I want to be a good leader this year. We hear this noble desire also in the Church, fellowship and Christian organisation: “I desire to be a good spiritual leader this year. In my work, I want to regularly, month by month, experience peak performance, and make a significant impact! I want to bear fruit, lasting fruit this year!!”
Yes, this desire is good and is needed to faithfully serve Christ and His Kingdom in the New Year. But what will it take? What type of a Christian and spiritual leader can effectively live by the very clear instruction of the Lord Jesus and help others to live by this extremely essential Christian principle: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33 NLT)?
We will share with you the following three sets of things to consider in being Christ-like and effectively helping others to live lifestyles of godliness and integrity:
First, here are five basic questions a person who would like to be a Biblically Healthy Spiritual leader has to answer:
- Who are we in Christ?
- What are we to do? (And What do we do?)
- Why do we do what we do?
- How do we do it?
- With what power do we do it?
Secondly, what type of a Christian and spiritual leader can bear much fruit, fruit that lasts and brings glory to God? (see John 15:8&16). The following are some key characteristics of a Christian or a spiritual leader who will bear much spiritual fruit and experience good success:
1.Become more Christ-like; live like Christ: That is, become Christ-like and live a godly lifestyle of integrity into every area of your life. “Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6NLT). Bishop J.C. Ryle has said that the best gift you can ever give to your church or your organisation is your personal godliness. As a spiritual leader, your ongoing progress in growing in every way more and more like Christ is most essential and non-negotiable. Take heed to your own spirituality, first! If the messenger is the message, how good a message from God are you?
- Devote yourself to the ministry of the Word and to Prayer. Our personal devotion to abide in God’s word and to effective prayer and fasting is critical. And indeed, the two most important things to focus on in our church ministry work is prayer and accurate teaching of God’s word.
Prayer and the ministry of the word are the two most critical things for a true Christian and a spiritual leader to focus on. This is the essential Biblical pattern: “We Apostles will spend our time in prayer and teaching the word” (Act 6:7 NLT). When we follow this pattern, we will also experience the results it produces: “So God’s message continued to spread. The number of believers greatly increased in Jerusalem” (Act 6:7 NLT).
- You are to minister in the Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit sent from Heaven. (See Acts 1: 4&8; 1 Peter 1:12 NLT). This is a Christian Spiritual ministry law; those who must go, teach and preach the Good News must first try to be clothed with power from on High. We must tarry - wait on God - to be empowered before we go and minister.
- “In Understanding Be, Men” (1 Corinthians 14:20 KJV). Be more and more clear minded and serve wisely. Teach, instruct, and do ministry “in all ways of wisdom” (Col 1:28a REB)
- There is the critical need for Emotional Intelligence to succeed in interacting with people, in people relationships, and in people management. Many shoot themselves in the foot here and are ineffective as CEOs or leaders.
- “Attitude determines altitude”. That is, your attitude determines the higher levels of influence, impact and fruitfulness you are able to achieve.
- Get the requisite skills-set needful for peak-performance in ministry. Know thy self: Identify your own leadership skills gap and make an effort to fit it.
- Practice very healthy teamwork. Good teamwork leads to good success.
- Understand your audience and your evolving cultural context. (e.g Contemporary society values; perspectives on Human sexuality/ LGBTQ+; pluralistic faith context, social media influence and impact, leveraging the use of IT).
- Focus ministry on transformation, changed lives, Christ-likeness, scriptural holiness (e.g Col 1: 28b; Ephesians 4: 15; Romans 8:29 NLT). This is the fruit that lasts. Seek to bear fruit, lasting fruit, soli deo gloria (to the glory of God).
- People grow best in small groups. Use Small Group Life structure in the Spiritual Formation process; and in facilitating the growth of church members in Christian maturity (See Acts 2:42-47). This is the classic biblical strategy for church renewal and church growth.
When you follow these principles (and those we will share in the next article), it will contribute to you being an effective, productive person and effective spiritual leader in the year and you will experience good success.
(The author is a consultant in authentic Christian Spirituality and Discipleship and former CEO of Scripture Union)