I found this note but I’ve no idea whether it was notes from my own talk or someone else’s. If I’m taking notes from someone else I usually note that down and I didn’t in this case, so I think it might be me that’s responsible for what follows.
Good leaders are a gift
In Romans 12, Paul describes a whole variety of gifts that a church needs to be healthy. People giving generously, teaching, serving, encouraging, caring, using gifts in worship. Each of those gifts is to be used to benefit others putting others above ourselves. It’s a wonderful picture of a church with everyone contributing to make something greater than they could possibly have managed on their own. Among all those gifts is leadership. God gifts certain people with the ability to lead.
Good leaders are recognised.
In Acts 15, the church wants some people to go on a mission and so chooses some able men. When the church grew massively in its earliest days and quickly developed a massive feeding programme for the needy in the church, the apostles were swamped and so they said to the people, ‘Choose seven men and we’ll delegate this task to them’. The apostles set the framework but it was the people who saw who was qualified and recommended them.
Good leaders are servants.
Jesus is every leaders greatest example. He was a humble servant (Php 2:7), who came to serve not be served (Mt 20:28). Jesus deliberately contrasted leadership in the world where people let you know who is boss in no uncertain terms but in the church the one who would be great must be a servant. A good leader serves (Lk 22:26). A good leader also equips their team, helping them grow in the gifts God has given them.
Good leaders know who you are is more important than what you do.
Way too often someone’s gift takes them to a place that outstrips their character. It can happen to anyone. Good leaders seek to grow in Christ-likeness. Which is why service is so important. But in the instructions to churches on choosing leaders the longest list of qualifications is not about their competence but their character. Do they love and serve their family well? Do they get drunk or angry? Do they handle their money well, giving generously and avoiding debt? Do they get into arguments? Are they self-controlled? Are they hospitable, opening their home to people for life groups, meals, accommodation? And because marriage unites and is a team effort – if the leader in question is married, is their partner trustworthy, are they gossips? Leadership can be hugely challenging so can the marriage handle the strain because the character of the couple is strong.
Because humility is a key to a good character, a leader is unafraid of input into their character, able to handle the (hopefully) loving response that follows.
Good leaders lead.
Sounds obvious doesn’t it? Through the vision they cast, the example they set, and the truths they teach good leaders show the way to glorify God and advance the kingdom. One of Paul’s great aims was to present the people in his churches mature and blameless before God. He gave his best so that his church could give their best for God’s best. Are the leaders at the prayer meetings? Ready to worship on a Sunday? Ready to give at a gift day? Opening their homes for life groups? Are they an example worth following? If they are then wisdom suggests you should follow it.