Effective Christian Leadership: Prepare to Lead | HUNTING | The Center for the Advancement of Christian Education (2023)

Do you remember your first opportunity to serve as a leader? Yes. I remember feeling like I wasn't ready, but I was trying to convey something else. I was young and had taken a job as the principal of a small Christian school. I knew how to teach because I have been doing it for several years. I even knew a thing or two about school administration, also had experience in an assistant position and developing academic programs. But this time, as a top executive, he would take full responsibility for running the school. And as excited as I was about the opportunity, when I accepted the job, I felt a great deal of uncertainty as to whether or not I was ready to lead well. I doubted myself and wondered if I had enough knowledge and experience to be ready.

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The Book of Ezra teaches us a lesson about leadership preparation by illustrating two specific experiences that describe what an effective Christian leader can do to prepare. The first is in Ezra 7:6-10, which informs us that Ezra asked the king for permission and money to return to Jerusalem and would receive it. Related to this, we can glimpse Ezra's personal preparation for the role he would play (note the last verse):

6 This Ezra came from Babylon; and he was a scribe, well versed in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given. The king fulfilled all his requests according to the hand of the Lord his God upon him. .8 And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was the seventh year of the king. the god of him above him. 10 For Ezra had set his heart to seek and to do the law of Jehovah, and to teach statutes and statutes in Israel.

The second experience is recounted in Ezra 8:21-24 and specifically describes the preparation for the journey they would take. Ezra had assembled his team and would soon be traveling to Jerusalem with supplies for the temple. Before leaving, however, something had to be done:

21 Then I proclaimed a fast there by the Aava River, to humble ourselves before our God and ask him for the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. 22 For I was ashamed to ask the king for an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, for we had said to the king, "The hand of our God is good on all who seek him, but his power and wrath are against all who abandon him. 23 Therefore we fasted and asked our God, and he answered our prayer. 24 And I separated twelve of the chief priests.

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The first passage above gives a picture of the readiness of the person and the second a picture of the readiness for the task. Together they provide an overview of leadership preparation, which includes both personal and spiritual preparation. Ultimately, this preparation applies as much to who we are as to what we do.

Spiritual preparation for effective Christian leadership begins with an understanding of the overall context of God's sovereignty and presence. Throughout Ezra there are examples of God's voluntary action, and this includes both passages. Verses 6 and 9 in chapter 7 indicate that the hand of God was involved in these circumstances, and Ezra clearly understood this concept, for verse 22 in chapter 8 reveals that Ezra shared the same truth with the king. The conclusion we can draw from this is clear: spiritual preparation comes from recognizing God's sovereignty. By learning this, we can begin to discern his intent in all circumstances.

Therefore, the first step you must take to prepare yourself to lead is, above all, to acknowledge God's sovereign dealings and then submit to Him and His plans and purposes. Prepare his heart by seeking God (through prayer and scripture, as Ezra did in chapter 8), submitting his plans to his great design, and acknowledging his role in his circumstances. . Submit to Him for his direction, blessings and guidance from him. By doing this, you put yourself in the right frame of mind to allow his participation to shape and filter your actions and reactions.

Once you have done that, the next step is your response to God with your subsequent actions, because the step follows seeing. Having aligned your mind with God, now is the time to move forward in obedience and begin your assigned tasks, and this is where the work of leadership will begin. Remember that while acknowledging God's role, leadership is not a passive process. It requires intentional planning and action carried out with skillful practice, but it must still take place within the accepted context of God's work.

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Ezra showed us a picture of it in the two passages mentioned above. Ezra 7:10 begins with an important preposition - "because" - which tells us that the content of verse 10 occurred before the preceding verses. That is, before beginning to work on the task to which God had called him, he first prepared his heart. Ezra 8:21-24 describes how he humbled himself before God and searched for the right way to complete the task before taking on the task in verse 24 when he began to share responsibilities. Even the people of Israel followed this process, as seen in chapter 3. The remnant of Israel who returned to rebuild the temple first took the time to worship and acknowledge God (verses 1-6), even before it was done. lay the foundation of the temple (verse 6). So they prepared their supplies and resources (verse 7) and finally got to work (verse 8).

In essence, the spiritual process of preparing for guidance is first an internal and then an external process: first, seeking God and preparing the heart to recognize His sovereign purpose and commitment, and second, seeking God's guidance with steps of obedience and react to action. .

Ezra models personal preparation for effective leadership and explains it in 7:10, where he says that his preparation was to "seek and fulfill the law of Jehovah, and to teach statutes and statutes in Israel." This statement describes a simple but profound three-step process: learn, live, and lead.

Learning, or "searching out the law of the Lord," requires spending time with God in His Word. It means investing in the study of the scriptures to learn who God is and what he says. It also means cultivating an intimate and personal relationship with God. For Ezra, it was this knowledge that came from his relationship with God that gave him the ability to lead effectively because he had first taken the time to prepare himself spiritually. As a result, he was able to see and trust God's commitment and therefore act boldly and confidently.

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Living or "doing" requires you to put God's Word into action in your life. This means consistently and willingly obeying God's commandments by observing and obeying the truths of His Word. By doing this, you follow God in obedience with your practice, with what you do, and you set an example of obedience in who you are. For Ezra, his practice and his example gave him the credibility to lead effectively, as he demonstrated consistency and authenticity in his leadership. His walk matched his talk, his life matched his words, so people believed in him and were willing to follow him.

Leading or “teaching statutes and ordinances” means that Ezra was now ready to lead because of his knowledge of and relationship with God, he could teach and explain God's word and God's guidance, and his teachings and guidance were due to his own life credible. of obedience he First he prepared himself and, in doing so, became an effective and trustworthy messenger of God, ready to teach, guide, motivate and influence.

Personal preparation for leadership can be as important as leadership itself. Ezra showed us what he is like and the result for him was a high level of competence and efficiency. His personal training methods and processes therefore provide us with valuable tools for our own leadership. And the order that he prescribed for the process is also important. He must do before he leads, but he must know before he does. So first you must know, then you must do, then you can teach and guide others.

Ultimately, preparation for leadership involves both personal and spiritual preparation. Effective Christian leadership, therefore, sees God in circumstances, humbly submits to Him, develops deep understanding and relationship, and consistently lives those values, leading to preparation for good leadership.

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This is the third part of an ongoing series on leadership lessons to be learned from the Book of Ezra.

  • Effective Christian Leadership: Prepare to Lead | HUNTING | The Center for the Advancement of Christian Education (2) steve moore

    Steve Moore is executive producer and co-host of the MoneyWise radio show. After a brief career in the music industry, Steve traded in his drumsticks for a microphone. Steve worked at various commercial and non-commercial (NPR) radio stations before joining Larry Burkett at Christian Financial Concepts (CFC) in 1985.


What makes an effective Christian leader? ›

To fulfill their God-given responsibilities, Christian leaders must be both active and passive. Leadership involves giving as well as taking, serving as well as directing, waiting as well as taking, serving as well as directing, waiting as well as acting.

How do you prepare for Christian leadership? ›

In essence, the spiritual process of preparing for leadership is one that is first inward and then outward: first, seeking God and preparing your heart, recognizing His sovereign purpose and involvement, and then second, responding to God's direction with steps of obedience and action.

What are the 4 C's of Christian leadership? ›

This paper presented the four Cs of Christian/biblical leadership in a hierarchy of first: Calling, second: Competence, third: Confidence, and fourth: Character.

What is the importance of effective leadership in the church? ›

A church leader needs to be a Godly leader, a role model, and a guidance giver – not only for your church members but for everyone else in the community too. They mentor and encourage people, furthering their faith and ensuring that they have a positive church experience.

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.


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