This is an age of change—from updating passwords to mastering the latest technology, we find ourselves in a fascinating and challenging time to be alive.
We are living in the next Industrial Revolution, called Industry 4.0. This facilitates an unprecedented rate of change and need for innovation, and it limits the effectiveness of the previous command and control leadership practices. This unique time in history comes with new opportunities and risks, calling for a new kind of leadership—one that empowers others in this emerging dispersed network. Industry 4.0 companies need to create a work culture that allows others to work with fewer constraints and more collaboration.
As this challenge to the established order grows, Christian leaders have a unique opportunity to become the type of leaders the world needs for this new era. This type of individual, both a servant and an empowering leader, can be called an E3 Leader. E3 represents Equipping, Empowering, and Encouraging. Technological advancement combined with E3 leadership—that equips, empowers, and encourages—provides hope for a better tomorrow.
What enables one to transform to an E3 leader? Common personal barriers such as the desire for approval, validation, control, and security sometimes limit the ability to truly serve and love others. These barriers must be removed so leaders can learn to put others first and unleash their potential.
The kind of disruption we’re experiencing today can lead to division and dehumanization of others—two things that can threaten a leader’s ability to lead diverse teams. As this new network emerges and power is dispersed, many now live in echo chambers of news, social media, political parties, etc., that destroy empathy and connection. This isolation supports cancel culture, where those who don’t align with a portion of the network are cut off entirely from participation; they are cancelled.
How can Christians lead diverse teams and build meaningful relationships in this environment? Our understanding of the Imago Dei, the belief that all people are made in the image of God and have infinite worth, calls us to reject any dehumanization of others. We can engage humbly as we understand all worldviews require faith; we can engage graciously as we fathom the depths of our sin.
Let’s look at some practical steps to help Christian leaders be transformed into E3 leaders through the renewing of the mind. Before we discuss the framework, we must understand that while our justification is instantaneous when accepting Christ, our sanctification takes time. This renewing framework is designed to help us be intentional on our journey. I encourage you to take time to think through these elements that define the framework of a Christian leader.
- Identity – Christian leaders should be rooted in the gospel, understanding that we are fully known, loved, and accepted apart from our merit because of Christ’s work on our behalf. We are permanently adopted children of the King and have everything we need. So, we are free to give and serve.
- Purpose – Christian leaders should identify their individual callings, based on their strengths and experiences, in alignment with our shared purpose to love God and serve others.
- Values – Christian leaders should define their values and the type of people they desire to become, rather than be conformed to secular values.
- Mindsets – Christian leaders should be intentional, employing a biblical worldview as they interpret, process, and respond to what is happening around them.
- Habits – Christian leaders should choose the types of habits they want to cultivate that will support who they are in Christ and who they want to become.
Christian leaders, Jesus didn’t come to be our example; He came to be our substitute. This leadership transformation is not about salvation. It’s about living in freedom, loving others we are leading because we have been loved. It’s being intentional in defining the type of leader you want to be and asking the Holy Spirit to lead you on the journey.
We are in a unique time in history and have the power available to enable us to help businesses and people, regardless of their beliefs. Christ elevated others, provided true justice, and showed us what servant leadership really is. It is unnatural, risky, and costly. It doesn’t guarantee success. And if we genuinely love and serve others, we open ourselves to being hurt. But as Christ demonstrated, the risk is worth it. So, we should feel empowered to heed His call to follow in His footsteps, trusting that He has our future in his hands.
My prayer for this moment in history is that Christian leaders will rise to demonstrate the power of the gospel to a world in need of E3 leaders—those who equip, empower, and encourage. I challenge us to anchor our identity in Christ, walk in our purpose, live our values, choose our worldview, and be intentional with our habits to become productive leaders who can be attractive to the world around us for the glory of God.