Look Behind You

I have had people ask me: “how long must I be in this church before becoming a leader?” or “what are the basic requirements for becoming a leader here?” or “I served in such-n-such capacity at my former church; does that qualify me for leadership here?”

What the Lord requires for leadership is far more important than what I or we as pastors consider qualifies that person. His Word makes it clear what the biblical expectations are. There are some things, however, that we have learned over the years as pastors with regards to qualifications.

First of all, a godly leader-in-training is one who has Christ-loving followers. We simply ask the person to look behind them, so to speak, and see if there are others following in their godly footsteps. Simply said: If they don’t have followers, they are not leaders. If they are leaders, then are they raising up others to fulfill their own destinies? A good leader not only reproduces themselves, they encourage their disciple to do even more than they have done…and are not jealous of their accomplishments.

Secondly, we watch for a primary character trait: humility. Is the person humbled before God? Is the person submitted under God-ordained authority? Is the person free from bondage to man’s opinion? Is he or she anchored in obedience to the Lord’s Word? Can they serve, even in the humblest posts? The word ‘servant’ is divinely attached to the word ‘leader.’

Bob Sorge writes: “For years I labored to become a better leader; now I labor to become a better follower. Fervent followers of Jesus make the best leaders.”

Thirdly, does the person love God’s children–that is, the loveable and the more difficult, the unloveable? Are they relational and open-hearted towards those whom God sends their way? Do they have strong emotional stability? Are they quick to forgive and release any offense?

Just as important is this: Is their home in order? I’ve heard many people ‘toot their spiritual horn,’ when I happened to know that their wives or husbands are suffering from neglect. Tell-tale is the countenance of their spouse. Read it! Their faces will tell whether or not the “first church” [their home] is being pastored before they qualify to step into leading a flock.

“Then He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.'” [Matthew 4:19] This is easy to understand: He is the Leader. More difficult is in the following. Yet, once we’ve stepped into line in following the Leader, others will then begin to follow our steps.

Jesus didn’t say: “Go make converts.” No, He said, “Go and make disciples.” We cannot do so until we’ve first become disciples ourselves.

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