Being An Effective Leader - Biblical Leadership, Part 1

Photo by Bill Rudge

“Behold, I have made him a leader and commander for the peoples.” Isaiah 55:4

by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.

Over the next few months we will be examining biblical principles for being an effective leader. Whether you are in a leadership role or not, this study is essential for every Christian for growth and maturity.

Need for Godly Leaders

One day a good friend of mine came by my office. After ten years as a youth pastor he was ready to leave the ministry. He said that in spite of serving at three different churches, he’d never had a spiritual mentor. He was frustrated that he had not found an older man in his life to disciple him, just as Paul did with Timothy (2 Timothy 1:13; 3:10, 14).

My friend’s experience is not isolated. I meet people all the time who say they have no example of a true man or woman of God in their lives. Instead of encountering men and women totally sold out to God, they end up being exposed to “Christian” leaders who often reflect more of the world than of Jesus Christ. Today, we need godly men and women to inspire, lead and disciple younger believers; then motivate them to train others (who in turn will train others) as Paul wrote Timothy:

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:1, 2).

We All Leave A Legacy

What legacy we leave will depend upon the impact we have had on those within our circle of influence. In other words, have we provided our family, friends, coworkers, etc., with an authentic example of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ? Would we want others to follow our pattern/way of living? Paul reminds that we are all in a race. Like Paul, let our legacy be that we did more than run in the race – we ran to win:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that Day ... (2 Timothy 4:7, 8).

Whom Do We Trust As Spiritual Leaders?

Many people tell me they attend a certain church because their pastor is a great communicator and storyteller. While an effective pastor employs communication skills, more is required in determining what leader we should follow. Rather than pastors who only entertain and tickle ears, we need shepherds whose ultimate aim is to lead us toward holy and righteous living. We all need discernment in knowing whom we should trust as our spiritual leaders:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths (2 Timothy 4:1-4).

Every Follower of Jesus Has An Eternal Calling

We are not in this world to merely pursue temporal rewards. Rather, as Paul says, we run this race for Christ to receive an imperishable crown (1 Corinthians 9:24, 25). Knowing that we have an eternal purpose and destiny, we cannot just sit on the sidelines and be spectators. We need to step out of our comfort zone and make an eternal impact on our world for Jesus Christ.

As believers in Jesus we need to be growing in our relationship with Him and the knowledge of His Word. We need to actively share our faith and be involved in activities that will help others and bear eternal fruit for God’s Kingdom. 

In future blogs we will examine the qualities of both bad and good leaders.