21 Irrefutable Reasons Why Jesus Christ is the Greatest Leader of All Time

He started a faith that now has more than 2 billion followers and lasted 2,000 years.  Jesus Christ epitomized the consummate servant leader. In fact, leadership guru Ken Blanchard said it best:

“The more I read the Bible, the more evident it becomes that everything I have ever taught or written about effective leadership over the past 25 years, Jesus did to perfection. He is simply the greatest leadership role model of all time.”

My friends Ryan Eller and Jerrod Murr at Live Your List proved my point. For the last several months, they conducted a Leader vs. Leader tournament where each leader was seeded according to their leadership ability. Each match-up was voted by people all around the world to determine the greatest leader of all time. As expected, Jesus Christ emerged victorious.

In the classic John Maxwell fashion, here are 21 irrefutable reasons (laws) why Jesus Christ is the greatest leader of all time.

1. The Law of the Lid: Leadership ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness.

  • John 1:35-37 ― John the Baptist knew Jesus could lead his disciples further than he could.
  • John 6:66-68 ― Peter confessed the disciples had no better leader to whom to turn.

2. The Law of Influence: The true measure of leadership is influence ― nothing more, nothing less.

  • Matthew 4:18-20 ― Jesus called his disciples who left everything to follow him.
  • John 11:47-48 ― The Pharisees feared that if Jesus continued, everyone would follow him.

3. The Law of Process: Leadership develops daily, not in a day.

  • Luke 2:52 ― Jesus continued to grow in wisdom, stature and favor with God and men.
  • Hebrews 5:7-9 ― Although he was God’s Son, Jesus grew and learned through suffering.

4. The Law of Navigation: Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course.

  • Matthew 10:1-23 ― Jesus gave specific direction in sending out his disciples.
  • Luke 14:25-35 ― Jesus taught the value of planning and calculating one’s resources.

5. The Law of the Picture: People do what people see.

  • Matthew 10:24-25; John 15:5-20 ― Jesus taught followers soon look like their leader.
  • Matthew 14:22-23 ― When Jesus walked on water, Peter imitated him and attempted it.

6. The Law of Solid Ground: Trust is the foundation of leadership.

  • Matthew 17: 24-27 ― To prevent offending anyone, Jesus paid even the smallest tax.
  • Matthew 22:15-46 ― Jesus debated enemies and answered questions with integrity.

7. The Law of Respect: People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves.

  • Matthew 3:11-15 ― John the Baptist acknowledged Jesus’ superiority over his ministry.
  • Matthew 8:5-10 ― A centurion sought out Jesus, knowing his authority over all things.

8. The Law of Intuition: Leaders evaluate everything with a leadership bias.

  • Matthew 9:35-38 ― Jesus saw the masses and discerned how to reach them.
  • Luke 5:1-11 ― Jesus saw Simon’s leadership potential when he didn’t see it himself.

9. The Law of Magnetism: Who you are is who you attract.

  • Mark 10:28-31 ― Peter reminded Jesus that he left everything, just as Christ did.
  • John 17:13-21 ― Jesus confessed the similarities and unity of the men God gave them.

10. The Law of Connection: Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.

  • Luke 8:22-9:1 ― Jesus met the needs of his disciples, a demoniac and Jairus ― then sent them out.
  • John 4:7-26 ― Jesus connected with a Samaritan woman right where she lived.

11. The Law of the Inner Circle: A leader’s potential is determined by those closest to him.

  • Luke 9:1- 10:42 ― Jesus sent out the Twelve and the 70, who multiplied his impact.
  • John 17:1-26 ― Jesus spent a night praying for the success of his inner circle.

12. The Law of Empowerment: Only secure leaders give power to others.

  • John 13:1-20 ― Jesus felt secure enough to wash feet and send men out to do the same.
  • Luke 10:1-24 ― Jesus gave his power away to the 70 so they could serve others.

13. The Law of Addition: Leaders add value by serving others.

  • John 13:1-17 ― Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and gave an example of adding value.
  • Matthew 14:21-31 ― Jesus sought solitude but continued to serve others and meet needs.

14. The Law of Buy-In: People buy into the leader, then the vision.

  • Luke 5:3-11 ― Jesus built his team before they understood the details of his vision.
  • Luke 9:57-62 ― Jesus confronted men who followed him before they knew his vision.

15. The Law of Victory: Leaders find a way for the team to win.

  • Matthew 14:13-33 ― Jesus found a way to feed the masses and saved his disciples on the ship.
  • Mark 16:1-20 ― Jesus’ resurrection surprised everyone and restored their hope.

16. The Law of the Big Mo: Momentum is a leader’s best friend.

  • Mark 1:40-45 ― Jesus’ fame spread until he couldn’t even enter a public place.
  • John 12:9-19 ― After Lazarus’s resuscitation, it seemed the whole world sought Jesus.

17. The Law of Priorities: Leaders understand that activity is not necessarily accomplishment.

  • Mark 1:32-38 ― Jesus ministered all night, then got alone and decided to move on.
  • Luke 10:38-42 ― Jesus narrowed Martha’s to-do list to one key priority.

18. The Law of Sacrifice: A leader must give up to go up.

  • Matthew 20:20-28 ― Jesus demonstrated that if you want to be great, you have to serve.
  • John 10:10-18 ― Jesus willingly laid down his life for his sheep.

19. The Law of Timing: When to lead is as important as what to do and where to go.

  • John 7:6-8 ― Jesus knew when his time had come to reveal the kingdom.
  • John 11:1-6 ― When Lazarus got sick, Jesus waited to visit him until after he had died.

20. The Law of Explosive Growth: To add growth, leader followers; to multiply, lead leaders.

  • Mark 16:15-20 ― Jesus trained and sent leaders, expecting them to reach the world.
  • John 14:12 ― Jesus prepared the Twelve to do greater works than he did.

21. The Law of Legacy: A leader’s lasting value is measured by succession.

  • Acts 1:6-8 ― Jesus’ most important words were his last ones to the next generation.
  • Acts 17:1-6 ― The apostles’ reputation spread: They turned the world upside down.

  • This is a unique way to look at Jesus, he truly is the best leader, maybe that’s why he’s also called the King of Kings! I would add one more law to your list, the law of love. No one loved his followers more than Jesus!

  • Art Stott

    Dear Paul,
    Thanks for your thoughful blog.
    Jesus was / is our best possible leader and leadership mentor.
    I like most of Mr. Maxwell’s writing with the exception of his use of the word “Law” to describe his observations and recommendations. We probably don’t want to emulate the groups that Jesus rebuked for their use of “The Law” (and “their Laws”) to control others.
    You may find that a better choice of words to describe the christian leadership principles, we can all observe and participate in, would be “principles”.
    Blessings Art

    • True Art, we don’t want to become lawmakers like the religious leaders in Jesus time. I took the word “law” in this context to mean “principle.”

  • These are some great lessons. Love the correlation. Keep writing great content!

  • Steven Tessler

    Great post! Loved this tournament. Learned a lot and your post makes even more interesting!!

    Thank you for what you do!

  • Amazing that the world’s greatest leader led by laying down his life. Convicting.

  • Scott Friend

    Paul, fantastic article! I’ve made reference myself to why Christ was absolutely the greatest leader as well. What a humble man He was and what a great mentor He still is.

  • Outstanding… a WWJD Leadership model… doesn’t get any better than that!