A Question for All Leaders: Will You Make it Safe? (Conclusion)

In Part 1 of this post series, I introduced the question that is one of the most important ones followers ask of leaders – whether they vocalize it or not. “Will you make it safe for me or will I have to defend myself?”

In Part 2, I zeroed in on the first good answer to the question: I will make it safe because I will earn your trust over and over again.

In Part 3, the focus was on the second good answer to that question: I will make it safe because I will not impose a threat when you take risks and fail. 

In this concluding post in the series, I’ll write about the third and final good answer.

And it starts, as does everything worth considering, with Jesus.

Think about the number of times that Jesus would have been fully justified in rolling his eyes at his followers – his chosen disciples. Think about the times we would have given them the pink slip, had we been in His position, and He didn’t.

  • He rebukes them for their cowardice during a storm on a boat (Mark 4:35-41).
  • He has to correct them when they keep children from reaching him (Matthew 19:14).
  • He refers to Peter as “satan” when Peter entirely misses the point about his purpose (Matthew 16:23).
  • He has to correct two of his closest disciples – James and John – when they go for a power grab (Mark 10:37).
  • He gets left alone at Jacob’s well so all of his men could make a food run (John 4:7).
  • And on and on.

You get the idea. Sometimes, his disciples were people of great faith and courage. Other times they seemed to be a few fries short of a happy meal.

Yet, to the end, the Lord was their friend, and He was their leader. He never gave up on them, always extending mercy, until He demonstrated the ultimate form of servant leadership looking down on a few of them from the cross.

And that brings me to the third and final important answer to the question: Will you make it safe?


The Leader's Answer #3: I will make it safe because I will work to foster a culture of
 both accountability and grace. 

Yes, we are called to be slaves and bondservants – to Always excel in the work you do for the Lord. You know that the hard work you do for the Lord is not pointless (1 Cor 15:58). There’s a call to work, to serve, to be fruitful. So leaders in Christ are not wishy washy or foolish in their guiding others. Expectations are part of the process, as long as they are Jesus-centered.

Yet there is another metaphor, that perhaps deserve more of a leader’s attention. Those who follow Christ are also referred to as sheep – subjects of such poignant references as the gentle one in Isaiah 40:11a in which we’re reminded that “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.” The heart of Jesus is the heart of a shepherd. Perhaps that is why He endured so much error from His disciples but never quit them.

His kindness led them, His grace sustained them.

In the end, that must be the model of the Christian leader – always ready to forgive, to look for the best, to love, to make it safe.


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