For years I led a small Bible Study amid the swaying pines in southern Wisconsin. Despite the idyllic beauty of the place, our group started as a poor, exhausted team of wearied people. So I was determined that each group meeting would end one way. Every member had to walk away inspired.
The fact is: that was incredibly easy. Don’t get me wrong, it took me a long time to figure out the trick. But, of course, not only was it staring me in the face, it is staring you in the face right now! But our hearts look beyond it, expecting more from our faith than what Jesus has offered on the cross.
Let me explain. In short, the gospel message is the reality that even though humanity is cursed to reject God as King and Creator, He has shown His love for us by taking that curse upon Himself and dying on the cross (Rom. 3:23, 5:8, Gal. 3:13). But when He rose from the dead, He proclaimed to us that death is defeated; and further, He offers us this resurrection of life to all who believe (Jn. 3:16-21). Then, because He has ascended to the Father and is seated at His right hand – as King over Creation – He eternally advocates for us when we fail (1 Jn. 2:2, Hb 10L12, 1 Pt. 3:22). This message saturates every page of your Bible by showing us how good it is that Christ is King and not us!
All I had to do for my Bible Study was root everything we did and said in that reality, and 3 miraculous things happened.
1. Humility changes everything
First, we stopped focusing on ourselves. By looking to Jesus, we were free to be wrong. We trusted that God forgave us entirely and was eternally advocating for us. That meant we could make the wrong decisions, say the wrong things, and come to the wrong conclusions. All the while, we forgave each other because we knew Christ had forgiven us; and that we were all a work in progress. Anxiety and bitterness seemed to melt away in light of Christ’s kingship.
2. Community changes everything
Secondly, we could focus on others as more important than ourselves. Our group was passionate about serving at the local food pantry or boys-and-girls home. We wanted others to experience the mercy, forgiveness, joy, and peace we had found in Christ. The best part was that this strengthened our bond as a small group so that we felt like a community.
3. The gospel changes everything
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we were fulfilling the purpose that God has called us to. The great commission is about declaring Christ’s kingship worldwide, immersing people and cultures into life with the triune Godhead. Said another way, we have been called to proclaim the message of Jesus’ kingdom to everyone in our sphere of influence. In this way, people, communities, and the world are transformed through Christ-centered discipleship.
So we see: three miraculous things happen when we ground our leadership in the gospel. We turn away from ourselves, toward other people, and live out our calling and purpose in life. The fact of the matter is that these miracles are all true for us as leaders when we cultivate gospel-centered leadership. It doesn’t matter if you are running a Fortune 500 company, a small rural Bible Study, or even just trying to get by in your marriage. By rooting your life in the gospel of Christ, everything changes. Anxiety and anger melt away as we focus on Christ’s Kingdom (both here-and-now and coming), allowing us to look to others over ourselves. When we do that, we can’t help but radiate this good news to everyone who will listen.