It’s almost time. I write these words on Maundy Thursday, the beginning of the Triduum Sacrum. Tomorrow this will turn into Good Friday, followed by Holy Saturday and on Sunday it will culminate in ‘To You be the glory, risen Lord’ during Easter. The road to victory is long and the price is high. Loss, emptiness, silence and then the surprise of victory! Jesus is also our Example in that long and painful road. As a man and as a Master, as a friend and as a Prince of Peace, as a man of sorrows and as a Messiah. He is the perfect leader, who has suffered to the maximum.
Responsible for the process
Although Easter is mainly about God’s unimaginable love and the complete victory over the kingdom of darkness, it also makes me personally think about leadership these days. Perhaps the reason for this lies in the fact that we started a School for Leaders this school year. Nearly 50 participants from all walks of life and the church take part. Experienced entrepreneurs and aspiring leaders, seasoned spiritual leaders and young people passionate about change. It is a wonderful mix of lawyers, secretaries, youth leaders, psychologists, family fathers, pastors, managing directors, department leaders, circle leaders, self-employed people and directors. As a school leader, I feel responsible for the content and the process in which participants
Own leadership in the light
But while I focus on that, I keep discovering that my own leadership is being scrutinized throughout the year. Not so much by others, but especially by myself. My ‘new’ glasses see leadership or lessons about leadership everywhere and I almost automatically view Easter from that point of view this year. Jesus came to this earth to establish the Kingdom of God in a world under the power of the evil one. The Son of God brought heaven back to earth and taught his followers to live in that reality. Once they understood this and could bear its power, they were sent to help others experience this heavenly government: “The kingdom of God is near” became their core message. The fact that there are now so many Christians worldwide shows that Jesus’ disciples were well guided, trained and sent.
Respond with His goodness
How did Jesus do that? We often speak about the special words, works and miracles of Jesus. But as the leader of his personal disciples, Jesus had to deal with very different dynamics. One of his followers, whom he took with him up the mountain as a chosen one, denies him three times. Judas even betrays Jesus and hands him over to Jesus’ archenemies, the religious leaders. During the
In the process of forming these young leaders, many more unpleasant things happen. For example, they are extremely jealous when it comes to leadership or are hateful towards Samaritans. They fall asleep when Jesus goes through his deepest fears and walk away one by one when Jesus suffers and dies. And Jesus, their leader and example, takes it all in and responds to every accusation or wrongdoing with his love and goodness. No swear words, no reproaches and no one is sent away or fired. Good and healthy leadership will cost you your life. Just look at Jesus!
The question: ‘Who are you?’ keeps coming back
We also try to apply these important principles that we learn from the Bible at the School for Leaders. The first group is in the middle of it and experiences the learning process as intense and it costs them something. Not so much money, but time and, above all, the willingness to change and grow yourself. Learning to give yourself away for others, so that the other person excels. That is painful and confrontational, but we hear from everyone that it helps them. We have divided the year into 3 modules:
- Who are you? (And what distracts you from who you really are?)
- What are you doing? (And what distracts you from your true mission and calling?)
- Who do you involve? (And who distracts you from the vision and culture of your adventure?)
This year’s practice shows us that Module 1 keeps coming back. Time and again, every topic leads and every teacher arrives at the heart of the leader (in the making) and the dynamics that take place there. Are you willing to become less so that others may become more? Do you want your team to succeed by paving the way for it? As a shepherd, can you rejoice in the fact that your sheep are bearing fruit and growing stronger? I invite you to think extra about your heart this Easter. Your heart for others. How much are you willing to bear or endure so that others can come into their own and experience God’s limitless love? That is what Jesus’ sacrifice is fundamentally about: Love that uses itself for the benefit of others. And perhaps this is also the time to think about your own leadership as husband or wife of your spouse. As an example for your family, company, foundation, worship team, circle or church.
Reflection on your own heart
I wish you sincere leadership that is willing to suffer for the sake of others. Because in this way we will be more like Jesus and will see similar fruits. Let Holy Saturday bring you to a place of reflection on Jesus and on your own heart. Take a break from success and impact, from influence and image. Ask yourself to what extent you, like Jesus, are willing to lose so that others win and truly see that as gain. That is the heart of Easter. Jesus gave everything away. Even to his spirit: ‘Into your hands I commend my spirit’. If we imitate him (more) in this, we will see more victory and fruit in every place where we demonstrate and share the beautiful gospel of the kingdom of God. Jesus is also our Example at Easter!
If you are looking for a place in the coming months where you can enter into the deep change process of ‘sufferership’, then the School for Leaders might be an idea.
Info School for Leaders: https://www.royalmission.nl/school/schoolvoorleider/