Faith Bible Blog

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The Marks of Biblical Leadership

I am sure many people have had a good laugh as they’ve watched Donald Trump try and explain his foreign and economic policy. Even more so, if Trump were to win the Republican nomination, people would probably pay good money to see Trump bring on Kanye West as his vice president. On many points, whether on Jimmy Fallon or Jon Stewart, Trump has been mocked for his unorthodox campaign and qualifications – or lack thereof – for presidency. 

However, the truth remains. Trump continues to lead the polls.

The frightening thing about that is not that Trump is winning, but that America may choose a leader without character. It is certain, America’s standard for leadership has declined. Unfortunately, the world’s essential marks for leadership have crept into the church of Jesus Christ. Too often, leaders are chosen not by biblical standards, but by their entrepreneurial, oratory skills, or even their great natural leadership abilities. This results in leaders functioning like CEO’s where they treat the church like a business and their members like consumers.
We must be faithful to God’s word and follow the design he has laid out for his church. Therefore, we must look to God’s marks of leadership for the highest office in the church: elders. Here are a few marks of what we should expect in leaders.

7 Marks Of Biblical Leadership

1. Chosen By God. The world chooses their leaders based of a set of skills, experiences, and the level of success a leader has in respect to their position. However, the leader in God’s church is marked by the Holy Spirit – God chooses his leaders (Acts 20:28). 

2. High View Of God. The world values a leader who is well educated, broadly informed and has a grand vision and a big dream. But in Isaiah 6, God shows us what he wants in his spiritual leaders, especially those leading the church: a high view of Himself. When Israel was left without their leader of 51 years, hope vanished. To prepare Isaiah to be the leader God designed him to be, God revealed His holiness to him. Only those with a high view of God can lead rightly and submissively to God’s will.  How do we know if a leader has a high view of God? Look at his view of scripture – is the word of God authoritative, inerrant, and sufficient? What are his convictions? His doctrine? Most importantly, is he holy? 

3. Low View Of Self. The world is seeking a leader who is confident and proud, has a good self-image, and portrays the image of a spartan warrior. The Bible, however, describes the true leader, or shepherd, as one poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3), one who has a low view of himself (1 Timothy 1:15). Only a man who has a high view of God can have a low, and proper, view of self. 

4. Always a Christian. Most CEO’s do not put themselves in the shoes of their employees. In Christ’s church, a biblical leader is marked by sainthood – he is a saint (a true follower of Christ) first. A true leader recognizes that he has been set apart to serve Christ FIRST before he is to lead. He is a Christian first, then a leader. 

5. Godly Character. Would Donald Trump be someone you want your kids to imitate? The world forgets that what the leader models for a country, or a household or business, that is what their followers become. Biblically, leaders must be worthy of imitation because a leader is saying, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” A leader must be fit to be follow. He must be worthy of being imitated (Hebrews 13:7). Therefore, a biblical leader must be marked by godly character (1 Timothy 3). We must stop looking at the outward appearance of a man and check the heart (1 Samuel 16). 

6. Servant-leadership. Ironically, the latest trend in business leadership books is the idea of being a servant-leader. These secular books refer to Christ as their example, but only see him as a mere man. They fall short of what it means to be a servant-leader. Christ is the best and greatest example of servanthood because Christ is God, but we cannot reduce Christ’s humanity and his mission to serve the world (Mark 10:45) by dying on the cross for our sins to an example of a mere man showing humility. Biblical leaders are daily striving to be servant-leaders as they allow Christ to lead through them. Because of this, they clothe themselves in humility and count others more important than themselves (1 Peter 5:5). 

7. Dependence on the Chief Shepherd. Leadership books today talk a lot about having strong and brave leaders. People are looking for a David to slay the Goliaths of their lives. The world wants their leaders to be self-sufficient because only then can people rely on them. Dependency is a weak virtue in the eye of the world. Dependency, however, is the mark of a biblical leader. True leaders, biblical leaders, depend on their savior, the Chief Shepherd, for their strength and wisdom as a leader, for Christ is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23). Biblical leadership is marked by a fearful submission to Christ (Ephesians 5:21). 

Those are just a few marks of biblical leadership. Fortunately and blessedly, we have such leaders at Faith Bible Church. Praise God for such grace in our lives! 

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