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January 2014 - Leadership Lessons from John the Baptist

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John A. Kline, PhD jkline@klinespeak.com
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Dr. John KlineFor the last three months we examined nine leadership lessons from Jesus.  This month we look at all four gospels to find three lessons from John the Baptist.

Leaders must be willing to step aside when a better qualified leader appears. John the Baptist and Jesus were cousins. So, John knew of Jesus, though they may seldom if ever been together; they did not live near one another. Many thought John was the Messiah, John knew he was not. He knew he was preparing the way. John the apostle records the Baptizer’s predictive statement that someone was coming who had a higher rank, one who existed before him (John 3:15). Of course we know John was born before Jesus, so John’s statement gives proof to the fact that John knew Jesus was not simply human.  Later John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” When leaders do not step aside and let others take leadership, the mission suffers.  John stepped aside. 

Leaders promote change when old ways are not productive.  John the Baptist said outdated ways must change, “Indeed the axe is …at the root…if not fruitful, cut and burn them.” (Luke 3:9) Leaders often resist needed change and the organization fails.  Many once mighty companies no longer exist. Why do leaders resist change?  Perhaps it seems too difficult; or they fear failure, or don’t want to leave their comfort zone.”  These may seem like good reasons, but leaders must be able to lead change.  Several years ago I published an article on “How to Implement Change in Your Organization.” [BLAKE—NEED LINK] The things I said then are still true.  Leaders must be able to lead change..

Leaders should know their own mission. Isaiah 40:3, Malachi 3:1, Matthew 1:3 and Mark 1:2-3 state the mission of John the Baptist.  His mission was to “prepare the way of the Lord.” John never lost sight of his mission.  Quite simply, the mission connects seeing and doing (vision and action).  When a leader or an organization does not understand the mission and stay true to it, both the leader and the organization is doomed to fail.  John never lost sight of his mission

John the Baptist paved the way for Jesus by demonstrating willingness to step aside, promoting needed change, and staying true to his mission. Last month we talked about identifying, mentoring others, and planning for the future. How are you doing? 

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

January 2014 - Leadership Lessons from John the Baptist
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