(Photo: Ken Blanchard)
The world is in desperate need of a new leadership role model, says a popular author and business expert, who wants to fill that gap by offering an adaption of his Lead Like Jesus book and program called "Ignite" to high school students.
"With Ignite we are going to challenge them to love and serve others as Jesus did," Ken Blanchard, cofounder and Chief Spiritual Officer of The Ken Blanchard Companies, told The Christian Post. "That means leading and bringing out the greatness of others like he did.
"We hope that in leading like Jesus they will begin to have an impact in their homes, their schools, their churches, their communities, in the world, because the world is in desperate need of a different leadership role model," Blanchard explained. "We've seen what self-serving leaders have done in every segment of our society, not only here but around the world. Jesus models servant leadership; he says, 'I have come to serve, not to be served.' When he washed the feet of the disciples, he symbolized that this is what we are supposed to do."
Blanchard contends that poor leadership decisions in the business sector, in politics, and even on school campuses make headlines every day. Therefore, the legacy of leadership skills being handed down to the emerging generation of students is potentially grim.
The solution, he says, is that high school students can be equipped to change the world by learning leadership practices modeled after the best leader in history – Jesus Christ.
"I found out he was the greatest leadership role model of all time but they weren't teaching it in the divinity schools or churches, and I suddenly realized why the Lord had given me some fame and notoriety," said Blanchard, whose "lead like Jesus" principles are taught by nearly 650 trainers in 40 nations around the world.
He, along with his Lead Like Jesus co-author Phil Hodges, believe that high school students have a huge potential for leadership greatness.
"What we want the kids to understand is that leadership happens anytime you are influencing the thinking and behaviors of another person," Blanchard told CP. "They did not realize that you don't need position power to lead. A lot of times they think that if 'I'm not a principal or a coach or a teacher or a parent that I don't really have any power, I can't influence anybody.' They absolutely can because that's what leadership is."
Ignite contains curriculum that includes a CD, DVD, a student guide and a leader's guide. Blanchard feels that it is a way for his generation to give to the next and teach lessons that may not have been given to many before.
The lessons, which include key aspects of leading like Jesus, are video based and given in a way that high school students like to learn, he said. Topics covered in the series focus on the Heart, Head, Hands, and Habits of a leader, and answer questions like: Who will I follow? How am I edging God out? How do I exalt God only? Where am I headed? How do I develop people? How do I stay connected with God?
Blanchard said he feels that many Christian leaders often unnecessarily pull the "hell card" right away in their teachings. "They forget that Jesus said 'I came to give abundant life' as well. That's what I really hope. My hope is that by studying and learning to live and lead like Jesus that it will impact them on a daily basis. I think that will really increase their faith."
He added, "I think the next great evangelist movement is going to be demonstration, not proclamation. If we want people to believe what we do" is the right path to take in life, then Christians should behave differently.
On the Web: www.ignitestudentleadership.com