A Radical Call for Extra-Mile Leadership

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An incident on the way home from Chicago to Kelowna, BC last week has reminded me yet again why extra-mile leadership should be the benchmark for all Christian leaders.

My son was flying home from the U.S. version of The Global Leadership Summit, when a flight delay in Toronto meant he’d miss his connection flight in Calgary. The result would be spending the night in Alberta.

But when his flight landed in Calgary an Air Canada employee whisked him off the plane before everyone else, raced him across the airport in a golf cart, handed him a new boarding pass, and told him that they had held up for him a flight to Vancouver. From there he would be put on another flight that would get him home to Kelowna that same night.

That was going the extra mile.

But as impressive and appreciated as this was, for Christian leaders that should simply be normal.

You see, when Jesus talked about going the extra mile it was a challenge to a level of servanthood so scandalous it would have caused many in his time the extra mileto consider abandoning their faith.

Under Roman oppression one of the humiliating realities for the Jewish people was that any Roman soldier could, on a moment’s notice, command a Jewish citizen to drop what they were doing and carry the solder’s belongings from one town to the next.

However, there was a limitation to the law; the soldier could only command the citizen to carry his belongings for one mile.

It was into this demeaning reality that Jesus challenged his followers to a whole new level of servanthood.

He said that the mark of his followers would be that, “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.” (Matt 5:41) You can imagine the shockwaves that sent out.

What are some principles that can help you live out extra-mile leadership?

  • Understand the expectations of others, and then surpass them.
  • Don’t expect favour in exchange for going the extra mile.
  • Live with a Colossians 3:23 mentality, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.”

That’s leading like Jesus. And that’s the kind of leadership that leaves a God-honouring mark on everything you do.

How do you live out extra-mile leadership? What results have you seen?

the author

Scott Cochrane


  1. Great reminder for me today as I head into the weekend.

    Some things that came to my mind was how important it is to really know what the expectations are of you. I’ve often heard people say how hard they work to meet expectations they thought existed only to realize afterwards, that there were different metrics in place.

    Also, in our culture, it’s counter-cultural to not expect favour. That was a great word!
    Thanks for another leadership lesson – much appreciated 🙂

  2. Thanks Rick. It’s a lot easier to write this stuff than it is to live it! 🙂 But, like you, I’m on the journey.

    Like you, I find that the currency of our culture is often ‘favour’; the implicit expectation that “If I do something for you, you’ll do something for me.”

    It’s tough to swim against that current, isn’t it!

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