Skip to content

Defy Success…And Live Like Jesus By R. Scott Rodin

This week, I am breaking down the five surefire ways you can lose your reputation as a leader…and live like Jesus.

  1. Fail to live up to other’s expectations
  2. Tell the truth
  3. Don’t defend yourself
  4. Defy success
  5. Lead by waiting for God’s timing in everything

Today, I review the fourth way of leading in obedience to Christ, which will require you to become a leader of no reputation.

(4) Defy success.

Perhaps a better heading would be ‘redefine success.’ Read through the Gospels and see how many times Jesus redefined what people thought of as success. It was a consistent mantra with him to apply a kingdom ethic to the social issues of the day. Jesus taught kingdom values and applied them wherever he went, making him an offense to some and a laughingstock to others.

Jesus praised peacemakers in a world of violence and oppression. He said the meek would inherit the earth when only the powerful were in control. He equated lust with adultery and hatred with murder. He urged people to walk the extra mile, turn the other cheek, pray for enemies, and love their neighbors – even the Samaritans. Jesus’ formula for success flew in the face of everything the present world represented.

Jesus changed the success metrics and turned upside down the traits to be emulated and the values to be pursued. He did it at a very high price. He offended the religious leaders, disappointed the zealots, amused the Romans, and infuriated the overly pious. And he did it all by redefining the abundant life they were all seeking but not finding.

  • How do you define success for your organization as a leader?
  • How closely is that definition aligned with a secular one?
  • Is it composed of financial gain, more extensive staff, increase in influence, etc?
  • How about your definition of success?
  • Is it tied up in accomplishments, accolades, approval, and advancement?
  • The bottom line question is, to what extent do kingdom values drive your definitions of success?
  • How radical would a change occur if they were your only terms of measurement?

In the end, leading according to kingdom values begins with us. It is intensely personal because it asks us to redefine success as we see it in our own eyes and measure it in our hearts. As the power of the Holy Spirit transforms us, we become free to visit our role in a new light.

As kingdom values begin to drive us, we will lead organizations toward achieving kingdom goals. When we do, we will face a torrent of pushback from those who believe that success in doing God’s work is nothing more than applying good secular models with a few Bible verses thrown in. Your reputation will be compromised for them as you seek to lead according to values that often run headlong into the world’s practices and definitions.

Under kingdom values, everything we have known is called into question: HR policies, budgeting, endowment keeping, fundraising, program assessment, board governance, marketing and communications, and even how we manage our facilities and grounds.

As a leader, are you willing to set aside your reputation and accept the challenge of redefining every area of your organization according to kingdom values? Can you dare to do anything less?


Dr. Scott Rodin has been in not-for-profit leadership and consulting for twenty-five years. He has served as counsel to over 100 organizations across the country and in Canada and Great Britain, including colleges, seminaries, schools, churches, para-church ministries, and other not-for-profit organizations. Visit his blog at Kingdom Life Publishing.



What is Christian Leadership Alliance?

Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

Upcoming Events

Check back later!