdom. You can't be transparent with a multitude, but you can with a few. Jesus's ministry is a great guide for our lives today.
    My recent post Social Media: An Overview of Facebook

  • Tim Brownson

    It's weird because I'm so not into the bible or organized religion. Written in large ports hundreds of years after the events (try getting anybody to agree on what happened a week last Friday and you'll have a problem) it's contradictory and a bit scary in places!

    However, having said that I don't get people that just write it off when there are some many brilliant lessons to be learned and you've done a great job of recreating some of them here.

    I read 'Living Buddha, Living Christ' by Thich Nhat Hanh recently and the parallels in the life and teachings of the two are amazing.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Fascinating. I'm pleased that you found value in this even if you aren’t into “the bible or organized religion.” That demonstrates a truly open mind!

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  • Lisa/Defined Design

    A gentle reminder for me to focus on my family. Thanks Mike

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/BrettBarner Brett Barner

    Great post! Jesus definitely laid down a great model of leadership. It always interested me that Jesus poured out so much into just those three out of the twelve. But after everything was done, he had three leaders to carry on what he started.

    I can see this being used in other leadership roles like small groups, pastors, managers, bosses, etc. when it's time to move on, they have passed on that knowledge and relationship to those few to be carried on.
    My recent post MMH5 – Five Things New with GodlySheep

  • http://evaulian-thebestoftheworst.blogspot.com/ Eva Ulian

    This leaves me without words for the lesson is hard to learn. First we must stand out and shake others by telling them some unsavory truths, then we must lead a low profile if we want to be convincing, added to which we must take good care of our special followers (today they are on Twitter and Facebook), if you want your message to outlive you, otherwise you are just an empty gong making a lot of noise for nothing.

  • http://spirittosoul.blogspot.com bluegoose

    This is an awesome post! My hubs was an only child and to this day doesn't have deep friendships. This post has given me some ideas about new ways to pray for those friendships in his life!
    My recent post MOM'S BIBLE; God's Wisdom for Mothers

  • http://www.infinitequeso.com/ Stephanie N.

    Have you read Robert Coleman's "Master Plan of Evangelism"? It's a wonderful little book that expounds on this very premise. Probably no other book has been more influential on my own ministry philosophy over the past 20 years. Thanks for the post!
    My recent post Bad Hair Days

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I read this book 25 years ago. It is a classic. I need to re-read it!

  • D Wayne Martin

    Its good to have an article that sort of ‘pulls together all the strings and ties things in a neat knot.
    But let us not think that Jesus one day decided ‘I’m want to be great leader and I suspect that I do this and that, I will accomplish my goal.’ Rather, he had a burning passion for the individual…for ways of affirming the struggler…ways of encouraging the weary…ways of helping the sick face his/her sickness…ways of bringing out the best from even the worst of individuals. It was that kind of passion that made his ‘leadership style’ successful.
    Thus, the requirement for great leadership, perhaps even more than ‘an organized agenda’ is a true and genuine concern for the individual reaching his/her full capabilities. Then, while some leadership styles may be more effective than others, potential, just praising and affirming a worthless ‘cuss’ enables one to do things he never dreamed possible.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      This is a really good point. So many leaders today see followers as a means to their ends. Jesus clearly came to serve others rather than use others.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Lindsey_Nobles Lindsey_Nobles

    A great reminder.

    re: your questions. In a word…no. I love investing in people. I just need to be more intentional about who I am investing in and how deeply. I have a tendency to bring everyone in and then feel exhausted.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/mitchebie Mitch Ebie

      Your heart is definitely in the right place, Lindsey.

  • http://faithguard.org Randy

    Good message. The epistles safeguard our interpretation of the gospel as it relates to the church. Fortunately they agree: 2 Timothy 2:2.

  • http://www.yuzzi.com Rick Yuzzi

    Good post. This highlights the importance for leaders, especially those at the very top, to invest their time training and developing those they want to eventually continue their "mission".
    My recent post Is Health Care Obama’s Iraq?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/AndrewComings AndrewComings

    My wife and I are preparing for a church-planting opportunity here in Brazil. Your post just clarified my thinking on the matter of the training. "Going deeper with a few" will be my new motto.
    My recent post Brazilian Musical Interlude: Asa Branca

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/thequietandquirky thequietandquirky

    Thank you for this. It seems I have come full circle in the trainings and leading of our community group leaders here at our church. It goes from the latest and greatest leadership to simply leading them to Jesus, the ultimate leader, and learning from Him first, and then supplementing with all that other great stuff out there!

  • http://speckleofdirt.blogspot.com Speckle

    This was a refreshing post. I especially like the last line, "but it won't guarantee an impact that will outlive me." Also, the comment about the masses feeding the ego struck a cord. I've been wanting masses to read my blog, be inspired, generate revenue and produce a book. Now I'm asking myself "Why?" Am I just feeding my ego?
    My recent post March Madness Equals Spring Cleaning

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I know. It’s a hard question. This is where I think we have to be constantly challenging our own motives. Thanks for commenting.

  • http://www.kelownamartialarts.com Chris Rowe

    Leadership is something we all should take responsibility for. Regardless of our title, rank or position we should all follow the lead of Jesus. Being of service to others, building others up, being the example of how we want our community to act.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Laurinda Laurinda

    Wow, I've always looked at Jesus relationships with the multitude, the 70, the 12 and the 3 as guidelines for determining proper space in relationships. I've never considered it as a leaderships strategy. The interesting thing is we don't know who constituted the multitude – we assume all Jews. With the territory occupied by Rome we don't know that for certain. He taught them all anyway.

    I don't have multitudes (yet). I've been promoted this year and my job is changing. But I do try to teach the larger teams I lead, really invest in a few and confide only 2-3. I will pay closer attention to my leadership strategy going forward. Thanks for sharing this! It is very encouraging.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Great! I am glad.

  • http://jeffwideopen.blogspot.com/ Jeff Myers

    Great post, Michael! One of my favorites! As a pastor I’ve been trying to be more intentional in this very area. The intimacy of the 3 is tough for me though. I grew up as a pastor’s kid and saw so many people stab my father in the back that everything in me screams “don’t trust.” I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone in this, though and seeing great things happen. But even still I have to fight the urge to resist that intimacy with the leaders in my church. I have great Godly men who serve as elders that have given me no reason not to trust and I have no problem in accountability/trust relationships outside my organization.

    My question is–is there wisdom in holding part of myself back in my relationships with leaders within my organization, or is the risk always worth it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/FourFecta Mitch Ebie

      I can relate, to a lesser degree. I have discovered that vulnerability opens the door to the most meaningful relationships; however, it opens the door to risk of being "stabbed in the back" as well. I have to ask my self if my greatest desire is to have deep meaningful relationships or is my greatest desire to not get hurt. Getting hurt is out of your control; it may happen whether you become vulnerable or not. But, the meaningful relationships will only come with your effort and openness.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

        Agreed.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/amvaughn Alicia Hoey

    This is great! I work for the CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach) and a huge part of our staff training involves them implementing Jesus' 3-12-70 principle on college campuses. Equipping people as leaders in order that they may learn to lead others has a significant long-term impact. It's amazing.

    Thank you for your insights!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I like calling this the “3-12-70 Principle.” I wish I had thought of that!

  • http://twitter.com/nateriggs @nateriggs

    Michael – this is one of the most inspiring and relevant posts I've read in a long time. It's fascinating to consider the impact of Christ's leadership over time and that it was all completely spread by people sharing stories and experiences without the modern conveniences of technology.

    The inner circle idea you shared also rings with me. It works both ways. While I'm not up on my scripture, it seems that Christ trained his small group of disciples to carry on his teachings, but also found support and confidence within that same group. While He was divine, he was also made human so that he could experience things like fear, sadness and anger. His disciples and inner circle might have provided the support he needed as a leader to keep leading.

    Maybe the strategy works in both directions?
    My recent post Updates on My Family, NateRiggs.com & Social Business Strategies

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your kind words and encouragement.

      Yes, I definitely think that this works both ways.

  • Angie Weszely

    What an insightful, inspiring and convicting post! THANK YOU for taking the time to think this through and share with us. I would be interested in seeing more on this topic…

  • http://www.daleschaeffer.com Dale Schaeffer

    What an encouraging and affirming post!

    We’ve been going through some leadership restructuring and after a lot of prayer and wadded up paper we’ve developed a similar strategy for developing leaders at BridgeWay.

    It looks a lot like what you’ve presented here…thanks for sharing!

  • http://likeafire.net Paul Martin

    LOVED THIS! I have been reading and seeing this so much more often and you have said it well. Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/ginamurrow @ginamurrow

    Thomas Nelson Publishers just released my husband's book that compliments this post. See "The Map: the Way of All Great Men" by David Murrow.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I'll have to check that out. Thanks!

    • http://lauradroege.wordpress.com Laura Droege

      I just got that book from Thomas Nelson to review (through Booksneeze); I haven’t had time to read it yet. Gina, you’ve aroused my interest in reading the book even more, now that I’ve read Michael’s complementing ideas in this post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/FourFecta Mitch Ebie

    Some people think that lots of followers makes you a leader, but it doesn't. If that was true, then I would be one of the best leaders on twitter :) When lot's of people know your name, it only makes you famous it does not necessarily mean that you are right about anything, or that you have any business leading. Jesus' leadership style is more about engagement. Relationships formed this way show that the one being followed should be in front. However, there is not enough time in the day to engage with everyone, which is why Jesus had the twelve and more specifically the three for deeper intimacy….Great article, thanks!

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  • Matt Houk

    Michael, I am a collegiate women's volleyball coach. How do you think this dynamic would work within the team. Currently, we are carrying anywhere from 12-14 players. What do you think would happen to our team dynamic if I pulled out 2-3 of our players to start an inner circle. We do already do a lot of leadership training with the whole team, but I do believe I have a few players that could take it to even a deeper level. But I worry about the negative effect it might have on the other players if I show "special" treatment to a few players. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Matt
    My recent post Team Culture

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I honestly don’t know. I think it is particularly problematic as a male with women players. This may be a case where your leadership is exercised in some other context. Just a thought.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    I would add three other aspects that contributed to Christ's effectiveness. He had the clear message of God's love for the world, he was in unity with his "boss," and he prepped his followers for upcoming events. One of the biggest things I struggle with as a teacher is the clear message part–this is one area I'm going to work on this summer. Thanks, Michael, for making me think!
    My recent post #35 THE DOING OF BELIEVING: TRUTH

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Keep in mind that Jesus follower’s didn’t always understand what he was saying. Unlike so many modern teachers, he didn’t feel the need to clarify everything. He seemed content to leave them puzzled.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

        I agree–a lot of what Christ didn't make sense until after he died and was resurrected. Christ did tell his disciples that the Holy Spirit would remind them of all that he had taught them. Being puzzled is a good thing because it does cause us to think.

        Also, in education today, there is a push to tell the students just what the objective of every lesson is. Sometimes I think we should just let the kids learn.

        My recent post #35 THE DOING OF BELIEVING: TRUTH

  • http://twitter.com/benforsberg @benforsberg

    This is fantastic stuff. More Christian leaders should identify with this approach. Well said.

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  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Laura_Droege Laura_Droege

    I've never thought of myself as a "leader," really. I try to lead my children, influence those around me (both in person, through my blog, on my writing review site online) but I was never in the running to be voted "best leadership" in high school. ("Most studious" was my title!) Still, you've made me think: we're all leaders in some way. It's worth considering and meditating on whether I'm committed to "going deeper with a few." Thanks.
    My recent post Why am I hiding behind my camera?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I agree. We are all leaders to the extent we have influence!

  • Laurie Rushing

    Just stubbled on your blog- this was my first visit to your site. I am one that my friends call a "leadership junkie" I am always reading blogs and alot of John Maxwell- but I must say that I absolutely love this blog of yours and it has very wise points and principles. I will definetly apply these fours levels to my leadership style!

    Great Job!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Wow! Thanks for your encouraging words!

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  • http://4u2live.com Peter Eleazar

    Michael I deeply identify with your views. Just a small add, I feel that the underlying driver was relationship – “They are my brothers, sisters and mothers who do my Father’s will”. I am sure if we had a kind of tortoise and hair event today, Jesus would say as Abraham did to Lot – “take the best of the land, the sound systems, the videos, the humor, the razzmattazz – I will just stay on what seems like dry ground with these ordinary, seemingly less exciting souls and lets see who has the greatest real growth over time”. I am not a killjoy, there is a place for technology and other tools, but so much of it smacks of golden calves, a human contrivance of our ideal of God – no wonder we no longer hear His still small voice. Relationships are key to on-the-job disciplining, honesty, empathy and accountability.

    • http://4u2live.com Peter Eleazar

      I doubt whether a “hair” would beat a tortoise, but the hare was no better.

  • http://www.DiscipleLikeJesus.com Alan Melton

    Great post, Michael!

    Our definition of discipleship has been cheapened from what Jesus actually did. Rather than develop deep relationships with those whom the Lord gives us, we make disciples for an hour or two per week.

    We have a similar message for parents. Four components:
    1. Jesus told His disciples to follow Him, and showed them how to follow God.
    2. Jesus was with His disciples all day long.
    3. Jesus frequently taught His disciples biblical principles and showed them how to minister to others.
    4. Jesus protected His disciples from the wolves; and then He sent these adult men out in twos.

    Jesus showed us how for three years, and then commanded us to do the same. If we follow His practices we will develop deep relationships with our children, enjoy them and change the world in the process!

    Blog post on this strategy: http://www.disciplelikejesus.com/blog/
    My recent post Welcome to Disciple Like Jesus

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  • Dani.M.Tanner

    Awesome post! One thing I would add to your list: Jesus led with empathy and compassion. He didn’t look down on those who were “beneath Him” or “didn’t get it.” He met the people exactly where they were, often going against social and religious norms to do so. He wasn’t about GETTING glory, He was about GIVING blessings. Imagine a world full of leaders like Him…

  • Duffy Derks

    Great article. Jesus ministry was very effective. He lead to leave a legacy. I look at ministries like Billy Graham's and see this same style. He ministered to the masses, sent out teams, passed legacy on to Franklin. Look at the ministry now from its start at a Los Angeles crusade in 1949.

  • http://chrisvonada.com Chris

    Michael,

    Thank you for writing this, very relevant and inspiring… need to work more on the last two… i do believe there are a few of our Christian leadership that are aware of and doing this today… check out my blog post from this morning, about one of them… Francis Chan!!

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  • http://www.twitter.com/danieldecker Daniel Decker

    Wow. This is one of your best posts in my opinion. I am printing this one and saving it. Far too often we can set out on noble missions but easily get caught up in the glitz that comes along with increased influence. If we aren't careful it becomes little more than a show versus a game changer.

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  • http://www.opcamp.com newlifeben

    Michael, I love reading your blog and think very highly of what and how you are leading. I love this post and strive to live this way. But there's more than knowing who to invest in, it's how Jesus did it that is so critical to understand. The people who are rocking my world with that are at www. leadersource.org.

    When I find something great I love to share it with my friends. Thanks for sharing great things with me. Keep up the good work! bw

  • http://web.me.com/love101 A. Amos Love

    Michael

    You ask…
    “Are you following Jesus’ leadership strategy?”

    What about “Jesus’ strategy” teaching “His Disciples” NOT
    to be called “Leader?” For you have ‘ONE” leader, the Christ?

    The word “leader”seems like a “high place.” Yes?
    Jesus always took and recommended the “low place.” Yes?

    Jesus humbled Himself, made himself of no reputation
    and took on the form of a servant. Php 2:7

    King James Version –
    Neither be ye called masters:
    for one is your Master, even Christ.

    The Interlinear Bible –
    Nor be called leaders,
    for one is your leader the Christ.

    Phillips Modern English –
    you must not let people call you leaders,
    you have only one leader, Christ.

    Today’s English Version –
    nor should you be called leader.
    your one and only leader is the Messiah.

    The Amplified-
    you must not be called masters ( leaders )
    for you have one master ( leader ) the Christ.

    Jesus told His disciples not to be called “leaders” and none did.

    Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,
    Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ,
    Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ,
    Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God,
    Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God
    2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant

    His disciples all called themselves “servants,”
    none called themselves “leaders.” None? None.
    None called themselves “servant-leader.” None.

    Just wondering. Be blessed.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think the word leader is always used in a negative way. After all, the early church had bishops and elders who led the people. In fact, the writer of Hebrews explains the responsibility of those who “rule” over us and our responsibility to them.

      I think the key is in leading like Jesus—primarily through serving.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/practicinghuman practicinghuman

    I think it is rather remarkable that most of us think that being famous as we reach the masses amounts to being known. I do think it is important to consider how we can invest properly in the 3-12-70-multitude sense of things. I appreciate the parents who say their 3 are their kids; but I think those of us who are single and serving tend to try to treat the 70 as we should only be treating the 3… or the 12.

  • http://www.taskbender.com Pk

    I guess he ‘lead by example’ too.

  • http://twitter.com/taskbender @taskbender

    I guess he 'lead by example' too.

  • http://www.therextras.com BarbaraBoucher PTPhD

    Thank you, Michael, for a guiding post to one of the masses.
    My recent post Toys That Teach

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/miller_schloss Becky Miller

    This was a much needed reminder that my biggest leadership impact will be on making disciples of my children. That feels like a very invisible leadership job most days, but yet I realize it will probably be the most valuable of my lifetime.

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  • http://www.kaboodle.com/flowerdelivery Gudrun Deahl

    I find myself coming back to to your internet site simply because you have various wonderful insights and you happen to be at this a long time, that is very exciting and tells me you know a lot.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/crispone crispone

    Great post, and the statement that jumped out at me the most was "He didn’t feel the need to clarify everything." Especially when I'm preaching, it's extremely difficult to resist this tendency. This reminds me of the fact that words don't turn people's hearts to God, and that, ultimately, only God can do that. Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians that he relied not on his own words, but on the power of the Spirit. I think that, especially in the age of blogs and Twitter, we need this reminder.
    My recent post A Moment of Weakness

  • Christina

    wow this is great. love it! thanks for posting!

  • http://www.pricebonus.com/ Michelle

    Great post, and the statement that jumped out at me the most was “He didn’t feel the need to clarify everything.” Especially when I’m preaching, it’s extremely difficult to resist this tendency. This reminds me of the fact that words don’t turn people’s hearts to God, and that, ultimately, only God can do that. Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians that he relied not on his own words, but on the power of the Spirit. I think that, especially in the age of blogs and Twitter, we need this reminder.
    My recent post A Moment of Weakness

  • http://blog.lifestrike.com David Valencia

    Michael
    Since you are so interested in leadership and even write about the subject I have a perennial question that all leaders avoid because it touches the core of our ego. I have been part of leadership for a long time and it is our insecure little ego that makes us muddle how we serve people and most if not all serve others as a means of serving themselves or another way of saying it is, we really serve ourselves at the cost of others by using them as means.
    Well, here is the question: How to you deal with the power that you have? How do you deal with the temptation of being a control nut?
    I am a compulsive reader and I've read everything on the subject…I thought since you take the time to answer, you might be willing to tell me how does your heart respond to my question.
    I don't have a secret agenda…I only like to know what makes you tick.
    I here end by giving you a quote from my favorite writer, namely, G. K. Chesterton:
    "There is the great man who makes every man feel small, but the really great man is the man who makes every man feel great"
    …sounds like what Jesus did with everyone

    Thanks

    David Valencia

  • http://www.believeallthings.com/ Greg

    I also believe he taught from a set of fixed principles and lived what he taught (see What Jesus Taught About Leadership). In fact he said, "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." (John 5:30). His own will was subservient to the will of the Father.

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  • http://www.lisashawshares.com Lisa Shaw

    Well said!!

  • http://twitter.com/JoshuaMHood Josh Hood

    “The older I get, the more value I see in going deeper with a few. Leading the masses may feed my ego, but it won’t guarantee an impact that will outlive me.” Beautiful. And profound.

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  • http://www.ricardoequips.com/ Ricardo Butler

    This is EXACTLY how I do it! lol! Cool beans and high five for Mike Hyatt and Jesus Christ! I have always used the strategy to reach the masses to find the few. I’ve do this for volunteers for ministry. I do this when looking for customers/clients for my business. I do this for picking out leaders among those who want to work with me. I pretty much use this model a lot. I hate the public eye. I just get out there to skim through all the noise. I used your Platform book for the same reason. My text has always been,

    “By this time the crowd, unwieldy
    and stepping on each other’s toes, numbered into the thousands. But
    Jesus’ primary concern was his disciples.” (Luke 12:1, The Message Bible). This was AN AWESOME POST! Thanks for the confirmation.

    • http://www.ricardoequips.com/ Ricardo Butler

       One more thing. I also always try to teach the people around me to look for the raving fan and those who are passionate about what you are passionate about that share a common goal and vision. Some don’t get it, but most do!

  • http://www.upleadership.com/ Sam Jayasinghe

    Jesus Christ is the best Leader, no doubt. Talking about long term success, He has the best proven strategy.  Those who really disciple people, follow Jesus His command and therefore show Him they love Him and love others as well, because they want the best for others, an unselfish love and concern. Thanks Michael for your encouraging article. 

  • Bruce Pagano

    This is probably one of the best explanations of Jesus’ leadership styles I’ve ever read. Simple & straight-forward. the last ministry team I worked with operated much in this fashion, but I never aligned it with this understanding. Thank you.

  • Jeff Grant

    It is a tough tension to balance (scope versus depth). The same is true for sharing the gospel with friends and strangers. Jesus did both, Paul did both and so should we. Because, you can’t go real deep and invest years with many, but you don’t want to miss out on connecting with those out there who are really open.