Qualities of Spiritual Leaders

Whether you are on a church staff or a Christian business owner, there are key qualities that are needed to receive God’s approval.

Personal Experience with the Lord

The first and most important quality of a Christian leader is a personal experience with the Lord.

The Christian faith is much more than mental assent to Biblical truths. It is experiential. We are given the awesome opportunity to experience God in a personal relationship.

Peter walked with Jesus for three years and wrote about it. “Now as an elder myself and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as one who shares in the glory to be revealed” (1 Peter 5.1).

The most difficult trial of Peter’s life was the day when Jesus suffered for the sins of the world. He knew how he had abandoned his leader. He also experienced grace and restoration after the resurrection.

Whether in business or the church, leaders need to know the full breadth of a relationship with Jesus. This forms the foundation and motivation for their work.

Specific Attitudes and Actions

There are particular attitudes and actions that will make our leadership effective and praiseworthy.

I have found four specific actions that leaders Peter says leaders should do.

I exhort the elders among you to tend the flock of God that is in your charge, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion but willingly, as God would have you do it, not for sordid gain but eagerly.

Do not lord it over those in your charge, but be examples to the flock (1 Peter 5.1b-3).

(1) We are to “tend the flock of God.”

In Ezekiel’s day, leaders were not tending the flock God had put in their charge. The prophet wrote about them.

Woe, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?

You eat the fat; you clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatted calves, but you do not feed the sheep.

You have not strengthened the weak; you have not healed the sick; you have not bound up the injured;

You have not brought back the strays; you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them (Ezekiel 34.2-4).

If you have never read Ezekiel 34, I highly recommend it. The chapter reads as a yardstick against which God judges leaders.

We need to be leaders who “tend the flock,” and we need to judge our leaders by God’s standards.

(2) Leaders oversee and take care of those who are their responsibility.

Rudy Ross and I produce YouTube videos that correspond to my blog. Rudy and his son oversee and take care of the hospitality business they own.

As Christian businessmen, they treat their employees well and make sure that everyone who comes to the business receives an excellent experience.

Obviously, this level of leadership also applies to the church.

(3) Christian leaders willingly exercise their responsibility as though they are working for God.

Leadership is often difficult. When we commit our work to God and work for him, things go much better.

There is a striking picture between Peter’s exhortation and Ezekiel’s condemnation. Let’s all follow Peter’s wisdom and not that of the “bad guys” in Ezekiel’s day.

(4) The best leadership is leadership by example.

The best people I’ve worked for are those who never asked me to do anything they weren’t willing to roll up their sleeves and do too.

As Christian leaders, leadership by example must characterize our behavior.

The Payoff

We lead “not for sordid gain” (verse 2). Instead, we eagerly strive to receive God’s praise.

And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades away (1 Peter 5.4).

Ezekiel didn’t name the shepherds of his day, who fed themselves instead of the sheep. Most of his readers knew who they were. Even more, God knew them and judged their behavior.

Not many people may ever know your name, but if you are a faithful leader you won’t be overlooked by God.

Let’s strive for God’s crown of glory that never fades away.

In today’s video, Rudy and I cover the subject of humility and leadership. In tomorrow’s blog article, I will consider that important aspect of Christian leadership.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube today. It can be found on the Bob Spradling channel.

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