Characteristics of a Leader

A week ago I attended a conference aimed at helping churches do a better job of helping people grow and impact their communities.  It was a very positive and productive conference, and while the conference was not primarily about leadership–some of my key “takeaways” were related to leadership.

As I listen to, interacted with and observed leaders from a variety of churches, I was reminded how important leaders are to the ministry of the church.

As Paul traveled on his missionary journeys, he mentored leaders. As Paul planted churches he appointed leaders.  And through involvement and letters he trained them.  He set very high standards for leaders.

But not only does the Bible establish high standards for leaders, it put requirements on followers.

A passage that is difficult for American, born and raised in a democratic society to accept is Hebrews 13:17.  “Obey” is not what we want to hear.

The author establishes that requirement based on a principle illustrated in the Old Testament and affirmed in the New Testament–divinely delegated leadership.

While God is the sovereign Ruler He has delegated leadership responsibilities within government, the church and home.  Three spheres in which He place high standards on the leaders and responsibilities on the followers.

Within the church leadership standards are high–“without reproach” and “blameless” being the overarching requirements.

Along with the scriptural instructions, I want to make three observations about good leaders.

Good leaders are authentic–they don’t pretend, they don’t seek to elevate themselves.  They are able to share their struggles.
Good leaders are purposeful–they are not manipulated by people, but understand God’s mandate on them.  Rather than fear man, they fear God.
Good leaders are passionate–they have within them a burning desire to honor God, build up people and cause change. This causes them to want to evaluate everything regularly to seek better ways to serve and honor God and His people.

This has challenged me to look at my own leadership and see where I need to improve.  Where have I allowed the fear of man, the need for success or the fear of failure to keep me from leading in the direction that God desires?

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