Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Why Great Leadership Comes with a Price

Why Great Leadership Comes with a Price

I recently met with one of the leaders in the organization I serve as president. This leader’s words caught me a bit off guard: “Thom, please make one promise to me. The moment that you see that I’m not effective here, tell me and I will leave immediately. I hope I see that moment before you do, but please tell me if you see it. This organization is much more than me and my needs.”

I consider this person a great leader, indeed one of the great leaders in our organization. So I guess I should not be surprised at the conversation we had.

Learning to Lead Like Jesus

Many have written articles and books about learning leadership principles from Jesus. While we can never replicate the character of a man who is God, we can learn truths and principles from Him. And the one principle that seems to represent the greatest level of leadership is a willingness to sacrifice. Again, I realize that Christ’s death on the cross is unique in time and space, and only God can atone for sins through His sacrificial death.

But there is much to learn from Jesus that we can apply to our lives. Indeed, the more we put ourselves last and the greater our willingness to sacrifice, the more likely we are to become a great leader.

Sacrificial Leadership in All Areas We Lead

A husband who is a great leader will always sacrifice for his wife. He will always seek to put her first. A parent who is a great leader will always put his or her children first. Great parents will seek what is best for their children.

It’s not too difficult to apply sacrificial leadership principles in the marriage or parenting relationship. Why then do we not hear more about sacrificial leadership in organizations?

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Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and six grandchildren. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.