Two recent events in my life have come together to create some level of discouragement within me towards the state of the Church, primarily the state of those within the Church.
Case 1. In a phone conversation with a friend in ministry, he told me of a new ministry initiative that he had just started; a monthly men’s devotional / prayer breakfast. Having lukewarm success to begin, he related that he started a series on leadership, and used Stonewall Jackson, the great Confederate General in the War of Northern Aggression, as his point of departure in discussing leadership. Of course the tenets of leadership, and even Stonewall’s leadership were tied back to Biblical truths about the nature and practice true leadership. When he did this, "the men went nuts!" Future events will highlight "the leadership of _________________."
Case 2. A few days after the aforementioned conversation, I was invited with my wife to attend a small group conference at a local church where Dr. Richard Pratt, a respected OT professor was going to be speaking. On the first night, he too talked about leadership. In his introductory remarks, he said something to the effect that one might expect in talking about leadership, that he would speak about Christ. But he was not going to do this. He said that many times, we (general church laity as this was the majority of those in attendance) feel a huge disconnect in comparing ourselves to the example of Christ because we know that Christ was The human being, par excellance, and with that knowledge there is a huge "distance" we feel in relating to Him in His humanity. So instead, Dr. Pratt chose to speak on David, a man with whom we could more readily "relate" since David was broken and fallen like we are.
These two events are clearly related. You host a Bible study or a men’s prayer breakfast or speak to a group of small group leaders to talk about Jesus, His life, His leadership, His temptations, His ministry, His childhood, His experience of the human condition and the real or anticipated result? Yawn! Talk about Stonewall Jackson, Winston Churchill, Robert E. Lee, David, Moses, Esther, Ruth or any other "human" figure, and now you have some interested people! I think that is sad and a serious indictment of the cold, dead, passionless hearts we have towards Christ.
To hear Dr. Pratt explain this tendency, we simply and naturally feel "distance" or some level of disconnect from Jesus’ experiences because He was so far above us in His living of the human life. I understand the point Dr. Pratt was making and do not totally disagree with the observation. There certainly is that sense in which we can never be the human being Christ was because though He was tempted in every way as we are, He never succumbed to sin like we do. However, Scripture clearly teaches us in spite of this reality, to look to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Heb 12:2).
However distant or far removed I might feel or perceive myself to be, Jesus said in John 13:15 (ESV) . . . I have given you an example (washing his disciples feet), that you also should do just as I have done to you. That is leadership! That is an example that truly will be blessed of God if we will follow in it! Jesus is exactly THE positive example we are to emulate, to try to become.
What about the lessons we can learn from Godly men and women who were "broken" and "flawed" like us? Are their stories not instructive to our understanding of such topics as leadership? Am I excluding the OT as irrelevant? Of course not. However, Scripture says they primarily serve as negative examples, left for us to not do what they did.
1 Cor. 10:6 (ESV) Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.
1 Cor. 10:11-13 (ESV) Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.  Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.  No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Can I learn positive things from David, Moses, Joshua, Stonewall Jackson, Ronald Reagan, John Wooden? (See stuff I’m reading). Sure! But to never bring Jesus into the equation as The One we look to as the perfecter of our faith which must needs be a part of how I lead, indeed must needs be a part of everything I do, is probably a great mistake.
An important part of theology that is apparently lost in our understanding is the humanity of Christ and how that humanity creates a conduit for relating, for emulation, for motivation to be as God would have us to be. His humanity makes Him able to sympathize with our weakness, to draw us out of it, to cause us to rise above it as we come confidently before His throne for the grace and mercy that accomplishes that very thing, Christ-likeness in our lives (Heb 4).
I love reading leadership books. I really do. I’m reading one now. My bookshelf is full of them. My desire however is that I and those I lead, learn to have a heart and a mind like Christ did on earth, and that our practice will reflect that. That our passions would be far more ignited and that our minds would be far more intrigued by the study and discussion of Christ, than it is about Vince Lombardi, or Teddy Roosevelt. That He is the starting place and the ending place as far as inspiring leaders, inspiring examples, inspiring figures go. I hope that is your desire as well, and that His example will become your practice of life.
Together by His grace it will.