7 Marks of a Christian Leader
Everyone has leadership responsibility. You might provide leadership for a company, a family, a classroom, a neighborhood, an online community, or a team. To some degree, you do provide leadership, and every Christian leader is called to one type of leadership – servant leadership.
Christian leadership is servant leadership.
The idea of servant leadership stands in stark contrast to what we usually see in the world. We see people stepping on others in order to attain more power, money, and fame. Some of these people lead businesses, churches, or families. James and John even asked Jesus if they could have a special place of honor in eternity. Now that is the ultimate power grab!
Mark Moore wrote, “Sacrificial leadership is not just what Jesus did for us; it’s what he modeled for us.” If you desire to follow Christ, you will follow his example of leadership.
There are many great leadership principles (I think John Maxwell thinks of a new one everyday.) Let me just mention seven, along with a brief thought or quote. Christian leaders are called to:
1. Be continually formed by God.
“All good leadership begins internally” (Ken Blanchard). If the branches of a tree keep growing but the roots do not, a crash is coming. Likewise, when the platform or responsibilities of leaders outweigh their character, depth, and maturity, a crash is coming. Even Jesus found it necessary to often retreat to quiet places to pray.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” (Romans 12:2).
2. Lead courageously.
“If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously” (Romans 12:8).
Top tier leadership does not say, “I’ll do what’s best for my country/city/church/self.” It says, “I’ll do what’s right by…” Christian leadership does the right thing, even when it’s the hard thing.
Are you courageously (and gently) leading your friends and family?
3. Model it well.
Leaders don’t ask others to do what they themselves are unwilling to do.
“And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Listen & Learn.
“Those who trust in themselves are fools.” Proverbs 28:26
4. Listen & Learn.
“Those who trust in themselves are fools” (Proverbs 28:26).
We listen and learn from God, from mentors, from teammates, from those who call us Boss or Dad, and from anyone with a sincere word.
“The true leader regards the welfare of others rather than his own comfort and prestige as of primary concern” (Oswald Chambers).
There’s a temptation to view others as resources to help us meet our goals. But each person is made in the image of God and deserves our shepherding care. We need to constantly make sure that we are investing in and building up those who serve with us.
“Christian leadership is a process of influencing a community to use their God-given gifts toward a goal and purpose as led by the Holy Spirit” (Ed Stetzer).
Leaders give responsibilities, not just tasks. Leaders release people to their full potential and beyond, as is only possible with the Holy Spirit.
7. Elevate God and others above self.
“Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:19).
Servant leaders evaluate their motives, give away their own freedoms and rights, and always seek to lift up Christ and others.