Leadership Lessons from James

Examples of great leaders are plentiful in the Bible. In the New Testament we also find testaments of many great leaders and although as Christians we may recognize Jesus as our ultimate leader we should also not forget that the true purpose of leadership is to develop other leaders, who would in turn do the same. That is the great calling from Christ himself.

One of Jesus’s 12 disciples was a man named James. I decided to write this post about the leadership qualities and lessons we can observe from reading his book. An interesting fact I learned however while researching this topic was that there’s no certainty of which James character the epistle was written by. Although many scholars attest it was indeed James, the brother of Jesus, the reality is that there are up to seven different James called out throughout the entire Bible. In fact, two of the original 12 disciples were also named James. I guess James was a very popular name back in the days.

One thing we do know for certain is that the Book of James provides some excellent Leadership Lessons and also provides actionable steps that we can learn from in our own leadership development. When reading James, we also learn right off the bat that the author identifies himself as “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (James 1)

According to the Maxwell Leadership Bible the Book of James highlights the following leadership characteristics:

  • Problem Solving: Leaders must maintain perspective with problems. (James 1:1-8)
  • Relationships: Leaders must love out of a decision, not a reaction (James 2:1-9)
  • The Law of Addition: The measure of our commitment is action (James 2:1-26)
  • Self-Discipline: If you can tame the tongue, you can tame anything. (James 3:1-18)

Maxwell also adds that James “intuitively knows that leadership integrity exists only when our words and actions meet.” (Maxwell, p. 1542)

James was definitely a man of action. He not only had vision but also had wisdom as well as the courage to make things happen. That’s what a true leader should be all about. About strategy and execution.

At the conclusion of the Book of Matthew Jesus said to his disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”. (Matthew 28:19-20). As I alluded to earlier on this post the true purpose of leadership is to not only to carry through one’s true purpose or mission in life, but it is also to continue building other leaders. The more other leaders you can develop the greater your legacy would be and the greater your work for Christ becomes.

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