Requirements of Spiritual Leadership
R. Gustason, 26 Dec 2012
Scripture gives us a clear model on how to become an effective and a mature leader. The following is a quote from 1st Timothy chapter three.
“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” (1 Tim 3:1–12 KJV)
The requirements for true, Spirit led leadership were given under influence of the Holy Ghost by Paul to Timothy, a young pastor. 1 Timothy 3:1-12 lists these qualifications as the requirements for a bishop, or pastor, but they are good principles to apply in every leadership capacity you may find yourself in.
- Blameless- innocent of wrong doing or correcting wrong.
- Husband of one wife- holding to a morally pure lifestyle doing things after God's heart rather than seeing what you can legally get away with.
- Vigilant- Alert full, always on the watch, consulting the Word as our measuring stick while we stand guard over that which God has given us.
- Sober- having a sound mind to correctly assess and discern correct choices when confronted with problems.
- Good behaviour- Having good behaviour means you are leading in a compassionate and loving way. It is a characteristic of the love described in 1 Cor 13.
- Hospitality- No one can effectively lead if they have no sense of hospitality.
- Apt to teach- As a leader, you must be willing to invest time and energy into training the next generation. In the Navy, we have a saying: 'Train your relief'. In other words, you will eventually die or move on to another area of ministry or leadership, and a true leader must be responsible enough to train the man or woman who will fill their position when they are gone. Immature leaders do not do this.
- Abstaining- You must display self control as a leader. If you are addicted to anything, that displays a lack of self control, and the good leader will recognize these problem areas and correct them in his/her life.
- Non-violent- A violent personality is not an acceptable trait in leadership. You must be able to build up and edify as a leader. A leader who leads by fear is no leader at all, but a dictator.
- Not greedy- A greedy person is self centered and does not care about the whole. As such, the greedy person cannot effectively lead due to his/her clouded vision. A good leader will put aside their own greed and plant seeds of generosity in their charges to see the community they lead grow.
- Patient- A good leader must be patient, prayerful and willing to wait on God rather than make hasty decisions which they might regret later on. It seems time helps to develop patience as young leaders seem more susceptible to hasty decisions than those leaders who have spent some time leading. Of course this should also not be an excuse for inaction when the time is right, or in times of true crisis. At these infrequent times, the leader must be flexible enough to act decisively.
- Self-control- Not a brawler. If a leader is hot-headed, his/her ministry will become stagnant. An effective leader should not fly off the handle at the least little bump in the road.
- Not a coveter- A good leader will refuse to covet another's ministry, possessions, or place / status in life. An effective leader will use the principles found in scripture to benefit their own and other's ministries.
- Rules his own house- A leader must understand enough of the principles of leadership to effectively rule his/her own family before they can hope to lead outside of their immediate families. Ruling their own house also includes a basic understanding of the functions or roles God has ordained in scripture for the man and woman in the home.
- Not prideful- Pride has been the downfall of many would be leaders. Satan was ordained to be the leader of the angels whom worshipped God in heaven. Unfortunately for Satan, he let pride be his downfall. A good leader will not let his/her ego become inflated, nor will they place others on a pedestal. An excellent leader will lead by example, ensuring his or her pride will not become their downfall. We would do well to take pride in our families, in our appearance, in the people we lead, but puffing ourselves up is the pride of life which leads to our ruin.
- Reputation- How our reputation is perceived by those we lead, and our peers, and our superiors, tells a lot about our moral character and how developed our leadership skills are. A great leader will strive to be trustworthy and protect his/her name from all filthiness which could do harm to their reputation.
- Steadfast- Are you, as a leader, steadfast in your commitment to the Word of God? A steadfast leader is one who is unwavering in their belief in God and in His promises.
These are the requirements for effective, Spirit led leadership which the Apostle Paul sent to Timothy. No matter what role of leadership you find yourself in, you must do your very best to assimilate these principles from the Word of God into your leadership tool bag. Doing so will see your ministry and leadership role grow; and your commitment to the things of God will deepen in the effective employment of these principles.
Filed under: ecclesiology