What Does It Take To Be A Spiritual Leader?

The local church needs strong, qualified, faithful leaders. Leaders who lead not out of selfishness or worldly ambition, but out of humility, devotion to Christ and genuine love for others. Leadership in the local church looks different than leadership in the world. It’s not about making yourself great. But about humbling yourself before God and others in service. Jesus said, “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Matthew 23:11, NIV).

Spiritual Leader

There is a lot of talk about leadership in the church today. And there should be. The church needs leaders. Young and old. Male and female. Up front and behind the scenes.

But what does it take to be a spiritual leader?

I’m reading through J. Oswald Sanders classic book Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer.

A lot of people think that to be a leader you have to have natural gifts, a charismatic personality and great communication skills. And because most people don’t believe they have these traits, they write themselves off as incapable of leading.

Sure some great leaders possess these traits. But when it comes to being a spiritual leader in the local church, one thing matters more than any of those.

A True Spiritual Leader

Sanders shares a quote from another leader, Samuel Brengle. Brengle served in the Salvation Army for many years and describes what it takes to be a spiritual leader.

He writes,

[Spiritual leadership] is not won by promotion, but by many prayers and tears. It is attained by confession of sin, and much heart-searching and humbling before God; by self-surrender, a courageous sacrifice of every idol, a bold uncomplaining embrace of the cross, and by eternally looking unto Jesus crucified. It is not gained by seeking great things for ourselves, but like Paul, by counting those things that are gain to us as loss for Christ. This is a great price, but it must be paid by the leader whose power is recognized and felt in heaven, on earth, and in hell.

True, powerful, world-changing leadership in the local church comes from a heart wholly given to Jesus.

You don’t have to be a great communicator to lead in the church. You don’t have to have an extroverted personality or a certificate in leadership from an accredited seminary.

All it takes is a heart devoted to Jesus. An infectious love for people. And a desire to become a little more like Jesus every single day.

If you develop these qualities–it doesn’t matter who you are–God can use you to accomplish great things for His glory and the good of many.

Question: Who are some of the leaders you look up to? What makes them great leaders? Join the conversation clicking here.

Join the discussion! But keep it clean and constructive. :)