The world hates weakness. The world does not admire weakness in a leader. Leader typically defends, denies, excuses, or hides weakness in themselves. But Jesus flips this thinking on its head.
Jesus calls us to lead through our weakness.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; (1 Corinthians 1:27 ESV)
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV)
And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, (1 Corinthians 2:3 ESV)
The world loves to talk of strong and powerful leaders. Jesus, however, points us to another way. Jesus demonstrates that true power lies not in our own hands or minds, but in our weakness.
Weakness is key to God’s power. It’s a matter of seeing correctly. An Upside Down leader, leading through weakness, can see God as He is and see themselves as they truly are. This is the basis of effective Christian leadership and is at the heart of an Upside Down Leader.
Know God and know yourself.
The world will go so far as to say to leaders that they should admit their weakness. The world half-heartedly encourages leaders to admit their weakness only so that they may discover work-arounds or fix the weakness. The world would never be grateful for weakness. But the Upside Down Leader is grateful for their weakness.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)
Why be grateful for weakness you might ask?
Guarantees God’s Help
First, weakness guarantees God’s help. The Bible tells us that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. Paul reminds us that with God when we are weak, we are strong. How much would we depend on God if we had no weakness? No, weakness guarantees that God will make us strong through our weakness.
Second, weakness in a leader prevents arrogance. Weakness gets our attention. It keeps us dependent and encourages self-evaluation because we are ask ourselves, “What is wrong?” Thorns get our attention. Weak leaders have a thorn but realize that God’s grace is sufficient.
Third, weakness causes a leader to value to others. They realize that prominence does not equal significance. They understand that it is often the unseen people in a church or ministry that are the most essential.
On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, (1 Corinthians 12:22 ESV)
Expands Their Ministry
Fourth, weakness expands a leader’s ministry. They realize that others experience healing through their wounds. The life message of an Upside Down Leader will most often come out their own mess, their testimony out of a test. A leader who has been hurt deeply can help deeply with others who are hurting deeply.
Finally, a leader realizes the power in sharing openly about their weaknesses because they have learned a valuable lesson— sharing strengths creates competition, but sharing weakness creates community. People don’t relate to perfect leaders. People relate to leaders who are human.