Walking in Reflection Leadership Lessons from Holy Week

By Rita Bergsma  |  April 15th

I have been blessed by moments of pause and reflection, ‘I wonder’ opportunities, as I have read Jim McKenzie’s devotionals during this past season of Lent and in particular throughout Holy Week. Throughout His time on earth, Christ modelled leadership with an innately loving and humble posture. Although the primary focus in the redemptive story of Easter remains on the unimaginable depth of God’s love and sacrifice for humanity, I am intrigued and drawn to Christ’s incomparable story of leadership.

As I listened, read, and reflected on Christ’s journey through Holy week, I paused in spaces of ‘I wonder’ moments that apply to my personal journey in leadership, and perhaps to yours:

1. I wonder if I am rushing to the celebration alone rather than being intentional in hearing the voice of others.

Christ’s journey was a painful one filled with sorrow and struggle, and I stand in awe. I know that the lessons learned are not for Christ’s sake. They are entirely for my benefit and allow me to come to understand that I do not walk alone. At the Edvance Spring Leadership Conference last year, Tod Bolsinger pointed out that many of our own personal lessons are learned in these spaces of risk and pain that can be emotionally and physically draining. There is intentionality in God’s story and Christ’s journey to that space of celebration and resurrection that give us hope in the midst of my own struggles.

Tod Bolsinger writes, “The discipline of learning to look, gain greater perspective, and understand the bigger picture in the midst of action is a critical skill both for wise action and for developing resilience. Maintaining one’s principles in the face of adversity create inner fortitude to carry on.”1 Christ’s journey was filled with intentionality and purpose. Easter is a reminder of the fulfillment of God’s story and that Christ’s suffering is for me, and He is forever with me as I live God’s story. This is not a journey that I take alone. There is wisdom and counsel in Biblical reflection and in the variety of community spaces God has intentionally placed me in.

2. I wonder if I am leading with humility and modeling the value of creating spaces of belonging where relationships on all levels are evident and gifts are celebrated.

Even in this journey to the cross, Jesus took time to foster relationships: Christ healed the sick, was concerned for the place of women and children in society, washed His disciples feet (including those of Judas Iscariot), was concerned about the ability of all people to worship as He flipped those temple tables, and even invited criminals to enter the presence of God while on the cross. His reaction to the taunting of others was one of patience and sadness. It makes me wonder who Christ might approach and spend time with if He came into “my” classroom spaces. I wonder whom I am not seeing through Christ’s eyes.

3. I wonder if I am pausing to seek ‘Holy ground’ and rely on God’s strength and wisdom rather than my own.

Jesus spent time alone with God prior to what may have been the most difficult and painful part of His journey on earth, His separation from God Himself. Perhaps it was an opportunity for Christ to experience heaven on earth and to gain the strength needed to fulfill the prophecies. There seems to be an allegorical relationship between the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane. Christ took this opportunity to dwell in the presence of God, heaven on earth. This is an incredible reminder for me to carve out time and place both individually and with my leadership partners to seek God and rely on God as a foundational pillar of my leadership.

The lessons of Christ’s journey to the cross are profound and I wonder how I can weave more of Christ into my daily work as a leader. I also wonder and welcome your reflections on Christ’s leadership throughout the Easter story. We find ourselves living God’s story in similar leadership roles that have a profound part to play in the bigger picture of God’s eternal story. I wonder how we can learn to navigate this better together. May God bless your journey as you educate and raise up young leaders for Christ in your spaces.


Rita Bergsma is the Seaway Valley Cohort Leader for Edvance, and Principal at Community Christian School in Metcalfe, ON.


1Tod Bolsinger. Tempered Resilience: How Leaders are Formed in the Crucible of Change