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Leading From Nothing

9 years ago written by

llm-nov14_disc2The Incarnation of Jesus Christ is the story of downward mobility on a ladder of descending love. How far down is it from:

 “…being equal with God
…taking the form of a servant,
being made in human likeness”?

Downward mobility is anathema to the modern mind. Every step in leadership development is geared toward upward mobility. Each new rung that we climb on the leadership ladder increases the advantage of position, power and prestige. How can any executive, religious or secular, lead an organization without depending upon position, power and prestige? These are resources needed to lead, but never for self-interest. A Christian leader holds these advantages lightly and uses them wisely.

To have the mind of Christ takes us down another rung. He stepped down from position to become vulnerable, from power to become obedient and from prestige to become humble. Is not this what is meant when we read that after Christ Jesus “emptied” himself, He became a servant in human likeness?

Once again, the mind of Christ is taking us where we do not want to go. Are we willing to sacrifice position, power and prestige for the sake of Christ even at the risk of being considered weak, called crazy and treated with contempt? The deeper we go into the mind of Christ the greater the threat to our self-sufficiency. But there is a reason. Until we become leaders who are vulnerable, obedient and humble, we cannot reach those who are empty, helpless and broken.

So, imagine writing a job description for a Christian leader, whether for a large organization or a small group, asking for a candidate who is willing to lead with the mind of Christ by sacrificing:

… position for the sake of being vulnerable;
… power for the sake of being obedient;
… prestige for the sake of being humble.

What a quick way to create a short list of candidates! Only those who are willing to lead from nothing are invited to apply. Would you be on the short list?

This is an excerpt of “Christ-Centered Leadership: The Incarnational Difference” ( by David L. McKenna.


[1] Which direction am I going on the leadership ladder: upward with ambition to the mind of self or downward with love to the mind of Christ?

[2] Do those whom I serve see me as a vulnerable, obedient and humble leader with the mind of Christ?

[3] From the level of my leadership can I reach those who are empty, helpless and broken?


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