What Do Great Leaders Look Like?

Dear Roger,

I don't really know what a good leader looks like. In my country, I don't see many great leaders. I need more information or advice about Church Leadership too. I live in a place where we do not have pastors to teach us.

What should a good and godly leader be like?

Thank you,

Theetso Lemogang

Dear Theetso,

 

Let me expand the scope of my answer to include people who are not pastors. The church, as well as society in general, need leaders in many areas.

 

We can learn a lot about leadership by listening to children. A group of children was asked to define leaders. They were right on target.

 

Leaders are out front.

Their rear end is better seen than their front side.

A leader charts a course on a star they have never seen.

A leader is one who causes conflict, but who changes things.

“You know you’re a leader when you look around and people are following you.”

 

Some people decide without knowing any of the facts.

Some won’t decide until they have all the facts.

A few are willing to decide with only some of the facts – only they are leaders.

Be careful – some people aren’t worth following.

 

We can learn a lot about leadership from Kounzes and Posner. They discovered in their research the four things that people consistently want? They want leaders who are:

Honest

Competent

Visionary

Inspirational

 

All four of these are the foundation for Paul’s teaching about leadership in First Timothy 3:1-13.

 

 

The guidelines for a church leader, and the kind of person he, or she, is to be is written down by Paul in 1 Timothy 3:1-13.

 

According to Paul, you will notice that the pastor and/or church leaders (or any leader) must live a life of respect and purity, be a good teacher and be the kind of person that people like to follow. 

 

WHAT ARE PEOPLE LOOKING FOR IN THEIR LEADERS?

 

Kouzes and Posner are well-known for their research on leadership. They discovered that for things appear again and again in their research. What do followers want? They want leaders who are honest, competent, visionary, and inspirational. 

 

Based on what our followers want, we’re able to discern some of the things that good leaders do.

 

WHAT GOOD LEADERS DO.

 

1. GOOD LEADERS HAVE A PASSIONATE DESIRE TO KNOW GOD.

 

The pastor must be in touch with spiritual power: “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings (Philippians 3:10-12).

 

A Christianity Today Magazine article detailed the results of a large number of church researchers who interviewed 150 pastors. What they found was that these pastors demonstrated a passionate desire to grow a large church; but sadly, not a corresponding desire to know God.”

 

2. A GOOD LEADER IS IN TOUCH WITH WHERE THE PEOPLE ARE, AND LEADS ACCORDINGLY

 

“The Good Shepherd knows the sheep and calls each by name.”

 

Studies have shown what we all know to be true. In the average church 10% of the congregation to most of the work and are considered to be church leaders. 90% are simply attenders. These groups have different needs. Church leaders respond to commitment. Church attenders are more likely to respond to compassion. Very few respond to reason.

 

Therefore, it’s wise to mix four portions of compassion to each portion of commitment.

 

3. A GOOD LEADER IS WILLING TO TAKE RISKS. 

 

Culture is changing. Christianity is struggling in our country. We will soon be under religious persecution— and it breaks my heart that we are arguing over music styles and how to alienate gays.

Think about the risk Mary took. She did not have to answer “yes” to Gabriel. He gave her a choice. She must’ve thought about all the ridicule, mocking, smearing comments about her out of wedlock child. She considered the risk, and said, “Be it unto me as you said.”

 

Several years ago I attended conference concerning the handling of church and culture. I will always remember the comment of one woman who said, “I live in the most populous state in America, where the churches still think it is 1950."

 

How dare we say, “Come weal or woe, the only status we know is quo.”

 

God said to Jeremiah, “So you want to be my Prophet? If so, the people will beat you mercilessly, throw you in stocks, toss you in cisterns and never believe a word you say. Do you still want the job?” And Jeremiah took the risk.

God said to Hosea, “Go marry a prostitute.” His ministry was finished but his actions demonstrated the loving character of God no. No.

God said to Isaiah, “Take off your clothes and walk down the streets of Jerusalem.” Talk about a risk! Isaiah walked naked for the next three years.

 

4. GOOD LEADERS MODEL THE WAY

 

“Follow my example as I follow Christ” 1 (Corinthians 11:1).

 

People are watching us all the time.

 

I carefully counted my money at the checkout line at the grocery store. I realized that the cashier had given me five dollars too much in change. I said to her, “you gave me five dollars too much.”

She said, “I know. I was in your church service yesterday and I was just testing you.”

 

The first century church Christians were known as, the people who love God and love each other.”

Surveys now reveal that 78% of Americans feel that the most judgmental place in America is the local evangelical church.

 

Jesus said, “They will know you are Christians by your love.”

 

5. GOOD LEADERS INSPIRE A VISION. 

 

“Without a vision the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).

 

Napoleon Bonaparte: “A leader is a dealer in hope.”

 

George Bernard Shaw: “You see things and you say ‘Why’? But I dream of things that never were, and I say, ‘Why not?’”

 

6. GOOD LEADERS SET PEOPLE FREE TO ACT.

 

Thomas Jefferson: “There are two kinds of leaders – Those who trust people and those who fear the people.”

 

Jefferson’s comments are known today as Theory X and Theory Y. This has a lot to do with structure.

Businesses or churches that utilize theory X are organizations who really don’t trust the people. The attitude seems to be, “give them an inch and they will take a mile.” Theory X says that employees must be watched very carefully and micromanaged to be certain that are not slacking off.

 

Theory Y says, “You can trust the people. You don’t need to look over their shoulders. Stay out of their way and let them do their jobs and you will come out way ahead with your employees.

 

My dad advised“ Don’t ever push down the people around you to make yourself look better. Instead, lavish great praise on the people around you and they will lift you up on their shoulders.”

 

7. GOOD LEADERS ENCOURAGE THE HEART

 

Who wants to be around an old sourpuss?

 

Alexander Maclaren: “Be kind to everyone you meet, because everyone’s fighting a battle.”

 

If someone comes to church with a broken arm, it’s easy to spot. You may go encourage and comfort them. However, many people come in with broken hearts and no one notices. There are people I know to whom I can whisper one word and bring tears to their eyes.

 

Watch out for broken people. When you see someone in pain, Jesus said to comfort them.

Many years ago I decided that I would try to say a word of encouragement to at least three people a day. It’s amazing how even strangers will smile when you take a moment to say a word of encouragement.

 

One day a staff member said, “Roger, do you know what you do best?”

“No.”

“What you do best is encourage us.”

 

8.GOOD LEADERS KNOW WHO IS THE REAL ENEMY.

 

Ephesians 6:10-12

 

Early in my ministry, at the Moody Pastors’ Conference meeting in Chicago, Warren Wiersbe asked the question to a room full of 1, 500 pastors: “Do you know much about sheep?” Not many hands were raised.

 

Let me tell you some things about sheep.

First, sheep stink.

Second, sheep need to be led not driven.

Third, sheep are not the enemy.

I’m convinced that that is the best sermon on shepherding I have ever heard.

 

9. GOOD LEADERS DEVELOP A “CATALYTIC” LEADERSHIP STYLE.

 

People often ask, “which is more important?” The needs of the people, or the needs of the. Organization. Most people answer, “the needs of the people.” This is what I call the empathetic ENCOURAGER Style Of Leadership.

Barnabas mentored John Mark who had so disappointed Paul. At the end of his life Paul asked for Mark to come and visit him in prison because, said Paul, “Mark is a profitable man for the ministry.” Encourager’s are people centered, production secondary, and promote love and unity.

 

David employed what I call the COMMANDER “efficient” style of leadership. This leader is more concerned about building a strong organization than about the people who are part of it. Commanders, usually have narrow agendas, are rigid and efficient, create conflicts and pressure, and leave a trail of broken and bleeding people in their wake. David built a great empire and ruined his family. You would not have wanted to be one of David’s children.

 

The CATALYST is often called the effective style. Nehemiah is the best biblical example of a catalyst. Catalysts balanced the walls and the people. They work for the long range and realize that building a strong organization is one of the most important ways to care for the people. The catalyst gets things done with the balanced combination of both walls and people.

 

King Saul is the HERMIT who is uncomfortable with both people and goals.

The hermit withdraws from people and abandons organizational initiatives.

Sometimes, especially during great stress, it is okay to be a hermit in order to re-group and strengthen for the battles ahead.

 

10. GOOD LEADERS UNDERSTAND THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP.

Management is getting other people to do something. Leadership is getting other people to want to do it. 

 

Well, Theetso, I hope that some of these thoughts are helpful to you and that God will develop you into a great leader.

 

Love, Roger

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