So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
– John 1:14 (NLT)
The fact that God appeared in human form sparks my amazement more than anything else at Christmas time—Emmanuel: God with us.
This truth struck me again as I recently tried to explain it to my kids. God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden. For centuries, He spoke through prophets. Then He fell silent—for 400 years! Imagine what that felt like…
The people of God desperately cried “O come, O come, Emmanuel.” And then, it happened. Jesus appeared; not in an expected way, but in the form of a baby. He wasn’t birthed into a royal family, but to a simple woman engaged to a humble carpenter. Yet, He arose as the most influential figure in all of history!
What might this mean for leadership?
So often, we think of leaders as the “Big Man,” the Chief, or the person in charge. But as I suggested in a previous post (Called vs. Qualified), what if the most influential leadership stems from the lowest levels of society?
When Peters and Waterman first wrote about the principle of “Management by Walking Around” (In Search of Excellence, 1982), it struck the 1980s business world as a novel concept. The principle ultimately transformed innovative companies like Hewlett-Packard and Apple. MBWA simply means to seek intentional incarnation—face-to-face, ground-level interaction with those you lead.
Did not Jesus influence followers this way?
To glean the greatest impact, leaders often maximize connection with key influencers, often at the expense of “lower-rank” people within their spheres. While Jesus engaged with a number of “high-level” leaders in society, they usually sought Him. Instead, He seemed to focus His attention on prostitutes, con artists and paraplegics.
What would it look like for us to seek deeper incarnation in our places of work/ministry? Who might greatly benefit from a pop-in, or invitation to coffee? I suggest the investment will be well worth your time.
Lead Faculty, B.A. in Christian Leadership