Have a Pulse? Be a Leader.

As pastor of a growing church, I am constantly asking God to send us more leaders in order to help more people grow in their relationships with Christ.  The more new faces that show up, the more leaders we need in order to intentionally invest in those lives.

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All too often, churches compromise on standards in order to get warm bodies in leadership positions.

One of the greatest compromises that a growing church can make is using people (we won’t call them leaders yet) who are neither ready nor willing to fill a role. Every person in a church has the potential to be a God-called leader in an area of ministry.  But that sense of call has to be out of a deep relationship with Christ and not out of some other sort of motivation like duty, significance, or boredom. 

It is impossible for a leader to lead people where they have not been themselves.  That is why it is so vital for a leader in a growing church to have a deep, intimate relationship with God.  In Matthew 10, Jesus commissions his 12 disciples to leave him and travel to the surrounding areas teaching others about the reality of the Kingdom of God.  He told them what to do and how to do it and then had them return to him to report.  In other words, they had to stay connected to Christ.

It is vital that leaders be growers…be learners…be connectors…be participators…be givers.  Otherwise, what will they have to give to those who are counting on their leadership?  I look for some key things in a potential leader for a role at Oak.

  1. Participators – Active church attendance beyond the area in which they serve.  A leader should be “showing up” to a church worship gathering consistently in order to be spiritually fed and encouraged.  Beware of the “leaders” who want to teach or lead a group but don’t want to be a part of the larger church gathering.  They won’t have much to contribute to those that they lead.   
  2. Growers – A passionate, consistent prayer life This goes beyond, “God, help me, give me, help me, give me…” type of prayers.  A leader begins asking God to truly break his heart for what breaks God’s.  She will spend substantial time on her knees in prayer for those she leads. 
  3. Learners – A commitment to being in the Word.  There is something about sitting down alone with God and just listening to Him as you read His Word.  Strong leaders are students of the Scriptures and they consume it regularly in order to live a faithful life. 
  4. Connectors – Connected to solid people for accountability.  A leader should be plugged in to a group of Jesus followers in order to be held accountable for her faith.  There is something unique that happens in a small group of disciples that gather consistently to do life together.  A leader has to have people he trusts in his life that will hold his feet to the proverbial fire of faith. 
  5. Givers – Committed to consistent, percentage giving.  If a leader is committed to serving the church physically, he will be committed to supporting the church financially.  This is a matter of obedience to God’s Word.  Personally, I would not want a leader to be serving alongside me while I’m giving consistently but she is not.  Where our treasure is our heart will be also. 

Just because a person meets these criteria doesn’t mean that he’s a leader or even growing in his faith.  It is possible to check off a list of religious activities and think we’re in good with God.  But time and time again, these disciplines are in place in strong, godly leaders that ultimately are used in extraordinary ways.  Leadership is not about being perfect and gifted.  It’s about being available and willing. 

-J

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