Leadership is crucial for every organization’s progress. Without good and effective leadership it’s almost impossible for a group or an organization to thrive. Leadership can either make or break a team. A Church without any committed and dedicated leaders is in a complicated status. The Church needs good Christian leadership. Even God, since the Old Testament had appointed faithful leaders to lead His chosen people. While He never chose perfect leaders, God chooses those whose faith and heart are in Him. From Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Saul, David, Solomon, and Esther to the Apostles who boldly preached the Gospel, God had chosen faithful and mighty leaders to lead His people.
God chose them to carry out certain purposes for His glory. The Lord is calling Christian leaders today to carry the same fire for His glorious name. A leader in the Church is not just the Pastor. Christian leadership is about multiple leaders and potential leaders of the different ministries and departments working together. The Church must always be on look-out for good Christian leaders to guide and lead church members in the right direction. Most church leaders today are overworked. It is due to the inadequacies of laborers in the harvest field of Jesus. We don’t want our church leaders to be exhausted like Moses (Exodus 18), for frustrations and overstressed leaders may lose their ability to lead the way God wants them to.
What’s something about Christian Leadership that makes it more challenging than other forms of leadership? Let’s delve deeper.
Jesus On Christian Leadership
A Good Christian Leadership is anchored on Biblical foundation. Nobody in the Bible taught and showed the best example of good leadership than Jesus Christ himself. What an awesome experience it must have been to be led and taught by Jesus! The twelve apostles and the people of that time witnessed the best form of leadership first-hand. Every Christian leader will surely envy them. Good thing, there’s the Bible to tell us what Jesus has to say about good Christian leadership and how he ground-breakingly modeled it.
The leadership style of Jesus is quite different from the world’s perspective. Jesus debunked various practices of the Israelites, particularly that of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He corrected the concepts of the world regarding important subjects including leadership. When the world says leadership is about power and influence; the Lord speaks about character and service. Jesus’ leadership style proves its power with its influence as it has survived and thrived for the past 2000 years. Even today, despite the ever-changing culture and ever-present challenges, Jesus’ leadership style has been the most effective. We can learn good Christian leadership by looking into the life of Jesus Christ.
Christian Leadership is About Servanthood
Servant leadership is the groundbreaking leadership style of Jesus. This manner of leading people shifted the focus of leadership from the leaders to those they are leading. It changes the manner of leadership being viewed initially as a position above the common people to the acts of serving below the common people. Christian leadership Jesus modeled was not about the glamour of being a leader which the Church leaders of Israel tried to impress upon its people. From being great, Jesus brought leadership down to reach people who are at their lowest. He brought himself just as low, being born in a manger to a carpenter’s son so his disciples will know what it means to be great.
When the disciples got infuriated by a request from the mother of James and John, the Lord spoke the best key takeaways on humility and greatness (Matthew 20:20-28). She desires for her sons to sit on the right and left of the throne of Jesus. That was a striking request! The disciples must have been surprised by the boldness of this woman. Nevertheless, it was a great show of faith. Honestly, we can’t blame the apostles for reacting like that. This woman believes firmly that Jesus is Lord for her to make that request.
Jesus knew what it meant to be a true leader, so he taught them how to be great leaders. And no, it wasn’t about who will be on the left or right side of Jesus’ throne. It has nothing to do about positions. Jesus said following this request in Matthew 20:26 “Whoever would be great among you must be your servant and whoever would be first among you must be your slave.” The Lord rejected the kind of leadership this world has to offer in verse 25. He said that the leaders of this world flaunt their authority over those under them and rulers in this world lord it over their people. But, Christian leadership should not fall under this kind of leadership. We have this worn-out idea that leaders can consider themselves better than anyone they are leading. Christian leaders should do the total opposite.
Having The Serving Heart of Christ
The last few phrases Jesus spoke gave us the complete reason why leaders should be servants (Matthew 20:28). He said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The Lord did not come to earth to be recognized as a King. He came to live with ordinary people. And even when Jesus led these people, He did not call them to serve him. On the contrary, he was the One who served them through teaching, healing, and miracles. He gave them food when they needed it; answers when they asked for it. But, the best thing Jesus did was to give his life as a ransom to switch places with sinful rebellious people. He gave it willingly and lavishly out of love.
Love is what fuels a servant’s heart. It will be difficult to serve without love. A servant’s heart is tender and compassionate. A servant’s heart has the attitude of servanthood which means leading by serving. It seeks to always serve others willingly the way Jesus willingly offered Himself. Christian leadership has no reservations in serving. Seeking the best interest of those they serve, it desires to meet the needs of others. A leader’s heart is first and foremost a servant of Christ’s heart. Without Jesus being the center of leadership, a Christian leader can’t serve wholeheartedly. Imitating the heart of Jesus for servanthood and leadership is the best and only way to good and effective Christian leadership.
Who Can Be A Leader?
Most Christians evade the responsibility of Christian Leadership because leading is a difficult task. So, only a few people desire to lead. Furthermore, Christian leaders are held accountable to God. Those who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1). James declared that indeed, we all make many mistakes. No one is perfect. But, this truth is not that much to worry about because Christian leadership isn’t about perfection. It demands excellence but not perfection. Many times in the Bible, we can see that God did not raise perfect leaders. In fact, most of the time He chose inadequate and weak people to be leaders.
There can be two reasons why the Lord chooses underdogs. First, to shame those who think they are better than anyone else (1 Corinthians 1:27). Second, is to show God’s power through these ordinary people (2 Corinthians 12:9). Every leader is just an instrument, a vessel of God’s power and greatness. We are just but God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10). Therefore, if you worry about being not enough, weak, poor in knowledge or talent, or somebody has made you feel like you don’t fit to be a leader, remember that the Lord is more likely to choose you to lead. He isn’t looking at what you can do. The Lord can do all things. Your insufficiencies are not an issue for Jesus. The issue is always that of your heart.
God Calls The Least Candidates for Leadership Positions
When God had to pick a new King to replace King Saul, the Lord did not look for a mighty man. Instead, God searched for a man whose heart was after God (1 Samuel 13:14). David whom the Lord chose was just a boy when Samuel anointed him. He was approximately only 12 to 15 years of age. He seemed irrelevant in his father’s house, for he was the youngest. When Samuel went to David’s house to anoint the new king, David was not there. Instead, he was outside, tending flocks. His father, Jesse, only presented the seven elder brothers of David to be chosen. Who would have thought that the next King of Israel is out there tending sheep? Even Samuel thought Eliab, David’s elder brother was going to be the next King, for his appearance seemed suited for a King (1 Samuel 16:6-7).
The Lord said, “People judge by the outward appearance but He looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). God doesn’t see things the way we see them. Indeed, the Lord has a better standard than the perishing measurement of men. God does not consider irrelevant those whose heart desires to honor Him and is honest with Him. What God wants is a heart of humility, passion for Him, and compassion for others; a heart that seeks His own heart first before anything else in the world.
Saying Yes to God’s Calling
Moses had the same calling for leadership as David did. But, he was resistant towards it when he first encountered God’s calling. Moses presented God with excuses and reasons affirming his disqualifications for the position God was giving him. Moses protested to God and gave him numerous scenarios about what could happen if he tells the Israelites that God has sent Him to lead them out of Egypt (Exodus 3-4). He questioned God, “Who am I to appear to Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel? What if they don’t believe me? What if they won’t listen to me?”
Moses doubted He could lead and doubted that the Israelites would believe him. But God has all the answer to Moses’ protests. The Lord showed Moses what he needed to do. With God’s power and favor being with Moses, the Israelites finally listened to Moses and were convinced that God had sent him to lead them out of Egypt.
Christian leadership takes faith. Often, it takes a courageous step of faith. Leaders have only to say yes to what God has planned for them. Many times, we tell God who we are to serve Him or to lead. The truth is we are ordinary people with flaws and quite shameful backgrounds. Yet, the Lord works best in common people. God was with chosen leaders in the past and is with the present and future leaders of His Church.
Good Qualities Of Christian Leadership
God may choose the least likely candidate for a leadership position. But, just because God chose you despite your weakness doesn’t mean you’re better than others nor does it mean we can slack off and bring incompetence into His ministry. Remember, the Lord whom we serve created all things fearfully and wonderfully. He made all things beautiful to reflect His glory. Christian Leadership cannot bear God’s name without the best qualities of a good leader. Church leaders need to practice and invest time in developing certain characteristics of good Christian Leadership. These leadership qualities do not unfold overnight. It needs regular nourishment through the Word of God, prayer, and training. Often times, the latter is the hardest of the three. Applying these qualities even in the smallest area of a leader’s life is very important.
Luke 16:10 says whoever is faithful with very little will also be faithful with much. If a Christian leader can’t be trusted with little, it’s going to be hard to trust him or her with much greater responsibility. Leaders should serve God to their fullest capabilities. This is the only thing to do. How can Christian leaders make an impact? Why do some leaders excel wherever they go? How can Church leaders lead effectively? What does it take to be a good Christian leader? There are various qualities of a leader which we can know by studying the ministry and life of Jesus but here are some of the top qualities which must be a priority if you want those questions answered.
A life of obedience is very important for Christian leaders. Jesus obeyed the Father until His death on the cross. His obedience brought salvation. Remember the night before Christ’s crucifixion, he was in the garden of Gethsemane, agonized by the cup He was about to drink. His mission was too difficult. His sweat became like drops of blood (Luke 22:44). Three times He pleads to God to keep the cup away from Him but he also prayed that not his will, but God’s will be done. At the end of His prayer, it was still not His personal desire that He is seeking but God’s. This is obedience that no matter what and where God placed you in, your final say is always His will. Christian Leadership is not about what the leaders want, it is entirely about the purpose and mission of Jesus.
Obedience is when even if you don’t understand what God is trying to fulfill through you, you still continue to follow His voice because you have faith in Him who called you. Indeed, leaders are good followers. Their lives radiating with obedience motivate others to live a life of faithfulness and commitment. That is leadership. If people see your passion for doing something; if they witness your obedience to God, they will most likely follow your leadership as you’re guided by God.
A life of integrity is imperative in Christian leadership. The inner life of a leader matters just as much as his or her displayed life. Christian leaders cannot show good attributes when other people are looking at them and do the exact opposite when nobody’s looking. That will be a dangerous move in Christian leadership. Leaders should practice the habit of always doing what they say, this is integrity. This is what it means to practice what you preach. They also need to train themselves to always do the right thing whenever, wherever, and whoever they are with. That is again, integrity. People will find it hard to follow leaders, who lack integrity. Therefore, if a leader wants to make an impact, his or her life must demonstrate integrity.
No human being is perfect but if someone received Christ and is leading other people to follow Him then living a life for God is a commitment. Light and darkness can’t come together; righteousness and lawlessness too (2 Corinthians 6:14). You cannot lead other people and point them to Christ when your own spiritual life sucks. We are advised to do our best to present ourselves to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth(2 Timothy 2:15). Leaders are vessels of Christ. The Bible tells us that the Lord needs clean vessels for His honorable work.
2 Timothy 2:19-21 “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”
Christian leaders are set apart for the good works of Christ. They need first to work on their personal and inner life before they can minister to others effectively. Servants of Jesus are no longer slaves to sin. They are bought already with the blood of Christ. Our freedom is to now choose to do what is right.
Leaders are people you can count on whatever is the situation. The reality of Christian leadership is that not everything that leaders do is comfortable and fun. In actual fact, they are often painful. Many Christian leaders run to God for comfort because there are so many difficulties they can’t stand longer. Christian leadership is not always exciting. It’s probably easy to lead when you enjoy the task assigned to you but when it no longer makes you laugh; it’s challenging to find the drive to continue. There is a scarcity of this type of leadership quality. Faithfulness and commitment are hard to find especially during difficult times. The ability to stay committed in the work you’ve been entrusted with is one of the best attributes characterizing a good leader.