• Richard Parrish

The Value of Decreased Leadership


John is an unusual leader.


He doesn’t look like other leaders, but He’s successful nonetheless. Crowds -- masses of people -- follow him, which is surprising because John’s image isn’t what you would expect to see on a magazine cover.


It’s obvious: He hasn’t read “Dress for success.”


Then, there’s his message.


He isn’t concerned about offending someone; it appears his message intends to offend. He is unapologetic. He’s repetitious pleading for people to repent - “… Make straight the way of the Lord” (John 1:23). In other words: Prepare yourself for the coming Messiah.


He’s focused and clear about his message. This rugged, eccentric, and seemingly abrupt individual defies the typical image of today’s “successful leader.” But he understands his God-given purpose. And that’s an essential quality of outstanding leadership!


To comprehend and fully embrace our God-given purpose demands focus.


God’s purpose for John is more important than John’s acclaim, identity, or the need for a larger following. Staying aligned with God’s purpose is essential to John -- more than ensuring positive press reports.


But there is something even more attractive about John’s leadership. He demonstrates humility.


John’s followers are concerned, angry, and jealous of a new and promising leader stepping forward. They seem to be more interested in maintaining John’s movement above the greater interest of the people.


John exemplifies a rare leadership quality in one brief -- but pregnant -- sentence: “He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Wow! That seems to fly in the face of advertising, marketing, and public relations advice. It certainly is an uncommon behavior in a world that stresses “more is better.”


Perhaps, John understands that outstanding leadership is less about me and more about Jesus!


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