Effective leadership calls for a collection of certain active qualities, either developing or fixed, that are rooted in the Word. Whether in an entry, training or mature ministry stage, successful leadership must have a face with select features. In analyzing its facets, leadership can be boiled down to four main principles and characteristics: 1) An understanding and knowledge of authority and submissiveness illustrated by the walk and life of Jesus 2) Consistency in complete obedience 3) Faithfulness and devoted drive in light of challenging circumstances 4) Daily repentance as a lifestyle.
The following is not merely a set of instructions on how a leader should act and behave; it is a God-centered outline in keeping a vertical relationship with the Lord alive and animate.
Whether by dominant leading or influence by example (following), a leader must live out an understanding of biblical authority. In ministry, Jesus modeled authority by humility, submission and integrity, weaved together by a passion to fulfill His calling from God as confirmed in the Old Testament. Jesus fully grasped His calling and never wavered from His anointed path. He commonly reminded the Jews and His disciples of His identity as the Son of God (occasionally Son of Man), and faithfully associated His uniqueness to the Father in times of questioning and teaching.
When Jesus washed His disciples’ feet in John 13, He told Peter and the other disciples how He sought to set an example when evangelizing the gospel. In verse 16, Jesus captured submissiveness: “No servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.” Not only was Jesus setting an example for the purpose of following, but also demonstrating genuine humility via performing a selfless act of love that his disciples considered unworthy of receiving. Jesus never lost sight of His position on the authority ladder and illustrated a thankful heart in every season – an aspect of leadership that is often easier said than done.
Secondly, a leader must refrain from partial obedience, and, instead, have a contagious fervor in making obedience complete in every situation. Obedience links diligence to faithfulness; we cannot expect God to meet our needs if we do not fully align to His. Leadership, in relation to Christianity, was never meant to be viewed through an academic lens, with the idea that majority obedience is sufficient. A leader must be aware of the truth that God requires our all as an adequate and pleasing sacrifice. As a leader, possessing a consistent attitude that submits on call is essential.
Embedded in obedience is faithfulness, an authentic representation of God’s perfect love. David captures this brand of devotion many times in Psalms, especially Psalm 89: “My mouth will make your faithfulness known through all generations….Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.” One cannot have faithfulness without a drive to fully obey. Faithfulness is committed consistency. Consistency without commitment is worthless, and commitment without consistency caps effectiveness, trust and integrity, while also allowing Satan to earn a foothold in areas of spiritual discrepancy.
Finally, repentance must be engrained in the heart of the leader, not as an occasional act on Sundays, but rather an ever-active lifestyle that knits our values and desire to God’s. Repentance could be argued as the ultimate act of humility, as one not only confesses iniquity, but pledges to turn away from sin with hopeful expectancy to change wholeheartedly. Practicing repentance daily should not simply be encouraged; it should be an integral part of prayer.