While 50-75% of what we read in excellent secular leadership books may be applicable to a Christian leader, the following qualities make a Christian leader distinct:
- Our identity is grounded in God who forever says to us, “You are my beloved.”Jesus says to us that we are loved as He is loved. For this reason we can handle enormous success or enormous failure without losing our identity. A high-quality relationship with God permeates all our relationships and decisions.
- Our marriage and singleness are a call to become a living sign and wonder of His love to the world. We lead out of our marriages in that our love for our spouses is to be like His love for us – passionate, permanent, intimate, unconditional, and life giving. Our leadership energy is first given to be as present to our spouse as Christ is to us, so that others can see His presence manifested in our tender love for one another. Single leaders, whether circumstantially celibate or called to celibacy, also recognize their call to be a sign of His love to the world through their gift of unconditional love to those they serve.
- Our leadership flows out of a deep dependence and communion with God.Jesus lived in a place of deep centeredness of loving union with His Father (Jn.5:17,19). Whether Jesus was threatened by death, or being offered earthly kingship by the crowds, abiding in that center was the primary dynamic of His life and leadership. This enables us to discern the mustard seed nature of the kingdom of God, embrace His ways that are not our ways, and distinguish the demonic voices that seduce us to get busy trying to prove we are “effective” leaders. This dependence and communion with God informs our strategic planning, our priorities, and our decisions.
- We embody, in our leadership, the tension of offering gifts given to us by God along with a recognition of our profound weakness and brokenness. For this reason we listen. We are approachable. We let go. We assert ourselves respectfully. And we are always learning. We pray along with the Psalmist, “Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12).
What might you add to this list?