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February 2014 - Leadership Lessons from the Apostle John

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John A. Kline, PhD jkline@klinespeak.com
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Dr. John KlineIn the last four months we discussed nine leadership lessons from Jesus and three from John the Baptist. This week we will see three lessons from the Apostle John.

Leaders must be trustworthy. John, who may have been the youngest disciple, often acted rashly, recklessly, and aggressively. For example, once he wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy the Samaritans who refused to welcome Jesus; he was aptly called a “son of thunder (Mark 9:38-41). But by the time of the crucifixion he had matured to become the most trusted disciple, so much so that Jesus commended His mother’s to John’s care (John 19:26-27).  Someone wrote, “Without trust, words become the hollow sound of a wooden gong. With trust, words become life itself.”  If leaders are to succeed they must be trustworthy. 

Leaders are motivated by love.  John is known as the apostle of love and his described as the apostle Christ loved (John 19:26; 21:7). And while the theme of love permeates his writings, his first epistle commands us to walk in love. I have both led and observed leaders for decades and I confidently conclude that no one is a successful leader who does not feel love and commitment to both the people he/she leads and to the organization or group.  Quite simply, we work well with those we love and don’t give up when the going gets tough. On the other hand, we attempt to remove ourselves from the presence of those to whom we lack the commitment of love.  If you don’t love, don’t try to lead.   If you are not in love with your people and the task, try it and see the difference.

Leaders persevere.  The impetuous young John learned, matured, and finally wrote his gospel, his three epistles and the book of Revelation when he was a very old man.  I know in my own leadership journey, perseverance has been the reason for my successes.  I often succeeded where smarter, better prepared, more savvy leaders failed.  I simply refused to quit.  The Apostle John has become an even more salient example for me than before.  He was more than a decade older than I know am when he wrote some of his greatest things.  He exemplifies the phrase, “quitters never win and winners never quit.” Leaders persevere.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

February 2014 - Leadership Lessons from the Apostle John
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