Effective Christian Leadership
Introduction: “We are God's work, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
God can use people with or without the appropriate natural abilities and backgrounds. God can and often chooses to work with raw materials. God equips and empowers those He chooses to do His work so that He does not have to call into leadership those who have the natural drive, training, or good leadership role models in their background. You don't have to use people who have taken on the role or are already popular. “Brothers, remember what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many of you were influential, not many of you were born noble. But God chose the fools of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong". (1 Corinthians 1:26-27) The disciples who became founding leaders of the Church were fishermen and tax collectors by trade. They were not highly educated or came from influential families. Some had strong, motivated personalities, some didn't.
- Be careful not to limit God. Take him seriously when he says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).
God prepares those he calls. The disciples spent three years with Jesus preparing to be the first leaders of the church, but even then they had to wait for the Holy Spirit to come in power on them before setting out on their own. God uses life experiences to form and train leaders. God uses life's experiences to develop perspectives and passions essential to the leadership He is called to be.
- Be careful not to shorten this preparation time out of impatience. God's ways and times are best.
God equips those he calls. God will use the way He created human beings and their spiritual gifts to lead them into the kind of leaders they should be.
What is leadership?
Leadership exercises true authority (in Christ).
• Experience, Ease, Skill: Understanding of the things of God
• A series of obedience and integrity
• It is used to build people up, to repair them, to serve them
• Evidenced by the conditions of the disciples
What are the characteristics of Christian leadership?
1. Intimacy with Christ
The first and most important thing Christian leaders need to do is build a strong, intimate relationship with God. In an article by Gordon MacDonald he says, "The formation of the soul that it may be a dwelling place for God is the chief work of the Christian leader." Developing this intimate relationship with God through daily prayer and careful Bible study is essential for Christian leaders of vital to being all they can be in God.
We see that Jesus modeled this retreat in a lonely place to join in prayer with his heavenly Father. In Mark 1:35 we see that he did it alone and in Mark 6:35 he called out the disciples from the crowd. As Christian leaders, we must follow Jesus' example to ensure that we withdraw from life and ministry to establish our connection with the Father. We find that our relationship with God grows and we allow him to speak to us. We can also learn from the scriptures and be guided as He wants us to lead those we oversee. I believe this time alone with God is critical to our growth, our search for direction, and our long-term survival from the pressures of ministry.
2. Spirit driven and passionate
Jesus lived his life and did everything with a clear purpose and was therefore moved by the Spirit (Mark 1:35-39; Luke 4:43; 5:32). He was concerned about the purpose for which his father had sent him into the world: that was his passion or top priority (John 4:31-34). His vision was sharp (not blurred), the target was clear, and he never let anything distract him from the target (Luke 12:13-14; 13:31-32). He was very clear in communicating the purpose for which he chose his disciples (Matthew 4:18-19; Mark 1:16-17; 3:13-14). He reiterated his purpose even before he ascended to heaven after his resurrection (Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:7-8). As they received the Holy Spirit and began their ministry, we noticed that they followed their teacher's example and lived spirit-directed and spirit-led lives. They let nothing, including the good things of ministry, distract them from the main thing that was their highest priority (see Acts 2:32-41, 47b; 3:11-16 and 19-20; 4:1-12; 5:41-6:7). The apostles did not deviate from their priorities: they learned from their Master the principle of keeping the main thing, the main thing. Paul also shows us that this is a key ingredient to successful Christian leadership. He had a very keen focus, was driven by a clear sense of purpose in both life and ministry, pursued his goal with tenacity, and finished his course (see 1 Corinthians 9:15-27; Gal. 2:1-10; Phil 3:7-14; 2 Timothy 3:10-11; 4:1-8). This is the pattern we are meant to follow and inspire others to follow.
3. Servant leaders
In order to learn what servant leadership really is, it is important that we follow Christ's command and example. In Matthew 20 and 23, Christ tells us that we must first lead in an attitude of service.
Matthew 20:26-28 But it will not be so among you; before that whoever wants to become important among you will be your servant. And whoever wants to be first among you must be your servant, just as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Matthew 23:11 But the greatest among you will be your servant.
In the Gospels we find that Jesus' disciples engaged in a dispute over who would be greatest among them (Luke 9:46-50; 22:24-30; Mark 9:33-37; 10:35- 45; Mt 20:20-28). They worried about themselves and their positions of power and authority. They measured greatness in positional terms and this led to a kind of "power struggle". However, Jesus teaches them not to be like the Gentile leaders who rule over them, but to be like Him and learn to lead through service (1 Peter 5:1-4). This is called "servant leadership". Jesus offers himself as a paradigm or model to follow. In this context we must consider the example of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples (John 13:1-17). In a Jewish family, this was the job of the lowest servant, so none of Jesus' disciples wanted to do it. So they entered with dusty and dirty feet. Then Jesus, knowing who he was under God, stood up and began washing their feet to give them a practical demonstration of "ministerial leadership." Recently it has become fashionable to talk or teach about it. But what we need now is not just more teaching, but more leaders who practice this leadership style.
True servant leaders know their strengths and weaknesses and surround themselves with people who have complementary skills and can compensate for their weaknesses. Servant leaders strive to enable others to do their best and to enable teamwork to advance their ministry. A true servant leader allows those around them to become great servant leaders too. True servant leaders invest in their associates and train them to serve others with the same humility they show to others. You commit to serve with humility and compassion and have a forgiving and generous heart. You are willing to make personal sacrifices for the well-being of others. They are ready to take on menial tasks, but like their leader, they always have a larger vision in mind.
An attitude of service does not imply a willingness to be abused by others or tolerance of exploitation. Ministerial leaders are not enablers for those who should help themselves. A true servant leader is disciplined in all aspects of life and knows that their first responsibility is to serve God and then others. Servant leaders must first and foremost please God; You are not driven only by the need to please others.
4. Character and Integrity
One of the keys to long-term, successful Christian leadership is a desire to live with character and integrity. At 1 Timothy 3:8-12 and Titus 1:5-9 he lists 24 characteristics to look for in Christian leaders. Some of these are good behavior, not being greedy for money, not drinking to excess, not being in a bad mood, just being self-control, being a responsible mayor, someone who keeps the word of God and has a good reputation in the church. . It tells us that these qualities should be evident in the lives of those called to Christian leadership. However, he is not saying that you have to be perfect to be in the Christian leadership. This is not possible as we are all human and we fail at times. However, they say these things should be obvious most of the time.
Integrity is "the quality or state of being of sound moral principles, sincerity, honesty, and sincerity." In today's world, "integrity" is not considered the most important thing in life and business. Paul says that it is the way of the world to say "Yes, yes" and "No, no" at the same time (2 Cor. 1:17). Paul follows the teaching of Jesus himself, who says: “Let your yes be yes and your no be no; everything else is from evil” (Matthew 5:37). We must be like this because our God is like this. We all know that in theory. In practice, however, it seems that Christians and Christian leaders are no different from others. It is painfully true for many of the top leaders, even in churches and parachurch organizations today. We can't be sure if what a Christian leader says is true or not, so we can't trust them. They don't turn out to be serious people who keep their word. What they say and what they carry and what they say and what they do mostly do not match. This lack of integrity in a leader breeds distrust, deception, or even hypocrisy among people, and such a leader does not command respect and does not lead in a Christian manner. Jesus spoke very sharply against "Pharisaic piety" which lacked integrity and warned his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy (cf. Lk 11:37-43; 12:1- 3). Jesus highlighted the lack of integrity between his teaching or preaching and his practice when he said, “So you must obey them and do as they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not do what they preach” (Mt 23:1-3). Even Paul exhorts Titus, a young leader, saying, “Show integrity in your teaching. . .” (Titus 2:6-8). When a leader's character is one of integrity, respect and cooperation arise, and he or she has a divine positive influence on others, and that is true leadership.
I firmly believe that as Christian leaders we must have the same obligation to live with character and integrity as the Bible says. We need a good testimony inside and outside the church and before God and men. Billy Graham put it perfectly when he said, "If I've done anything that has dishonored Christ, I'd rather he take me to heaven than I did."
The concept of risk is a challenge for many Christian leaders. On the one hand, many Christian churches and organizations are conservative in their goals. Leaders may feel that if their church or organization does not achieve the goals of the vision they have set, not only has the church failed, but that God is not blessing them. Accepting this is a dangerous paradigm.
On the other hand, God is a God who understands and uses weakness to achieve His goal. Achieving world salvation through the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was the ultimate use of weakness. It was risky too. The heart of the sacrifice on the cross was that Jesus chose to go ahead with it. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed, "But it is not what I want, but what you want" (Mark 14:36). It had to be a real choice, with the inherent risk that Jesus couldn't do it. If there were no choice, there would be no sacrifice. The Father chose to make Christ fully human, risking the temptation of Satan, succumbing to the corrupting influence of power, or escaping the ultimate sacrifice. The fact that Jesus withstood all temptations, maintained his integrity with the spiritual power entrusted to him, and gave himself up on the cross does not mitigate this risk.
In choosing his twelve disciples, Jesus also took a significant risk. Those who have hired staff to fill roles where work will expand significantly know the difficulty of selecting people who will transition successfully. Jesus took a chance by calling a group that probably wouldn't make the shortlist of most executive search teams today!
Too simple a goal can severely limit an organization's ability to do great things for the kingdom of God. Michelangelo said: "The greatest danger for most of us is not that our goal is too high and we don't achieve it, but that it is too low and we achieve it." If we set incremental goals in small steps, there will be a tendency to do what we used to do, only better. When we challenge ourselves with big goals, we have to take risks by redefining our strategy.
6. Team workers
Surely Jesus could have done much more and better if he had not had his disciples with him. However, he chose to work with them and form a team of his disciples, the early leaders of the Church. He taught them, gave them OJT (On the Job Training), listened to their reports, prayed with them, corrected them, gave them a chance to see him in action, and ended up putting most of his time and effort into them. We find that in the Gospels and in Acts 1:1-8). From Jesus' teaching and example we learn that there is no place for "lone fighters" in the kingdom of God. That is why I believe that all Christian leaders must be team players, team builders committed to the discipline of working with and for a team and being accountable to other team members. Without neglecting their personal responsibilities and goals, they give due attention and priority to common responsibilities and goals, and invest in the education of others. Otherwise, Christian leaders become carnal, worldly, and selfish and cease to be Christian leaders.
7. Committed to making disciples
Christ's last words before his return to heaven are recorded in Matthew chapter 28:19-20. He says: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commandments I gave you.” This verse is a clear command to reach people with Jesus' message of love and salvation and to teach them to follow Jesus and his teachings.
As a Christian leader, I believe that loving God, loving people and making disciples is at the heart of what we do. We need to focus our energies on loving and bringing people into the Kingdom and teaching them to keep growing in their faith and service to God. The early church understood this and in a short time thousands of people came to the faith. In Acts 2:42 we see that "all believers devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles, fellowship, partaking of meals (including the sacrament), and prayers." By committing to these things, the early church members could mature and be sent out into their fellowship to win others to Christ.
In short, Christian leadership begins with a call from God, and that call has two parts. First, it gives you a desire to serve Him, and second, the Church recognizes in you the elements of character and gifts that qualify you for leadership service. With these qualifications, character is far more important than talent. The first requirement for Christian leadership is Christlike character. If we are to lead Christ's people in Christ's path, we must be men who walked with Christ on Calvary. May God help us to be such men in the leadership of His church. Amen!
What does it mean to be an effective Christian leader? ›
Christian leadership is a dynamic relational process in which people, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, partner to achieve a common goal - it is serving others by leading and leading others by serving.What is the message of Ephesians 2 10? ›
Biblical Translations of Ephesians 2:10
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. For we are God's masterpiece.
This paper presented the four Cs of Christian/biblical leadership in a hierarchy of first: Calling, second: Competence, third: Confidence, and fourth: Character.What does the Bible say about being an effective leader? ›
A leader serves.
In Matthew 20:25-28, Jesus tells His disciples that leaders should not exercise authority over people. Instead, whoever wants to become great must lower himself to be a servant. Leaders realize that serving others is the only way to lead with a pure heart, free of pride and arrogance.
Great leaders lead from the inside out.
Without integrity, no one will follow you, and if no one is following you, you are not leading. Leadership is truly an inside job. Your leadership skills will only take you as far as your character will allow. Jesus had a pure heart and unfailing character.
Ephesians 2:1-10 speaks of how God sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins and trespasses. If we break down this sacred text down verse by verse we are able to identify the ideas of Christ as our saviour and God's mercy and grace.What can we learn from Ephesians 2? ›
“In Ephesians 2:8–10, Paul discussed the relationship between grace, faith, and good works. Ultimately, salvation comes through the merits of Jesus Christ's work, not on our own. Paul called followers of Jesus Christ '[God's] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works' (Ephesians 2:10).What is the youth lesson on Ephesians 2 10? ›
Ephesians 2:10 tells us that "we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life." Some translations say that we are God's "handiwork" or his "masterpiece." Either way, we are made by God to do good works, not to be put away in a storage closet.What makes an effective church leader? ›
Church leaders must demonstrate what other people think and say, which requires courage, humility, openness, and vulnerability. Trust in each other is important and vulnerability plays a vital role in forming trust. Trenholm (2001) indicated that “when we open up to others, we make ourselves vulnerable” (p. 147).What is effective leadership in a church setting? ›
Effective church leaders are also accountable. They work to communicate their goals and desires, laying out plans and working to achieve them. They accept responsibility when things go wrong and ensure that all members are part of any success.
What makes a good godly leader? ›
People will follow your leadership if they know that you love the Lord and you love them. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.What are the qualities of a good leader in the church? ›
A church leader needs qualities that influence and morally support the congregation, the volunteers, and others within the community. Such qualities include moral trustworthiness, social aptitude, empathy, pastoral care, and more.