Leonard C. Albert
Someone said that a leader is an ordinary person with extraordinary determination. The best definition that I have found is perhaps also the briefest: leadership is the activity of influencing people to cooperate toward some goal which they come to find desirable. In short: leadership is influence. How do we identify a leader? What are the qualities that effective leaders possess?
For the last 35 years I have observed hundreds of leaders representing every level of church administration. Here are some of the qualities that they all seem to possess:
When I say “Henry Ford” what comes to mind? Hamburgers? No! We remember Henry Ford for automobiles. He was focused on producing a quality car that people could afford. Leaders have one-track minds. Paul had this. In Philippians 3:13 he said, “. . . this one thing I do.” There was one all-absorbing, burning, consuming compassion in his life. Nothing meant anything to Paul but getting out the gospel and getting people saved.
No Confidence in the Flesh
All great Christian leaders realize that their ability is a God-given blessing. They know that human effort cannot accomplish God’s divine plan. The truth is that God uses us, but it is His anointing in us that really makes the difference. I have a friend who always says, “You have to realize that you can’t so that when you do, you’ll know you didn’t!”
Effective leaders know that they must learn to work with others. I hear so many people say, “I don’t care what people think of me.” The truth is that if God sets us apart as leaders, we must care about what others think. A good leader never does anything he can give someone else the privilege of doing!
Leadership in the Christian realm demands a love for people as a basic prerequisite. People are the main product of the church. People are not used to reach our goal . . . they are the goal! I once heard a well-known speaker say, “I love to speak, I just can’t stand the people!” Ezekiel could weep for the souls of men. I wonder if that is done a lot today in the church. When you look around and see the hopelessness, the sadness, the despair of this world it should cause you to have a love for the lost.
No Root of Bitterness
We find that leaders always draw opposition from others. Your ministry gifts will attract controversy. This causes misunderstanding, confusion and if you are not careful, bitterness. A bitter spirit has neutralized the effectiveness of many great people. They somehow could not overcome their personal feelings against those who opposed them in ministry. I have learned a great lesson from successful leaders: get over it! Don’t let the pain of your past affect the possibilities of your future.
It has been well said that victory in the Christian life is a “long obedience in the same direction.” Leaders must possess that sterling quality of consecration. Paul said, in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Great leaders walk in holiness, humility and love.
A leader is one who sees what ought to be done, what can be done and how to do it. Thus leadership is the ability to see—awareness; the faith to believe—attitude; and the courage to do—action. Let’s allow the Lord to help us cultivate these qualities in our lives.
God Is Looking for Leaders!
Are you available? Could you honestly say, ” God, if You’re looking for a willing vessel, You have just found one here?!”
- God is looking for leaders like Moses, who refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, but was willing to go with God.
- Generals like Joshua, who knew God and could pray and shout things to pass rather than blow them to pieces.
- Administrators like Joseph, who knew God and had the answer to famine.
- Preachers like Peter, who would not be afraid to look people in the eye and say, “Repent or perish,” and tell them to denounce their personal as well as national sins.
- Mothers like Hannah, who would pray for a child that she might give him to God, rather than women who are delinquent mothers of delinquent children.
- Children like Samuel, who would talk to God in the night hours as a child, grow to maturity and accept the call for full-time service.
Where are these people? Are you one? My dear brother or sister you could be if you would only allow God to direct your path. We have the greatest example of leadership in Jesus who could and did save from the uttermost to the uttermost. He never wrote a book but became the greatest leader of all time. Think of it! Millions follow Him today and He was only here on earth for 33 years and only three of those years as an incredible leader. His one goal? He came to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).