Follow the Leader: An interview with Phyllis Hennecy Hendry

Learning How to Follow and Lead Like Jesus

Christian Leadership Alliance President and CEO Tami Heim recently interviewed Phyllis Hennecy Hendry, president and CEO of Lead Like Jesus. Today’s post is an excerpt from the full article which can be found in the 2018 Spring Edition of Outcomes Magazine.

Phyllis Hennecy Hendry serves as the inaugural president and CEO of Lead Like Jesus, a global leadership ministry headquartered in Spartanburg, SC. She is the co-author of the recently released Lead Like Jesus Revisited (Thomas Nelson, 2016).

Phyllis Hennecy Hendry is a highly sought speaker, regularly travelling across the U.S. and around the world to deliver the hope-filled, love inspired, story laden, and deeply personal messages. She will be a keynote thought leader speaking at The Outcomes Conference, April 17 – 19, 2018 in Dallas.

What are some of the things we can learn by observing Jesus as a leadership model?

My key learning comes from Jesus himself. Jesus said that he could not do anything on his own. I am doggedly determined and consistently persistent; without Jesus’ example, I can push things through with my own strength at least for a while. Jesus continues to teach me that though I have responsibility to do all I can do, I must wait on the Father and only do what he is doing.

What would the world look like if Christian leaders were truly leading like Jesus?

If we want the world to look different, we must be different. Our picture of a leader leading like Jesus might surprise some. Maybe you think a leader must be a CEO of an organization, or tall or naturally charming. Certainly, some leaders have those characteristics, but our picture of a leader also includes the frail-looking woman who has taught Sunday School for 30 years; the person who coaches a community ball team, and the person who comes to work on time every day and elevates the room because of who they are and the excellent work they do. If we lead like Jesus moment to moment, even in the hardest places of our lives, the world will see Jesus and be drawn to him.

If a leader wants to start leading more like Jesus today, what would you recommend as a good first step?

Jesus said in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the one true God, and Jesus Christ who you have sent.” In Scripture, the word “know” is experiential knowledge. Our relationship with God through Jesus is always interactive. The place to start leading like Jesus is to get to know him – experience him as you wake up and thank him for a new day, for your family, for good work to do. Be intentional about making space to grow your relationship with him as you study Scripture, talk to him and rest in him. Leading like Jesus requires leaders who are intimately connected to the Father and surrendered to him as Jesus modeled for us. Remembering that Jesus is not only the model we are to follow, but that Jesus himself is the source to become more like the model.

How would you encourage other Christian nonprofit leaders in growing their organization’s impact in the world?

A key to having “impact” is developing great leaders to complete the mission. I am strongly convinced that as Christian nonprofits, we must live and lead aligned to the example of Jesus and be excellent in all the ways critical to complete our mission. If we do both, there will be impact not only for our mission, but for the kingdom of God.


The Outcomes Conference 2018 is right around the corner. Join us April 17-19, 2018 in Dallas, Texas for the most comprehensive leadership training event of the year. Members of Christian Leadership Alliance that register four leaders at one time earn a fifth registration FREE. Come and connect with others who share your passion and learn more about how to Lead Like Jesus!

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