Young Christian leaders have many things vying for their time. They need to educate themselves in the area of their leadership, stay up to date on new trends and practices in the leadership world, keep their online presence sharp and attractive, and stay generally healthy—spiritually, relationally, mentally, and emotionally. Oh, and they also need to write a book (or two). None of these things are inherently wrong, but they become wrong when they’re not done well—and I’m not talking about “quality” as much as “purpose.” For what purpose is the young Christian leader growing in knowledge? For what purpose are they watching and implementing the new leadership trends? For what purpose are they going through the efforts to make their digital face shine? For what purpose are they remaining healthy? The purposes behind young Christian leaders’ actions will determine their eternal success or not.
So, what is the right purpose for these things?
Well, underneath the even greater purpose for all things—to glorify God—I would say that a young Christian leader is to do their leadership (with all that that entails) for the purpose to help Christians become more like Jesus Christ. I believe this to be the end goal for Christian leaders because it’s God’s end goal for all Christians! To see this more clearly, let’s consider what we read in the Bible regarding who Jesus is and our becoming more like Him in holiness and righteousness.
We read that Jesus Christ is the “Righteous One” (Acts 7:52). He is “gentle and lowly in heart” (Mat. 11:29). He is the one whose love “surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). He “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). “He is the image of the invisible God” (Col. 1:15), meaning that all things that describe Yahweh, describe Jesus—for Jesus Himself said, “Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9). Further, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature” (Heb. 1:3). Jesus exemplified “steadfastness” (2 Thess. 3:5).
God’s goal for His people is for them to become like Jesus in holiness and righteousness.
And now, consider that Jesus Himself says that we, the Church, “must be perfect, as [our] heavenly Father is perfect” (Mat. 5:45). This closely resembles Peter’s words when he writes that “as He [God] who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Pet. 1:15). He then quotes Leviticus 11:45, “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Paul profoundly writes that “those whom [God] foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). Paul also writes to the Corinthians that “just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven (Jesus)” (1 Cor. 15:49). Again, “beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image (referring to Jesus) from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18). Paul anxiously writes to the Galatians, “I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” (Gal. 4:19). We have been chosen “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him” (Eph. 1:4). We are to grow in maturity to be able to say, “For me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). Paul and his co-workers warn and teach “everyone with all wisdom, that [they] may present everyone mature in Christ” (Col. 1:28).
With these truths in mind, we can see clearly that God’s goal for His people is for them to become like Jesus in holiness and righteousness. Therefore, in all of their efforts, the young Christian leader must share this purpose with God. When they do, their leadership efforts will be done well, since they will always be means to God’s end—to see every one of His sons and daughters as holy and righteous in Christ.
If you’re a young Christian leader like I am, let us not ignore this. May we lower our pride and submit ourselves to be living tools in God’s hands as He purposefully shapes His church into the image of His Son Jesus Christ. That’s leadership for the right purpose.