What do we need from a good Christian leader?
Updated: Oct 23, 2021
Description: With no shortage of ideas about good leadership, it’s remarkable that there are so many bad leaders around. Maybe we need a simple formula.
For sure, enough books, videos, podcasts, etc. have been produced on leadership to cover the world to ear height, but there might be a simple formula.
Before we consider the good, it might be helpful to consider the bad – and who better to point this out than Jesus himself. In Matthew 23.13-32 we read his seven 'Woes' (variations in Luke’s version 11.37-52). Jesus was laying it on the line for the Pharisees and teachers of the law – a point by point naughty list for the people’s religious leaders.
He starts every criticism by calling them 'hypocrites', i.e. people who pretend to have virtues they don’t actually have. Such leaders have little integrity. Their mindset doesn’t include humility. They hide behind petty rules that make no objective sense and allow them to escalate into ends in themselves.
But enough of this. The point is made. Two thousand years ago, leaders had failings and probably thousands of years before that – and history has a habit of repeating itself. So, is there really a simple formula?
Who we are
Yes, and we need to start with who we are – and we are Christians, we are Christ’s, we are God’s, we are here to hear the Holy Spirit.
Just like so many in the past, we have to trust God and ignore any odds stacked against us. Check out the Christian Insights 4 You Blog ‘Ever felt completely out of your depth?’ if you’d like a little confidence boost. God can overcome any obstacles. Prayer points us in the direction we should be heading. God gives us our purpose and the strength to achieve it. Therefore, Point 1 of the formula is: God first.
Love is the key
Second point is: love. Love cares. Too many Pharisees cared for no one but themselves. Moses cared so deeply for his people that he risked everything, oft times prostrating himself to beg God’s forgiveness when they had rebelled. Jesus, of course, loved so much that he died for us. Leaders should care for the people they lead – not hypocritically, but as God shows us. He is slow to anger, gentle and forgiving. So too should we be.
That’s the formula: be true to the God we follow, and love any people we have the privilege of leading.
But it shouldn’t stop there
We have friends and colleagues. We deal with other people in all kinds of situations. Just imagine what it would be like if everyone really did put God first and strived to love all-comers. Naive? Impossible? Maybe on this side of heaven, but when Jesus rebuked Peter (Matthew 16:23) he firmly asserted that we should keep in mind the things God cares about, not concerns that are merely human. Can’t argue with that!
Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.