How do we train leaders? We often refer to someone as a “leader” only to discover that this is a title and not a true action of the person in reference.
Leadership is more than a title or holding a position.
George Barna defines a true leader as one who has a calling, character and competencies. He refers to this as a “complete package of components that enables a leader to help people reach their goals and potential.” (The Power of Team Leadership, George Barna) He further defines this statement by saying,
“A leader succeeds only if his or her followers succeed.” So, how do churches develop team leaders?
Placing someone into a position does not make them a leader.
Webster’s definition of “calling” reads like this:
a strong desire to spend your life doing a certain kind of work (such as religious work)
the work that a person does or should be doing
Putting a person into a place of service because it “looks like they fit” can be one of the worst decisions any church or organization can make. Just because someone can make a lot of money does not mean that they are the best person to lead the stewardship ministry of a church. Just because someone is capable of giving a great speech does not mean that they are the right person to teach an adult Bible study.
A true leader has a sense of calling to see the people they are leading to succeed. It is not about a program or the organization. Those who are truly “called” do not focus on themselves. Their calling is a desire to see others do well.
When Jesus recruited his first disciples, Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John, he was attempting to develop their character. All four men were fishermen. When Jesus invited them to follow him he embraced their character when he said, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)
Here is a good listing of “good character traits” found at What is Charater?
- Alertness – Being aware of what is taking place around me so I can have the right responses.
- Attentiveness – Showing the worth of a person or task by giving my undivided concentration.
- Availability – Making my own schedule and priorities secondary to the wishes of those I serve.
- Benevolence – Giving to others basic needs without having as my motive personal reward.
- Boldness – Confidence that what I have to say or do is true, right, and just.
- Cautiousness – Knowing how important right timing is in accomplishing right actions.
- Compassion – Investing whatever is necessary to heal the hurts of others.
- Contentment – Realizing that true happiness does not depend on material conditions.
- Creativity – Approaching a need, a task, or an idea from a new perspective.
- Decisiveness – The ability to recognize key factors and finalize difficult decisions.
- Deference – Limiting my freedom so I do not offend the tastes of those around me.
- Dependability – Fulfilling what I consented to do, even if it means unexpected sacrifice.
- Determination – Purposing to accomplish right goals at the right time, regardless of the opposition.
- Diligence – Investing my time and energy to complete each task assigned to me.
- Discernment – Understanding the deeper reasons why things happen.
- Discretion – Recognizing and avoiding words, actions, and attitudes that could bring undesirable consequences.
- Endurance – The inward strength to withstand stress and do my best.
- Enthusiasm – Expressing joy in each task as I give it my best effort.
- Faith – Confidence that actions rooted in good character will yield the best outcome, even when I cannot see how.
- Flexibility – Willingness to change plans or ideas according to the direction of my authorities.
- Forgiveness – Clearing the record of those who have wronged me and not holding a grudge.
- Generosity – Carefully managing my resources so I can freely give to those in need.
- Gentleness – Showing consideration and personal concern for others.
- Gratefulness – Letting others know by my words and actions how they have benefitted my life.
- Honor – Respecting those in leadership because of the highter authorities they represent.
- Hospitality – Cheerfully sharing food, shelter, or conversation to benefit others.
- Humility – Acknowledging that achievement results from the investment of others in my life.
- Initiative – Recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it.
- Joyfulness – Maintaining a good attitude, even when faced with unpleasant conditions.
- Justice – Taking personal responsibility to uphold what is pure, right, and true.
- Loyalty – Using difficult times to demonstrate my commitment to those I serve.
- Meekness – Yielding my personal rights and expectations with a desire to serve.
- Obedience – Quickly and cheerfully carrying out the direction of those who are responsible for me.
- Orderliness – Arranging myself and my surroundings to achieve greater efficiency.
- Patience – Accepting a difficult situation without giving a deadline to remove it.
- Persuasiveness – Guiding vital truths around another’s mental roadblocks.
- Punctuality – Showing esteem for others by doing the right thing at the right time.
- Resourcefulness – Finding practical uses for that which others would overlook or discard.
- Responsibility – Knowing and doing what is expected of me.
- Security – Structuring my life around that which cannot be destroyed or taken away.
- Self-Control – Rejecting wrong desires and doing what is right.
- Sensitivity – Perceiving the true attitudes and emotions of those around me.
- Sincerity – Eagerness to do what is right with transparent motives.
- Thoroughness – Knowing what factors will diminish the effectiveness of my work or words if neglected.
- Thriftiness – Allowing myself and others to spend only what is necessary.
- Tolerance – Realizing that everyone is at varying levels of character development.
- Truthfulness – Earning future trust by accurately reporting past facts.
- Virtue – The moral excellen ce evident in my life as I consistently do what is right.
- Wisdom – Seeing and responding to life situations from a perspective that transcends my current circumstances.
The character of a true leader is not fake or misleading. It is all about using what the Lord created them to do. When we use our unique personalities under the leadership of the Holy Spirit we become a tool in the hands of God.
Do you believe that God created this world, this universe and even human beings? Do you believe that God has the ability to put the right people in the right place at the right time? If you answered yes to both of these questions then why do we stress so much about the work of the Kingdom of God.
King David wrote these words in Psalms chapter 1:
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
So, how do we train leaders? Think about your call, your character and your competencies and let God use you as a true leader this year. The Apostle Paul put it this way, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 3:14)