If you were with me in our last episode, which was Episode 25, you know that we’re in the midst of a series on the essential qualities of strong christian leaders. Two weeks ago, in Episode 24, we started with this series and discovered that the perfect starting is place is
Because without discipline, the other gifts and character traits of a leader will never develop.
Frankly, there are so many people who leave Christian ministry and they do so not because they’re no longer called to it. Rather, they may be incredibly gifted and talented and have all sorts of vision, but they have large areas of their life that remain undisciplined and lacking the control of the Holy Spirit.
We talked about how lazy and disorganized people won’t go very far in leadership of any kind because they aren’t willing to do the work of dying to themselves, taking up the cross and following Jesus.
However, outstanding Christian leaders are willing to discipline themselves to follow Jesus where he leads. They’re willing to work hard, study, undertake unpleasant tasks, and charge into difficult situations.
Then, last week, we shifted gears to discuss
The people who have most powerfully and permanently influenced their generations have been people of great vision. They’re people who have seen more and further than others. And I would say, people of faith, because in so many ways, faith is vision. And when you have great faith in what Jesus will do in and through your life, it will impart vision.
I believe it is, in part, vision, that allows strong leaders to make unpopular decisions, to be resilient and to stand strong in the face of adversity. And in the context of ministry, it’s this kind of vision that allows leaders to put the pursuit of lost people in front of the comfort of the church people.
Vision leads to venture, and history is on the side of venturesome faith. But, you can’t live vicariously off of someone else’s venture. The person of vision takes fresh steps of faith across gullies and chasms, not “playing it safe” but neither are they taking foolish risks.
Finally, I shared about how there are three characteristics that fit so well with Vision. They were Wisdom, Decision and Courage.
This week, I want to focus on one more characteristic that is necessary for every Christian Leader. And frankly, although we didn’t start with this one, it is the one that undergirds each of the others.
It is to be filled with and dependent upon the Holy Spirit.
Think about this, to be a Christian leader, you’ve got to possess the character of Christ – which comes from being empowered by the spirit of Christ.
Without lnowing him intimately, you certainly won’t be able to lead like him.
I believe that while every other quality is important, but this one is indispensable.
Think of the book of Acts… it’s the story of people who established the church and led the missionary enterprize. When we think about that, we can’t fail to note that every office of church, ministry and christian leadership requires being “full of the Holy Spirit”. These people were known for integrity and sound judgement but primarily for their spirituality.
A person can have a brilliant mind and possess artful administrative skill. But without spirituality they’re incapable of giving truly spiritual leadership.
The selection of Christian leaders can’t be influenced by worldly wisdom, wealth or status. The prime consideration must be spirituality. And if leaders follow a different set of criteria, it essentially removes the Spirit from the equation. As a consequence, the Spirit is grieved and quenched and as the result there is spiritual death.
Selecting leaders apart from spiritual qualifications leads to unspiritual leadership.
You see, the Holy Spirit doesn’t work through anyone against their will. He invites us to cooperate with Him. When people who lack spiritual fitness are in leadership roles, he quietly withdraws and leaves them to implement their own policies according to their own standards, but without His help. The inevitable result is not only unempowered leadership, but also only part of the ministry and mission being accomplished.
So, CHRISTIAN LEADERS MUST be filled with and dependent upon the Holy Spirit.
We understand that all Christian Leadership is really just following the ultimate leader; the Holy Spirit.
To be filled with the Holy Spirit means simply that you voluntarily surrender your life and will to the Spirit. Through faith, you choose to become controlled by the Holy Spirit as your leader.
When you’re filled with and dependent upon the Holy spirit, your natural gifts of leadership are lifted to a higher power, sanctified for His Holy Purpose. And as you follow Him into tasks and opportunities that are bigger than what you would expect or be able to accomplish on your own, you discover a deeper need for Him.
Through the work of the Holy Spirit, all the fruits of the Spirit start to grow in your life. Your witness will be more winsome, service more steady and testimony more powerful.
In this episode, I shared several questions to reflect on in order to help you assess how you’re doing in your spiritual leadership. You can have access to a free download of The Discipleship Self Assessment. It’s a brief questionnaire to help you get an honest assessment of the current health of your spiritual intimacy with Jesus.
Until next week, I pray that you’re challenged and encouraged to continue following Jesus and leading others to follow Him.