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As a senior pastor previously and a member of a pastoral team currently, I've spent a lot of time enlisting both lay and paid church leaders. This list is not an exhaustive list, but here are ten things I look for in potential leaders:
- Godliness. This one matters more than anything. I want church leaders who have a personal, intimate relationship with God that is marked by obedience.
- Giftedness. God gifts all of us in some capacity. Church leaders need to be using their gifts for His glory.
- Gratitude. Grateful people tend to be humble and teachable people. We don't need any more arrogant church leaders.
- Graciousness. Christian leaders need to be kind, especially as we seek to develop leadership teams. Nothing in our calling or our positions gives us permission to be rude, uncaring, or unforgiving.
- Gumption. That's the wisdom, courage and determination to do what is best in a given situation. Leaders without gumption usually "lead" reactively.
- Growth. Being conformed to the image of Christ is a continual process. Thus, the leader who has stopped growing spiritually has forfeited his or her right to lead.
- Grit. Church work is not easy work, so I want leaders who work hard in the trenches of ministry. "Lazy leadership" should be an oxymoron in the church.
- Get up-and-go. By definition, leaders take initiative. They don't sit around waiting for others to tell them what to do.
- Generosity. Church leaders need to lead the way in giving their time and dollars to the work of God. Followers of Christ aren't likely to sacrifice any more than their spiritual leaders do.
- Great Commission gusto. They're not always easy to find, but I want church leaders who passionately evangelize, do missions and make disciples. Christian leadership should influence the world.
What would you add? Knowing that all of us always have room for improvement, how does your life compare to this list?
Chuck Lawless is dean and vice president of graduate studies and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as Professor of Evangelism and Missions. In addition, he is global theological education consultant for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
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