What Makes a Spiritual Leader? - Part 1
The Christian leader is a follower first. His fundamental allegiance belongs to the ultimate leader, God Himself. Christian leadership begins with the decision to imitate Christ's character and life. God was not content to elicit divine directives from heaven. He sent a leader into the world to redeem humanity. Through the incarnation, He provided fallen mankind with a sacrifice for their sin and a model of holy living. The Christian's primary responsibility is to know God and make Him known. Christ is the perfect example of this twofold calling. Other than Christ, Scripture offers no greater example of leadership than the Apostle Paul. Whether a persecutor of Christians or an Apostle of Christ, Paul always commanded a loyal group of followers. His entire leadership was based on the example of Christ. He instructed the church to be "imitators of me, as I am of Christ." One pagan official observed that Paul and his followers "have turned the world upside down have come here also." If believers are to follow Christ and disciple the nations, it is imperative that we follow the precedent of Biblical leaders. Submitting to and becoming a spiritual leader is the key to following God and reaching the world.
The spiritual leader's primary purpose is to influence men for God's glory. His motivation is to please God. If he is purely motivated to please those he leads, his influence and those he leads will suffer. The flatterer is primarily concerned with preserving the peace and gaining the approval of his flock. He is incapable of making tough decisions or reproaching those in sin. The greedy leader has no regard for his followers and is chiefly concerned with maintaining control. Without a desire to please God, he attempts to become god to his people.
WORDS & DEEDS
Effective communication is a crucial element in leadership. However, words are completely ineffective when separated from a life of integrity. Christian leaders speak and live with conviction. The inner life of the leader is everything. A leader is more than a communicator. He is an example.
A good leader is always humble, regardless of the responsibilities, recognition, or accolades that culture bestows upon him. His identity is contingent on his character, not his title. The achievement of his followers and not the leader is the ultimate measurement of success. Far too often, qualified, trained, and gifted men fail to maximize their impact because they prefer to focus on their own progress rather than their followers. A leader's influence only increases once he decides to give power away to those he leads.