The key to effective leadership is found in three fundamental principles found in the story of creation. Even today, these three fundamental principles are the template for every Christian leader striving to be whom God wants them to be. These critical fundamentals are knowing God, loving others, and being responsible.
Genesis 1:26 makes it clear that God created Adam in His image to have a personal relationship with Him: “And God created man in His image.” Knowing God includes building a trusting relationship through respect, reverence, and obedience to His words. However, a stubborn unwillingness to obey His commands breaks down our relationship with Him. God invites leaders to have strong relationships with Him so that we can lead His people in His way. Having a strong relationship with God enables us to lead others into the same kind of relationship.
Genesis 1:27 declares, “male and female He created them.” This verse emphasizes that God created all of us, so we should be loving towards all, including having loving relationships with our students, church members, and colleagues. However, we cannot love if we do not accept God’s gift of forgiveness through Christ. Loving others includes those who have wronged us either knowingly or unknowingly. For instance, Joseph loved his brothers although they sold him into slavery, Moses requested God to take his life instead of the rebellious children of Israel, and Jesus died to save sinners like us. Are we willing to show caring for those who have wronged us? As Christian leaders, we are admonished to treat others with the same kindness and respect that God shows us. As Ellen White points out, “We are all woven together in the great web of humanity, and whatever we can do to benefit and uplift others will reflect in blessing upon ourselves.” Even little acts of kindness can be of great benefit in expressing our love to others.
Genesis 1:28 says that God gave Adam “dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” This was a clear command for us to show stewardship and social responsibility. Part of the role of Christian leaders is to protect and defend the environment and every living being, including the marginalized minorities in our communities. As Mother Theresa once said, “not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”
The prophet Micah sums up the three fundamentals of leadership in Micah 6:8: “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”