CHRIST-CENTERED LEADER MODEL
BYU Sorensen Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership
At Brigham Young University, we strive to emulate the Savior’s leadership and rely on the light of His Gospel to inform all that we do.1 As we study our Savior’s life and teachings, and seek to follow His example, we gain a deeper love for others, magnify our service as leaders, and assist God in His work of salvation and exaltation.
Christ-centered leadership helps God’s children progress along the covenant path toward eternal life (Moses 1:39). As Christ-centered leaders we draw upon eternal principles of love, agency, and accountability to cultivate our relationships with and responsibilities to God, His children, self, and our stewardships. In these relationships and responsibilities, we look to the Savior as the perfect role model for our development and the source of our strength and power (Doctrine & Covenants 6:36).
God. The first great commandment is to love God (Matt 22:37-39). As Christ-centered leaders, we do this by coming unto Christ, letting God prevail in our lives, keeping His commandments, and building a solid foundation on His eternal truths as revealed in scripture and through living prophets. We access God’s power by making and keeping covenants with Him. We learn to trust Him, to prayerfully seek inspiration, and to be guided by the Holy Ghost. We cherish the gift of repentance, serve His children, and consecrate our talents to His work (Jacob 4:10; 2 Nephi 10:23-24; Alma 37:37; Moses 1:39).
God’s Children. Christ-centered leaders inspire, nurture, and communicate in a way that teaches eternal truths and helps others flourish. We develop charity, love, empathy, meekness2, discernment, and compassion in our service to all while honoring agency and inviting accountability. We empower and serve others, counsel together, find common ground, and create belonging to accomplish shared goals. This follows the second great commandment to “…love thy neighbor as thyself” exemplified by the Savior (e.g., Matthew 22:39; Doctrine and Covenants 121; 1 Corinthians 12).
Self. As children of God, we have unique spiritual gifts and an eternal potential for growth. As Christ-centered leaders, we strive to discover and develop our distinct talents and seek the gifts of the Spirit. We welcome feedback to understand our weaknesses, and exercise faith in the Savior’s grace to make them into strengths (e.g., Ether 12:27; Moroni 10; 1 Corinthians 12). Although we all fall short of the Savior’s perfect example, we strive to develop Christlike attributes, such as integrity, humility, meekness, gratitude, perseverance, and faith. As we develop our distinct gifts, seek continual improvement, and root out biases, we become equipped to lead in a way that is particular to us individually, and consistent with God’s commandments and our divine potential.
Stewardships. As Christ-centered leaders, we have stewardships that may involve formal or informal responsibilities in various organizations such as our families, congregations, schools, communities, and jobs. When we understand the opportunities, expectations, constraints, and demands of our work, we can direct our actions toward righteous goals (Doctrine and Covenants 4). We prepare by developing essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118). Preparation increases capacity and instills courage and confidence to lead when challenging circumstances arise (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30). We find purpose and meaning as we consecrate our capabilities and gifts within our stewardships.
As we develop as leaders, we learn to balance inherent tensions among these relationships, responsibilities, and principles with the conviction that all can be reconciled in Christ (Ephesians 1:10). Learning to lead like Christ is a continual journey that requires us to rely on Him and His Atonement. When our leadership is centered on Christ, we build Zion in preparation for the Savior’s return.
1 See BYU Mission and Aims and BYU Core Brand especially “As disciples of Jesus Christ, BYU graduates are motivated by love for God and His children. BYU graduates are directed by living prophets and prepared to serve, lift, and lead.
2 https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/david-a-bednar/walk-meekness-spirit/ Elder Bednar (2017): “Meekness is not weak, timid, or passive. Meekness is the quality of being God-fearing, righteous, teachable, patient in suffering, and willing to follow gospel teachings”