1. Leaders Identify with Others
Paul called early Christians “brother” even when he was admonishing them — which he often did, as he worked to explain God’s enduring love and Christ’s saving sacrifice on the cross. Consider Paul’s critical task; to grow the new Church and to spread Jesus’ message to all mankind. Paul took this task seriously, and also took seriously his leadership role.
In calling others “brother” and “sister” Paul immediately shows, with a simple affectionate salutation, that he does not feel himself above the people, but instead, with the people. Leaders today could do well to emulate Paul; a good leader encourages and supports others, but never puts himself personally above others.
Paul was also a loving leader, concerned for his team. In 2 Corinthians 2:13, Paul writes, "I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said goodbye to them and went on to Macedonia.”
Here’s the backstory: With some anguish, Paul had written a letter to tell the Corinthians, telling them that they must correct a man among them (we don’t know what this man had done, but it was likely something against Paul or the Gospel). Paul had earlier sent Titus, himself an early missionary and church leader, ahead with this letter that grieved him to write, and he was expecting to meet Titus in the town of Troas, a Greek city located on the Aegean Sea, to learn the Corinthians' response to it.
Paul did not find Titus in Troas, however. His co-worker in ministry was missing, causing Paul to feel “restless in his spirit.” Was Paul worried that something bad had befallen Titus? Was this a concern for their ministry? Unable to concentrate on the ministry, Paul returned to Macedonia.
Paul shows concern for his brother — a man who was essentially his co-worker — in spreading the gospel. And in 1 Corinthians 4:17, he calls another brother in Christ, Timothy, his “son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord.” Paul led from the heart; a heart for Christ, and a heart for his fellow man.
If you are a leader today, are you identifying with those you lead as individuals? And do you feel care and concern in your heart for them? If those you lead feel you care about their lives, they will often move heaven and earth to get things done for you. As President Ronald Reagan once said, "The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things." You cannot do this without identifying with those you lead.