Not all followers of Christ are qualified to lead and not all potential leaders are qualified to lead right now. Being a leader requires two main things, the development of a Christ-like character and the development of leadership skills. Character without leadership skills causes frustration and discontent from the body and with other leaders. Skill without character produces animosity and mistrust from the body and other leaders. Both situations can set the leader up for failure and hinders the growth, development, and fruitfulness of the ministry.
Developing both character and skill ensures the leader will become a pillar in the church and not a stumbling block.
Character reflects nature. It is the nature of God being expressed in our lives that is the ultimate goal. This applies to all believers, not just leaders. The character and nature of God are what all leaders are leading others to. We can’t lead another person to a place we have never been. God’s nature must be established and confirmed in a believer before they are qualified to lead.
Love is God’s Nature
1st John 4:8 (NKJV) He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
1st John 4:16 (NKJV) And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
1st Corinthians 13:4-8a (NIV) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
According to John, love isn’t just the nature of God, love is the embodiment of God. God IS love.
In 1st Corinthians 13, we see how love behaves. These behaviors must be developed and continually strengthened in a leader so that God’s nature can be evident to all. Embracing love (the nature of God) will bear the fruit of the Spirit. The development of these behaviors doesn’t come through striving and trying to “be better,” They are developed by intimacy with God and a growing closeness in relationship with Him.
Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
In Matthew 12:33 it tells us that a tree is known by its fruit, so let’s take a closer look at the fruit that should be hanging from the tree of a believer.
1) Love. The opposite of love is not hate, it is selfishness. A leader lays down his life for others, sacrificing himself in favor of another. It should never be about you.
2) Joy. Nehemiah 8:10 says, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Joy not only brings strength to the leader but to those around him. A good leader enjoys what he is doing and others enjoy working with him.
3) Peace. Peacemakers create an atmosphere that promotes healthy relationships with God and others. They avoid unfruitful confrontations and diffuse strife and contentious situations. A leader will find common ground to build on and will magnify the positive, not the negative.
4) Patience. Patience makes room for others to grow in their gifts and calling, providing a safe environment that allows them to make mistakes without the danger of condemnation and shame. Patience doesn’t just see the individual’s current state but has a view of what that individual will look like when completely submitted to God.
5) Goodness. Romans 2:4 tells us that it is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance. Being good to people even when it costs you, and doing the right thing even when it is not convenient causes people to turn to God and away from self-centered living.
6) Gentleness. 2nd Timothy 2:24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient.
Being mindful of proper etiquette and the emotional state of those you are dealing with, using kind words, and expressing genuine concern for the individual creates a platform to minister from and gives you the influence to speak effectively into the lives of others.
7) Faithfulness. 1st Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.
Leadership is stewardship from God. Being steadfast, reliable, honorable, and consistent, speaks volumes about the heart and character of the leader.
8) Meekness. Meekness is not being a pushover, it is the humility of controlled strength. Numbers 12:3 says that Moses was the meekest man on all the earth and yet he was the one used most on the earth at that time. There is a connection between meekness and a vessel that God can use mightily.
9) Self-control. This can’t be accomplished without a healthy prayer life. You don’t have the ability to control yourself without the Father’s help. The more intimate time you spend with God when no one else is looking, the easier self-control will be. A robust prayer life creates a constant awareness of God that makes it easy to resist temptation and make the right decisions.
Question: As a leader, are you stronger in your character or your skillset?
Question: Do you, or did you have strong leaders to mentor you and help you develop as a leader?
Question: What are you a steward over right now, and what would you like to be a steward over in the future?
Question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rank your faithfulness?
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